So, you’re too old to go trick-or-treating and too young to convince people you’re senile enough to go trick-or-treating. What then, shall you do come All Hallows’ Eve? Well you could act like an adult, buy your own bag of candy, rent a couple of scary movies, and enjoy Halloween in the frightful comfort of your own home. If it makes you feel better, buy the candy while wearing your Batman costume. In fact, I insist that you do.
One more thing, this should go without saying, but I’ll do my best to avoid any spoilers, so please try and keep them out of the comments section.
Director: James Monaco
Starring: Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones).
The Purge takes place in the near future where – after an economic crisis – America has solved all its problems by making crime legal for one night a year. You’d think Americans would take this opportunity to rob a bank, or steal their neighbor’s car, but all they really want to do is go on a murdering rampage. Perhaps that’s the filmmaker holding up a mirror to society and revealing its true violent nature, or perhaps a film about suburbanite serial killers is just more entertaining than a film about kids spraying graffiti and getting away with it. The Purge boils down to an interesting and somewhat original concept, that eventually comes up short in its execution. It’s entertaining enough to hold your attention for an hour and a half, but just. However, in a year filled with remakes and “based on” films it was nice to see an original concept make it to the big screen.
World War Z *Spoiler Alert*
Director: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos (good luck pronouncing that!)
I hate saying this because I hate hearing it, but in the case of World War Z, the book is far superior to the movie. Personally, I was curious as to how they planned on taking a book made up entirely of fictional interviews and turning it into a film. Originally, I thought the filmmakers were going for a sort of fictional documentary style – much like 1980’s Cannibal Holocaust – which would’ve been awesome, and stayed truer to the novel it was based on. Instead they decided to transcribe Max Brooks’ novel into a fast paced, full throttle, punch you in the face repeatedly, action packed thriller! Don’t get me wrong, World War Z was entertaining, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. It also doesn’t deal with zombies. Zombies are slow, dumb, walking corpses. The monsters in World War Z – call them infected if you prefer – demonstrate super human strength and speed, neither of which a reanimated corpse would be capable of. The only reason I bring that up is because Max Brooks adamantly defends this fact in both his books (World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide). I honestly think that the studio responsible for this film just wanted the rights to the name, and then decided to make whatever movie they felt like.
Directors: Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon
Starring: Rob Cordry and Leslie Bibb
The Horror-Comedy genre has a reputation for lacking quality, due in large part to the latest installments of the Scary Movie franchise (I’m not sure where the comedy was in those films, but the realization that I spent actual money on them scared the crap out of me!). Hell Baby isn’t the greatest movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s far from the worst. The gist of the story is that an expecting couple moves into a run down mansion – with a haunted history – in the hopes of flipping it. Before too long the preggo mommy gets possessed and the hilarity ensues as the doting husband does his best to literally deal with the wife from hell. Basically, it’s like 9 Months meets The Exorcist. Hell Baby was written and directed by the same two guys (Garant and Lennon) that gave us Reno 911, and in my opinion these are two of the most underrated comedy writers – and performers – in the industry. While this isn’t their best work, it’s still capable of giving you the giggles. Bottom line, Hell Baby isn’t worth the price of your soul, but for a few bucks at RedBox, it’s a bargain.
Director: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy and Shiloh Fernandez
If you read my above post about The Purge you know how I feel about remakes. Evil Dead is a remake. Technically, it’s a remake of a remake (Evil Dead was originally called Within the Woods and was shot on a budget of 1,600 dollars). However, it’s done with such respect towards its predecessor that you could get away with calling it an homage. If you’ve seen the original, you know it’s the perfect combination of goofy and freaky, a combination that was expanded upon in the sequels. This newest installment is a little light on the comedy – right off the bat it deals with some pretty heavy issues – but it more than makes up for it in the gore and freakiness department. You might remember the commercial for this film where the man stood at the concession stand, about to see Evil Dead, and he ordered popcorn, a soda, and anti-anxiety pills. That’s not too far from the truth. Evil Dead might be hard to watch at times, but if you can stomach the difficult parts, you’ll be rewarded with an overall experience that is well worth the ticket price (even more so if you’re watching it for free).
Director: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne
Insidious: Chapter 2 picks up almost directly where the first film left off. If you haven’t seen the first Insidious, don’t waste your time seeing this film. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still have nightmares for weeks even if you haven’t seen the first film in this series, but there’s a deep and intriguing storyline that plays out between the two films, which sets it apart from your run-of-the-mill slasher or thriller. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that Insidious (both 1 and 2) deal with our world and the spirit world, and the way these two worlds affect each other. Some people are more in tune with the spirit world than others and are therefore affected more by it, as well as its inhabitants. Insidious 2 has its fair share of jump scares, but it doesn’t rely on them to scare you. The filmmakers get you involved in the story, immersing you in all the subtle nuances and sinister details, setting the mood for your fear until they finally thrust and icy spear of terror straight into your soul! For those of you that don’t consider horror films to be an art form, watch these two films. You’ll gain an entirely new respect for how much work goes into scaring someone silly.