I’ve been catching up on my horror now that the holidays are over, so here are a few more 2014-ish reviews. Again, the movies I highly recommend are in red.
7500. Mediocre supernatural horror that takes place on a plane. I enjoyed it, to be honest, even though I saw the twist coming from a mile away, but it definitely wouldn’t hold up to a rewatch. I liked the performances (Leslie Bibb is lovely), and the visuals were striking, but the scares are basically nonexistent, and often nonsensical – particularly the final one.
Housebound. Man, I heard so many good things about this one, I really thought I’d love it. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. It had some fun elements that I liked – the lead (Morgana O’Reilly) was great, the (possibly) haunted house was creepy, the supporting characters were great. But most of the humor was too slapstick for me to get into, and the reveal towards the end was a little too silly for me. It’s definitely a fun, well-made movie if kiwi humor is your thing (Housebound hails from New Zealand). It just wasn’t for me, and I found myself bored much of the time.
Snowpiercer. This is technically 2013, but oh well. I hadn’t even heard of Snowpiercer until it came to Netflix, which is surprising to me, as it was a really unique, well-done film. From the performances (Tilda Swinton, Kang-ho Song, John Hurt, and Ah-sung Ko really stood out), to the action and visuals, to the idea itself, it held my attention for the entire 2+ hours. It didn’t all come together for me in the end, but the journey was well worthwhile.
Annabelle. Meh. Not nearly as bad as I expected it to be based on the reviews I read, but definitely nothing special, and surely not the prequel The Conjuring deserved (not that it needed one in the first place). Its creepiest moments were all in the trailer, so if you saw that, you’re probably good. Also, and maybe this is cruel to admit, but the lead actress (Annabelle Wallis) has the most amazingly forgettable face and presence. I couldn't get myself to care about her at all. That's probably largely due in part to the way the character was written, but even so, the actress brought nothing extra to the role.
Come Back to Me. This was a pleasant surprise. Though it resembles a Lifetime movie in some ways (the lead actress just had that vibe to me, as did a lot of the plot), this was a nicely creepy, weird, unexpected movie. I thought I had it all figured out, but the twist was actually a twist I didn't see coming. It gets pretty hammy at the end, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway. I also like that they changed the title from that of the book it was based on, which I won't list here because it's a huge spoiler. For a free Netflix movie, I fully recommend it.
Cold in July. Great performances from Michael C. Hall and Sam Shepard. Didn’t hold my attention as much as the final film on this list, which I found to be strikingly similar in a lot of ways, but I still liked this one a lot. Still, if I had to choose between the two (but why would you? – watch them both), I’d choose Blue Ruin.
Blue Ruin. Cold in July and Blue Ruin are both “regular man in extraordinary circumstances/revenge plot” stories. I think the latter did it better – Macon Blair is just so arresting in the lead role; that baby face and those big eyes really drive the ludicrousness of his situation home. Both are excellent films, though.