By Don Gillette
There are 42 horror movies streaming on Netflix at this writing. That’s not what you’d call overwhelming–unless you intend to write a review of each one of them which is exactly what I intend to do, starting with the first 21. I know–it’s a lot of movies–but I don’t intend to keep you here all day. Just a line or two to let you know what to expect and whether to give the film a try…
Pretty good and pretty creepy. Kaylie Russell is convinced that her brother, who was convicted of murder, was driven to the crime by a supernatural entity inside an antique mirror in their old house. When her brother is released from a mental institution, they return to the house (bad idea) to get to the truth. Lot of flashbacks, some great suspense, and some nice scares.
Good acting saves this one. James Bond and Rachel Weisz move their family into a house where the former owner murdered his wife and daughter. Then they find themselves being stalked by a “mystery” visitor who might or might not be the former owner. The suspense is great, the story line is plausible, and Daniel Craig is solid.
I would rather not. In this one, a rich dude gathers a group of strangers together and pits them against one another in sadistic games. It’s formulaic, poorly acted, and a waste of time.
Couple of good scares in this combination horror/sci-fi flick. Starts slowly with a family experiencing some strange events at home and builds to a pretty good pace when they realize extra-terrestrials are after them.
I didn’t like it; some people raved about it. A young widow’s son is afraid of a monster he claims hangs around their house. More psychological yawn than horror, but as I said some people loved it. When a movie is named for the monster in it, I want to see the monster. The Babadook never shows up.
This was actually pretty good. In the 1940’s, a ventriloquist was accused of kidnapping a young boy. As punishment, the townspeople cut out her tongue and buried her with her dummies. Cut to the present and the guy who played Jason Stackhouse in True Blood shows up. He receives a puppet in the mail, his wife is murdered, and he sets out to solve the mystery. Very atmospheric, the 1940’s backstory was cool, and the acting was good.
You’d really like this to be good… but it’s not. A group of researchers learn how to bring back the dead but when they do, the dead aren’t who they were. It’s Flatliners, Pet Semetary, and a few dozen others rolled into one. Such a shame because the cast is first-rate.
Dynamite acting from Jill Larson and Anne Ramsay make this a keeper. Deborah Logan has Alzheimer’s and she’s also the subject of a documentary. During filming, it becomes obvious that something besides the disease is going on inside of her. Excellent scares, some jump-out-of-your seat moments, and well worth a look.
Another keeper–a classic ghost story that takes place in an English boarding school shortly after World War 1. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart is called in to dispel the rumors of a ghost and she meets more than she bargained for. The suspense builds very slowly, but not so slowly that it doesn’t hold your attention–and the ending is terrific.
Yeah, it has some scares and suspense, but it’s a comedy. Kylie Bucknell is sent to live with her crazy mother after a run-in with the juvenile court. Her mother’s convinced the house is haunted and Kylie’s having a hard time deciding if her mother is right or if the old lady is making her crazy enough to believe it. A few laughs, a few scares. Overall, a waste of time.
This really sounds like a stupid movie, but it was completely engrossing. Five strangers trapped in an elevator–and one of them is the devil. Kind of claustrophobic even with the brief “away” scenes of the police trying to determine who’s who in the elevator. Solid acting and a good plotline will keep you guessing.
A group of film makers, seeing that they made some easy cash on a movie called The Woman In Black, decide to see how many viewers they can sucker in to watch the same movie again with different actors.
A group of film makers, seeing that they made some easy cash on SIX movies about a red-headed doll, decide to see how many viewers they can sucker in to watch one more. No–actually, if you like Chucky, you’ll enjoy this sequel. I hate Chucky.
A bunch of kids go to a remote cabin in the woods to play Truth Or Dare at the invitation of a kid they humiliated playing the game a few years earlier. What could go wrong? It’s not bad, but it’s not The Exorcist. It tries a little too hard to be scary and is a bit over-the-top for my taste, but give it 15 minutes–you’ll know by then whether you’re going to like it or not.
The most amazing thing about this film is that there’s actually a The Ouija Experiment 2 that’s even dumber than the original. In this one, kids playing with a Ouija board open up a portal to the spirit world (surprise, surprise) and have contact with a little girl who drowned years before. Just walk away.
This also became known as Stephen King’s Children Of The Corn when it was decided the movie was so bad the only way to get anybody into the theaters was to invoke the name of The Godfather Of Horror. I’m betting he wishes he had this little experiment to do over again. Seriously, it’s just ridiculous.
This is a pretty decent horror/ghost film. Officer Jessica Loren is waiting alone for a Hazardous Material team to pick up some bio-waste in the last hours before a police station closes its doors for good and moves into a new location. Rumors are the station is haunted by a cult leader who committed suicide there with two of his followers exactly one year ago and Jessica finds out the rumors are true. Good action and some serious scares.
I could walk out the front door of the house and within 15 minutes I’d have 10 people who could act better than the best actor in this piece of junk. It was so bad it made my eyes bleed. The worst “horror” movie in the past 10 years. It’s about a demon who steals children, but all you really need to know is that it’s just terrible.
First-rate, old-style horror flick that takes place in an insane asylum. Newly graduated from Oxford, Dr. Edward Newgate arrives in Stonehearst and sees some “revolutionary” treatments he considers inhumane. Meanwhile, he falls for a patient (who wouldn’t? It’s Kate Beckinsale) and also begins learning the secrets of the institution. Can’t give away the rest, but this one is excellent.
Another first-rate, old-style horror flick with a great surprise ending. Nicole Kidman lives in a dark, old house with her two kids (both of whom are photosensitive) and she gradually becomes convinced the house is haunted. A really well-made film not to be missed. Nicole Kidman has always been a powerhouse actress and she doesn’t disappoint here–plus I’m hoping she and Keith will offer to buy our lunch next time we run into them at the Copper Kettle.
Disturbing, disgusting, and like a train wreck–hard to look away. This is about a mad scientist who kidnaps three unsuspecting victims and reassembles them into one creature by sewing their mouths to the other ones’ anus. I re-wrote that sentence six times, but there’s no other way to say it. Good movie? No. Bad movie? No. Unusual movie? Bingo.
That wasn’t too long, was it? And more than half of these films are well worth your time if you’re a fan of the genre. If you’re a huge fan, you might like them all (except The Chosen–only a lunatic would enjoy that one.)
Part Two will be online next Sunday. Meanwhile… kick back, crack a beer or open a bottle of wine, turn the lights off, and settle in for a few good scares.