Cutting Room
May 2018

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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.


JAKE'S SECTION

Idle Hands (1999)
4 Possessed Appendages

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This was a watch because I lost a bet. Mark said something about "making me watch shitty 90's movies because I make him watch shitty 70's and 80's movies" when he loses bets. I remember seeing this a long time ago and hating it, so I threw it on while doing some things around the house in an effort to kill two birds with one stone... And I ended up stopping the chores and tuning in. I don't know what happened. It got me. Don't get me wrong, this is not a good film, but it reeks of the 90's in a glorious way. You have a cast including peak Devin Sawa, Seth Green, Jessica Alba, the kid who played Fulton on the Mighty Ducks and one of the dudes from Twister. Its VERY 90's. You even have the lead singer of The Offspring getting his scalp ripped off by a possessed hand. It's good, dumb fun and if you're looking for some vaguely stoner horror that scratches the 90's nostalgia itch, this could be for you. 

Still/Born (2018)
6 Baby Monitors

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This movie was my most anticipated for February of this year. I was hopeful that it would be a tension filled, psychological piece that blurred the lines of paranoia and the supernatural. And that's definitely what it went for. For some reason though, this just didn't really land for me. It felt like it could have been more committed to and built a deeper, more interesting story around the sanity of the lead character. It did frame a few good scares around this, but overall it felt like there was some missed potential for me, and I'm not sure I'd recommend it given everything that's out there. Plus, a movie that places a baby as close to the central premise as this has a ton of crying baby over the course of its runtime. That does not make for a good time. 


MARK'S SECTION

Winchester (2018)
4 Whisper Holes

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I have a recipe for you. You take 1 Helen Mirren, 1 Sarah Snook (go watch Predestination if you don’t know her name), and 1 Jason Clarke. You mash them together and you sprinkle them over one of the most famously haunted and fascinating places in the United States (if not the world). Now that right there ought to be a recipe for a truly great horror movie, no? Well I forgot to mention the secret ingredient, bullshit. You take the movie you just made and then you pack it to the gills with meaningless generic bullshit. That’s the recipe for this movie. A dude almost gets a Wet-Willy from a ghost and its one of the creepiest moments of this movie. You know what a great indicator is for how poorly executed this movie is? Aside from the preponderance of extras they have in the background doing construction, you can basically completely forget that they’re at the freaking Winchester House. It’s the namesake of the movie, a key part of the marketing facade, and once you’re past the first 20 minutes you can basically forget about it. Don’t get me wrong, it has acting talent and enough money to pay for decent effects so it’s watchable, but just because a movie is watchable doesn’t mean you should watch it.  This movie is a monument to wasted potential. Avoid it to make a point Sidenote: this was Jack’s most anticipated movie of 2018, further confirming that that kid is an idiot.

Desolation (2017)
6 Hippy Sunglasses

Well, I no longer want to go on a multi-day backpacking trip. I mean, the urge was never that strong to begin with, but this certainly doesn’t help the inclination. This movie is shot like, and feels like, a 1970s slasher. Maybe it’s the low budget, but I like to think it’s intentional because the vibe it creates is actually pretty synergistic. The way it’s shot and edited is extremely reminiscent of super early genre films. There are zooms and scene transitions that feel like they’re pulled straight out of Friday the 13th or Texas Chainsaw. This one winds up being a surprisingly intense jaunt through the people being fucked with in the woods sub-genre, which is more or less what we all thought it would be in December 2017’s HRR. It’s clearly limited in certain ways (pretty sure we blocked better physical struggle sequences in my junior high theater class) and struggles with a bit of an unfocused narrative and iffy acting throughout, but with its well executed stalker aesthetic and low barrier to entry (streaming on Netflix) you’d be a fool to skip it. A fool!

The Lost Boys (1987)
6.5 Epic Shirtless Saxophone Guys

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Wow, that is an epic shirtless saxophone guy. How did I never know about epic shirtless saxophone guy? This is legitimately going to kick me a down a road toward a serious existential crisis that I do not need right now. As for the movie that happened after the epic shirtless saxophone guy? It was pretty good I guess. Go watch it. It has a lot of 80s.

Insidious: The Last Key (2018)
4 Uhhhhh…. Keys?

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This is the fourth movie in the insidious franchise, and the first not with a numeral immediately after the name. When the first two came out it was seemingly implied that the “insidious” thing was these ghosts haunting Patrick Stewart’s family. Now that we have two more movies I think I can identify the common thread that is actually unifying the series: lazy writing. It seems clear that they’ve lost track of how to capitalize on the charm and intensity of the first film and are now falling back on easy tropes. Granted the monster in this one is a novel design, and we all commented on how creepy key fingers were as a concept in January’s HRR, but that creature is only in something like 2 scenes? Oh, you want further proof of the lazy writing? The key-demon’s name is “Key Face.” Yeah. Key Face. It should be noted here that it’s face is a normal demon face, and it has keys for fingers, so this name is actually even worse than you may have initially expected.

Dig Two Graves (2017)
5.5 Stogies

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I watched this movie because of Jake’s recommendation, and I’m beginning to expect that he only wanted us to watch it because the main girl’s name is Jake. I mean, really it’s Jacqueline, but she goes by Jake. Real narcissism move on Jake’s part. Anyway, I think this is one  of those movies that is only horror because I went in sorta expecting it to be horror. There’s a girl, named Jake. Her brother dies. She is sad. Her grandpappy is Buffalo Bill and he has a past. The ensuing story is more about coping with grief and being chased down by historical drama than about being particularly scared about anything. If you have a fear of cliff jumping or quarries this will scare you. Elsewise? Probably not much horror here to discuss. As a sidenote, it was an objectively well made movie and an interesting change of pace from our usual fare, but I just don’t think it clicked with me in the way it needed to for me to enjoy it as much as Jake did. Now if the main character’s name had been Mark I would likely be telling a different story...


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