Archive for Horror Review

Why I couldn’t finish “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty” (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by Xander Woolf

Curse of Sleeping Beauty Poster

Supposedly based on the Grimm fairy tale “Briar Rose,” The Curse of Sleeping Beauty follows Thomas, a reclusive artist who consistently dreams of a beautiful sleeping woman that he just can’t wake up. When he inherits a property that’s been in his family for generations, his nightmares become real. He has to free Briar Rose from her prison in order to free himself from the property.

It sounds like it could be a beautiful story… if done right.

The movie was so awful, though, we couldn’t even finish it. We got about half-way through and turned it off. This is actually a big deal for Winters and me. In our entire friendship, we’ve only ever turned off three movies.

It’s especially a big deal for me given that I love bad horror movies. I’ll watch bad horror until the cows come home, but I couldn’t finish The Curse of Sleeping Beauty. Here’s why.

1) The acting was atrocious. While the actors were all beautiful in their own right, they weren’t right for the roles. Ethan Peck, at first, seemed perfect for a reclusive artist role. As the movie went on, however, it became obvious that Thomas was supposed to care about both Briar Rose and Linda, the woman helping him learn more about the mysterious property. Ethan Peck, however, continued with his emotionless character, causing his lines to fall flat. India Eisley, who played Briar Rose, was gorgeous in her outfit, but could have spent more time with a dialect coach. Her English accent was reminiscent of that of a teenager pretending to be “posh.” Finally, Natalie Hall’s Linda attempted to be the comic relief, but the delivery of her lines combined with the overall feel of the movie made that attempt fall short. We felt as though each of these actors was only hired because of their good looks.

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2) The script was just bad. The acting probably would have been better if the script was better written. Instead, there were lines that made no sense and major plot holes. Not only that, but near the middle of the movie, the plot changed from straight horror fantasy, where one or two people deal with an evil force, to an ensemble let’s-tackle-this-together movie. The dynamic completely changed when the two extra characters were added. Thomas and Linda were all that were needed, in my opinion.

3) They mixed several cultures together. This goes along with bad script writing, but deserves a point all to its own. The Sleeping Beauty story is of French origin. The movie takes place in America (I think!). All the characters seem to be American or Canadian, with the exception of Briar Rose, who is supposedly British. Richard (Bruce Davison), shows up in a car with a European license plate. And, finally, when they determine what the actual curse is, they reveal that it’s Middle Eastern… Dear writers, pick one and stick to it!

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While those are my three big points, there were a lot of little points as well. Let’s call it nitpicks. First, Thomas’ uncle supposedly lived in the mysterious house for 40 years, but it looked like it hadn’t been lived in for quite a long time. Second, Thomas at one point says he just wants to get out of this “godforsaken town,” but there was no introduction of the town itself or Thomas’ interaction with it. Finally, there’s a scene where a bunch of mannequins are attacking Thomas and Linda, attempting to protect the secret of the house from outsiders, and I was just reminded of an episode of Doctor Who, which took me right out of the story.

I didn’t see the ending, but absolutely nothing could have made this movie worth it. I assume Briar Rose turned out to be evil and they had to defeat her. Otherwise, they never would have introduced Linda as Thomas’ other love interest. I also assume that the 53 people who had gone missing on the property were the people inside the mannequins. But, hey, I could be wrong.

Watch it for yourself and tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

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Review: Don’t Breathe (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Written and Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette

What’s it about?
Three amateur thieves (Levy, Minnette, Daniel Zovatto) devise a plan to steal $300,000 from a disabled veteran (Lang) living in a house in an abandoned neighborhood in Detroit. The plan goes wrong, however, when they find they’re stuck in a house with a trained killer.

What did I think?
These kids are dumb. I can’t express how dumb these kids are. First of all, the man may be blind, but blind people can hear and smell really, really well. Don’t take your shoes off and certainly don’t take steps backwards if you’re not absolutely sure there’s not a creaky floor board. Secondly, the man’s a veteran. He’s not going to be defenseless, even if he is disabled. He had four locks on his front door for Christ’s sake.

I can’t say I was really scared during this movie. The people in danger broke into a house in a Stand Your Ground state. Of course the owner’s going to use deadly force to defend himself, his money, and the girl he’s got tied up in the basement. You can’t just walk in with one pistol and think you’ll be alright. I had no empathy for the main characters, so I found that I didn’t care what happened to them. This made the jump scares and the general suspense far less effective.

I’d much rather see the story of the girl he had tied up. Sure, he explained it, but that’s a far scarier situation to be in. Make that movie. Don’t try to make me empathize with a bunch of burglars who should know full well they’re in a Stand Your Ground state. He had every legal right to kill the intruders in his home, regardless of whether or not he has a hostage in the basement.

