Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Gen Z Vocab Lesson, Le First

Confused Person Icon #18324
For some time I've been feeling my age in my knees (I know y'all know what I mean). But perhaps only today did I feel depressingly long in the tooth.

I took a Facebook quiz.

Specifically, a zooquiz titled "React to These Gen Z Problems and We'll Guess Your Age." (Go on, I'll wait here while you check it out.)

As I took the quiz I'd occasionally hit on a word or phrase that'd make my brain go all blue screen of death. I'd mentally reboot and could eventually glean meaning from context but I did have to look some stuff up. Made me feel ancient.

Now, I'm not gonna rail against the liberties taken with the English language by Gen Z, mainly bc I heart words and I take my own liberties at will. As creative self-expression, slang is super groovy and reflects so much about the era from which it originates (and differs from simple/stupid grammatical errors, as it's the deliberate use of a coined word/phrase, or the use of a pre-existing word in a new way). I just want to keep up and, at minimum, understand what the flip's going on around me. And yeah, maybe I'll be that mom who salts her speech with it. At any rate, as a public service to my fellow Gen Xers (Boomers are welcome, if they're so inclined), here's your...

Gen Z Vocab Lesson, Le First

feeling some kind of way

leaving you on read
  • On a messaging app equipped to let you know your message's recipient has read/seen your message, the "read" signal appears but your recipient takes an inordinate amount of time to reply (or doesn't reply at all). (Rude! This one's pretty easy to grok from the context, but in service to thoroughness...)
  • Origin: Circa 2011, with "read receipts" for digital communications. Probs. Though this kind of nonsense is pretty old behavior (you know, like the guy who says he'll call but takes his sweet time doing it).

finna

mood/big mood

shriv
  • An old-timer. Also, a jerk.
  • Origin: Old folks' shriveled skin (particularly that of the scrotum). (Ouch and ick.)

extra

bish

clapback

yeet

Dudes! All of these^ from one little quiz! Which, BTW, guessed me to be 38, an "an old-AF millennial." Hah! (And don't I just wish!)

Go on then, let me know in the comments if you were familiar with any/all of these, and if you took the quiz, lemme know whatcha got!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Spook Out! Day 31 ~ Train to Busan (2016, in Korean with English Subtitles)

Netflix Says...
"As a zombie outbreak sweeps the country, a dad and his daughter take a harrowing train journey in an attempt to reach the only city that's still safe."

I Say...
Actually, they were already on the train when the shit hit the fan, but yeah, it was a harrowing ride, all right!

Horror Type...
Zombie Apocalypse, Thriller, Action

Main Players...
Gong Yoo as Seok-woo (Hot Workaholic Dad)
Kim Su-an as Su-an (Kind of a Pain But Still Precious Daughter)
Jung Yu-mi as Seong-kyeong (Baller Pregnant Lady)
Ma Dong-seok as Sang-hwa (Hero)

I liked...
  • how this film made me hold my breath repeatedly; it takes you to the edge and brings you back till you're utterly worn out
  • that you really get a sense of who the leads are and what motivates them (apart from wanting to get the freak away from snapping zombie jaws); a lotta heart in this film, too
  • how it breaks from some zombie rules (no shamblers here) and creates interesting new ones
  • the use of wit as well as brawn to get out of tough spots
  • how well the worst, and the best, of humanity is represented here
  • that it's so engrossing you don't even feel the length of the movie till it's over and you realize nearly two hours have gone by

The Meh...
There is no meh in this award-winning film.

Would I recommend it...?
Absolutely, positively, 100-Gajillion-Percent. You have to watch this. HAVE TO. Yes, it's gory; yes, the zombies run; yes, it's violent af. But you have to watch this brilliantly terrifying movie.

Miscellany...
  • The zombie apocalypse, like life, is not fair. Not even a little bit.
  • As the credits started rolling I was bawling into some napkins. But rest easy--it's emotional, not schmaltzy.
  • Though I'm a few days late, I've saved you the best movie for last. You're welcome. Go frigging watch it. Now.

Ratings...
My Grade: A+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=93%, Audience Score=88%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched Train to Busan on Netflix (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Train to Busan's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 31 (and, indeed, the blogfest!) of

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Spook Out! Day 30 ~ He Never Died (2015)

Netflix Says...
"A reclusive immortal who needs human flesh but tries to stay clean finds himself cast back into society by a gang of thugs and his estranged daughter."

I Say...
Kids, man. They can really disrupt your reclusive immortality, know what I'm sayin'? Actually, the above summary gets one thing wrong--she's not his estranged daughter bc he never knew of her existence till this movie.

