The Hallow (2015)

Rating: 6 of 10

movie poster The Hallow (2015)A dark fantasy inspired by Irish myths and folklore that’ll make you extra vigilant the next time you go wandering in the woods.

Synopsis: “When a conservationist is sent to Ireland with his wife and infant child to survey an area of forest believed to be hallowed ground by superstitious locals, his actions unwittingly disturb a horde of demonic creatures who prey upon the lost. Alone and deep within the darkness of the remote wilderness, he must now fight back to protect his family against the ancient forces’ relentless attack.” (source)

My thoughts: When mainstream audiences, especially those who don’t read a lot, hear “fairy tale,” they think Disney and cute characters and poofy skirts and happily-ever-afters for everyone (except the “villains,” of course). The truth is, fairy tales are dark, scary, and often filled with all sorts of horrible goings-on. And that’s not even taking into account stories with actual faeries, based on the ‘Fae’ or ‘Fair Folk’ as they’re sometimes called.

So I was pleasantly surprised to discover THE HALLOW, which I at first took for a run-of-the-mill creature feature. Turns out this is one terrifying supernatural horror movie! Outstanding effects made the “creatures” even more ghoulish and frightening, and I especially enjoyed the depiction of changelings. The isolated setting and the mysterious “fungus” evoked such a feeling of claustrophobia and suffocation that I felt their influence right along with Adam and Claire. The ending says, to me, that no matter how much we tear down and destroy, nature will always fight back.

Highly recommended if you enjoyed films like PAN’S LABYRINTH or NEVERLAKE.

Check out THE HALLOW on IFC Midnight | on IMDb | on Facebook | Watch the trailer

(Watched on Netflix 6/10/2016)

The Stranger (2014)

Rating: 8 of 10

movie poster The Stranger (2014)A bleak vampire movie, though it doesn’t name itself as such, viewers will either love or hate.

Synopsis: “A supernatural thriller, laced by flashbacks, and set in Canada’s North-West, THE STRANGER turns on the mysterious titular figure of Martin, who comes to a small quiet town seeking to kill his wife Ana who suffers from a very dangerous decease that makes her addicted to human blood – just like himself. However, when he arrives to the town, he discovers that Ana has been dead for a couple of years and decides to commit suicide to definitely eradicate this dangerous decease, but, before he can do it, Martin’s brutally attacked by three local thugs led by Caleb, the son of a corrupt police lieutenant, and the incident suddenly starts a snowball that will plunge the community into a bloodbath.” (source)

My thoughts: THE STRANGER is a quiet movie, that is, until the explosions of bloody violence. It never panders to the audience and refuses to be anything it’s not. A slow-burn story with a payoff only for those receptive to the love story hidden beneath the brutality. Cristobal Tapia Montt was riveting; the angst, the inner turmoil, the suffering – intense!

Highly recommended if you enjoyed movies like CANNIBAL or AFFLICTED.

Check out THE STRANGER on IFC Midnight | on IMDb | Watch the trailer

(Watched on Netflix 10/8/2015)

Neverlake (2013)

Rating: 7 of 10

movie poster Neverlake (2013)Don’t be fooled by the poster art. NEVERLAKE is an atmospheric dark fantasy that feels more like a forgotten Italian fairy tale than a modern horror film.

Synopsis: “A teenager visiting her estranged father in Italy stumbles across the Neverlake, an ancient lake said to be guarded by the spirits of the dead. There she befriends a peculiar group of children who are each plagued by strange injuries. As she uncovers the horrific secrets behind the lake – and her new friends – she becomes haunted by disturbing visions that connect to her own mysterious past. However, the ghosts of the past may be more dangerous than she ever thought possible.” (source)

The poster really is misleading. While the movie is scary, it relies more on creepy atmosphere and mystery than the carnage normally associated with modern horror movies. There is a sort of medical thriller/body horror angle involved, but the overall tone of the movie ends up closer to classic horror. Seasoned viewers will likely see the twist coming after a certain point, but it’s a fun journey filled with plenty of thrills and chills.

Highly recommended if you enjoyed movies like PAN’S LABYRINTH, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE or THE ORPHANAGE.

Check out NEVERLAKE’s official website and trailer | on IMDb

(Watched on Netflix 1/31/2015)

5 More Must-See Indie Horror Movies

Image girl screaming with hands upA sequel to 7 Must-See Indie Horror Movies, one of my most visited posts, presents five more must-see independent horror movies for all the movie junkies out there.

Okay, technically, a couple of these may not be classified as horror but rather thrillers; they’re worth sharing whatever the genre. Zombies, mind-benders, slashers and the paranormal are all featured below.

Please note: I haven’t watched these movies in their entirety yet, only the trailers.

Continue reading 5 More Must-See Indie Horror Movies

Suicide Girl (2010) – A Horror Short Film

While many readers might find it sad that I discovered horror short films only about six months ago, I’m just grateful I found them. Short stories and short films seem to be the way horror was intended to be delivered and they almost always satisfy my cravings for the macabre.

Some of the first shorts I watched were those from Fewdio, specifically Bedfellows by Drew Daywalt.

I’ve waited patiently for Drew’s new web series, Camera Obscura, which I believe will finally be available in 2010. (Watch the trailer.) But what will I watch until Camera Obscura is released?

Well, Drew has posted little nuggets of nightmares on …continue reading

The Echo (2008) – Horror Movie Review

Supernatural elements? Check.  An attractive, vulnerable but not totally helpless, somewhat damaged protagonist? Check.  A formidable antagonist with a penchant for violence? Check.  Spooky setting? Check. A well-written story? Check.

What more could a fan of scary movies ask for?

4 stars out of 5

I rented The Echo (2008) from Netflix on 11/28/2009 and watched it at 1 AM, which I only advise if you can handle being disturbed late at night. Personally, I wouldn’t watch it again any later than 11 PM. …continue reading