The acting was pretty good, though, despite the premise. Though, to be honest, not a lot of talking happened in this movie. The few times the main characters did talk (which, of course, was at the worst times), they were immediately bombarded with a bullet. They barely even had full conversations during the exposition, which I can get behind. The less talking, the less any particular actor can ruin a scene. Though, they all did facial expressions really well. And, because they had to be quiet to avoid this killer, there was no fake horror movie scream. Thank you for that, Fede Alvarez.

Do I recommend it?
Yeah, it’s pretty much just like every other horror movie, so you might as well go watch it. The main characters make bad decisions, so at least it’s a good opportunity to yell at your screen, if you haven’t done that in awhile.

Review: Tattletail (Video Game)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2017 by Lilliandra Winters

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Furbies were fucking everywhere. I mean everywhere. You couldn’t get away from them. If you didn’t have one, then you knew someone who did and that was that. They were adorably creepy and I can’t tell you how entertaining I find it that my mother was constantly jump scared by mine. I remember they weren’t allowed to be in most places because they held the ability to record. Fast forward and those of us who find dolls terrifying now have a reason to fear furbies, or Hatchimals, if you want to be more current.

So, it’s days before Christmas and you wake up in the middle of the night to go peek at your presents and discover that you are receiving a Tattletale, the hit toy for the holiday season. You are so eager that you open it up and immediately play with it, but the Tattletale is much more than it seems. The Tattletale is increasingly demanding, requiring grooming, actual food and charging at its station in the basement. Also, don’t forget about Mama.

This game is fucking terrifying. It combines several fears together and shoves them into a child’s toy. After the first night, I am constantly wondering why you would go back but it seems like these fuckers, once unleashed, will NOT go back to sleep. Every night, you have to deal with this tiny demon, feeding, brushing and charging. However, Mama doesn’t like you. (THEY NEVER SAY WHY, SHE JUST DOESN’T, LIKE A JUDGEMENTAL BITCH!) You are sent on these crazy quests, having to take Tattletale with you (who WON’T SHUT UP). (I KNOW YOU LOVE ME, SHUT UP ALREADY!) However, there is a reason for the chaos. You realize that shit is much worse than previously thought, it is creepy as fuck once you figure it out. Don’t forget to collect all of the eggs for the ‘good’ ending.

This game is amazing. The concept is terrifying. It’s well written, the art/graphics are incredible, and the music/sound creates so much anxiety on top of what you already have to go through. Panic on top of panic is how you want to play a horror game. An extreme sense of urgency makes it easy to forget that you are a terrified child just trying to survive your own Christmas toys and make it the joyous holiday of gift giving. I can’t give this enough praise, the fear is real, the ending is almost perfect and I’m setting every Furbie I see on fire. Play it for yourself, FFS it’s only $5! Prepare for some jump scares and have fun sleeping!

Review: Sinister (2012)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Thompson, James Ransone, Clare Foley

What’s it about?
A true crime writer (Hawke) moves his family to a new town in order to write his next best-selling book about a young girl who went missing. In the process, he comes across a box full of home movies that depict the gruesome deaths of several families. As he and his family begin to go crazy, they have to figure out who’s behind these murders and try to stop the same fate from happening to them.

What did I think?
Sinister keeps you on the edge of your seat. In true horror fashion, it keeps its audience in the dark until the very chilling end.

The acting is superb. Ethan Hawke plays crazy writer well, and that’s a hard role to fill as it’s been done so many times. Clare Foley is just the right amount of creepy to fill the role of the creepy horror kid.

The plotline wasn’t anything special, though the ending was definitely not what I expected. You have your typical, “strange things are happening, main character thinks he’s crazy” plotline up until you find out what’s actually going on. That’s where the true beauty of this film lies. The twist ending was not only terrifying, but also left me feeling sick and uncomfortable – the sign of good horror.

Do I recommend it?
Well, yeah. I mean, you’ve probably already seen it, but if you haven’t – watch it! It’s currently playing on Netflix.

Review: The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

Game by: Michael Lutz
Platform: PC

The Uncle who Works for Nintendo is a weird choose-your-own-adventure horror indie game. Unlike most games that I adore, this is visual novel. I avoid these like the plague since they’re not as interactive as I’d like video games to be.

What’s it about?
Diving into it, you are a kid sleeping over at your best friend’s house. You have dinner with his parents, play video games with your buddy and unravel the weirdest tale possible.

What did I think?
The artwork is sketched backgrounds, beautifully simple and effective, with a few sound effects and some creepy atmosphere that only intensifies the incredible story. A story about a night at your best friend’s house and their uncle who works at Nintendo.

I’m not going to go into the story, but it’s perfectly written and free, so I urge you to play. It has 5 endings and a hidden one that takes some work to get to, but I have faith in you. You’ll get it.

