It’s the spooky season! You know what that means! The first hints of seasonal affective disorder are just around the corner! So while that starts to sand down the edges of your enjoyment of life, you might as well watch some HORROR MOVIES!
I love movies. I probably love movies as much as I love music. So why does this blog focus on music about 90% of the time and movies 0% of the time?
Because writing about and having opinions about movies is the fucking pits, man. Have you seen people talk about movies on Twitter? Holy fuck. Just put a bullet in me.
However, I’m going to try to go out of my way to watch as many horror movies as possible this month. Some folks use October to watch a horror movie every single day. Truly, they are doing God’s work. It has been a long time since I’ve been able to do that. But this year I plan to at least watch more horror movies than I have since our daughter was born in 2018.
I’m not going to write well about them. But I’m going to write something about them here. Please don’t tell Film Twitter about me. They’ll burn this blog down and have some kind of a Marvel vs Scorsese debate in the ashes. Ugh.
The Dead Don’t Die
I had been meaning for some time to see this Jim Jarmusch zombie movie starring every famous person ever, and we finally got around to it. It’s truly stupid, but it’s well aware of that fact. I’ve been mega-sick of zombie media for at least a decade, but the self-aware deadpan presentation of this movie was at least something a little different. It’s not noisily self-aware like Zombieland or the terrible Zombieland sequel. I got a few good chuckles out of it and the lead performances are all pretty enjoyable. Decently gruesome, but never all that exciting or surprising. Winks at you so hard, its eyeball pops out and lands in your mouth.
Level of Enjoyment: Moderate
Await Further Instructions
This Netflix sci-fi/horror film is somewhere between a lousy episode of Black Mirror and a lousy episode of The Outer Limits. If that makes sense. A dysfunctional family full of unlikable British people get sealed into their house on Christmas day by an unseen force that delivers commands to them via words on their television set. There’s a sprinkling of interesting conversation around compliance and civil order that seem especially salient given our global situation at the moment, but the characters are all so unpleasant and exaggeratedly stupid, the film misses the mark as a whole.
Also, dumbest/lousiest “statement” ending that I’ve seen in a long time.
Level of Enjoyment: Blech Mirror
This A24 horror film is A24 as fuck. Which is to say that it’s very beautiful and art-house-y, pretty effectively creepy, and not actually nearly as good as people say it is. Which seems to be something that happens with almost everything that A24 puts out. Which A24 horror movies have actually lived up to their hype? The VVitch? Hereditary? Anyway, A24 puts out a lot of pretty decent horror movies that people do a disservice to by calling them the next The Shining every time.
Saint Maud is a pretty solid psychological/religious thriller, with a stellar central performance and some truly jarring moments. It looks and sounds terrific, and it gets under your skin. It doesn’t get as far under your skin as it would like to, though. I found the film’s conclusion to be very satisfying in an ambiguous sort of way, but it didn’t really stick with me.
It’s maybe a little weird that I look at a film outright bothering me mentally for weeks as a mark of success, but here we are.
Level of Enjoyment: Maud-erate
The Empty Man
If Saint Maud was something that I came to with expectations of quality, The Empty Man is something that I came to with expectations of trash. It’s better than it ought to be! Don’t get me wrong, I think that Saint Maud is actually a better film than this, but The Empty Man wound up punching above its weight in terms of complexity and atmosphere. A pleasant surprise!
While the film starts out as kind of a rote rip on the Candyman or Ringu trope of “teens get killed according to a set of boogeyman rules”, it later expands into a pretty fun and satisfying cult/conspiracy thriller with supernatural elements. You see the ending coming a mile away, but it’s still pretty fun to get there. This is solid trash!
I think that what I liked the most about this movie is that it is basically just a Silent Hill game, but a movie. Does that makes sense? If you see this, let me know if that makes sense.
Level of Enjoyment: I don’t have a pun for this. I liked it more than expected!