Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Wailing (곡성, Gokseong)

The Wailing (곡성, Gokseong) (2016)
Kwak Do-won, Jun Kunimura, Kim Hwan-hee, Kim Do-yoon, Son Gang-guk, Jang So-yeon, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee, Her Jin, and Kil Chang-gyoo
Directed by: Na Hong-jin

So, I’m not quite sure what to make of this one. It was so all over the place. I’m not even sure if I liked it or not.

After a bizarre Japanese man comes to their village, some of the inhabitants seem to lose their minds and become homicidal. A hapless police officer goes to great lengths to protect his daughter who has started showing signs of the infection.

First of all, I hated the first 40 minutes or so. All the characters act really dumb, and it feels more like a slapstick comedy than a horror film. After that they calmed down with that aspect, and the film finally started. It had great ambience, some really tense moments, but it was all so confused and complicated that it took away a lot of the good they were laying down. There were so many twists that I got whiplash. So many things that the characters do simply don’t make sense, and the film does nothing to explain it. The acting was mostly stellar, especially from the possessed child, but again, it get lost in the over-convoluted story. And can someone please tell me who the woman in white was? All I can figure is she’s a creature from Korean folklore, and since I know nothing about that, I simply didn’t get it. And holy hell was it long. At 2 hours and 36 minutes, I think it’s the longest horror film I’ve ever seen. All in all, it wasn’t a bad film, but it’s definitely not something I’ll ever watch again. It gets a decent 7/10 from me.

M.

This film is currently streaming on Shudder.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Assent

The Assent (2019)
Robert Kazinsky, Peter Jason, Caden Dragomer, Florence Faivre, Douglas Spain, Hannah Ward, and Tatum O’Neal
Directed by: Pearry Teo

Watched this on a whim last night before going to bed (instead of going to bed? Yes, probably). The Netflix blurb looked pretty interesting, and I was looking for something really scary to watch, so I decided to go with this film. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

Joel is a single father who recently lost his wife in a car accident. He’s also schizophrenic. When he sees something that he knows is not real, he snaps a polaroid of it to prove to himself that it’s not there. When his son starts to see similar things, he tries to do the same thing, but the pictures come out wrong. Meanwhile, a priest on a mission is sent to Joel’s house by a concerned friend to check up on them, and finds the boy possessed by a malevolent demon.

HERE BE SPOILERS

The concept was good. The schizophrenia angle (and the polaroids) was very interesting. The acting was good from the main actor, although the others were a little (ok, a lot) sketchy. But once the possession started in earnest, it just kind of fell apart. I will say that the twist (there always seems to need to be a twist in horror these days, does’t there?) was good, and I didn’t see it coming, which is rare. But there didn’t seem to be a real point to it all. If the only point is for the demon to kill, like in The Exorcist, then that’s one thing. But the priest in this film was going on about a grand plan and then… nothing? I mean what even happened in the end? Did he die? Did he go completely insane? The demon apparently took over completely, but to what end? It was just a confusing mess. All in all, the film wasn’t absolutely wretched, but it wasn’t good either. It gets a ho-hum 4/10 from me.

M.

This film is currently on Netflix.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch, Olwen Kelly, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Jane Perry, and Sydney the Cat
Directed by: André Øvredal

So, I’d been wanting to see this film for years. But it was never on any of the streaming services I had (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Shudder). So yesterday I decided to check if it was on YouTube Movies and was happy to see that it was, and that it wasn’t expensive, so I bought it. And I have to say, it was worth every penny.

Tommy and Austin are a father and son coroner duo. Once evening, just when they think they’re done for the day, the sheriff brings in the body of a beautiful young woman who doesn’t seem to have a mark on her… at least on the outside. The further they get in the autopsy process, the more they realise that something is not quite right about this Jane Doe.