Horror Type...
Horror Comedy, Dark Comedy

Main Players...
Henry Rollins as Jack (Reclusive Immortal)
Kate Greenhouse as Cara (Loyal Waitress)
Jordan Todosey as Andrea Huntsman (Life-disrupting Daughter)

I liked...
  • the dry, deadpan style of Rollins' delivery
  • how the normalcy of the waitress and daughter contrast so starkly with Jack's...well, everything
  • that Jack enjoys a good game of Bingo now and again
  • that, at least in the movie, Jack shows mercy

The Meh...
  • it's a little too dry
  • it's also a little too long
  • the pacing was sluggish in the first act and maybe the first part of the second act

Would I recommend it...?
It's an OK watch but not really a horror movie, IMO. (To be fair, I'm not sure why I thought it was one.) Pretty violent and gory, though.

Miscellany...
That Mr. Rollins is a fine lookin' fella. Le rawr RAWR!

Ratings...
My Grade: C+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=87%, Audience Score=64%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched He Never Died on Netflix (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
He Never Died's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 30 of


Spook Out! Day 29 ~ Us (2019)

Amazon Says...
"The visionary behind Get Out returns with an original nightmare, pitting an endearing American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgängers of themselves."

I Say...
^An accurate summary.

Horror Type...
Thriller

Main Players...
Lupita Nyong'o as Adelaide Wilson (née Thomas)/Red (Mama Bear)
Winston Duke as Gabriel "Gabe" Wilson/Abraham (Papa Bear)
Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora Wilson/Umbrae (Sister Bear)
Evan Alex as Jason Wilson/Pluto (Brother Bear)

I liked...
  • the undercurrent of wrongness from the very start
  • the sustained tension from the moment Jason makes his startling announcement to his family
  • how, and this was my favorite part, the family falls into its familiar bickering in one particular scene when peril's closing in around them
  • the flashing back and forth from Adelaide's first encounter with the weird in 1986 to the present day madness
  • that the menace was on a wider scale than I'd thought going into this film

The Meh...
  • the first act is somewhat dry and runs longer than necessary to establish things
  • there's a Big Reveal in the third act, which fits well, then a surprise twist at the end, which also fits well. However, the two don't, in my mind, fit one another for this movie--that is, given the twist, the way the Big Reveal took place doesn't make sense to me

Would I recommend it...?
Yeah, it's a great thriller for Halloween! There's some violence and a bit of gore but all appropriate and not overdone.

Miscellany...
I raved about Lupita Nyong'o in a previous review and must do so again here--she's fan-freaking-tastic and should be in All The Things, ever.

Ratings...
My Grade: B+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=93%, Audience Score=60%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched Us on Amazon (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Us' Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 29 of Spook Out!

For some reason, Blogger's upload picture function is not, in fact, allowing me to upload pics. Alas.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Spook Out! Day 28 ~ Ramekin (2018)

Amazon Says...
"Emily...[is] a college girl in New York City coming to live in the spacious Upper West Side apartment of her recently-deceased grandmother. There she encounters a little white porcelain cup--a ramekin--that slowly begins to control her life and demand the unthinkable."

I Say...
^That's exactly right and BOY what a ride!

Horror Type...
Horror Comedy, Surreal, Supernatural

Main Players...
Jamie Saunders as Emily (Tidy College Girl)
Renee Adrienne Vito as Jane (The BFF with the Stupid Face)
Adriano La Rocca as Mark (The Cute But Clueless Neighbor)

I liked...
I've been bullet-pointing for this section in my previous reviews but for Ramekin I'm going stream-of consciousness bc that's the only way I can think to tackle it right now.

I love how precise all of Emily's motions are, down to her diction and phrasing. Her face is wonderfully expressive and that big-ass smile she whips out is both beautiful and terrifying. I dig that she gets a few moments of grace to see that something's terribly wrong and she's not quite herself and wants to get out of whatever hell she's in. But she can't bc Ramekin.

I adore surreal humor, and this horror-comedy is just that. I mean, it's a ridiculous situation--being controlled by a ramekin? A ramekin??? Yet, the writing and Saunders' amazing work really sell it for me. Some of the dialogue made me cringe, other bits made me literally laugh out loud. And then there were these moments when a lick of terror seriously shot through me as I sat there helpless (much like Emily, but without any cupcakes, more's the pity).

The "poetry" in this is risible, when it's not utterly chilling. (Mark, how could you not understand?????)

The soundtrack's groovy!

Also, any New Yorker can appreciate that the only way a college student could lay claim to a lovely furnished apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side is if it were haunted or possessed by...something. (HAH!)

The Meh...
There's a bit in the beginning when Emily's trying to leave Ramekin in the dish rack that goes on a little long and could lose a viewer's interest--but stick with it!

The ending's even more bizarre and I couldn't quite grok it till I read writer/director/ filmmaker Cody Clarke's (or someone bearing his handle) explanation in this Reddit thread.

Would I recommend it...?
Yes! It's kooky and it's creepy, hilariously freaky, it's altogether unique-y--and for Amazon Primers, free! I heart this film so much I'm including a teaser for it:



Miscellany...
Please watch this ultra indie movie (made on a $500 budget!). Let's support indie artists so Hollywood gets the message that we don't want remakes, we want original creative voices!!!

Ratings...
My Grade: A-
Article #2: Ramekin Review!
Regrettably, there's no Rotten Tomatoes page for Ramekin.

