Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Influence (La Influencia)

La Influencia (2019)
Manuela Vellés, Alain Hernández, Claudia Placer, Maggie Civantos, Emma Suárez, Daniela Rubio, Marta Castellote
Directed by: Denis Rovira van Boekholt

Oh, Netflix. Why you do this to me? Why do you make a blurb for a film look so bloody good, and then the movie so bloody bad?There is not one thing about this film that I liked. In fact, I stopped it at one point to see how long I had left (I thought it was almost done), and became so bummed out when I saw that I was only halfway that I almost didn’t start it up again. But I figured I’d finish it since I started it. I should have left it be.


The Influence is a Spanish language film made in Spain (don’t look at me like that, lots of countries speak Spanish), based on the novel of the same name by Ramsay Campbell. Wikipedia says it’s pretty faithful to the book, save some changes in the third act. I’d be interested in reading the book, since the story itself is interesting. Alicia is a nurse who comes home to take care of her dying mother (who she hates). As the film goes on we learn that the mother is a witch who used her children in all sorts of rituals. Now it seems that she’s controlling Alicia’s daughter Nora from her coma, wanting to transfer her soul into a young vessel. Hijinks, of course, ensue.

In the end, though, wasted potential is all this film is. It’s boring, most of the acting is bad, even the makeup effects are pretty crappy. And that ending… The showdown with the witch, which ends with her back in a coma all sliced up, Alicia and her husband broken and bleeding, and young Nora being tossed out the window. The film then ends with them in the hospital, locking the mother away in a room, and Nora recovering, then them driving off as a family, away from the cursed house. Now I can suspend all kinds of disbelief for a horror film. But are we supposed to believe that the cops wouldn’t get involved here? What did they tell them? That coma lady did it? That a 10 year old girl did it? I mean come on. All in all, this is a right turd of a film, and I want my hour and 45 minutes back. 2/10


The Dirty Dozen (aka The Worst Horror Movies Ever Made)

So, I hadn’t originally intended for this entry to be about horror films. This was supposed to be a “worst movies” list, period, not just horror. But after I was done making the list, I realized that every single film on it was horror. Horror’s a very special kind of genre, home to not only some of the very best film has to offer, but some of the very worst as well. It’s that kind of genre that, when done well, is absolutely perfect, chilling and able to get the old adrenaline pumping. But when done wrong, as it lamentably often is, it’s sometimes spectacularly awful. Now, I haven’t seen all the horror films in the world, so I can’t speak for the volumes and volumes of crap that I’m sure is out there. I generally stay away from stuff that looks like it’s going to be horrible, so I can spare myself the horror of having to sit through something like, say, Troll 2. Also, a word of warning: I will be crapping all over some people’s favorite films, so if you can’t handle that, there’s the door *points to the browser’s X*. There’s no particular order to the films in the list, either. They all suck, so putting them in order of suckiness just seems a little redundant.


The ABC’s of Death


If I were taking the time to put all the films in order of suckiness, I’d have to put this one at the top (or would that be bottom?) because it truly is a colossal piece of shit. The idea was cool: 26 different directors got a letter of the alphabet, and they have to make a short horror film about a word that starts with that letter (A is for Apocalypse, B is for Bigfoot, C is for Cycle, etc). Unfortunately, there isn’t a single good segment of the whole thing. I sat through the whole thing, but I admit to fast forwarding through a good part of the segments. If a 5 minute film isn’t good within the first 2, chances are doubtful that it’ll get any better.


Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor)

night watch

This was one of the biggest disappointments on this list. By this I mean I was really looking forward to seeing the movie, and when I was finally able to, it sucked so hard that it almost made me cry. It’s based on the novel of the same title by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko, and the book is marvelous. It’s got awesome new twists to add to the horror genre, the writing was great, as was the story. When I heard they were making a film of the books, I was super excited, and the trailer looked awesome. Imagine my surprise when I was finally able to watch the damned thing and it sucks. Like sucks bad. The story was very different and the acting… oh my god, the acting. The scene where our hero sees the girl for the first time on the train was so spectacularly bad that I just laughed. I made it about halfway through before I gave up.




It took me a while to finally rent this film when it came out because I hate mirrors. There are none in my house except for the one in the bathroom, and the small one on a pedestal in the office I use for makeup. They make me so uncomfortable that I even have trouble sleeping if there’s a naked mirror in the room. All this to say that I was already afraid of this film before I saw it. Eventually, I collected all my nerves, and put it in the machine. And then my fear turned to boredom, very very quickly. And it’s too bad, because the idea was interesting (a malevolent force hiding in the mirrors, using reflections to cause harm, insanity, even death), but the film itself was just so very dull. It’s got a few cool visual effects, but other than that, this film is a total dud.


House of the Dead


I’ve never openly scorned a film, loudly, in a cinema before this one. But I felt I had to join in the chorus all around me. The only reason I didn’t demand a refund is that I didn’t pay for this. I feel sorry for anyone that did. This film should be the course material for a class called “How to Fail at Movie-Making 101”. Implausible story (even for a story including the living dead), completely unlikable cast, boring action and on top of it all everyone is so dumb that you wonder how they made it this far in life without loosing a limb or some other vital thing. Once one of the characters laments his life being over after getting a scratch on his cheek (oh, no, my beauty! Why didn’t they kill me??), that was it for me. Much booing and throwing of popcorn happened after that.


