Category Archives: Reviews

A Look Back: The Exorcist

The Exorcist(1973)

Directed by William Friedkin

Starring Jason Miller, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max Von Sydow, and Lee J. Cobb

I’ve finally checked out The Exorcist for the first time, and I feel that if you want to see a well-written horror movie, this comes highly recommended.

I think everyone is familiar with the basic premise, but it’s basically about a mother who enlists the aid of a priest to exorcise(no pun intended) the demons who possessed her daughter.

This movie has a well-paced story, great acting, and an ending with an unexpected twist. All of the performances were well done, and I felt that Linda Blair’s performance was particularly impressive. Her role as the possessed young girl truly conveyed an eerie, creepy, and at times, brutal feeling. The overall story kept me engaged, and the special effects were top-notch. Also, I’m glad that the filmmakers did not resort to a neat, clean, and happy ending. Instead, we were given ending scenes so shocking and unexpected that I’m curious about the sequel.

There is a lot that can be said about The Exorcist, but I will say that if you haven’t seen this one, check it out if you’re interested in a great horror experience. My score: 9.5/10(Purchase level)

Looking Back: The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys(1987) 

Directed by Joel Schumacher

Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman,  Corey Haim,  Jason Patric, and Jami Gertz

(WARNING! May contain a spoiler) I haven’t seen The Lost Boys(1987) in a long time. It was on my mind a few days ago, so I decided to watch it again. I have to say that this great coming-of- age vampire movie still stands the test of time, with very few elements that are dated.   Also, let’s not forget the soundtrack, which enhances the movie’s supernatural theme.   If you’re not familiar with this one, the story centers on Michael and Sam, who, along with their mother, relocate to Santa Clara, a coastal town that’s a haven for night creatures.

The Lost Boys is well written, engaging, and has great actors who gives some good performances. If you’re interested in a horror film with a unique take on vampirism, add this one to your collection. My score 8.5/10

Underrated Slasher Gems: Offspring

Offspring(2009)

Starring Pollyanna McIntosh, Amy Hargreaves, Art Hindle, Erick Kastel, and Spencer List

I checked out Offspring, and I have to commend the filmmakers for tackling such a provocative subject.   Not to give any spoilers, but this film is the first in a trilogy that centers on a group of cannibal-feral people who come into contact with the modern community.   With this “exchange” comes a horrific and brutal battle between the “primitive” and the “civilized.” I admit that I wish Offspring gave more of a backstory of the feral people, but it didn’t take away from the fact that this film provided an intense horror experience.   Add this one, along with The Woman and Darlin,’ to your collection.   My score: 9/10.

Looking Back: Labyrinth(1986)

Labyrinth(1986)

Starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly

Since the long-awaited Labyrinth 2 is in the works, I just thought I’d take another look at the original Labyrinth(1986) from Jim Henson Productions.

I will have to say that this movie is one of the best modern fantasy films.   Not only does it have an engaging story, but the themes of friendship, gratitude, and on some level, love, are presented in a way that it appeals to both young children and older adults.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the plot, it’s basically about Sarah, a young girl who feels that she can’t have a life taking care of her baby brother, Toby.   So as a result, she says the “magic words” for the Goblin King, Jareth to take him away.   However, when he does so, Sarah regrets it, and she wants her brother back.   The Goblin King says the only way she can get Toby back is to solve his puzzle.

The story that unfolds in Labyrinth is entertaining and it presents its themes that are open to interpretation for the viewer.   For example, let’s take a look at the friendship between Sarah and Hoggle the dwarf.   At first, the “friendship” was undefined, but towards the end their friendship was solidified, where both of them learned that they were important to each other in times of need.   When Sarah was able to get her brother back, she gave him her teddy bear, grateful for the fact that she has Toby again.   At first, Sarah didn’t want her brother to have her toys.   However, after her ordeal, she had to realize that giving away a plush animal would not diminish her sense of control.