Details, Schmeetails...
A Wikipedia Page for Ramekin does not currently exist.


This concludes day 28 of


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Spook Out! Day 27 ~ Summer of '84 (2018)

Shudder Says...
"It’s the summer of 1984, the perfect time to be 15 years old and free. But when neighborhood conspiracy theorist Davey Armstrong begins to suspect his police officer neighbor might be the serial killer all over the local news, he and his three best friends begin an investigation that soon turns dangerous."

I Say...
^I take issue with the word "soon."

Horror Type...
Serial Killer, Thriller

Main Players...
Graham Verchere as Davey Armstrong (Budding Filmmaker)
Tiera Skovbye as Nikki Kaszub (Hot Girl Next Door)
Rich Sommer as Wayne Mackey (Good AND Bad Cop?)

I liked...
  • Davey's determination, grit, bravery, and ingenuity
  • how wonderfully creepy a "good guy" Mackey was
  • the '80s setting, music, and parlance, which brought my Gen X heart much joy
  • that the ending takes a sobering turn which is distinctly unlike typical '80s flicks and I'm afraid I can say no more w/o getting all spoilery
  • the straightforward plot, which enjoyed some great moments of tension and suspense...

The Meh...
...and yet lost a lot of momentum by taking too freaking long to tell its story. It's an hour and 45 minutes, y'all--and it sure as heck didn't need to be.

Would I recommend it...?
Well, it's fun when it's moving, there are some good moments of humor, and the nostalgia factor will keep you into it if nothing else (assuming you're a person of A Certain Age). There's not a lot of gore, though in the last act as Things Are Revealed we do see some gruesome sights. It's an entertaining watch and I'm glad I took a chance on it...and actually, I would love to see a sequel wrap up the narrative's honking-huge cliffhanger.

Miscellany...
I super dig this Canadian indie's dark-synth movie score. (Eh?) (C'mon, you knew I had to do it.) 

Ratings...
My Grade: B+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=70%, Audience Score=65%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched Summer of '84 on Shudder (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Summer of '84's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 27 of

Spook Out! Day 26 ~ Wake Wood (2009)

Amazon Says...
"The parents of a girl who was killed by a savage dog are granted the opportunity to spend three days with their deceased daughter."

I Say...
Well, there's not much else to say after ^that, except ain't y'all never seen/read Pet Sematary???

Horror Type...
Supernatural Horror

Main Players...
Aidan Gillen as Patrick Daley (Grieving Vet)
Eva Birthistle as Louise Daley (Grieving Pharmacist)
Timothy Spall as Arthur (Tweedy Town Shaman)

I liked...
  • that this flick's got atmosphere coming out the wazoo
  • that c-sections are a recurring, and important, theme
  • Timothy Spall's lovely rich baritone, which I suppose is meant to come off as menacing at times but for me is just yum
  • the ending which, if I understand it correctly, is one of the most understatedly horrific I've seen in a long while
  • that, unlike its predecessor Pet Sematary, there are very clearly defined Rules...

The Meh...
  • ...and yet, not all of the applicable terms and conditions are presented to the grieving parents before they consent to the ritual that'll bring back their daughter (which seems irresponsible)
  • the parents consistently make some pretty stupid moves that you just wanna smack 'em repeatedly about the face and ears with a wet fish
  • there are moments when the actor playing the reanimated daughter shines but more when she just isn't credible (I know, I know, none of this is credible, but some child actors sell you on their characters 100% and maybe this one wasn't directed as well as she could've been)

Would I recommend it...?
Yeah, it's a groovy Halloween watch, if frustrating at times. It's gory now and again, though.

Miscellany...
This low-budget Irish film was produced by Hammer Film Productions!

Ratings...
My Grade: B
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=80%, Audience Score=39%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched Wake Wood on Amazon (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Wake Wood's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 26 of

Spook Out! Day 25 ~ The Lifechanger (2018)

Netflix Says...
"A shapeshifter has to kill, then inhabit his victims, or die. But as his need for new bodies speeds up, he finally faces down his own mortality."

I Say...
...and reconnects with a love best left in the past...

Horror Type...
Body Horror, Thriller

Main Players...
Bill Oberst Jr. as Drew's Voice (The Unreliable Narrator?)
Lora Burke as Julia Wilson (Bar Fly)
Jack Foley as Robert (Aging Man Bun)

I liked...
  • the narrator's voice/style/loneliness/longing
  • the very dark humor, when it put in an appearance
  • that Drew was brave enough to risk all (in various ways which are too spoilery to detail here)
  • the brisk pacing
  • the ways in which the shapeshifter changed with each new form but somehow retains his identity...whatever that is, precisely

The Meh...
  • the ending is challenging, leaves the viewer with questions and an overwhelming sense of dismay (and a little confusion, at least on my part)
  • I'd've liked to've learned more about Drew's origins
  • that freaking nightmare of an aging hipster beard and man bun, you guys! UGH! (Don't get me wrong, I dig a long-haired dude, but not if he wears his mane in a mun.)

