Since we know how important at-home-entertainment is for all of us – every week we do a little “what’s getting released on DVD/on demand/Netflix this week” round up for you, with nice little excerpts of our past reviews and more. You’ll love it. Trust us. This week we scope out the best in 2018 horror films:
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- The Old Man & The Gun. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The Old Man & the Gun is a genre film that cannot be bothered with genre tropes. It is ostensibly a crime caper, the sort that people sometimes lovingly describe as “the type of movie they used to make.” The trouble is that writer/director David Lowery drains the story of any tension, suspense, or conflict. Sure, there are the usual archetypes of cops and robbers, but what interests Lowery is nostalgia. With its old timey title cards and cinematography, Lowery has affection for a period that never really existed in the first place. No one was ever as gentle, mild-mannered, and charming as the characters in this film – especially the criminals. Without much for an audience to sink its teeth into, this film succeeds and fails through the innate charisma of its cast. The trouble is that only a fraction of the cast has the charisma to elevate this material.
- Goosebumps 2. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Sandel, along with writer Rob Lieber (Peter Rabbit) make Goosebumps 2 more of a “Halloween gone wild!” film, missing the blend of kiddie horror and genuine humor that made the first film – and the books themselves – a joy. Goosebumps 2 half-asses much of its ideas, from the use of the creatures, integrating Stine into the story a second time, and especially a strange interest in former Wardenclyffe resident Nikola Tesla. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween doesn’t know how to utilize the brand and its strengths and ends up feeling more like a trick than a treat.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Halloween. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Green’s Halloween absolutely feels different from Carpenter’s and Zombie’s, but its strength lies in the fact that it’s more of a mixture of the two than meets the eye. Green knows what to keep and what to discard. He borrows liberally from the imagery Carpenter created, bt he also keeps the sheen of grime and gore that Zombie brought to the franchise. Just look at the gross and heavily creased Michael Myers mask or Laurie’s mannequin-filled cabin, both of which fit Zombie’s trashy aesthetic like a glove. But if Carpenter is the gin, Zombie is the Campari and Green is the vermouth of this spooky negroni, Wes Craven is that perfect sliver of orange peel balanced delicately on top. From the “new Loomis” jokes to the obvious jabs at Zombie’s version, Green’s Halloween is sprinkled with the meta humor that changed the genre when Craven directed Scream in the 90s. It’s what make the movie feel fresh. The 90s are back. Any Forever 21 cashier can tell you that.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (2018 horror catch-up edition):
- Hereditary (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Festival hype can be a bit of a problem. I’ve written about it before; in the insulated community during a prestigious film festival, critics lean toward hyperbole over accuracy. The early praise for Hereditary is just the latest example. At the Sundance premiere, critics suggested the film is the scariest thing they’ve seen in years, saying it is full of “unspeakable horror.” That sounds exciting, even if it runs the risk of setting expectations so high. Luckily, critics who review film around its theatrical release – myself included – do not write from a festival bubble. I am happy to report Hereditary is indeed an intense film, more creepy than scary, and just may make your skin crawl.
- Annihilation (now on Amazon Prime and Hulu). Here’s what we said in our original review:
In his first film as a director – Ex Machina – Alex Garland knew exactly how to play his audience. Not only did he play his characters against each other through the knowledge each character had, he played his audience against their expectations for this type of film. With Annihilation, Garland throws all of his characters and his audience’s preconceived notions out the window, presenting the idea that a foreign entity from another place would be so baffling, so confounding, that we wouldn’t know where to begin in describing it. Fittingly, Garland has made a film that defies expectations of science fiction, creating a world that is equal parts eerie, stunning, and overpowering.
- Revenge (now on Shudder). Here’s April Wolfe over at The Wrap:
What’s most peculiar and original about this story, however, is that Jen’s killing spree isn’t merely about vengeance. In so many other films from this sub-genre, the victim must take time from their trauma to heal and find strength, plotting and planning, but Jen isn’t afforded that time; it’s kill or be killed in the desert. It’s a fascinating choice Fargeat made to call the film Revenge instead of Survive, but the former injects agency into the female protagonist, and Jen certainly has agency.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.