October 15: Creep. Rating: 4/5. Comment: If I’m being honest, this movie is about 3.5 stars for me, but since I’m not allowed (based upon the rules I set a decade ago) to give half marks, I bumped it up. There was very little violence in this movie. It definitively fits the bill for a “psychological thriller.” Imagine you’re hired to do a job for a complete stranger, who has cancer and a baby on the way. Then imagine that you actually know very little about the stranger, and you begin to realize that some things don’t add up. Then, imagine said stranger believes your friendship is a lot deeper than you feel it is. Yeah. You see where this wind is blowing
October 12: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Rating: 5/5. Comment: I have such nostalgia in my heart from childhood that I can’t bear to rate this any lower. However, viewing it through the adult lens was eye-opening. I even read this short story a few years back. However, it wasn’t until tonight that I realized, brokenheartedly, that all three main characters are simply awful human beings. Katrina is a spoiled little rich girl who intentionally inflames a rivalry between two men to feed her giant ego. Brom is a vicious, violent, jealous sociopath who feeds people’s fear in order to lay claim to a woman he believes is his right to own. Ichabod, an educated fool, is self-destructively superstitious in addition to being a coward who uses his students and selfishly leads women on to get what he wants (which, as it turns out, is Katrina because her father is filthy rich and will leave her a large inheritance that Ichabod believes he deserves for literally no reason and through no sustained effort of his own at all). The bright spot is I’m old enough to appreciate the masterful narration and musicality of Bing Crosby, and to understand every word in this old tale. Who says aging doesn’t have its perks?
October 11: Delirium. Rating: 2/5. Comment: What a huge letdown. The first two-thirds of the movie was a delightfully suspenseful, heart-pumping psychological thriller. The last third of the movie was, in a word, garbage. Somehow they took a good idea and, like Jo Jo the idiot circus boy with a pretty new pet, they killed it. They blew it, and then they kept forging ahead. The shocker is they really thought they were clever (that’s obvious at the end), but what they actually were was disappointing. Most parole officers don’t want to sleep with their parolees and wouldn’t take away their mind-altering medications out of spite. Most criminals don’t escape in a prison fire. Most fathers aren’t voyeuristic sadists who cut out women’s tongues. Most mentally ill patients aren’t evil. We know this in 2018. Yet, this movie had all these fallacies and more! Goodness gracious. Catch up, producer Leonardo DiCaprio.
October 10: Backcountry. Rating: 5/5. Comment: This is EXACTLY why I don’t ever want to go camping. Boyfriend and girlfriend go out for a romantic weekend getaway and meet a stranger with a giant knife and an overly-aggressive hero complex, a bunch of decaying animals, and an angry, hungry bear. There’s no one else around. They get lost. They can’t shower. They run out of food. They regretfully waste their water. They have no map. They have no cell phone reception. They have injuries. They risk getting leeches by skinny-dipping in a huge mud puddle. By the end of the film, their injuries are quite severe. This movie should be called “I’m Not Tryna Die Young Out Here.”
October 9: Ash Vs. Evil Dead: Last Call. Rating: 5/5. Comment: This episode had it all: bull riding, a Christine car, and Ash’s dad finally recognizing Ash for the hero he is.
October 8: Patchwork. Rating: 4/5. Comment: I enjoyed this campy, over-the-top Frankenstein retelling. It was funny and also a little creepy.
October 7: Truth or Dare (2017). Rating: 2/5. Comment: This definitely isn’t the worst movie I’ve watched for the Frightfest — not by a long shot. The problem with this film is twofold: it’s made up of a bunch of elements from other movies (I’m looking at you, Would You Rather, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Saw), and the game is not only unwinnable but purposeless, as there is no definable enemy to appease or beat. Yeah, at the end, they theorize that they are being punished for various sins or fears they have (like, hating cockroaches is now a crime?), but for the main portion of the movie it’s not explained how or why each participant is targeted. It also doesn’t explain why the winner was picked by the game controllers to win in the specific way chosen. Comparing this movie to Saw would be a thorough explanation of all Truth or Dare’s worst flaws. The Saw franchise is incredibly popular and, at least in the beginning, based on clear logic in the eyes of the game builder. People commit specific crimes or immoral behaviors or take for granted portions of their lives that others would deem valuable, so the dying game creator wants them to fight for a second chance — prove they deserve one — by rigging up a task that can be completed and ties directly to their sins. For instance, the drug addict has to wade through a pool full of used needles to find a key (or some similar task): painful, disgusting, but beatable, and with an intention of making said player hate using needles. In Truth or Dare, a participant is told to pour acid on her head. It’s never explained why. It’s never linked to any sense of healing or making up for her wrongs in the past. It’s set up by, I don’t know, some malevolent, sadistic child ghost? There’s no reason for it. Worse, the writing was stilted and unrealistic, and their reactions to their friends dying seemed especially lacking. A bright spot is the bit part played by Heather Langenkamp — you know, Nancy from Nightmare on Elm Street. That made my night. She hasn’t gotten nearly enough work. To sum up, who should watch this movie? Anyone who can look past illogical writing and enjoy it for the “it could be me and my friends because it’s so random” sense it’s meant to convey through all the fairly graphic blood and gore. There are some parts that made me cringe and got my heart racing, so I know I’m being pretty tough on this movie — it’s definitely not HORRIBLE. I just hoped it would be better than it was.
October 6: Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Morgue. Rating: 5/5. Comment: It turns out that Ruby hiding the Necronomicon from her children leads to Ash getting assaulted and covered in filth in what was, easily, one of the most ridiculous and gruesome fight scenes to ever grace the small screen.