The first – and perhaps greatest – test any sequel must face is the inevitable comparison to its predecessor. This is a high bar to set for something like 1986’s Aliens as the film it follows, 1979’s Alien, is universally heralded as a masterpiece of both sci-fi and horror. Surprise, surprise: Aliens, which was written and directed by James Cameron before he became that James Cameron, does succeed in trumping its ancestor in many ways.
During one of many introspective moments in writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, as the Earth inches towards what seems to be an inevitable alien-induced apocalypse, Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) posits a theory to his younger brother, Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix). Now this is no offhand musing. It’s the thesis statement of Shyamalan’s film. Graham explains that there are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who see miracles and there are those who see coincidence.
Brothers Clint and Adam are presented as something of a Canadian-flavored odd couple in Devil in the Dark – a new VOD horror movie available on March 7 from Momentum Pictures. Clint is the picture of stereotypical masculinity – he’s a hunter, a blue collar guy who wears flannel to work and has a 5 o’clock shadow no razor could hope to tame. Adam is the opposite – he’s a baby-faced comic book nerd who (allegedly) abhors hunting.
Sadako vs. Kayako – a mash-up that brings together J-Horror’s two most iconic villains and franchises – opens with a young social worker entering a house and calling out to the person to whom she is there to attend. She receives no answer. She moves through the house, calling out again and again, but nothing. Anyone who’s seen any of the Ju-On or Grudge films knows where this sequence is going … only it doesn’t go there.
Machete Kills, the sequel to Robert Rodriguez’s 2010 B-movie action lovefest Machete, begins in an unorthodox way: with a trailer for its own sequel. Of course, nothing about the franchise – which was born as a sub-three-minute fake trailer at the top of Grindhouse and expanded into a pair of hundred-minute-plus features – fits the bill of orthodox.
In 2004’s The Village – the sixth film from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan – the citizens of an isolated town in turn-of-the-century Pennsylvania live in constant fear of the monsters that inhabit the surrounding woods. As we learn, a truce has been struck. The villagers stay out of the creatures’ woods and, in turn, the creatures stay out of the village. However, it becomes clear the agreement is fraying.
In a genre dominated by excess, where the incredible, CGI-powered feats of one superhuman are no longer enough to satiate us thus leading to games of team-building one-upmanship, 2000’s Unbreakable stands apart. Working without the bombast of the average superhero film, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan instead gives viewers a quiet movie. His film’s climax is a dramatic conversation; its big fight scene is more street fight than tightly-choreographed Hollywood showdown.
If you’re a horror fan, then The Disappointments Room probably isn’t for you. If you’re a copywriter, then you probably already recognize it as a gold mine. As a combo spooky-house flick and psychological thriller, it’s neither spooky nor thrilling. That title, though. It’s a ready-made critique on the film’s quality – or lack thereof – and it gives rise to endless variants on the theme of “this movie is so bad it turns whatever room you’re watching it in into a disappointing room.”
Fresh out of rehab, Jackie (Julie Benz) needs a place where she can relax, focus on her newfound sobriety, and start piecing her life back together. The titular sprawling gothic apartment building in Havenhurst claims to offer those things, but, spoiler, it doesn’t. What Havenhurst does have is a history of making people like Jackie disappear. Rather than working on her new life, Jackie starts unraveling a mystery that could end with something far worse and more permanent than a relapse.
Try as you might to forget it, the past can be relentless. That’s particularly true if your past involves accidentally having an affair with the husband of a powerful voodoo priestess, as it does for Dani (Samantha Stewart), the unfortunate soul at the center of VooDoo. Sadly for her – and, as it turns out, viewers – that type of misdeed takes more than a train ticket west and a near-unimaginable month block of vacation time to escape.
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Watch Horror Movies. Drink Drinks.
One Thursday a month, Sophie lays out the rules for a horror film drinking game! Browse our past entires and be on the look out for new ones.
Year End Lists
The Best and Worst Horror Films of 2016
Isn't it neat how everyone's tastes are different? Check out which spooky flicks our crew thought were the best, and worst, in 2016.
Horror Through the Decades
Whether you're a dusty Baby Boomer or a filthy Millenial, you'll no doubt appreciate Andrew's look back into the best horror TV shows since the 1950's
The United States of Horror
Tag along as our spooky patriots give you a tour of the greatest horror settings from around the U-S-of-A