“The Conjuring” cinematic universe/series has been a horror ride of varying degrees. It’s had its great highs and its depressing lows (Ahem—“Annabelle”), and in spite of delivering two genuine horror classics, the mainline movie series can’t quite escape the dreaded curse of the third film. While “The Devil Made Me Do It” is not at all a bad movie per se, it’s not high in scares or tension as the first two films. The first two movies relied on mounting tension and absolute terror, while “The Devil Made Me Do It” feels a lot more like if they took the series and tried to turn it in to a crime procedural.
“The Conjuring” is a series I hope studios keep re-visiting (with some caveats—ahem—“Annabelle”), since there’s so much they can do with the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren. At this point the movie has taken many of their actual cases and expanded them in to wonderful horror films and “The Devil Made Me Do It” is no exception. True it’s not as good as the first two films, but the third part in the core movie series really does help to emphasize the heroism of Ed and Lorraine.
“The Boy II” is one of the most inexplicable horror movies released in 2020 so far. The surprise success of the abysmal “The Boy” from 2016 (made cheap, producing big bucks) prompted the studio to make a follow up and franchise. And for some reason the writers and producers decide to completely retcon and reboot the entire mythos and story that was established from the original movie. Rather than stick to their successful formula, the original writer and director come back to reconfigure “The Boy” in to a limp, dull, and incredibly tedious “Annabelle” facsimile. It embraces all of the haunted doll clichés that’s become so common in this sub-genre wholesale, and completely ignores the 2016 horror drama.
After 2007’s failed reboot “Nancy Drew” starring Emma Roberts, I was surprised anyone bothered to take the property in to theaters again. Roberts was very good in the role of Nancy Drew, but her take on the character was more self-aware and an homage, rather than a new, more modern approach for a new generation of girls. Thankfully Katt Shea approaches “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” with the definite desire to restart the series, and Sophia Lillis is now playing the iconic teenage sleuth, and manages to help deliver (co-Produced by Ellen DeGeneres) a satisfying mystery and a very good reboot.
Netflix’s penchant for premiering “original” movies on their platform is typically hit or miss, and I’m glad that “Malevolent” for the most part is a hit. It’s kind of taken a well worn premise but adds a bit of heart to it, thanks to the very good performances, and atmosphere. “Malevolent” has a very subtle sense of terror behind it, and while it does rely on jump scares every now and then, what keeps the film consistently creepy are the quieter moments, the instances when we’re never quite sure what’s going to pop up behind a door. Director Olaf de Fleur has every chance to fall in to the trap of delivering shock after shock, but “Malevolent” ends up as so much more.
Written and directed by Jennifer Phillips with story editor Emily Schooley, Blood Child is based on a true story, but how much of it is left here is not easily found with a quick Google search. Here the story is taken in a very supernatural way so the belief in whether or not it’s fully based on a true story will depend on the viewer’s level of belief in the supernatural. Nonetheless, the story is well written and takes the beliefs it plays with seriously while also adapting them to the screen. The characters feel like they are perhaps not developed at their best or the performances for them is what causes this lack of care for them from the viewer. The lead is interesting, but her husband comes off as unlikable, her best friend comes off bitchy, while the housekeeper comes off as a cliché complete with an accent that can only be fake (and if it is not, apologies to the actress).
A man is receives an odd call from his ex and goes to join him in a remote cabin. As they work through their issues and loneliness, they are haunted by something that may or may not be supernatural in nature.
Arrow Video is easily one of the best movie distributors around, and if you ask certain movie buffs collectors, they’d argue that they’re the best, period. I can’t decide as Arrow Video has been on a mission for the last few years to deliver fans some of the most unique movie titles on blu-ray and DVD, and offer them in deluxe collector’s packages that would make most cineastes hyperventilate out of sheer excitement. Arrow Video has taken it upon themselves to offer fans the two tales of “House,” two films that were big movie rental fodder in their heydays and are now brought together for what is a heavily suggested anthology. Arrow Video combines two of the true “House” movies that are—ironically—about as different from each other as the last two “House” movies.