This was quite a good little film. You might think that a film that has basically just 2 characters in one room would be boring, but boring it definitely is not. It kept me on the edge of my seat most of the time, and actually managed to freak me out, something that’s very hard to do to this seasoned horror fan. The two leads were fantastic in their roles, and even Olwen Kelly, who had nothing to do but lay on a table, was great. I kept on staring hard at her when the camera zoomed on her face for any sign of a twitch, and there was none. It was creepy how still she laid. There were not many makeup effects besides that actual autopsy, but they were all done very well. The autopsy was done using some sort of mannequin instead of CGI, and it really payed off, it looked great. And finally, the explanation for what was happening was both awesome and heart-breaking (I won’t spoil it here). I highly reccomend you see this film if you love horror as I do and haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet. 9/10 from me, almost perfect.

M.

This film is currently streaming on Netflix if you live in the States. If, like me, you live in Canada, YouTube Movies is your best bet. Enjoy!

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Possession of Michael King

The Possession of Michael King
(2014) Shane Johnson, Cara Pifko, Julie McNiven, Ella Anderson, Tomas Arana, Patricia Healy, Cullen Douglas, Jed Rees, Tobias Jelinek, and Dale Dickey

Let me start by saying that I generally don’t like found footage type films. No matter how good the story is, I just can’t get past the shaky cam, it’s rather nauseating. With that in mind, this film is done so well, and with a minimum of actual “shakiness”, that I didn’t mind. I went into this with zero expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. This film is much better than it has any right being.

Michael is an atheist who recently lost his wife in an unfortunate accident. After confronting his late wife’s “spiritual adviser” (a tarot card reader), he decides to make a documentary featuring what he believes will be proof that the supernatural doesn’t exist. He’s going to do any ritual he can find and when none of them work, that’ll be the proof he says. As is obvious in the title, things go horribly wrong.

Everything was remarkably good for a little indie film. Acting, effects, makeup, all were pretty stellar. The one thing I could say about it is that there were a few too many jump scares in a film that was creepy enough that it didn’t need them. There weren’t so many that I got annoyed, but still, the film could have done without. The plot was really simple, but it was done so well that it didn’t really need more. And that’s pretty much it. I’m trying to find other stuff to say, but “it was pretty great” pretty much covers it. A solid 8/10 from me.

M.

This film is currently streaming on Tubi.

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.

HERE BE SPOILERS

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

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Eli

Eli (2019)
Charlie Shotwell, Kelly Reilly, Lili Taylor, Max Martini, Sadie Sink, Deneen Tyler, Katia Gomez
Directed by: Ciarán Foy

When I first saw the trailer for this on Netflix, I was immediately interested, and put it in my watchlist. And forgot about it, like so many others. Last night, while flipping through for something to watch, I saw this again, and decided to give it a shot. I’d seen mixed reviews about it, some people loved it, others hated it. But thankfully no one spoiled the ending for me, which was great, since it really is something. I was going to include spoilers in this review, but I’ve decided against it.

Eli starts out as a rather generic, but well done, haunted house flick. Eli is an 11 year old boy suffering from a debilitating auto-immune disease. He’s basically, as one character puts it, “allergic to the world”. He and his family drive cross country to the home/hospital of Dr Horn, an immunologist, who says she can cure him. But almost as soon as Eli and his family arrive, strange things begin to happen to Eli. He sees shadows, hears breathing, and, soon enough, starts to see ghost children. Dr Horn tries to assure him that it’s only hallucinations brought on by the treatments, but he’s having none of it.

All of the haunted house tropes are there, creepy ghosts, creepy music, parents that don’t believe the kids. But it was just interesting enough with the auto-immune disease that I kept watching, and boy am I glad I did. The final payoff is ridiculous. Ridiculous good, not ridiculous stupid. The acting is mostly good all around, with young Charlie Shotwell holding his own against the adults. I’d been looking for something really scary to watch last night, and while this isn’t, it’s still very much worth your time. A very good 8.5/10 from me.

As a side note, my boyfriend, who generally doesn’t like horror films, liked this one. So I should probably have given it a higher score, just for that, hehe.

M.

30 Day Horror Challenge (in 6 Days): Days 26 to 30

All right, this is it, the last day! Sorry for the delay, my few but loyal readers, I’ve had quite the busy past few days, and have been paying for it today (so worth it though), so I haven’t had time (or energy) to take out the ol’ laptop. But, as I’m feeling better now, we can finish up this list. So let’s get to it!!