Would I recommend it...?
Well, I liked it but it's violent and gory here and there (at the very start, for example), so if you're squeamish you may wish to avert your eyes--but do consider checking out this very interesting and unique tale. And let me know what conclusions you come to, regarding the ending.

Miscellany...
This film's Canadian, eh? (I'd apologize for that but I wouldn't mean it.) (So, in fact, I won't.)

Ratings...
My Grade: B+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=86%, Audience Score=70%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched The Lifechanger on Netflix (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
The Lifechanger's Wikipedia Page (the only one I could find is in French)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Spook Out! Day 24 ~ New Year, New You (2018)

Hulu Says...
"A group of old friends gather for a girls’ night on New Years [sic] Eve. But as they begin to rehash old memories, many of the gripes they’ve been harboring manifest in murderous ways."

I Say...
^That's a somewhat misleading summary but I can't explain why without spoiling things. (Sorry.)

Horror Type...
Thriller

Main Players...
Suki Waterhouse as Alexis (Scarred 4 Life)
Carly Chaikin as Danielle (Guru from Hell)
Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Kayla (Voice of Reason)
Melissa Bergland as Chloe (Gurl So Jelly)

I liked...
  • the way the movie messes with your head as to who, actually, is the villain of the piece
  • how Carly Chaikin chewed all the scenes, even the ones in which she wasn't present; she perfectly captured the snidely self-congratulatory air of the most narcissistic of self-help personalities
  • the use of beauty products as legit weapons
  • how the movie didn't shy away from showing women's capacity for physical violence...

The Meh...
  • ...even though I didn't find all of it believable (from one character, yes; from another, no)
  • given what's revealed, I also don't believe the guru would choose to spend New Year's Eve at a girl's night with old friends (with whom she's not really stayed in close contact since school) when she could be partying with celebrities and Instagramming the shit out of it
  • man alive, how the first half of the movie dragged! It's only 1 hour and 24 minutes but it felt like it took forever to get interesting (like, roughly the first 40 minutes were a snoozefest, 4realz). It's like they felt they had to pad the thing with girl-bonding bullshit like face masks (ALSO unbelievable bc the gals showed up to the little shindig all dressed up for NYE and, dang it, if you've spent a few hours getting dolled up for a party, you wanna make the most of your hard work, not show up at somebody's house and wash it all off, c'mon!!!!!)
  • the self-help industry is full of bullies telling you how crap you and your life are but there are also realistic people actually trying to do something meaningful and helpful--but the self-helpers presented in this film are completely caricatured, which I found heavy-handed and lacking in both cleverness and subtlety

Would I recommend it...?
I mean...once the action picked up, I got more into it. But it took about 40ish minutes for that to happen, so...I dunno. It's an uneven effort that has some really interesting ideas which are well-executed, pardon the pun. But it requires some patience on the viewer's part, as well as a firm suspension of disbelief at times.

Miscellany...
New Year, New You is the fourth feature-length installment in Hulu's horror anthology Into the Dark. (They've released one movie a month with a theme central to that month's holiday, as observed in the US.) I'd read a few online articles ranking the different films and this one was considered among the best by several folks, which is why I chose it to review. Maybe I need to take a different approach to making my selections...

Ratings...
My Grade: C+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=93%, Audience Score=Not Available

Details, Schmeetails...


This concludes day 24 of

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Spook Out! Day 23 ~ The Invitation (2015)

Netflix Says...
"A man accepts an invitation to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife, an unsettling affair that reopens old wounds and creates new tensions."

I Say...
Look, just stay out of the Hollywood Hills. Bad juju there, man. Bad. Juju.

Horror Type...
Psychological, Thriller

Main Players...
Logan Marshall-Green as Will (Just-'Cause-He's-Paranoid-Don't-Mean-They-Ain't-Out-To-Get Him)
Tammy Blanchard as Eden (Dangerously Smiley Hostess)
Michiel Huisman as David (Creepily Insistent Host)

I liked...
  • the focus on Will and how the film places the viewer right there with him in his grief, isolation, and worry
  • the superbly-built atmosphere, which went from subdued sadness to disturbing to uneasy to dread-filled to WHAT THE FREAKIN' HECK?!?
  • how the filmmakers trust the audience to pick up the hints they skillfully blend into the narrative, regarding backstory as well as what's fixing to go down
  • the tension as the party vibe shifts from the alcohol-fueled banal to a sobering weirdness as people behave peculiarly and revelations are...uh...revealed
  • the occasional moments of understated humor that let me catch a breath without taking me out of the story

The Meh...
Though it's a pretty successful slow-burn of a film, I reckon about ten minutes could be shaved off the 1 hour, 40 minutes runtime without doing any harm to the story.

Would I recommend it...?
100%, noting that most of the scary stuff is in the third act and not "horror-movie scary" until really the bitter end (and even then, not a jump-scare-type scary, but good old psychological horror).

