FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 8, 2013

Two sentences and a verdict, once more!

I've done this sort of thing a few times before, wherein I watch a bunch of movies but then I don't review them and the movies I've watched but haven't discussed pile up so I write these itty-bitty reviewettes and everyone is satisfied because they're easy to bake and easy to digest. Like bran muffins! Maybe, I don't know. If I get a muffin I rarely get bran because life is too short, you know? And I know they're "good" for "you", but let's face it. The amount of time added on to my life by solely choosing bran muffins would probably work out to, like, ten minutes. I'd rather die ten minutes sooner and eat a goddamn corn muffin or a cranberry muffin whenever I feel like eating a muffin, which is not very often to begin with so why are we even talking about it?

The Awakening (2011, Nick Murphy)

In 1920s London, Florence Cathcart goes about exposing hoaxes and debunking paranormal phenomena. She's called to a country boarding school to do her thing, but what if, this time, the hoaxes are real? Meaning, you know, they're not hoaxes...they're ghosts.

Two sentences: Rebecca Hall is terrific as the arrogant Florence Cathcart, and there's atmosphere to spare throughout the empty rooms of the enormous boarding school. Ultimately, though, the film collapses in the final act as writer/director Murphy feels the need to explain everything in painstaking detail.

The verdict: Worth a watch, but bear in mind that The Awakening is more of a drama with some horror sprinkled in than a straight-up fright fest.

The Skeleton Key (2005, Iain Softley)

"She mustn't find out that I've been listening to 'Dear Mr. Jesus' again!"

Hospice nurse Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson) takes a job at a mansion in the backwater swampland of Louisiana to care for an elderly gentleman, hoodoo hijinks ensue.

Two sentences: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this film, as it wasn't the CGI-n-jump-scare-laden crapfest I was anticipating. It's not the best thing ever and it's more plot-driven than character-driven, but as I said when discussing it on the Final Girl Facebook page: if you can't appreciate a homicidal, shotgun-wielding Gena Rowlands chasing Kate Hudson through a swamp during a thunderstorm, then what's the point of anything?

The verdict: Try it, you might like it! 

Munger Road (2011, Nicholas Smith)

Some jerk teenagers go looking for paranormal activity on the reputedly haunted Munger Road. Meanwhile, Sheriff Bruce Davison patrols the town looking for an escapee from a nearby mental hospital.

Two sentences: Get out your pencils, kids, it's math time. (Halloween + Fingerprints) x ("based on true events") / Are you fucking kidding me with that ending? = Munger Road

The verdict: No no no go fuck yourself no get out of my face no NO.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010, Troy Nixey)

In the magical place called "Rhode Island", a young girl discovers that the creatures living beneath the sprawling manse where she's staying are pure eeeeeevil.

Two sentences: I (sadly) wasn't all that enamored with the original 1973 made-for-TV film and I thought it could benefit from a remake. Though this one is awfully computer, it's overall enjoyable and the creatures are suitably vicious and nasty.

The verdict: Another "Hey, I thought that was going to be terrible and it wasn't!" flick. And say what you will about Katie Holmes, she certainly has very nice hair. But why don't they call it Do Be Afraid of the Dark? The dark is where all the bad shit happens!

Lovely Molly (2011, Eduardo Sanchez)

Newlyweds Molly and Tim move into Molly's childhood home and she soon finds herself haunted...but is it all in her mind?

Two sentences: The DVD cover is a Photoshop turd, but Sanchez's Blair Witch Project pedigree led me to giving this one a go and I'm glad I did. Questions may ultimately go unanswered, but the ride is terrifically creepy and Gretchen Lodge is fantastic as the tortured Molly.

The verdict: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, I really dug this underrated little gem. It'll certainly benefit from multiple viewings as there's a lot to absorb. And lawd-a-mighty, it may be a small touch, but I especially love that it features characters who are regular people working real regular jobs, not movie regular jobs, you know?


Unknown said...

I'm so glad someone else has finally been indoctrinated into the cult of Lovely Molly.

KZ said...

Damn, yes! Lovely Molly was sooo good and sooo creepy! I kind of loved it! Thanks for the Lovely I was unsettled throughout

Nathan West said...

I think we can all agree that found footage is played out, but Lovely Molly finds a clever way to integrate it into its narrative AND make it creepy and scary. I loved it. Lead actress Gretchen Lodge is GREAT.

I too did not care for the OG Are you Afraid of the Dark, them monsters were corny. The newer one was better, but I still kind of shoulder-shrugged after it was over. Katie Holmes does have nice hair, tho, so you raise a good point there..

CashBailey said...

Stacie, have you seen ABSENTIA?

If you like super creepy low-budget stuff it's one of the best I've seen in years.

Stacie Ponder said...

I did! I enjoyed it, though not as much as everyone else seems to. I think I need to give it another go, maybe.

Mark Trammell said...

I will have to check out some of these, as I haven't seen many. I thought "Dark" was okay, but "Skeleton Key" was meh. I think it might have something to do with that ending. The film came out post M. Night S. when everyone had to have a big twist at the end, and it just kind of ticked me off. Also, "Almost Famous" is one of my all-time faves, but it seems like Kate Hudson has squandered her career on forgettable rom-coms ever since, many of which I've been exposed to by various girlfriends over the years. Given that, you'd think I'd have like "Skeleton," but alas...

gtm480 said...

Replying to an old post but browsing here is pretty entertaining. I saw Troy Nixeys nam on Don't be Afraid of the Dark and had to look up if it was the comics creator whose work I tend to enjoy. Surprise! It is, happy to see he got your approval