I rather enjoyed Josh Ruben’s horror comedy mainly for the fact that it’s a unique look at writing and the creative process. Would I see it again? No. Would I add it to my collection? No. Is it one of the best films of the year? Goodness, no. But I can’t say that I was bored while watching it. I definitely enjoyed the meta-horror comedy, and the looks in to how some writers can make anything out of nothing. Especially horror writers, and their ability to take the seemingly mundane and turn it in to a twisted nightmare.
1990’s “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie” has a lot in its corner with me. It’s a childhood favorite, has a ton of sentimental value, and it’s a damn good anthology horror film. It almost feels like the lost “Creepshow” movie that we never got in theaters, which is a shame as the movie is very well produced and directed. It’s creepy, darkly humorous, and has a great pair of wraparound segments that hearkens back to the vicious violence of the Brothers Grimm.
Marcus McCollum’s horror drama is a film teeming with potential that never fully realizes it. Even with the somewhat tense finale, a lot of “Noise in the Middle” is mixed up, half baked ideas about mysticism, the supernatural, the afterlife and the toll that grief can have on us. It’s “The Shining” meets “The Babadook” without any of the heavy emotional weight or substance. The writers MCollum and Mark Conley throw so much in the air and none of it ever lands with considerable resonance.
Scott Beck and Bryan Woods’ horror film is like one big Halloween treat that comes at just the right time. It’s a novelty, it’s occasionally silly, but it’s also extra creepy in that it takes much of its menace from the inherent dangers of Halloween that lurk in every corner of the holiday. “Haunt” isn’t particularly original, but when you get down to the meat and potatoes, it’s surely a lot of fun and garners shockingly empathetic protagonists, all of whom are never let off the hook from the moment they enter the danger of this enigmatic haunt.
I’ve always loved the William Castle ghost film and the remake of “Thirteen Ghosts” by Steve Beck. Back in 2001 when it was being panned, I appreciated its ambition, amazing special effects, and great narrative. Now, many years later, horror fans have finally caught up to what a great, radical re-imagining of William Castle’s ghost film is. It’s a hard rock, balls to the wall ride that compensates for the lack of ghost glasses with excellent special effects, and some fun gore and grue.
Director and Writer Sean Hogan’s “The Haunting of #24” is a film with a lot of potential that is never quite realized in to much of a film with any kind of substance or surprise. Director Hogan sets up so many plot devices, characters, and suspense that can be flourished into a horrifying ghost film. Alas, “The Haunting of #24” is just mediocre as all get out, and squanders most opportunities to rise to the occasion and spook us. It’s not a horrible movie, it’s just so utterly boring to sit through from beginning to end.
“Playroom” is yet another horror movie with an identity crisis, and the apparent struggle for a solid identity is concocted by director Stephen Stahl who wants a coming of age movie, and a horror movie wrapped in one bizarre package. Paired with homophobic overtones, “Playroom” (also known as “Consequences”) is the story of a group of friends in the eighties (Stahl never lets us forget it’s the eighties) who bond and love one another, and eventually disconnect as life takes its toll.
This documentary follows family and friends of Nancy Paulikas after she seemingly wandered off from a Los Angeles museum they were visiting to never be seen alive again. This doc is one that is a hard watch and will be particularly so for those with family members battling or who have battled Alzheimer’s or dementia. It’s a film all about looking for a lost woman, but also about how it affected those close to her and how it brought them and others to create technology and put in place systems to help avoid this happening again and to help people find their loved ones who have wandered away.