Miscellany...
One of the most terrifying moments for me was flipping John Carroll Lynch's gently menacing delivery of, "You are out of line." Especially 'cause you get the feeling there's a LOT he could do to get you back in line and none of it's pleasant.

Ratings...
My Grade: A-
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=88%, Audience Score=70%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched The Invitation on Netflix (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
The Invitation's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 23 of

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Spook Out! Day 22 ~ Hush (2016)

Netflix Says...
"A deaf writer who retreated into the woods to live a solitary life must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer appears in her window."

I Say...
^That's about the size of it.

Horror Type...
Slasher, Serial Killer, Thriller

Main Players...
Kate Siegel as Maddie Young (Fighter)
John Gallagher Jr. as The Man (Coward)
Michael Trucco as John Stanley (Smart Neighbor)

I liked...
  • the way the story unfolded
  • how Maddie strove to use every tool she could think of to survive
  • the jerk villain who was a pleasure to hate

The Meh...
  • why the heck would anyone opt to live in the woods ALONE??? I mean, c'mon!!!
  • though it's a brisk 1 hour, 21 minutes, and the writers did manage to vary the routine a bit, there was still a lot of cat-and-mousery in a fixed setting that didn't quite manage to keep my attention 100% of the time
  • I would've liked to've learned something of the killer's motivation

Would I recommend it...?
Yeah, it's definitely a good slasher flick! Caution to the faint of heart: the first time you see The Big Bad getting all stabby, it's not overly done but still somewhat sickening.

Miscellany...
You may remember the gal who plays Maddie as one of the siblings in Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House (which I've *just* learned is getting a second season, W00T!).

Ratings...
My Grade: B+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=92%, Audience Score=73%

Details, Schmeetails...
Hush's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 22 of

Spook Out! Day 21 ~ The Love Witch (2016)

Amazon Says...
"Elaine, a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic Victorian apartment she makes spells and potions, and then picks up men and seduces them. However, her spells work too well, leaving her with a string of hapless victims. When she finally meets the man of her dreams, her desperation to be loved will drive her to the brink of insanity and murder."

I Say...
Amazon, you went on too long^. (As did the movie.)

Horror Type...
Occult, comedy horror?

Main Players...
Samantha Robinson as Elaine Parks (Witchy Woman)
Gian Keys as Griff Meadows (Square-Jawed Copper)
Laura Waddell as Trish (Oblivious Decorator)

I liked...
  • the technicolor splendor--the colors, design, lighting, and line-delivery are straight out of the late 60s (an era I heart) and it's all just enchanting (I'm reminded very much of the look, feel, and acting of the earliest seasons of The Brady Bunch)
  • dudes, the star of the piece is gorgeous and even as a hetero gal, I was mesmerized by the love made to her face by the camera. I mean, dang...
  • how wonderfully, perfectly campy it was, made campier by Elaine's single-minded pursuit of her goal
  • the nudity in this was equal-opportunity--we've got wangs! (I'm just sayin', fair's fair.)

The Meh...
  • Elaine's gorgeous but she's also kind of a dick. A narcissistic, irresponsible, empty shell of a dick
  • is this a horror movie? Comedic, certainly. Bizarre, surreal. But horror? I'm not so sure
  • but I am sure that this movie's just too long. Clocking in at two hours, it's a self-indulgent, masturbatory exercise which would have benefited greatly from judicious editing
  • the hot cop's behavior at the very end doesn't make any sense to me
  • the setting was also unclear; it looks like the 60s but then there are modern vehicles, anachronistic vocab, (Apparently A Big Spoiler, from a review I read) one character breaks out an old-school cellphone at one point...what's the point of it all? To say that despite technological advancements we're all stuck in a bygone era?
  • this is touted as being a feminist film and I've no idea why. BC chicks can be just as selfish and murderous as men?

Would I recommend it...?
I mean...kinda? It's entertaining, though it runs too long. Mainly I'd just appreciate it if you watched it and came back to me with your take on why it's a feminist film bc I haz the dumz and I just don't get it. But I don't think hardcore horror fans would appreciate this as a horror film (though they may dig it for what it is...whatever it is...)

Miscellany...
I'd love to learn what brand and color lipstick Elaine's wearing through most of this. Also, I'd kill to be able to draw a wing as well as she does (or the makeup artist does, whatevs...).

Ratings...
My Grade: B-
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=95%, Audience Score=60%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched The Love Witch on Amazon (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
The Love Witch's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 21 of

Monday, October 21, 2019

Spook Out! Day 20 ~ Pet Sematary (2019)

Amazon Says...
"After the Creed family moves to rural Maine, they stumble upon an ancient burial ground with sinister powers. When tragedy strikes, a perilous chain of events unleashes an unfathomable evil."

I Say...
Grieving parent grasps at deadly straws and makes a bad situation far worse.

