It’s that time of year where people actively seek what goes bump in the night, and for Halloween 2016 we have commited ourselves to exploring Netflix to find the horror films on offer that you may or may not have seen. What horror films did we find? And more importantly were they any good?
Dir. Jordan Galland, 2015
This was easily the most quirky horror film I’ve watched on Netflix in recent memory. A young woman has to piece her life back together after being possessed by a demon for 28 days. Following the exorcism she has no memory of what happened during the time she was possessed, nor does she recall how it happened. Regardless she must deal with the consequences of her actions, which includes joining a rehabilitation program for people who’ve suffered from possession.
As I mentioned before Ava’s Possessions is a quirky horror comedy that takes a humorous look at what might happen following somebodies possession. It’s not as funny as it should be, but it certainly raised a few smiles throughout its 90 minute running time. With supporting roles from Dan Fogler, William Sadler, Lou Taylor Pucci, and Deborah Rush it carries plenty of weight in it’s cast that give the film a solid backbone. If you’ve seen your fair share of supernatural films with exorcisms and demonic possession it’s a breezy watch.
Dir. Miguel Ángel Vivas, 2015
Living in a post apocalyptic world, in the harsh winter conditions of a remote town called Harmony are three survivors, Jack, Patrick, and Lu. Once close friends Jack and Patrick have grown apart over the years living in isolation, and after the death of a beloved friend Emma they keep away from one another despite living opposite each other. That is until the zombies which they thought now extinct have resurfaced, evolved and deadly.
Any time a new zombie film is made my eyes roll a little deeper into my skull. A genre I so lovingly adored, and still do, has been utterly bastardised in this new millennium. It’s no secret that the genre is played out, and the post apocalyptic genre is getting there. However if there was a film to watch that thankfully changes the pace from the usual breakneck blood thirsty speed of the common zombie film it’s Extinction. The film is a very patient character driven piece that looks at the relationship between these three characters surviving in a world with nobody else. The zombies themselves play a minor roll until the action packed finale as they fight for their lives. The pacing is a touch slow, and it takes a little too long to reveal why Jack holds a grudge against Patrick, but the film is a welcome change from the monotonous zombie film drivel we’ve been force fed in the last ten years. Plus having Jeffrey Donovan and Matthew Fox in any film makes my day a happy one.
Dir. Tom Holland, 1996
After Billy, an obese lawyer, is cleared of killing an old gypsy woman in a car accident when he wasn’t paying attention (He was getting a blowjob of course!), and the towns law enforcement and courts cover it up, he is afflicted with a gypsy curse that will make him thinner and thinner until death.
There was a craze in the nineties to adapt every Stephen King adaptation book or novella ever written. The authors work was a hot commodity, and has been responsible for some really fun films, but boy I tell you Thinner has not aged well at all. Considering Thinner came out in the same year as Scream it says a lot that it looks ten years older than it. Obviously a film tackling gypsy curses is never going to be more than a bit of midnight movie fun, but Thinner struggles to even maintain that distinction. It’s simply daft from start to finish, and despite being only 90 minutes it felt like it went on forever. Joe Mantegna provides a sort of entertainment as a crime boss that helps Billy try to get rid of his curse with some over the top antics, but you certainly wouldn’t think this was a film that came from the man who directed genre classics Fright Night or Child’s Play.
Dir. Nick Willing, 2014
The Hamilton family move out to a dilapidated manor in the Yorkshire Moors in order for the mother, Meg Hamilton to carry out restoration work to restore the building to its original grandeur. However there is more to this manor house than the work to be carried out, the discovery of secret rooms and unusual events suggest something supernatural is going on.
Olivia Williams and Matthew Modine head the cast as the parents of the family renovating the house. Their experience lends quality to the film, but aside from a couple of creepy occurrences it’s fairly standard supernatural stuff that fails to realise it’s potential.
Dir. Gary Shore, 2014
Dracula Untold re-imagines the story of Vlad the Impaler by making him a man who willingly becomes a vampire to protect his family and land from an invading Ottoman army. Luke Evans stars as Vlad, with Dominic Cooper as Mehmed the leader of the rival army, and Charles Dance as the vampire who bestows the curse onto Vlad.
The classical monsters of the horror genre have had a rough time in recent years, and by no means does Dracula Untold make any waves in restoring them to previous heights, but it’s a light watch for an action/horror film. Luke Evans continues to prove his charm as a leading man against a backdrop of great visuals, the action is pretty decent as well but Dracula himself borders on being superhero rather than relentless bloodsucker.
Dir. Luca Bercovici
After moving back into his family home with his partner and no knowledge of his parents lives, Johnathan discovers some old books containing rituals and soon becomes possessed by urges to fulfil them. After successfully summoning some evil creatures Johnathan obsesses over acquiring more power and looks to carry out a dangerous ritual to achieve it.
Let me just get this our there, this film is not good (Can you not tell by the poster?). In fact it’s god awful. If you want a film so bad, and I mean so so bad you’ll laugh then Ghoulies is your choice for this year. It’s not quite Troll 2 but it certainly gives it a go. The film contains creatures that are no more than evil hand puppets, shocking acting and some daft practical effects. The only rub is that to get a semblance of stupidity from the film you have to sit through 54 minutes of uneventful crap to get there. If that hasn’t sold you, where else can you see a corpses wriggle around the floor like worms at the behest of an evil man?
I wish I could say this Halloween was a successful foray into the world of Netflix in search of horror old and new, unfortunately it wasn’t. However if you haven’t seen any of the above then they are all worth at least one watch, but in case I didn’t get the point across already…Ghoulies is terrible, but if your intoxicated well that is another matter altogether.