Eden’s Lake (2008)

I’m sure others could feel different, but I felt as though most of this film was about karma and what happens when you stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. The protagonists Jenny and Steve, are your typical, white young couple. Steve decides to take Jenny away for a weekend at a secluded spot in the country. As they arrive, Steve repeatedly comments that the place has changed since he was last there. Instead of a nice place in the country, it is now Hickville. When the arrive at their destination, they discover it has been blocked off. Steve, ignores all posted signs and drives around the fence intended to keep them out.

This annoyed me on so many levels. Their elitism made both characters seem less sympathetic and so, I honestly didn’t feel for any of their situations. At one point. Steve enters the house of one of the boys harassing them and is almost busted by their father. His complete disregard for their right to privacy and the fact that he only cares about his rights, made me not even care, when he’s captured.

What I loved the most about this film was the ending. Most of the time, as an audience member, we are all cheering for the protagonist to make it, to survive the slasher. In this case, we don’t hold our breath. Eventually however, Jenny does make it out of the woods, and stumbles upon a party. She is home free right? Karma is often times sneakier than one might expect.

Three out of Five Stars

Mas Negro Que La Noche (2014)

I saw this trailer before another movie I rented from Redbox. Imagine my glee, when it showed up to be rented this week. I instantly reserved it, and then forgot to pick it up. Bummer. Lucky for me, I was able to find it again, only by driving a few miles out of my way.

I unfortunately was underwhelmed by this flick. I thought it was quite promising, as foreign horror movies tend to deliver in on the spook factor. I spent most of the movie feeling as though I missed something. I couldn’t tell if the subtitles were off, but I the beginning exposition was surprisingly lacking. What exactly was the ghost doing? Was Becker a guardian of the underworld? In order to make it through this film, you had to make a lot of assumptions, which over time, just proved annoying. You keep just waiting for something to happen. For a while, the most interesting thing is the death of a cat. After I finished watching and headed back to IMDB, I was able to determine it was a remake and that the original was far more interesting according to commenters. I plan to watch and review and see how it stacks up but for now,

Two out of Five Stars

Thrillers Masquerading as Horror films. The Guest (2014) and Cronicas (2004)

I do believe I need to do a bit more research on my films before I add them to the list. Cronias was a film I added to my queue quite some time ago and never got around to watching. When I began this challenge, I kept it, because it fell into the category of Psychological Thriller, per Netflix. Unfortunately, they were only half right. This is a crime drama, that attempts to screw with your head. I knew the film was not going where I wanted it to go about thirty minutes in. I decided to stick through it, after finding a promising review on IMDB, that promised a good ending. Though I lamented having to wait until the end for the pay off, I was assured by this films high rating. Though it was extremely disturbing, I think I was expecting too much in terms of horror. A good film, sickening once you realize what is going on, but not a horror movie.

Five out of Five Stars

The Guest  was released in my area, but it was quite limited (Chicago only) and it only played for a week. I heard such good things about this film, that I almost made the trek into Chicago to see it. Unfortunately, life got in the way and after spending hours hunting for it, I figured that I’d just missed my chance and would have to wait for Netflix to pick it up. Well Redbox to the rescue! As soon as I found it at my local kiosk I raced to pick it up. Just as was the case with Cronicas, I’d gotten it into my head that this was a horror movie. It too falls in the Thriller category. I think I am just used to so many films being mislabeled and being more Horror than Thriller, I just assumed. I loved this film. I still wish I’d seen it in a theater, because there were moments, I am quite sure were meant to be funny, that would have been better enjoyed with a wider audience. Overall a good film, but I would have liked to have known more about David’s character. Why were they experimenting on him. Were they experimenting on the Peterson’s other son too?

Four out of Five Stars

Edited to Add: It turns out Cronicas was not a part of the list. Still worth a peek though.

Apartment 1303 (2012)

I’ve seen this film at my Redbox more than a few times. Given than it starred Mischa Barton, I ignored it. I knew she hadn’t done anything reputable lately, so I fully expected it to be trash. However, hunting through Netflix on a Saturday night, I didn’t expect it to be recommended for  me, so I thought I’d give it ago.

Apartment 1303 is actually a better horror movie than I expected. Granted the acting can be stilted at times, but the plot line takes a twist on an an usual haunted house story. Mischa Barton actually does a good job as as sister hunting for the truth. I was surprised at how low the ranking was on IMDB, I think it is honestly because people expect more from her and Rebecca De Mornay. Still a really good performance.