It’s incredibly creepy, completely worth your time and very, very creepy pasta.

Maybe I need to stop giving visual novels a bad wrap?

Do I recommend it?
Play it, thank me or yell at me. Tell me what you think.

WintersOver4

Review: Hellevator

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

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Since Hellevator has been renewed for a second season, I thought I would take a look at the show and its success.

Having first released in 2015 under Blumhouse Productions, the Soska Sisters started an american horror game show, words I can say I never thought I’d see together. However, in the age of American Horror Story being on network TV, this isn’t far fetched.

The Soska Sisters, or The Twisted Twins, are producers, screenwriters, directors and even actresses. Their film, American Mary, is on my list of must watch horror movies and I find myself even more interested now. They are the hostesses of Hellevator and I can see why.

The show is about three contestants who have to ride the elevator down and survive four floors. Each floor is a series of jump scares and terrifying challenges that a contestant must get through. They have to complete their tasks and run back to the elevator before the time runs out. Completing the floor successfully means you win the prize amount for that floor and are able to help your teammates on other floors as well as join the combined effort on the fourth and final floor.

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The Soska Sisters

Each floor gets harder, but grants more money when you beat it. Each teammate MUST do a floor, but the order is up to you. Of course, each new episode follows a new tale of dread that the twins weave to the contestants over the speakers. From the stories I’ve checked out, they are all made up. I was hoping that they would be a little bit more wrapped in urban legend, but the stories are frightful enough to be entertaining.

So the doors open up, the contestant runs out. Typically they encounter horrifying actors before finding their way into the puzzle room. While in that room, the teammates in the elevator try to help with walkie talkies while looking at a screen to see what’s going on. The elevator opens up to provide some crucial piece that’s needed for their friend to beat the puzzle and return to them in the minimal amount of time provided. If they don’t complete and return, the elevator closes and continues on, leaving the lagging teammate trapped on that floor.

After all three floors, they have the option to win an additional $20,000 on the final floor. All remaining teammates must get through the labyrinth, grabbing as much money as they can and getting back to the elevator before their time runs out. If each floor is completed ($5,000, $10,000, and $15,000) plus all the money is grabbed in the labyrinth ($20,000), three contestants could walk out with $50,000, which is a nice chunk of change for getting the crap scared out of you.

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Contestants on the Show

I love the concept. I love the twins. However, for me, something is missing. Maybe I’m desensitized? I love horror, haunted houses, all of it, so maybe the veil is too thin for me and I can see the man behind the curtain. My favorite moments are how utterly dismissive and bored the twins sound when anyone is doing well. Their delight at the terror and fear of the contestants fills me with a twisted joy.

If you are into watching other people get the crap scared out of them or two awesome horror ladies laughing at other peoples’ misery, this is the show for you. Even if you’re not, check it out. It is definitely not like anything else on TV right now and we need a little more of that, in my opinion.

Now Xander and I just have to figure out how to get on the show. I think we would be able to do it.

WintersOver4

Review: Silverfish (Book)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2016 by thiathebard

Author: Hobie Anthonysilverfish
Publisher: Tentacles Press
Date Released:December 7, 2015

Review by Bridget Cannon

Silverfish is a compilation of short horror stories by Hobie Anthony. The setting is a dystopian world ruled by one twisted man. The stories have different settings and twists while keeping with the overall theme. Despite the theme, and the hard work that was clearly put into the stories, I was not a fan of Silverfish.

The stories in Silverfish were not a style that I am overly fond of reading. Particularly the first story which shares the name of the main volume itself.

The first story utilizes a style of writing that can be confusing if the reader is not accustomed to it. The lack of punctuation and flow was off putting until I realized what Anthony was doing with the story. Instead of it adding to the story, I found it disjointing. It is set in a dystopian future that heavily utilizes shock and sex in the narrative. There was one twist that I did enjoy, but other then that it fell flat for me.

The other stories do have a better pace. Perhaps if Anthony had started with one of them, it would have been a better way for the reader to be introduced to his writing.  I did enjoy Anthony’s verbiage. After getting past the first story his vocabulary was able to shine.

There was a story that I did enjoy called “A Cleaner Today, A Brighter Tomorrow.” It was able to keep the grit and shock that are a big part of the overall novel. The main character in this story was a lot more interesting to me then the others. She seemed less flat than the others.

 Silverfish has a lot of great tropes. I can see where the author tried to make his characters gritty and have more of an anti-hero quality. A lot of them just felt like I was reading caricatures that were meant to shock me, though they never really did.

The idea behind the stories were good. It just never really reached the point where I was scared or excited. 

While I did not enjoy it as much, it has gotten some very good reviews on Amazon, so if you like dystopian or shock horror, perhaps you might want to try it.