The theme of love was definitely open to interpretation.  The dialogue between Jareth and Sarah towards the end, was suggestive in the fact that it explored intimacy in a covert way.  There was a part of me that wished the movie explored that dynamic more, but maybe the sequel will further show the subtextual meaning of their relationship.

Labyrinth is the type of fantasy movie that is many things to many people.   It is a coming-of-age tale, comedy, a puzzle(metaphorically and literally), and an adventure that resonates with the viewer.  If you’re in a mood for an entertaining and thoughtful fantasy film, add this one to your collection.   My score: 8/10.

The Invisible Man(2020)

The Invisible Man(2020)

Starring Elizabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, and Harriet Dyer

(WARNING!: This review contains some  spoilers)   The Invisible Man(2020) can be seen as a commentary on domestic abuse, and how it is considered “invisible,” until one comes forward and reveals his/her unfortunate situation.    This movie centers on Cecelia, who manages to escape her abusive boyfriend,  Adrian.  However, Adrian fakes his death, and uses his invisibility suit to further torment his former girlfriend.  So now, if Cecelia informs anyone of her predicament, no one will believe her, and Adrian can successfully keep the torment “invisible.”

The Invisible Man’s strengths lies in its great performances from the actors, effectively built tension, and subtle camera work that makes you wonder if Adrian is in the room with Cecelia in some scenes.  However, the film’s overall plot and pacing gives you more of a made-for-TV movie with a psychological thriller- vibe, than a horror movie.  Also, the first two acts took very long to get you to the payoff in the third act.  And the ending..well, I was impressed with how she used his suit to overcome her pain once and for all;  It was satisfactory, but anticlimactic.

I would suggest watching Invisible Man for its intriguing take in tackling such a serious topic, but the execution of the story could have given us a more brutal, intense illustration of the real horrors of domestic abuse.  This is a weekend rental.  My score: 7/10.

UNDERRATED GEMS to watch: Darlin’

Darlin’ (2019)

Starring Lauryn Canny, Bryan Batt, Nora-Jane Noone, Cooper Andrews, and Pollyanna McIntosh

Written and Directed by Pollyanna McIntosh

I checked out Darlin,’ and I will have to say that this film is ambitious. Like its predecessor The Woman, it continues the concept of a feral person being transformed into a “good woman.” Its mix of social commentary, coming-of- age drama, and gory horror(even though its less graphic than The Woman) makes this a decently executed story. I was expecting a better payoff towards the end, but I will have to commend the filmmakers for tackling a provocative subject. This comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10.

 

Underrated Gem to Watch: It Follows

It Follows(2014)  Directed by David Robert Mitchell    Starring Maika Monroe, Bailey Spry, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, and Jake Weary

It Follows is a horror film that has effectively used a supernatural theme to tell its story.  The concept of “passing on” sexual energy to eliminate a malignant presence from following you, is an intriguing concept. I liked how the film used minimal special effects and its “Mandy-like” score to give you the intensity and the pure definition of horror.  I admit, I wish It Follows gave more of a backstory on the demon, but overall, it did a successful job in executing its concept.  After I watched this film, I felt that I should own it for repeat viewings because it offers various meanings to contemplate.  If you want to watch a unique horror movie with an enthralling musical score, It Follows comes highly recommended.  My score: 8/10.

The Collector and The Collection: Ushering in the New Age of Horror…

The Collector and The Collection are very effective horror films. Both have set a new standard in the Home Invasion/slasher genre, with a twisted character who is very unique in his methods of killing, making him an iconic figure along the lines of Jason Voorhees, Micheal Myers, and Leatherface. This series evokes a very tense, brutal mood that keeps you engaged and your heart pounding. Not only does the story flow well, the killer’s contraptions provides some very creative deaths. The second one sets up the long-awaited third entry, and I am eagerly anticipating it. If you’re looking for some unique horror movies, check out both of these purchase-worthy slashers. My score: 9/10.