Is it just me or is there a LOT of horror out there at the moment? It seems we’re reviewing another small indie horror every week at the week. I’m certainly not complaining, as none of them have been awful, quite the contrary, some have been pretty decent and at least 2 are arguably horror masterpieces…
FUTURE HORROR MASTERPIECES:
Dir: Robert Eggers
Set in 1630s New England, this folktale tells the story of a family of puritans who are tormented by a witch lurking in the woods. Truly terrifying with first rate performances, The Witch plays everything completely straight, doesn’t rely on ironic laughs or trends, but merely sets out to tell a scary story, one that people will tell around a campfire for decades to come.
Dir: Jeremy Saulnier
Some have argued that this isn’t a horror film, but I couldn’t disagree more. This is in the league of Texas Chainsaw or The Hills Have Eyes in terms of the sheer terror, carnage and violence that ensues. A siege story of a punk rock band who wind up driving into a building full of homicidal, psychopathic neo-nazis is the most tense and horrific two hours I’ve spent in a cinema in a very long time. This plays out in the exact opposite way to The Witch and holds nothing back…it’s full on, gory, violent horror, but also takes the time to build characters and ramp tension. It also features some great starring performances from Patrick Stewart and Imogen Poots. What’s not to love?
SCALING DOWN FOR MAXIMUM TENSION
Dir: Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz
This Austrian thriller plays on one of our biggest most primary fears as a child…mommy has changed, and she isn’t our mommy anymore! When a mother returns home from facial surgery covered in bandages and begins acting suspiciously, her twin boys start to suspect and fear that it isn’t her mother under there. A great concept and very deliberately methodically paced, it sneaks up on us and then hits us with some real horror and great twists in the final act.
The Ones Below
Dir: David Farr
It’s difficult not to see the Roman Polanski influence on this British claustrophobic thriller…it would fit nicely in a little boxset alongside movies like The Tenant, Romsemary’s Baby and Repulsion. Relying less on frights and more on tense character interplays, the story centres on expectant couple Kate and Justin and their friendship with the two rather strange new tenants in the flat below, Jon and Theresa, who may not be as friendly as they seem. Like Goodnight Mommy, this is all about character and less about shocks, but that doesn’t make the movie any less creepy…
GOOD, FORGETTABLE HOLLYWOOD FUN:
Dir: Jason Zada
Natalie Dormer stars in this supernatural chiller about a girl who ventures into Aokigahara (also known as the Suicide Forest in Japan) to find her missing sister and has to face several demons, both supernatural and personal. A good fun 12A type of horror for fans of the ‘Insidious’ / ‘Sinister’ stuff. There’s nothing remotely original here but there are enough loud jumps, even some decent performances, to keep you entertained.
The Other Side of the Door
Dir: Johannes Roberts
A horror movie with heart…this spine-chilling ghost tale borrows from classic ghost stories such as The Changeling and The Orphanage and lays its supernatural ghostly foundations on themes that are more melancholic, dealing with issues of grief and loss. Frustratingly it loses some of it’s great tension and character work in the second half as it resorts to lots of jump scares and bad CGI ghosts, but initially the movie shows some real promise and is worth a watch regardless.