Cutting Room is our monthly post where we do short, mostly spoiler-free, single-person reviews for movies we've watched on our own. If you hear us shout something out on the podcast, you can swing by here to read our more succinct thoughts on the matter. Let us know if you have some thoughts on any of these movies, and check out past posts in the "More Horror" section.
Operation Avalanche (2016)
6.5 Film Reels
Gonna go ahead and start by saying this doesn’t really qualify as horror. Buuut it’s on Shudder so I watched it. They do thrillers too and that’s what this is. Yep.
It’s actually a pretty cool movie with the basic conceit being that there’s a crack team of videographers that are tasked with staging the moon landing because NASA wasn’t worth a damn and we really didn’t want to lose to the Russians. It delves into the Kubrick conspiracy theory and all that shit. And it does it in a 60’s-staged found footage format. Horror fans will like this. I recommend it.
7.5 Aboriginal Spears
Breaking news: Martin Freeman is a tremendous fucking actor. This movie is worth a watch if for no other reason than seeing this dude turn in a tremendous performance in a role that asks a lot of the actor. The added bonus is that it’s an infection/zombie flick with enough novel elements to be entertaining and not just feel totally rehashed. Another important thing here is that this is on Netflix so the hurdle you have to get over to see it is basically zilch. There is absolutely no reason a genre fan should not see this, as it’s very likely to be the best zed-word film we get this year. Do it.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
6 Shadow Puppets
We’ve already watched, reviewed and discussed this movie in full. The only addition I want to make here is to give a quick shout out to our friends at the Idaho Horror Film Festival for putting on monthly showings at local brewery Woodland Empire Ale Works to satisfy our needs in life. You’re doing god’s work, y’all. Don’t stop. Only other addition to make here is that seeing this movie in a large group is incredibly fun. Whoever had to argue for watching with buddies and drinking beers on the podcast wins. I’m sure it was me. Oh wait, it was Mark. Never mind.
Sequence Break (2017)
6 Arcade Cabinets
This is the latest movie from Graham Skipper and let me tell you, this dude has his niche. Following on the heels of directing and acting in Beyond the Gates, this seems like a somewhat logical next step in terms of just lobbing out nostalgia bombs for children of the 80’s. There is a kitschy charm here for sure, much like with Beyond the Gates. I think that movie was a more complete film and I’d recommend it over this one, which gets pretty far out there at points, but lead actors Chase Williamson and Fabianne Theresse are known quantities in the genre and both turn in good performances. This is a low budget movie with plenty of heart, even though there isn’t a ton of clarity to it. Perfect for summer if you ask me. Go ahead and give it a rip. It’s on Shudder.
The Terror (2018)
7 Icebound Vessels
I fucking love the setting for this movie. It’s based on a novel, so give credit where it’s due, but damn this makes an awesome setting for horror to ensue. I’m on record for not loving the way in which drama unfolds in a series structure (too many peaks and valleys to accommodate for an episode structure), but I was into the setting of this story enough to forgive most of that. The jist is that Franklin’s lost voyage for the Northwest Passage was lost for very, very good reason. The setting, sets, props and general production value here is awesome, and though I don’t necessarily think things panned out in the best way (again, not all on the series though I haven’t red the book) it was recommendable content. I did just read that there’s going to be a second season and they are turning it into an anthology. The setting? Japanese internment… ok...
Mom and Dad (2018)
So this starts with a legit 1970s James Bond-esque intro, and the psychosis only continues from there. Here’s a thing about me that you may not know: I fucking love Nic Cage movies. He is easily the best Coppola, and I’ll defend that claim all day. There are so many ways his movies can go. He has legitimately made some of the best most entertaining movies you can find (Con Air and The Rock), but he has also made some of the most preposterously stupid and awful movie-insults of all time (Ghost Rider and Knowing). I like Nicolas Cage movies in the same way I like playing Roulette. You get black and red about the same amount of time, but you always bet on black. So what was this entry in the pantheon of Cage? It was truly truly iffy. Frankly, the biggest issue with the movie was that there wasn’t very much of the NC. The movie mostly centers around his daughter fighting off the zombie-parent crisis, which in its own right is a pretty generic and boring storyline. However, if child-o-cidal parent zombies seem like something you want to see, this one is currently available on Hulu, and there is a scene where The Cagester runs around barking like a dog for virtually no reason.
