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.
With the fate of the movie series still up in the air, the likelihood of “Friday the 13th” fans getting a new film within the next three years seems like pipe dreams. The fan community has managed to keep the franchise alive, though, including Vincente DiSanti. After his incredibly popular 2017 fan film “Never Hike Alone,” DiSanti continues his take on the series, this time giving fans what we’ve been asking for, since “The New Blood”: Jason Voorhees slashing his way through the snowy terrain of Crystal Lake.
2020 has been filled with a ton of surprises for movie fans, and one of the better ones was the sudden introduction of the Deluxe “Friday the 13th Collection” from Scream Factory. While there have been a ton of re-releases since the initial DVD set in 2004, Scream Factory has never been prone to just re-packaging the same movies in to “new” sets, so it was no shock when the Deluxe Collection for “Friday the 13th” was announced, fans crashed Scream Factory’s site to order the set. Suffice to say, Scream Factory simply hasn’t failed horror buffs and Jason Voorhees fanatics. What began as a means of ripping off “Halloween” in 1979, Sean Cunningham and screenwriter Victor Miller’s summer camp slasher film became an iconic pop culture sensation and long running franchise.
The problem with Vincenzo Natali’s “In the Tall Grass” is that it sets up so many questions and ideas, but never executes them well enough. “In the Tall Grass” feels very much in the vein of Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn” where a massive field of innocuous grass becomes the sight of a supernatural gathering. King and Joe Hill are very good about creating terror out of domesticity, and for the first thirty minutes Vincenzo Natali’s film had me hooked. Then it just about runs out of steam with too many undercooked concepts and never quite won me back.
Dante Yore’s “Fear Pham” is three quarters a really good Halloween horror film, and one quarter an absolutely ridiculous waste o time. It’s a shame because for most of “Fear Pharm,” I was genuinely lost in the engaging concept and entertaining mix of horror and comedy. Yore has a great concept with a narrative that’s mostly smooth and interesting. Yore makes good use of limited scenery while also building entertaining and sympathetic protagonists forced in to an absurd but creepy circumstance.
The “Slumber Party Massacre” movie series has never really been too much of a straight faced horror movie franchise. The original film is a dark, silly bit of slasher fodder that is famous mainly for its title. The sequel from Deborah Brock basically takes the whole series in a direction that’s bizarre, completely unusual, and borrows very much from 1985’s “Freddy’s Revenge” with its strong and blatant LGBTQ overtones.
Wang Yo-Wei works as a security guard at parliament and is regarded as a loser by others. One day during a Parliament session, as a fatal virus is spreading inside the parliament, the MPs are infected and become zombies. Strangely, Wang proves to be only one immune to the virus. Together with his girlfriend Xiong, they not only fight their way out but also save many lives.
I admit that I was a bit hesitant during “Shortcut” as it seems to meander back and forth between time lines and whatnot. However, during the final half, Alessio Liguori’s “Shortcut” finds a path and sticks to it, offering a horror movie with great substance. “Shortcut” is a mix of It Chapter One” and “Jeepers Creepers 2” (sans the uh… uncomfortable pedo overtones) and really sucked me in as a creepy, weird, and engaging tale of coming of age in the face of a dark force on a deserted highway.