The line between thriller and horror is thin and blurry. The distinction seems primarily used to differentiate audiences, rather than content. Among non-genre fans, it is not uncommon to hear people say that they like thrillers but not horror films, much in the same way people express that they are “spiritual but not religious.” When faced simply with a film’s plot, it can sometimes be hard to guess what genre label a film might garner.

Logan investigates the strange sounds coming from the basement in "The Open House"

Stepping into Netflix's latest horror offering, an uneven thriller called The Open House, is like walking into an actual open house and discovering that it’s mostly the home of your dreams. Mostly. Maybe there’s a toilet in the middle of the kitchen or half of the rooms have their light switches installed on the ceiling. Whatever the gaffe, it leads one to wonder how could a house so otherwise competently constructed feature such blatant mistakes?

James Cameron’s 1989 sci-fi thriller The Abyss took audiences to the steely blue depths of the Caribbean where the film’s plucky, devil-may-care bunch of oil riggers (in these movies aren’t they all?) square off sub-a-sub with a rogue SEAL team. Cameron’s film represents one of the final contemporaneous Cold War allegories in mainstream U.S. cinema. Though multiple edits and a ballooning budget kept the film from financial success it’s stark verisimilitude coupled with groundbreaking special effects endeared it to many critics.

A movie full of awkward stares.  Just full of them. 

Casey and Charile are joined once again by Brad Anderson, to take on the new thriller "Grand Piano" starring John Cusack and Elijah Wood. 

In Eugenio Mira’s “Grand Piano” renowned concert pianist Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) reemerges from early retirement after he chokes during a concert attempting to play the “Unplayable Piece” by his mentor Patrick Godureaux.

As with any horror sub-genre type, the more films that we consume the more we become aware of the rules and possibilities. The slasher genre had its deep cuts during the early to late 1980’s but eventually their impact became that of a paper cut due to their paper thin plots and supposed ending twists. Even the thriller genre isn’t free from fizzling down to a pile of ash. The number of mystery films released with a solid misdirecting plot has become so dismal that any sign of a new iteration is exhausting.

Hollywood always attempts to make the planets align when it comes to horror movies. Taking every successful film from the past and morphing all of those ideas into one film has to work! Right? Sadly, no, that’s not how it works. At least that didn’t work for Warner Bros. crime thriller with a splash of horror mojo, “The Factory”. Take one part “Silence of the Lambs”, a little “Manhunter”, and add every Ashley Judd crime thriller available and “The Factory” is born. While it may be a distorted love child of the past, it has a strong cast, great photography, and a surprisingly twisted twist.

“Twixt” surprised me more than I could have expected. I went into this film blindly, and by the end I chocked it all up to a valiant effort from a first time director. There were some intriguing concepts strewn here and there but overall it felt like an introductory mess. Needless to say when I saw the director and writer of the film I was floored. Francis Ford Coppola, director of iconic films such as “The Godfather” trilogy and “Apocalypse Now”, had taken a stab at the horror genre. The whole feeling of the film changed with that knowledge.