Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I hope I will not devalue Lake Mungo if I describe it as a film that feels absolutely perfect for 2008. That suggests, I am afraid, that it has very little to offer for those of us living later than 2008, and this is not at all the case. But I think the film would […]

So, at the start of Amityville: No Escape, this bullshit happens: And there’s a lot we could say about that, no doubt, but I’ll tell you what really gets to me: “inauspicious?” Yeah, I mean that’s one word for it. Assuming that the haunting is what ruins an otherwise elegant dinner party, or something. Point #2 […]

The recap first: before we can know where we are, we must be very certain to know where we’ve been. Now, the notion that there is a thing called the “Amityville series” is a tricky, difficult claim to defend on the merits, but it’s at least the case that there are certain behind-the-scenes maneuverings that […]

Ironically, given that it is a movie expressly and entirely about the communicative power of the moving image, Cameraperson gives us the answer key to understanding everything about it in the form of a title card that precedes any other footage: “For the past 25 years I’ve worked as a documentary cinematographer. I originally shot […]

No movie has ever had such an easy bar to clear as director Adam Wingard and and screenwriter Simon Barrett’s Blair Witch: be better than 2000’s stupefyingly awful Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, unrelentingly terrible and trashy even by the standards of horror sequels. At the same time, Blair Witch had another bar to […]

There are many horror movies that are good until the last act, when they turn into such complete shit that it’s frankly hard to remember what was good about everything up to that point. Many horror movies. The Last Exorcism, from 2010, is not necessarily distinct within that company; it does not start at the […]

All due respect to the recent spate of high-profile horror movies to be critically fêted on account of being actually good, but one of the things that The Babadook and It Follows have in common is that they’re both immensely well-made versions of something that’s already been done. Now, quite unexpectedly, we have the opposite, […]

If there’s anything that could imaginably help The Pyramid to stand out in the cramped world of low-budget horror (spoiler alert: there is not), it would be the surprising way that the film confounds the expectations of first-person camera filmmaking. The film equips itself with a grand total of three POV machines – one documentary […]

There’s no piece of crap quite as infuriating as a piece of crap that had absolutely no right to be so crappy, and as evidence I offer As Above, So Below, a film that manages to squander what should be a completely un-fuck-up-able location even in the hands of the most fumbling boob. In part, […]

15 years after it was the talking point for a whole summer for both horror fans and people who did just about everything in their power to avoid horror, it’s hard to judge The Blair Witch Project simply as a thing unto itself. But then again, it always was. When it was new, the film […]

In my head, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a beloved consensus highlight of 2000s meta-horror that is well understood to be an essential work for genre fans. And maybe that’s how it works in the real world, since every review I read about it seems to contain the sentiment “this is […]

It’s so easy to compare Earth to Echo to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial that it would feel disingenuous not to. Both are about children from suburban subdivisions encountering an extra-terrestrial being; both are metaphors for the experience of being a child in a subdivision, though here things start to break: E.T. is about childhood isolation and […]