Film Friday #284: Halloween special

I pretty much only watch horror movies once a year because they really aren’t my thing and that’s in the lead-up to Halloween. So here we go… my 4 horror movies for the year.

Hush (2016)

Deaf mute writer, Maddie (Katie Siegel) lives on her own in a remote house in the woods where she is working on her latest novel and struggling with the ending. As she works into the night a masked man (John Gallagher Jr.) stalks her but he’s going to get a lot more than what he bargained for.

The idea of a victim who cannot scream or hear her attacker breathes some fresh air into the tired home invasion genre. Director, Mike Flanagan, does a good job of getting across Maddie’s particular challenges, which just about saves what is ultimately a bit of a thin story. Maddie is a kick ass character but her ability to survive some of her injuries is a little bit far-fetched, which damages Hush‘s credibility and the multiple endings gimmick is just a step too far. Not bad  but not great. 3/5


Why is it whenever you’re shopping for dildos online there’s always some creepy guy standing behind you?

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

On the night of The Purge a group of strangers is thrown together outside fighting for survival. Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter, Cali (Zoë Soul) have escaped would-be kidnappers but they’re not going to give up that easily. Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz’s (Kiele Sanchez) car has broken down. And Sergeant (Frank Grillo) has a score to settle and some very particular skills.  As they try to make their way to safety they encounter an array of sinister foes, the most frightening of which is the upper class elite who see The Purge as a way of acting out their sick fantasies using people they see as sub-human. If the first Purge film was possibly a little simplistic the second one is potentially a little complex. Using the film to drive home a powerful and very relevant political message about inequality is a great strategy that really works but writer/director, James DeMarco somewhat over complicates things by having both a faceless organisation employed by the government elite and some freedom fighters and a war between them and the individual stories of the characters out on the night and it’s all just a bit much leading to a bit of bloat. Overall this is still a gripping thriller that builds well on the original concept. 3.5/5


Not the beardy sky granddad anyone was expecting

House of Wax (2005)

A collection of interchangeable college kids including Paris Hilton go on a road trip to watch a football match. En route they stop to camp and their car’s fan belt is mysteriously snapped. Two of them head into a nearby town to look for help and discover a weird abandoned house of wax and some even weirder locals. The obvious thing to do is trespass all over the place with zero regard for private property, ignoring any sense of self-preservation or logic. As you can imagine this does not end well for anybody. Apparently House of Wax is an update of a fifties classic. I have not seen the original but it is literally impossible for it to be anything less than one thousand times better than this utterly uninspired remake. Every single horror movie cliche is dragged out in a completely unironic manner, which makes this 108 minute long film feel like it’s been going on for about four days. The only blessing is that is seems to have killed Paris Hilton’s movie “career” as her performance can best be described as somnambulist prostitute. Watch pretty much anything else. 0/5


Trent Reznor’s latest music video had taken a turn for the worse

The Shining (1980)

In an attempt to focus on his work, aspiring writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a job as the caretaker of a remote Overlook Hotel taking his wife, Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and young son, Danny (Danny Lloyd) with him. The hotel is almost inaccessible in the winter and therefore closes for the season meaning that the family will be completely alone for five months. As the months draw on and the snow gets deeper and deeper strange things start to happen. Danny sees visions of things have happened in the past… or is it the future and Jack’s behaviour becomes every more erratic as the family becomes more isolated with terrifying consequences. So there’s a reason The Shining is considered one of the greatest horror movies ever made. Firstly the cinematography is outstanding. While The Outlook Hotel is spectacular, every frame makes you feel like there’s something just a bit off and the incredible establishing shots really hammer home just how remote it is. Then there are the performances. Nicholson is at his absolute manic best as Torrance, Duvall is outstanding as the fragile Wendy and Lloyd more than holds his own despite his young age. Stanley Kubrick gives a masterclass in pacing and rachets up the tension to eleven before releasing it in a rush almost as torrid as the ironic corridors of blood in the film. Unlike many modern horror films there aren’t masses of gore but the unsettling nature of many of the scenes leaves a shiver up the spine and there’s no surprise that they’ve become popular culture staples. Outstanding. 5/5


The 70’s… when carpets and jumpers were awesome


  1. I love The Shining, from the beginning the creepy atmosphere is palpable.

    1. It really gets under your skin.

      1. Every shot has a gloomy sense of menace to it that can’t be ignored. You just know something creepy and horrifying will occur.

  2. I enjoyed the original Purge, but didn’t bother with the sequel, or for that matter the remake of House of Wax. I might watch Hush, but will wait for it to pop up on TV some time soon.
    Regards, Pete.

    1. The sequel is at least as good as the original but I definitely wouldn’t waste my time on House of Wax. Hush is currently on Netflix if you have access to that.

      1. Thanks, Abbi. Afraid I am non-Internet, when it comes to the TV.
        Regards, Pete.

  3. Anarchy was definitely a great sequel to The Purge, which I didn’t like, but I was massively disappointed with Election Year recently. I haven’t seen House of Wax since it came out, but I remember it being a wreck.

  4. The Shining is incredible. I wonder if anyone owns that same design of carpet.

    1. YES!! I want all the carpet from this film!! 😀

  5. The first time I saw The Shining I kept seeing those twins in my dreams. Properly creepy film, and I like how you address Kubrick’s approach to photography in this movie…. remember when he is throwing the tennis ball against a wall? How HUGE is that room!!! So many scenes and settings really give you that sense of, like you said, something is a bit off!

    The soundtrack is brilliant as well.

    As for Hush, I am with you. I thought the last act was horrible and the ending was so cliched I almost groaned audibly. You say you don’t like Horror movies much, but if you want a similar take on the home invasion genre, try Don’t Breathe. The guy these young thugs are trying to rob is blind, but he also a war veteran and a total badass. It makes Hush look like complete nonsense!

    1. Kubrick really did do an amazing job of unsettling the audience without having to resort to violent, bloody imagery. It’s genius!

      I will look out for Don’t Breathe. It sounds intriguing.

      1. Don’t Breathe is brilliant. And obviously I am totally with you on Kubrick. These sorta movies make the ‘gore’ type movies seem even less scary, not that they are in the slightest anyway. For me its all about atmosphere and mood, which of course The Shining has in spades

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