Three out of Five Stars

Deadly Eyes (1982)

Poisoned by grains contaminated with steroids, blood thirsty rats, terrorize a city. Not afraid to go most places, today’s horror movies are, such as killing children, it was fun to see how far horror films have changed. I saw this film as a movie night with a friend. Not actually scary, but adorable once you realize (or are told as in my case) that the rats in the film are actually dachshunds dressed up like rats. Funny in some parts, hilarous in others, it is definitely a good way to pass a Friday night.

Three out of Five Stars.

Greystone Park (2012)

This film was not on my list, but I found it Netflix and thought it would be a good watch. I’ve seen Grave Encounters, and thought maybe it was following along a similar vein. Unfortunately it was, but does not pay proper homage to the film at all. Basically, three 20 somethings decide to wander around an abandoned mental asylum, looking for Billy Lasher, a former inmate. It is a found foottage film and the camera work is shaky. There are no scares with this film, except the momentary missed heart beat when one of the characters becomes scared and screams for a few minutes. There are a few bizarre twists and turns, and just when you think it should be over, it continues. I became disinterested after about 30 minutes and started to paint my nails. Avoid this film, unless you are looking for background nose.

One out of Five Stars.

Mercy (2014)

Mercy is a minimalist horror movie. In its, 79 minute run time, it leaves nothing to the imagination, but tells everything. Unfortunately for the viewer, there are more than a few “if you blink you miss it” moments. For instance, the girl next door? It took me a bit to realize she was a figment of his imagination. Also the legend of the wolf demon? There are so many things that are introduced, that are not elaborated on that you wind up doing most of the work yourself. In some cases, there is an overwhelming feeling that you’ve missed some critical detail, but have no time to figure out what it is since it is never brought up a again. I wouldn’t say this was a good movie, or necessarily a bad one. I thought about watching it again to figure out all the things I’d missed, but in the end decided against it.

Two out of Five Stars.

Dread (2009)

I’ve tried watching this film before, and found it to be slow and tedious. I decided to give it another try, and was definitely rewarded. This film is the very definition of a slow burn. Dread centers on Stephen Grace and his encounter with Quaid, who helps him document people’s fears for his thesis project. Since the idea of doing the project on dread, is Quaid’s idea, you spend most of the film questioning his motives. He constantly challenges the other characters to confront what scares them, while he himself, refuses to do the same. We learn that Quaid’s family was butchered by a crazed intruder, and this event haunts his life. While the role of Quaid, is superbly acted, I found Stephen Grace’s character to be superbly annoying. He vouches for Quaid over and over again, despite (before violence enters the film) the fact he proves himself over and over again not to be trustworthy.

Towards the end, Dread finally gets to the point. Usually, I find myself  not shying away from horror scenes, but so many scenes caused me to gag. Think about for a moment what steel wool does to one’s skin? (I had to fast forward through that scene). The maddening part of this film is that Quaid does not get what’s coming to him. I hated the final scenes for this very reason.  Not afraid to shy away from the depths of human depravity, Dread is well worth the time investment.

Four out of Five Stars.

Forget me Not (2009)

Forget Me Not centers on group of high school student whom you cannot help but hate. They have everything, good family, good friends, they are young and they are beautiful. In the end, they get what is coming to them, when an tortured soul comes back from the dead.

Sandy is best friends with Angela when they are children. When her other friends play a prank on an unsuspecting Angela, it leaves the girl in a coma. Though Sandy plays a rather big part in what happens, she and her friends forget about Angela the moment they run away from her. Time goes on, and they grow up. Then one night, they gather to to play one last game, and Angela gets her revenge. This low budget horror film is original and packs a punch. The ghosts seem borrowed from Japanese and Korean films, but the plagiarism is welcome as it is done well. The film poses an interesting concept for a horror  movie. Usually, one of the more terrifying parts for most characters in a horror film is watching their love ones die knowing that they are eventually next. The great part is that except for Sandy, all characters are completely oblivious as to what is going on. The main premise of the film, is that as soon as one character dies, all other characters (except Sandy) immediately forget they existed. The most interesting thing was to see how the film would spin to edit out the newly lost cast members.

All in all, I loved it, even though toward the end it was a bit tedious. I wasn’t entirely sure what Angela’s ghost wanted from everyone, or how her killing everyone brought her out of a coma. Especially since, following the guidelines of the film, everyone the ghost kills turns into a ghost as well. However, at the end of the film, Sandy is alive, just in a coma. I would have liked to have known how that was spun into the film. Did Sandy actually fall off the roof? Or did she just have an accident 6 years ago? I am believing the latter is true, as if none of Sandy’s friends exist, there is no reason for Angela to have been in a coma in the first place, as it is her friends that make up the majority of the prank. Because in the end it left me with a lot of questions,

Three out of Five.