It's the middle of the month, and you know what that means! It's time for the Cutting Room! CR is a monthly post where we all do short, single-person reviews for movies we’ve watched on our own over the last month because why would we include each other?
We have a long list of films to review, and while the movies you see here haven’t come up quite yet, they may receive the full review treatment in the future. Let us know if you disagree about any of these movies, and check out past Cutting Rooms in the "More Horror" section up above!
13 Cameras (2016)
4 Babies of Questionable Parentage
This thing is on Netflix for free. It’s halfway decent. Do they have to contrive-up the plot to keep the initial concept going for a whole feature-length thing? Yes. But is it still an alright movie with watchable, if predictable stuff going on? Also yes.
BLAIR WITCH (2016)
3 Hip New Camera Drones
This was the big one, and holy shit has there been a lot of shit said about this one in both directions. Turns out it was neither the scariest movie ever made or whatever the shit Bloody Disgusting said, nor was it unwatchable garbage. Though it was much closer to that latter category. This one had some cool concepts that actually did build on the original, but forwent all of the character development and good writing of the original. Maybe worth a watch, but abso-fucking-lutely not in theaters.
THE HOLE (2009)
6 Strangely Prophetic Sketch Books
This one came as a complete surprise to me. I was expecting compete horseshit, but damn if I didn’t just enjoy watching this movie. The kids turn in decent performances, the concept is pretty cool, and overall, the thing just works. This one’s also free on Netflix, so what have you got to lose?
I am insulted. Stilted acting, a forced and unbearably hard to believe plot progression, and worst of all; a garbage fire reason for filming. Throw in terrible CG effects and flat out stupid and pointless inclusions in the writing and you have a goat rodeo that should be avoided at all costs. JeruZalem… Not even once.
EXTRAORDINARY TALES (2013)
This is basically a family friendly anthology of animated Poe stories. You’ve got The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell Tale Heart, and Masque of the Red Death. All of them are done in a different artistic style, and it makes for pretty decent background fodder this time of year. Except for one. The Tell Tale Heart. This one bumps my score up a full point, and I can say with some confidence it is on the shortlist of my favorite horror shorts, ever. It is short, stark, and haunting. This is mostly due to the eerie narration by the late, great Bela Lugosi. Give this a watch, if nothing else. You will not be disappointed.
TOAD ROAD (2013)
4.5 Iron Gates
This is a weird one. In a nutshell, it's a story about the downhill slide brought about by drug dependence, with a sprinkling of the supernatural thrown in. Combine the two, and you get a very bizarre descent. This is added to by a film style that is very surreal, mirroring the intense effect of the drugs the characters are partaking in. Overall, there is little here in terms of explanation or resolution, and though it is unique, I can't help but feel off-put by the apparent non-acting of the cast (the main character died of a drug overdose shortly after the film’s production). I wouldn't recommend this one to many people, but it is certainly impactful.
THE PYRAMID (2016)
1 Nonsensical Satellite Imaging Technique
Holy cow this was bad. What do you get when you put together a bad script, bad actors, bad effects, bad editing, and a bad concept? You get something better than this movie. The movie haphazardly switches between standard footage and found footage. It has a distracting amount of light coming from the background in scenes where there is absolutely no light in the room. It provides almost all of its dialogue in the form of poorly delivered exposition. Finally, when it finally seems like they made a correct tactical choice to not show the CG bad guy up close, they juke you out and give him a solid 30 seconds of up close screen time so you can really see how bad their effects are. This movie is mind bogglingly bad.
THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES (2007)
4.5 Girl Scout Cookies
God help us. This film is dark. Really Dark. It’s a compilation of found footage recovered from a serial killer’s house and presented as a training documentary to new recruits. It’s all fictional, but that doesn’t make it feel less real. This had a strange release, originally slated to come out theatrically in 2007 it was pulled unceremoniously and sat on. It was actually released on VOD in 2014 for a short while before, once again, being pulled unceremoniously. The good (if you want to call it that, in a horror sense) of this movie is the concept. This shit is disturbing and dark. Lots of gore, lots more implied gore. The bad of this movie is the presentation. By nature of a self-filmed found footage movie many of the shots are hard to follow. Additionally, due to it’s strange release history the film quality that I was able to find was limited to standard def. These two things combine to make this one pretty difficult to sit down and watch. Seek this one out if you are looking for something profoundly creepy, and are okay with watching something that won’t necessarily entertain you as much as it will just make you uncomfortable.
THE DARKNESS (2016)
2 Carved River Rocks
Okay, look, I have a few autistic relatives. I get that autism can be a thing that people struggle with. You can’t just fucking exploit it as a shortcut trump card to a kid that acts weird. That’s not how that goes. Also, you can’t just utter the word “anasazi” and loosely copy and paste some lore you found on a wikipedia page and consider that proper utilization of Native American folkore. Let me clear this up right now: utilizing indigenous folklore in horror = good, invoking folklore while attempting to lazily shoehorn said lore into a rigidly formulaic storyline = bad. If you’re choosing between this and Pyramid, see this one. If you’re choosing between this literally any other horror movie, don’t choose this. Boooooo.