The mystery of the Skinwalker Ranch is one of my all time favorite paranormal mysteries right up there with the Hopkinsville Goblins. It’s a phenomenon that’s caught my attention over the last two years that’s left me absolutely gobsmacked and a tad bit obsessed to boot. I’ve looked up everything I can about this seemingly insignificant ranch land in the middle of Utah, because everything about it is fascinating. Whether it’s one elaborate hoax or one of the most incredible pieces of proof that the paranormal is a very real element of our world as we know it, people won’t soon forget the Skinwalker Ranch any time soon.
I’m always a sucker for a very good ghost movie, and “Our House” is not one of them. The problem with it is both narrative and tonal, where it’s much too melodramatic to invest in the horror elements, and too horror to appreciate it as a tale of a grieving family struggling to keep it together. What we’re left with is a pretty crummy, rather monotonous supernatural drama that we’ve seen a dozen times in the past. Anthony Scott Burns seems to be aiming for a genre entry in the vein of “We Are Still Here,” but it ends up feeling more like a tame sequel to “White Noise.”
The cult classic that spawned from the big craze from “The Exorcist” is finally on blu-ray in its original glory, as it was once butchered for television and altered for a wider audience. “Ruby” is a goofy film, albeit one of the most successful independent horror movies of all time, starring Piper Laurie whose undead husband begins haunting the family through her deaf and mute daughter. Despite some really striking scenes of horror, and some fine hammy performances from Laurie and the like, “Ruby” is pretty much a stinker.
The film about researcher and compositor Michael Esposito is directed by Shayna Connelly, the film shows Esposito as the star at the center of the subject. He is shown as a prominent figure in the field while no others are interviewed. This renders the exploration of the subject a bit thin and one dimensional. Having no other experts corroborate his information or his research makes it less credible as it’s all from one point of view with no supporting evidence or opinions. This doesn’t mean the film is not interesting, but as a documentary short, using other experts would have helped it be more powerful and feel like the makers did more research.
It’s unusual that a sequel to a horror film would suddenly switch formats to an anthology, but horror anthologies are all the rage these days. What were once reserved for horror heavyweights like Romero, Savini, and Zemeckis, are now platforms for rising up and comers of the indie film world. I’m glad that these movies are allowing indie filmmakers to show off their short films, as there is a treasure trove of short horror films out there that almost never get seen by a wide audience. Thankfully you don’t have to see the first film to enjoy the sequel, since it basically bears no connections to the original narrative. This time, it’s an anthology of short horror segments with the recurring theme of ghosts and demons.
I hope Blumhouse and James Wan quit while they’re ahead because so far, “Insidious” has been a strong trilogy of horror films. While the first is still the best, “Chapter 3” is a strong follow up that succeeds in creating its own level of terror and suspense, while also giving us the origin of Elise and her team of Tucker and Specs. Most prequels don’t normally work, but “Chapter 3” does, mainly because it doesn’t rely too strongly on foreshadowing to the first film. It includes a wink and a nod every now and then, but they’re thankfully used in moderation and with clever effect.
How have we not had a great movie about the Mothman yet? It’s one of the creepiest urban legends in American folklore and one of the spookiest series of events to unfold, and we still don’t have a compelling horror film about the phenomenon yet. Richard Gere stars as reporter Jeff Klein, a man who travels to West Virginia to potentially buy a new house with his wife Mary (Debra Messing). While driving home, Mary is frightened to her wits by a red winged demon that causes them to veer off the road and hit her head on the glass.