Horror Type...
Supernatural

Main Players...
Jason Clarke as Dr. Louis Creed (Grieving Dad)
John Lithgow as Jud Crandall (Kindly But Irresponsible Neighbor)
Jeté Laurence as Ellie Creed (Daddy's Girl)

I liked...
  • the heckin'-ominous vibe--this film has atmosphere for days
  • this iteration of Church the Cat (played by, among others, Leo and Tonic)--wonderful makeup and extensive training made for a truly spooky onscreen kitty!
  • the BIG switcheroo from both book and original 1989 film adaptation--purists have balked but I think the change makes for a far more credible, realistic, and frightening killer (friggin' Stephen King liked it, so all you haterz can just go whine into your pillows about it) (I'm deliberately not specifying what this big change is--if you've seen the 1989 version and then see the 2019 one, you'll know exactly what I'm referencing)
  • the well-paced, slow-burning script
  • the excellent acting, by all (especially Lithgow's understated but still deeply affecting execution of the classic line, "Sometimes dead is better.")

The Meh...
  • I really liked that the filmmakers opted to have a person of color play the iconic ghost of Victor Pascow but then they hardly used him in the story at all, which was disappointing.
  • The guy who played Louis had a peculiar hint of an accent that piqued me enough to stop the movie and find out where he was from (Australia). That accent needs a bit of work, friend.

Would I recommend it...?
Yes, and I already look forward to watching it again on a cold winter's night, with some spiked hot chocolate by my side.

Miscellany...
Look, I know some folks were ticked when they heard about Pet Sematary being remade. I was one of them, until I learned that John Lithgow had been cast as Jud--I knew then that it would not only be good, but special. And not only is it a great film, but it's a vast improvement over the '89 version--the production, acting, makeup, effects, settings, and writing are all far superior. Especially the acting, and don't get me wrong, I love me some Dale Midkiff (rawr!) and liked his work in the orig version, but the first Ellie was pretty frickin' annoying, and what they had to do to make the first Gage a killer rendered him ridiculous (except for that great line, "Now I want to play with eeeeeYEEEEEEEWWWWWWWW..."). I love the campy, cheesy goodness of the first version and I'm sure I'll still watch it to the bitter end every time I catch it on TV. But I do think the 2019 version rocks the casbah harder than the first. 

Ratings...
My Grade: A
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=57%, Audience Score=34%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched Pet Sematary on Amazon (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Pet Sematary's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 20 of


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Spook Out! Day 19 ~Mayhem (2017)

Shudder Says...
"Derek Cho is having a really bad day. After being unjustly fired from his job, he discovers that the law firm’s building is under quarantine for a mysterious and dangerous virus. Chaos erupts throughout the office as the victims of the disease begin acting out their wildest impulses. Joining forces with a former client who has a grudge of her own, Derek savagely fights tooth and nail to get to the executives on the top floor and settle the score once and for all."

I Say...
Shudder needs to trim its summaries.

Horror Type...
I'm a little stumped here...the virus element is kind of Sci-Fi, I think? Other sites call this Comedy Horror but I'm not sure that's the best descriptor. I mean, definitely dark humor in this but sooooo much violence. I dunno...

Main Players...
Steven Yeun as Derek Cho (Seeker of Justice)
Samara Weaving as Melanie Cross (Not a Dave Matthews Fan)
Steven Brand as John Towers 'The Boss' (Coked-Up Douche)

I liked...
  • the virus premise, although I find the thought of it occurring in reality terrifying
  • the chemistry between Derek and Melanie
  • the David and Goliath aspect of the little guy squaring off against the big guy with all the resources
  • some of the dark humor
  • the groovy electronic music in the soundtrack 

The Meh...
  • there are some sexist things that crop up here and there, which put me off
  • thin, one-note plot
  • Dude, brah, it's so violent!

Would I recommend it...?
I dunno! It was entertaining but also disturbing (to me, bc so much violence!) I'm not sure I agree that this is a true horror movie, even horror comedy.

Miscellany...
I don't recall how this flick came to my attention but the only reason I watched it was 'cause Steven Yeun, of The Walking Dead fame, is in it (GLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Ratings...
My Grade: B
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=85%, Audience Score=62%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched Mayhem on Shudder (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Mayhem's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 19 of

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Spook Out! Day 18 ~ I Had a Bloody Good Time at House Harker (2016)

Amazon Says...
"It's been generations since the Harkers' great-great grandfather killed Count Dracula. Now the Harker brothers and their best friend Ned are a town joke - until a real vampire turns up."

I Say...
The bros may've benefitted from the vampire's arrival but the townsfolk sure didn't.

