Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The elephant in the room first: a schlocky haunted house movie with Helen Mirren is peculiar; a schlocky haunted house movie with Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke is so peculiar that it goes back around to promising. Because maybe one of them just made a bad choice for a paycheck, but both of them, simultaneously? […]

Quite independently of the quality of any of the films in question, the Cloverfield series-if-that’s-the-word-for-it has taken one of the strangest routes imaginable to willing itself into existence. Cloverfield was always just Cloverfield, and that was it for eight years, when an unrelated in-production film titled The Cellar was mildly retooled and made into 10 Cloverfield […]

Rings is the horror-movie equivalent of stumbling across a decade-old photo of yourself wearing God knows what kind of fashion disaster. Of course you recognise yourself; it’s so recent that you can easily remember that outfit. And yet it feels impossibly long ago that that was the style, that this once seemed normal. So it […]

A little context before we start: Before I Wake was shot in the fall of 2013 (under the name Somnia, but that’s nor here nor there), and was finished by the beginning of 2015, and only a series of corporate bankruptcies have kept it from us till now. That means that when wee little Jacob […]

The crowd with whom I saw Insidious: The Last Key included at least three disconnected groups of apparently high-school aged viewers (5 or 6 per group) who spent too much of the movie talking in stage whispers. This is going somewhere, I promise. It matters that they were all stage whispering because I could hear […]

Ordinarily, the fun challenge of reviewing a highly fucked-up movie that does things movies tend not to is to figure out how to describe it in a way that sounds appealing. The Lure has already taken care of that. This is a Polish musical-horror film set in a tacky disco/strip club in the 1980s – […]

A previous version of this review appeared at the Film Experience. In 2011, Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero co-directed a very dark-hearted short film called Birdboy, based on Vázquez’s comic Psiconautas. It left only a bit of an impression on me at the time, but over the years has clung voraciously to the lower tiers […]

This much we must credit to Devil’s Whisper: it’s certainly not a typical “the creepy old gewgaw has a demon attached” picture, no matter how much it shares the essential beats of one. It’s a movie very much about religion, for one thing (which isn’t quite the same as calling it a religious movie), which […]

Categories: coming-of-age, horror

There is simply no reason at all to have brought the Saw franchise back to life after all these happy, wonderful years, but things happen without reason all the time. And anyway, there was a reason: brand recognition. So here we are, seven Halloweens after the release of the film first released as Saw 3D […]

There was a time once, and not so very long ago either, when a chainsaw-wielding psychopath in a Madea film would have been Madea herself, as was so memorably, dispiritingly seen in the character’s very first big-screen appearance, 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman. But times change, and with Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, […]

The epic tale of Amityville: The Awakening began in 2011 with Dimension Films and Blumhouse Productions announcing the impending release of a found-footage film titled Amityville: The Lost Tapes, due to come out in the winter of 2012; it stretched across six years and seven different planned release dates, as its production over the summer […]

Categories: horror, needless sequels

On paper, almost nothing is actually good about Happy Death Day. And yet, almost certainly, it gave me more pleasure to watch it than any other 2017 horror movie. On such paradoxes is a love of art founded. Although I’m being a bit dismissive. While most everything about Happy Death Day can be accurately predicted […]