The Nun (2018)

“The Conjuring” cinematic universe kind of snuck up on the horror community over the years, prompting a series of movies that have been hit or miss. While I think “The Conjuring” cinematic universe has a ton of potential to be fantastic, at its current state, there’s still a lot for the studios to learn from the previous films. On its own, “The Nun” is a perfectly fine bit of gothic horror that’s sadly mostly half baked, and under developed. It’s saved by the small cast’s strong turns, and the dazzling imagery that successfully channels the old Hammer films. “The Nun” sets out to build a different energy from the rest of the movies in “The Conjuring” franchise, and for better and for worse, it accomplishes that.

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Annabelle Creation (2017)

2014’s “Annabelle” should have been an easy win. Take one of the most frightening elements from 2012’s “The Conjuring” and give her her own spooky tale about where she comes from and you have another hit. Sadly, “Annabelle” was an ill conceived and silly movie that is given a second chance with another prequel “Creation.” This film goes even further back before “The Conjuring” to where the doll was merely a dormant spirit lying and waiting for fresh souls to exploit.

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Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997)

I, for one, quite loved the big screen reboot of “Casper” with Christina Ricci. As a kid I loved its human elements and fun atmosphere. And then they kind of ruined it with a bunch of direct to video sequels and prequels that stunk. “A Spirited Beginning” is one of many that completely copies the formula of the original movie, with performances that are oh so much worse.

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The First Purge (2018)

I’ve come around on “The Purge” movies in 2018. What I once thought of as goofy exploitation movies, are now goofy exploitation movies with a point. They’re exploitation we need right now, they’re kind of angry diatribes about society that I’ve come to respect. Stuff about the white privileged banking off of the purge, the purge becoming an industry on to itself, “The Purge” posing as an alternate universe tale where the female candidate for president reigned supreme, and now where “The First Purge” begins as an “experiment.”

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Tomb Raider (2018) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

I’m usually very rough on video game inspired movies because—well—pretty much all of them suck. Save for “Mortal Kombat,” which is kind of fun if you’re in the right mood. After two goofy attempts to adapt the iconic adventure video game series “Tomb Raider” to the big screen, Warner reboots the movie series by—adapting the reboot of the video game from 2013. While I’d be hard pressed to call Roar Uthaug’s cinematic take on Lara Croft a masterpiece, I had a really good time with “Tomb Raider,” and that’s all I wanted in the end.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

The problem with prequels is that you already know what you’re getting, because you already know what’s going to happen to certain characters within the canon, so, “Solo” doesn’t pack much surprises. I will say though for arguably safe genre entertainment, it’s exciting and also delivers some well timed twists within its narrative. After the much ballyhooed problems during the making of the film, “Solo” ends up being a surprisingly competent popcorn movie that keeps a brisk pace, and channels the original tone of the episodes IV-VI better than the previous prequels/mid-quels (?).

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Halo: The Complete Video Collection [Blu-Ray]

Shout! Factory once again comes forward with a nifty collection for fans of action, science fiction, and Halo, comprising four of the web series from the mid-aughts that chronicled the “Halo” game universe. With a tight package and a slew of great extras and bells and whistles for the fans, this video collection is strictly for the die hard Halo fanatics that want to see more of this world, and learn so much more about the Spartans and war that’s ensuing.

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Leatherface (2017)

This is the story of Leatherface. Again. No, “The Beginning” was not his origin, “Leatherface” is. I’m not sure what “The Beginning” was supposed to be. “Leatherface” is the official prequel to the iconic movie maniac, they promise. And once again, like “The Beginning,” 2017’s “Leatherface” is really just a tired, nasty, unpleasant road film following a group of psychopaths. Leatherface’s actual origin is reserved for the final ten minutes where he just reverts to Leatherface mode because—um—it’s familiar! Familiar is good, right? Once again, no one seems to be interested in actually dissecting the madness of Leatherface, or why and how his persona of wearing human skin and carrying a chainsaw relates to him. In the original Tobe Hooper masterpiece,

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