Horror Type...
Horror comedy, Vampires

Main Players...
Jacob Givens as Gerry (Artiste)
Noel Carroll as Charlie (Artiste's Bro)
Derek Haugen as Ned (Artiste's BFF)

I liked...
  • Gerry's enthusiasm for his artistic project--and the bits at the start, showing how he envisions certain scenes, are nicely done
  • Ned snarking at/about his rival for his dream gal's affection
  • the good-natured rival's determined, and genuine, friendliness toward Ned
  • that Ned's last name, Morris, is the last name of the second man responsible for putting an end to Dracula in the Bram Stoker tale (the other man, of course, being Jonathan Harker) (And don't come crying to me about spoilers, the book's been out for over 120 years, for fang's sake.)
  • the hidden, steely depths of old man Walter
  • when the jokes stuck the landing (surprised a few chuckles out of me, they did!)
  • the vampire, who was actually kinda scary (that freaking voice, yo)
  • the scene after the end credits
  • the cheesy goodness of the two Right Said Fred tunes they somehow obtained for the movie, particularly this one:


The Meh...

  • as this reviewer writes, the Amazon ratings led me to believe this film was of a higher caliber but it's B movie level at best
  • with all due respect to the efforts and passion of the makers of I Had a Bloody Good Time at House Harker, it's an amateurish production
  • the plot's pretty dang weak and the pacing could be better
  • for all the actual LOL moments, there's a lot more goofiness which fails to elicit even a groan bc who can be bothered?
  • the male gaze is pretty evident in parts (ugh)


Would I recommend it...?
Ehhhhhh...Well. If you're already an Amazon Prime member and you want to set your brain to autopilot while tossing back a few beers with friends in the mood for nonsense, sure. But if mostly sophomoric humor and lots of gushes of blood aren't your cuppa, go watch What We Do in the Shadows instead (either the film or the TV series--both are excellent vampire comedies).

Miscellany...
This Indie was supported by a Kickstarter campaign!

Ratings...
My Grade: C+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=Not Available, Audience Score=77%

Details, Schmeetails...
I couldn't find a Wikipedia page for I Had a Bloody Good Time at House Harker



This concludes day 18 of

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Spook Out! Day 17 ~ The Golem (2018)

Netflix Says...
"As sickness spreads throughout the countryside, an infertile woman conjures a living child out of clay and sets it loose on her enemies."

I Say...
An intelligent, grieving mother seeks to protect her village by birthing a creature impossible to control.

Horror Type...
Supernatural

Main Players...
Hani Furstenberg as Hanna (Grieving But Feisty Mom)
Ishai Golan as Benjamin (Steadfast Husband)
Kirill Cernyakov as The Golem Kid (In the words of one of the characters, Heartless Monster)

I liked...
  • this wonderful exploration of the dark side of Jewish folklore
  • that the 17th C setting is perfectly reinforced by the clothing, the homes, the village--it all really puts you there, if you know what I mean
  • that Hanna, who at first turned me off, unfolds as a brave and vulnerable woman. She's not a perfect protagonist, but by the end I was really rooting for her
  • that her husband Benjamin, who is also not a perfect husband, is a loving man who stands by his wife
  • the supporting cast, who enriched the story with their genuine performances (all the performances were terrific)
  • the take on the golem creature--not some honkingly-huge monstrosity but the form of the son Hanna and Benjamin lost seven years before the start of the film. This choice makes for some serious maternal angst, I'll tell you what
  • the little Frankenstein hommage of the outfit Hanna sews the Golem

The Meh...
  • I could just not be connecting some dots but I don't understand why Hanna seems to've been sort of ostracized by her village for the past seven years. If that's connected to how her son died, it was unclear to me
  • it's difficult for 21st C eyes to behold a community in which women weren't permitted to learn (granted, this is true of many historical films). I'm just sayin', that Hanna has to learn in secret, and only bc her husband agrees to help her by smuggling books to her, chaffs my chaps
  • maybe the first 40-ish minutes were a little on the slow side--but boy, does the action ramp up!

Would I recommend it...?
Absolutely! The rich storytelling (and the story it tells) should please softer hearts but the judicious use of splatter and monster attacks should satisfy horror aficionados.

Miscellany...
One review I read stated that it's not the Golem but the anti-Semitism of a neighboring community (and, indeed, the world) that's the true horror--and I have to agree.

Ratings...
My Grade: B+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=88%, Audience Score=43%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched The Golem on Netflix (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a Wikipedia Page for The Golem. :-( So instead I'll link to this fabulous review which lays out all the action of the movie (so yeah, it contains spoilers!)


This concludes day 17 of

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Spook Out! Day 16 ~ Pyewacket (2017)

Hulu Says...
"When you're dealing with demons, be careful what you wish for... A teenager's death curse plunges her into an unholy occult nightmare."

I Say...
I wish I'd been more careful and chosen NOT to watch this movie.