8 Bottles of Wine
Fuck. This movie does not start out fun. It also continues to not be uplifting all the way until the conclusion. This is an exceptionally well made movie that is beautifully shot, poignant, and interesting… but it is anything but lighthearted. Martin Freeman is just wonderful in the leading man performance. In a movie full of variables he is the constant, and he bolsters the movie to exceptional heights. At the end you’ll feel like you’ve been on a long journey and you’ll be glad you watched it. I gave Girl With All the Gifts a 9, and this movie is just barely not quite up to that standard. That movie had more moving pieces that all fit together. This one primarily resides on Martin Freeman utterly handsome and friendly and adept shoulders. The barrier to entry is low for this one as it will reside on Netflix indefinitely. Next time you have a zombie itch that needs scratching, this one should be at the top of your list.
Shin Godzilla (2016)
7.5 Massive ordnance penetrators
Holy shit this was a pleasant surprise. I am not a Godzilla movie kinda guy. I mean… I like Pacific Rim, but I feel like that statement in and of itself should indicate to you my level of kaiju knowledge. For the record I did use to love the knock-off cartoon series based off the 2001 movie. I was impressed enough by the trailer when we featured it on October 2016’s HRR that I made sure to keep my eye out for its release. If you listened to our Destroy All Monsters review you will recall I was pretty lukewarm on the low production values and iffy sound. This movie, on the other hand, finally made the mixture click for me. I feel like they kept all of the doofy charm of the original monsters, while updating every other aspect in a way that immensely helped the flow of the movie. Honestly, my only complaint was this movie slides in at just about two hours. At that length the tension, the frenetic fast paced edits, and the subtitles really wore me out by the time all was said and done. Oh well, this one is still a heavy recommend. Unfortunately at this time the only place you can get it is by paying for a rental, but if you have even a shade of appreciation for Godzilla you’ll be glad you took the plunge.
Do you ever just need a movie to have on in the background. I need those all the time. Hell, as I type this review I have a show on in the background that is absorbing about 25% of my attention. The one genre of movie that I will never turn aside for that task is ghost-hunters-in-a-haunted-house, and I think Netflix has started to learn this about me because Demonic has been near the top of my recommendations for the last few months. To help things out, this one also has a dash of found footage sprinkled in to keep me interested. To defend this thing it does introduce a nifty time shifty narrative to set it apart slightly from the rest of the chaff. Aside from that Demonic wound up being exactly the movie you expect it to be, which in my case was a pretty good thing. In your case… well… probably not so good a thing. There’s bad CG. There’s fundamental misunderstanding of how electrical technology works. There’s wildly idiotic dialogue. Watch at your own risk.
Gracefield Incident (2017)
1 Balloon Phone
I watched this because Jack also watched it and he decided to spoil it on our Podcast that you should 100% be listening to every week and giving us five star ratings. I also watched it because it was my top 1 from HRR July 2017, same as Jack. Well, dear reader, what a colossal mess we’ve made. This movie is bafflingly stupid. The acting is a zero. The effects are at best a 2. It’s not scary. It is complete and utter nonsense through and through. Surely then I must’ve had a bad time watching this, right? Not so fast. This movie hit me much the same as the The Room did. Sure, what you’re watching unmitigated garbage, but for some reason it is utterly fascinating. It even has the hard-to-place unexplained Eastern European accents. I am forced to give this a 1/10 rating because it is far and away the worst movie I’ve seen all year, but for the record I would totally get bombed and subject myself to this one again. It’s available on Amazon Prime if you feel like taking the plunge.
Cabin Fever (2002)
I had never actually watched this movie. I do however remember my older sister coming home after seeing it in the theater and letting me know that it was a complete and utter waste of time… I now see what she means. This movie was weeeeeird. Like… I just don’t get why it exists. I’m going to go ahead and guess that illicit drug use was heavily involved in the writing process, but I suppose we won’t know until the 25 year anniversary blu-ray. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this combination of silliness and gore, and frankly I’m not sure my brain was able to fully comprehend it. I’m glad I took the plunge because this is part of the zeitgeist, but now that I’ve crossed it off my list I think I’m set for the rest of my life.