 

Day 26 – Best Horror Movie for a Chicken: Hocus Pocus

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Ok, so technically, this isn’t really horror. But for a film that was clearly aimed at teens, it does have a surprising amount of horror-esque scenes, not to mention some of the subject matter. So for someone who is a real chicken, something like this would be perfect for them, not too scary, while still entertaining. Three witch sisters want to stay young and, err, “beautiful” forever. To do this they capture children, and suck the life-force right out of them (which we witness. See? Pretty dark already, for a kid’s movie). Standing in their way are three teens and a talking cat, who’s not really a cat, but a boy whom the witches cursed after killing his sister. One of my favorite Halloween films when I was a kid, and I still enjoy it today. If you find yourself almost peeing your pants in fright every time a horror movie is on, Hocus Pocus is the film for you. Wimp.

 

Day 27 – Horror Guilty Pleasure: The Covenant

the-covenant

I don’t really have a guilty pleasure, because that would suggest that I feel guilty about liking anything. Which I don’t. I like what I like, and I really don’t care what other people say about it. But, that said, I do know what it means. I chose The Covenant as my “guilty pleasure” because, in general, horror fans like to crap on this movie. It’s not really a very good movie. The acting is mostly sloppy, the story is a little dumb, the effects and dialogue are both cheezy, and yet I have a great time whenever I decide to watch it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and yes, the actors are all pretty boys with rippling abs. The movie is basically just an excuse to ogle some man-beauty, and, really, there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Day 28 – Horror Film I’d Like to See Remade: Night Watch

night watch

Night Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko, is the first in a trilogy of Russian horror novels (Day Watch and Twilight Watch are the others). It was such an amazing book, with cool and interesting ideas, that I was intensely excited when I heard they were making a movie of it. It was to be a Russian production, but I didn’t care since I’ve evolved a very special feature called “reading subtitles”. You’d be surprised to know how few humans possess such a gift. But I digress. Finally, after months of waiting, it was available for purchase here, and I scooped that shit right up and prepared to have the time of my life. About halfway through the film, I couldn’t do it any more, and turned it off. Night Watch has to be one of the worst films I’ve ever had the displeasure of seeing, and I’ve seen a lot. The story was basically the same, but the acting… oh my god, the acting. It was horrible. It made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I was so disappointed, because the book is incredible. So if I were to choose any film to be remade, this would be it. I’m not loosing hope that they’ll do it eventually, and do it right this time *fingers crossed*

 

Day 29 – Worst Horror Film Ever: The ABC’s of Death

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This film is so awful, I don’t even want to talk about it. But since it’s the top film in this category, I have to. So I will. Briefly. The ABC’s of Death has a cool concept: 26 directors each get a letter of the alphabet and make their own short film about a word starting with that letter. It sounded interesting, and I was looking forward to watching it. But it wasn’t interesting, it was just bad. The kind of bad that makes your eyes hurt and your nose bleed. I sat through the whole thing (although I’ll admit that I skipped forward a few times), and no matter how many times I said to myself “well, this couldn’t possibly get any worse”, wouldn’t you know it, it got worse. Not a single of the segments is worth watching, and I feel violated and slightly nauseous for having to sit through that. And yet, apparently, it was popular enough to warrant a sequel. What the hell is wrong with you people??? Ugh…

 

Day 30 – All Time Favorite Horror Film: The Lost Boys

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So this is it, the film that could have gone into a few different categories, but I was saving the best for last. The Lost Boys has been my favourite film since I first saw it at the ripe old age of 7. My mother bought it on VHS and hid it, because it was “too scary”. I must have watched it at least a dozen times before she caught me. This film is everything a good vampire story needs to be. It’s got tense moments, funny moments, likeable characters (heroes and villains), not to mention a bitchin soundtrack. I was so in love with this movie that I could, starting from the beginning, recite the whole film. And it didn’t even have to be on. Once a friend of mine and I played out the whole film, start to finish, every single line, just for fun. I also had a major crush on Sam (played perfectly by a pre-drug-crazed Corey Haim). The film may have it’s faults, but I don’t see them. To me, it’s absolutely perfect.

 

And there you have it. The 30 Day Horror Challenge, accepted and completed! Thanks for reading, and stick around for even more entertaining shenanigans soon! 🙂

M.