Hello, dear reader. Fancy seeing you here. Welcome to September's edition of Cutting Room, where we give mini single-person reviews for all the movies we've seen outside of our main weekly reviews.
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 have some thoughts on any of these movies, and check out past posts in the "More Horror" section!
HELL HOUSE LLC (2015)
7 Unsecured Crime Scenes
This movie is one of the better found footage flicks I’ve seen in awhile. Being set against the backdrop of people making a haunted house lets them go full bore with traditionally scary things and still have it feel natural, and that’s pretty cool. This one has flown way under the radar and I don’t think it should. It’s available to stream for free if you have Amazon Prime, so definitely give this one a watch.
9 Floating Children
Look, I know how ridiculously hyped this movie has been. And I’m loathe to pile on to that, but, you guys, this movie is ridiculously good. This is far and away my frontrunner for best horror movie of 2017, and it’s not particularly close. I won’t say too much more about this movie apart from saying that you need to go see this.
THE MANITOU (1977)
3 Racist Origin Stories
Wow. That was . . . an experience. I had to watch this after losing a bet with Jake on the podcast, and shit. He did not hold back. This movies in unfathomably absurd, and not without a heavy dose of racism. Still, it can’t be anywhere near the worst movie I’ve ever seen, mostly because I’m still not entirely sure what I actually saw.
I watched this one with the girlfriend immediately after returning from a vacation to Iceland. It was strange timing. We got back and the first time I pulled up Netflix, BAM!.. Featured movie with title card image of Maika Monroe (It Follows) in front of an Icelandic landmark in an Icelandic clothing brand. It was all a little too perfect, and I expected the movie to be a relationship/character drama that also served as board of tourism fodder. I think that both hold true to a certain degree, but there is a lot more horror here than I was expecting. All I’ll say is that the prospect of waking up alone in as isolated a place as iceland is haunting. This movie explores that well, but does little that I found to be extremely memorable. Still worth a watch because of how photogenic the country is.
DIG TWO GRAVES (2017)
8 Magical Snakes
I’m not sure what I expected from this movie, but I feel that it over delivered. Back when we covered the trailer for HRR, it caught my eye but I had a hard time processing what essentially just looked like beautiful nothingness… What the movie delivers is a deep and well acted story that manages to toe the line between innocent, mystical elements and some heavy, adult subject matter. It’s a coming of age story, so I suppose that concept makes some sense, but I was impressed. This score might be inflated a bit because of how non-existent my expectations were, but I’d give it a solid recommend. It’s one of the better 2017 releases I’ve seen this year.
OUIJA POSSESSION (2016)
2 Questionable Viewpoints on Statutory Rape as Articulated by Guidos
I lost a bet and had to watch this movie. In keeping with the spirit of that bet, this did inflict pain. I do not recommend this movie to anyone, unless you get off on the wholly forgettable and poorly acted. Like Ouija boards? This is not the movie for you. See something else. I heard Origin of Evil is at least decent.
DEATH NOTE (2017)
6.5 Partially Eaten Apples
I was cautiously optimistic for this one as the next project by Adam Wingard after Blair Witch, which I did not care for AT ALL. I think this was a better movie, but the funny thing is that I think fans of Death Note might feel the same way about this one. I had the luxury of coming into things knowing nothing about the manga, aside from its existence. Therefore, I’m certain I let a lot of things pass that could have been as irritating for fans of the story as the misgivings of Blair Witch were to me. All that being said, its high production value and I’d recommend it as good background fodder if nothing else. Netflix continues to try their hand in the genre, and that’s what’s important to me.
7 Vomit Sessions
Mark issued a request that I watch this movie with some idiotic claim about how it would tie into our discussion for the Spring review. I took the bait and it did not. He’s an idiot, don’t listen to him. I’m convinced it was a clever veil to get me to watch a found footage flick he liked. The problem with all this complaining, though is that I did enjoy this movie. It was made for somewhere in the $300k ballpark, and when considering that, I am fucking dumbfounded as to how the effects were this good. Yada yada “found footage hides the ugly parts they don’t want you to see” yada yada. No. This was astounding and there are movies made for many millions that look like dog shit while this, though found footage, at least has some masterful effects for the style of film it is. You at least have to call it perfect use of the medium. On top of all that, it’s not a half bad vampire story.
THE HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET (2017)
4 Knockoff Zippo Lighters
Well, that wasn’t very good. This movie has a few things going for it, namely its long and winding train of gruesome jumpscares. I’d also venture that its combination of home-invasion esque kidnapping plotline combined with its demonic possession story serves to be a boon in that the movie is relatively unique. Outside of those two things, this winds up being a bland one that doesn’t actually have any sustainable thrills throughout. It’s mindless fodder that is probably better if you aren’t paying close attention to it.
A CURE FOR WELLNESS (2017)
This is an incredibly well made movie that is also incredibly long and incredibly strange. At some times bordering on intentionally weird, this movie lives and dies by its style. This film seems like it was written first, and then it was focus grouped specifically to trump up the strangeness of the plot. Although most of the time these elements are largely extraneous and somewhat nonsensical, they do serve to be unsettling. The biggest issue probably lies with the fact that you know from very early on that basically everyone in the movie is lying. So when the twist rolls around and the movie pauses with jazz hands to let you absorb it, you’re left sitting there saying “so what.” If you have the time, this is a beautifully shot movie that does deliver on much of its “psychological thriller” billing. I’m not sure it’s an out-and-out horror movie, unless you are anguillophobic, but it’s still probably worth it.
THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT (2014)
7 Blue Skeleton Masks
I had putting off seeing this one for quite some time because the hero image that Netflix uses to promote it makes it look super cheap. Well, turns out that was a mistake because this one was surprisingly entertaining. As of the top of this post we have each weighed in on a very similar movie, Hellhouse LLC. Where Hellhouse focuses primarily on things that are definitively supernatural, HOB takes a similar approach but assumes that normal humans can be just as scary. Give this one a shot if you haven’t already. Its sequel comes out this month, and appears to pick up right where this one leaves off.
THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2017)
7 Exploding BBs
Gosh, this John Gallagher Jr fella has sure had a good start in horror movies. We try not to spoil the movies we write up for CR. That being said, I don’t think I’m giving much away by saying things in The Belko Experiment go poorly for all those involved. There are about 100 people that work at this company, and as you can tell from the trailer, many of them don’t make it. The problem I have with these movies that start out with a large pool of characters is that each one doesn’t get the proper screen time they deserve, and frequently they are dispatched in less than ceremonious ways. This movie commits that sin hard so if that shit really gets your goat then you might not like it much. That being said, I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. I mean, who hasn’t fantasized about smacking someone at work with a tape dispenser?