House of 1000 Corpses


So Rob Zombie‘s making a movie?? That’ll be awesome!! *puts it in the dvd player* Oh, I’m sure it just starts slow… *waits* Any time now… *waits more* Oh look, gore… *waits* And, oh, more gore… *sighs* Maybe I’ve got some email to check… oh look, it’s over.


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre


I know a lot of people love this film and consider it one of the great classics. What I don’t know is WHY. There is nothing special about this film, at all. It’s slow, badly acted and, really, just plain boring. I sat there feeling I’d have more fun getting a lobotomy than watching this movie. No, I didn’t see it when it came out (mostly because I wasn’t alive yet) so I didn’t get that atmosphere that came with it, I guess, that this was something new and shocking to see at the cinema. But still, I doubt that would have changed my enjoyment (or lack thereof) in the movie.




Another entry sure to furrow a few brows (furrow? Is that even a word? Anyways…) Again, I have no idea why this one is considered a classic. Maybe it was a 70’s thing? Boring horror movies were bitchin’? I appreciate movies with a nice slow burn, but at some point, preferably before the last 10 minutes, something has to happen. This movie bored me so much, I think I got some permanent brain damage…


The Blair Witch Project


Blair Witch Project was brilliant in so many ways. It was well thought out, a great idea, well marketed and groundbreaking. That being said, I hated it. I don’t know if I would have liked it more had I seen it not knowing it was fake. I sat there watching, waiting, hoping it would get better, and when it ended with never having done anything, I threw my remaining popcorn at the tv. I’ve seen a lot of horror films in my day. Like A LOT. And not many of them bored me quite as much as Blair Witch did.


The Shining


Oh, yes I did. I hated The Shining. Hated it a lot. I often get flack for speaking my mind about this film because, for some strange reason, this seems to be one of the most beloved horror films of all time. Despite the fact that it’s a boring-ass piece of turd. Stephen King himself hates the film (not that what the author thinks is what should sway you to like something or not, but since he’s backing my idea here, I’ll use it :-p ). The acting ranges from ok to WAY over the top to laughably bad (the bad being mostly from Duvall, her huge horse teeth doing nothing to soften the blow. Every time she was onscreen I had to cringe). Jack Nicholson acting like a deranged maniac for 2 hours does not make a film great.




Yes, yet another fan favorite that I’m going to crap on. I warned you! :-p  A lot of my friends loved this so-called classic, and hail it as a masterpiece. Me? I could barely stay awake. The acting was so bad, I felt bad for the lead actress. And it just seemed to drag on and on. I’d rather have a tooth pulled then have to watch this again. Like Kubrick up there, I’ve never understood the appeal of Dario Argento. Sure, he made good use of the brand new Technicolour, but just because something looks pretty doesn’t make it automatically good. In fact, if you spend all your time on the pretty, you end up with Suspiria: a beautifully filmed piece of crap.


The Human Centipede


So, I knew going into it that something called The Human Centipede wasn’t going to be a quality film. But there are limits to human stupidity, come on now. Your car gets a flat on a lonely stretch of road surrounded by woods. You get out and start walking to find someone to help. And you do this by… walking through the woods?? Why the hell would you even consider leaving the road? And these girls just have the worst luck on the planet. Flat tire, disgusting pervert, lost in the woods, heavy rain, and now crazy doctor guy. Who they tell they’re alone. (The correct answer to the “are you alone?” question posed by a creepy stranger, kids, is “no, 2 friends stayed with the car in case someone else drives by”.) And unfortunately, this was the best part of the film. It was disgusting, stupid and then asks us to care about these stupid people who basically had “serial killer bait” tattooed on their faces. Oh, and that inspiring speech the Japanese man gave about “going out as a human being!” and then slicing his throat open? Yes, yes, very touching… until you realize that he’s speaking Japanese. To a German and two American girls. No one understood a word of what he said. Maybe that would explain the shockingly hilarious look on the doctor’s face while he’s talking… So, no, no stars for this one. It’s nauseating, and doesn’t even have the grace to at least be interesting to apologize for it.


Drag Me to Hell

Drag Me to Hell

So this is probably the best of the films on this list, not that that’s really an honour of any kind. I went into this film expecting something really scary, I’d heard some good things. Then, almost as soon as it started, I regretted my purchase. I stared at the screen, face all screwed up in “are you serious?” incredulity. I understand the director’s love of practical effects, but at the same time, it’s not the 70’s anymore. More can be done with less. And, besides the dated effects, it was just… silly. The horror, instead of being scary, made me laugh, and really not in a good way. The old woman going all tae-kwon-do in the back of the girl’s car? And then getting stapled? And the thing with the goat? And the arm in the mouth? Ugh, I could go on, but I’d rather not. I’m trying to cut back on stuff that’s bad for me :-p

So, there’s my dirty dozen. Agree? Disagree? What are your most-hated horror films of all time? Let me know! And see you again soon 🙂