Friday, February 5, 2016

January Movie Roundup

I have to say, the year hasn’t started off with a bang for me, horror-wise. I’ve been waiting for some great movie to come along that I’m dying to review, but everything I’ve seen so far has had me solidly in “meh” territory. January is typically a bit of a no-man’s land for cinema, so it’s hardly a surprise, but still. I apologize for not having more in-depth reviews, but I don’t see the point when I have so little to say about most of these movies. Not that all of them (or even most of them) are bad, by any means, just… none of them have been inspiring, you know?

I do have some exciting things in the pipeline, though, I promise! Until then, a quick movie roundup…

Cherry Tree. From the same writers and director as Wake Wood, this movie was mainly a big disappointment because it failed to live up to that one. Wake Wood had such a delightfully eerie, fairy-tale-like quality to it; part of what made it work was how small the scope was, all set within this tiny little village where it seemed possible that a huge secret could be kept within the tightknit community. Cherry Tree has the same impressive production value and tons of creepy visuals, but its reach feels too broad. The plot ends up relying on too many horror clichés (witches and virgins and sacrifices, oh my) and a storyline that feels far too familiar. Even so, Naomi Battrick was excellent in the lead role, and it had enough spine-chilling canniness to make me hopeful that this team will see a return to form with their next project.

Intruders. Intruders started out a strong, gripping home invasion film – very strong. In fact, it was one of the most unique home invasion premises I’ve had the pleasure of seeing: a woman with agoraphobia, trapped inside a house with criminals by her own mental illness, who also happens to have a mysterious past? Color me interested. The first half had me completely stumped and intrigued, and at one point it seemed the story could take off in literally any direction. Unfortunately, the direction it chose turned out to be a pretty big letdown. Still, I think it’s worth seeing for the first half alone.

Regression. Oof. I had renewed faith in Ethan Hawke after he blew me away with Sinister, but it seems my trust in him was to be short-lived. Regression was, truly, not enjoyable. Satanic cults? Conspiracies? Mind control? This movie had all the elements, the perfect recipe for a movie I should have loved! But it threw those ingredients together so haphazardly, so nonsensically, and so lifelessly, it made it a bore to watch. Not even Emma Watson could make this a worthwhile endeavor. If you’re interested in cults, watch House of the Devil (satanic) or Martha Marcy May Marlene (Manson-style).

Turbo Kid. I liked this, but not nearly as much as a lot of other people did. More than anything, I enjoyed it as a goofy riff on Mad Max – a post-apocalyptic world with bike chases instead of war rigs, over the top gore that’s gross but clearly fake, and… well, that’s kind of it. The satire of it only took me so far, and after a certain point I felt the stakes weren’t high enough to keep me really involved. It was fun - and a bright spot in winter - but I don’t see myself revisiting Turbo Kid’s world.

Hellions. Full disclosure: I only made it a little more than halfway through before fast-forwarding to the end of Hellions. The beginning had such promise! I loved Chloe Rose’s character right from the start, and once those kids started showing up in their weird, old-timey costumes (masks made of burlap sacks and metal buckets that were deeply unsettling) I settled down into my pile of blankets and my cup of tea, ready for a deeply satisfying horror experience. Sadly – so sadly – once the storm blew in and the color filter changed to a distracting rose hue, the movie began to lose its way, and I completely lost interest.

What have you been watching lately? Any recommendations in these dismal winter months are greatly appreciated! And be sure to stop by next week for something I’m very excited about…

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