Horror Type...
Occult

Main Players...
Nicole Muñoz as Leah (Jerk Teen)
Laurie Holden as Mrs. Reyes (Jerk Mom)
Chloe Rose as Janice (Teen BFF and the only person of interest in this hot mess)

I liked...
  • the aforementioned BFF, Janice, who was the only one to talk sense and do anything worthwhile and I wish the movie'd featured more of her bc then it might've been tolerable
  • some of the tunes from the soundtrack

The Meh...
So much. Leah and her mom are grieving the death of Mr. Reyes, and I know folks in mourning aren't at their best and are struggling to cope. But these two gals...ugh. They're entirely self-absorbed, unlikeable, and do some stupid shit--very unlike the mom and daughter from the movie I reviewed yesterday, who are also still in mourning for their lost husband/father, but have smarts, empathy, and agency. I'm amazed Pyewacket did so well with critics who, I suspect, were either paid to write glowing reviews or high when they watched it. So many referred to this as a "slow-burn"--this was more of a "forgot to turn on the stovetop." It was a boring, tedious watch, with more atmosphere than scares and, I'm sorry, if you're going to have a supernatural entity with a fabulous name like Pyewacket, then you'd better bloody-well show us more of it than just a shadow and a few seconds from a distance.

Would I recommend it...?
No, sir. Didn't like it. Resent that I lost an hour and a half of my life to it.

Miscellany...

Ratings...
My Grade: D (but only bc of Janice, otherwise it'd be an F)
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=84%, Audience Score=58%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched Pyewacket on Hulu (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Pyewacket's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 16 of

Spook Out! Day 15 ~ I Still See You (2018)

Amazon Says...
"Several after years after a cataclysmic event, Ronnie's suburban world has mostly returned to normal, except that the world is shared with ghosts, and one of them appears to be trying to kill her."

I Say...
^Yeah, that's about right!

Horror Type...
Sci-Fi, Thriller, Supernatural

Main Players...
Bella Thorne as Veronica "Ronnie" Calder (Gen Z Lydia Deetz)
Richard Harmon as Kirk Lane (Spook-Researching Ally)
Dermot Mulroney as August Bittner (Cool Teacher)

I liked...
  • the really interesting, unique ideas developed here
  • how cleverly the "rules" of this world were conveyed to the audience
  • the crazysauce of folks adjusting to seeing "spectral remnants" on the regular
  • how well the post-apocalyptic dreariness played out (although "post apocalyptic" seems to apply to one city only, and not the world)
  • that Ronnie's a smart gal and works to piece things together, wisely seeking help instead of trying to go it alone

The Meh...
  • There's a missed dramatic opportunity of "telling not showing" toward the end which cheats Kirk and the audience
  • I really liked this but I can't say I found it compelling. Maybe the first two-thirds of the movie felt like an exercise in mood-setting and discovery (which makes sense), but any sense of urgency only kicked in during the third act (as there was a literal deadline). There are definitely some good scares here, and the creep factor is strong, but I just feel like there could've been a little more...intensity. Or cowbell.

Would I recommend it...?
Sure! It was a fun little spook-fest with a satisfying ending, great for a bit of Halloween viewing.

Miscellany...
The title's somewhat misleading; "I Still See You" seems like it'd better fit a slasher-movie. Also, it's disappointing to me that a film with some really good, original thoughts didn't do better with critics.

Ratings...
My Grade: B+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=8%, Audience Scores=50%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched I Still See You on Amazon (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)


This concludes day 15 of

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Spook Out! Day 14 ~ We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018)

Netflix Says...
"The fragile and secretive world of two sisters and their uncle crumbles when their charming cousin arrives with eyes toward the family fortune."

I Say...
If you're trying to cut sugar from your diet but finding it hard to stick with, just watch this movie.

Horror Type...
Suspense, Thriller, Family Drama

Main Players...
Taissa Farmiga as Merricat Blackwood (Witchy Lil Sis)
Alexandra Daddario as Constance Blackwood (Agoraphobic Big Sis)
Sebastian Stan as Charles Blackwood (Grasping Cousin)

I liked...
  • Daddario's portrayal of the fragile, shellshocked sister, forced by fate to grow up and assume the always-smiling '50s housekeeper role, was amazing--bravissima!
  • the pockets of quirk that pop up now and again
  • how well the sisters look after one another, and their debilitated uncle
  • the real sense of living in the past, both literally and metaphorically, that the movie conveys
  • that the movie was pretty faithful to the book upon which it's based...

The Meh...
...and yet, the movie does something the book doesn't, as far as I can recall: it hints at an answer to the big WHY, which I find unsatisfying as what the film implies doesn't answer the WHY fully (that is, the movie's WHY applies to one person only; however, it doesn't make sense regarding the others who are impacted by the movie's WHY). I appreciate that last bit doesn't make a lick of sense but to explain further would mean getting all spoilery.

Would I recommend it...?
As a fine bit of drama, yes. As a horror film, no (though to be fair, I'm not sure why I thought this was a horror movie when I added it to my list for this little blogfest).

Miscellany...
Crispin Glover steals nearly every scene he's in, as the debilitated uncle, in a quiet but compelling way. (And no, I don't think that just because the man's smoking hot.) (Really.) (But dang, that man is smoking hot!)

Ratings...
My Grade: A for a great dramatic film which horror buffs would likely enjoy if they don't go into it expecting a scary movie. Unsettling and disturbing, yes, but not scary.
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=89%, Audience Score=57%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched We Have Always Lived in the Castle on Netflix (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)


This concludes day 14 of