Film Reviews

Horror Round Up: Trips away (or to the underworld) can be deadly

the-darkness
The Darkness (2016)

Anything in life can be made slightly better when there’s Bacon. In this case, Kevin Bacon. This horror follows a family whose darkest feelings come to the surface when their autistic son attracts the attention of Anasazi spirits following a desert holiday. It’s fairly dull fair, with jump scares that don’t jump, and very dubious logic (did you know that autistic children attract evil spirits? I didn’t). No one really wants to be in this film, but it’s fairly fun, in a predictable way, and the design is quite good. And it’s got Kevin Bacon.

sleepaway-camp-dead-camper
Sleepaway Camp (1983)

This classic 80’s horror perhaps deserves it’s own post, but I wanted to include it here since entertaining horror films are hard to find. Angela, a 14 year old orphan with a past is sent to summer camp with her loyal cousin, though her anti-social ways soon makes her an outcast. When she starts to be bullied, the bodies start to pile up… Who is the killer? This film is fabulous. The fashions are beyond belief. The deaths are inventive, and the effects really good for their era. And the twist in the end… It’s partly hilarious, partly shocking. Great stuff.

film_as_above_so_below_personal_hell

As Above, So Below (2014)

Paris famously has a creepy maze of catacombs underneath it, and in this found footage horror an eager archeologist with a past, and her long suffering companion, find themselves biting off more than they can chew when they take a team underground to search for the mysterious philosophers stone. A poor mish mash of Blair Witch and National Treasure, this films tries to cram too much mythology in and doesn’t bother with doing things like having character development. It has some good sets and scares, but you can barely see them because of the irritating documentary style. It all feels like rather a waste, since the idea of a scary story that takes place in a huge crypt that contains over 6 million dead has so much potential. It’s such a pity that the plot they chose was such a re-hash.

the-lazarus-effect

The Lazurus Effect (2015)

The real mystery in this film about scientists reanimating the dead is how they managed to convince Olivia Wilde, Donald Glover and Evan Peters to turn up. The idea that two scientists, an atheist and a catholic, would dabble with bringing back the recently dead with sinister results is a great premise, but when a vague, goes-nowhere government conspiracy is involved, a videographer is invited for no real reason, and the science is so shaky a five year old could debunk it, it all feels disappointing. I can’t quite put my finger on why but this film lacked suspense and menace, but the tension never really ramps up and the deaths are perfunctory. Expect sequels. (And why on earth did they take the dog home that they experimented on in the lab?)

dont-blink-still-cuddle

Don’t Blink (aka Last Stop) (2014)

Ten friends drive to a cabin in the woods, which they find deserted as though other people had just been there. Then they start to disappear one by one, right before each others eyes. The fear lies as much in the characters growing hysteria as much as in the way that the characters are there and then just gone. Where do they go? Are they dead? Well, the really bad acting, the melodrama and the random behaviour of the guests (a man whose wife has gone missing, who he’s desperate to find, sleeps with another girl, another plans to shoot the invisible enemy) makes it all a bit much. It purports be inspired by Hitchcock, but it’s really just laughable trash. What a great premise though!

 

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