Before it reaches its second act, Hereditary has already shown its hand. It’s a shame, because to propel the film forward, writer/director Ari Aster conjures up the most emotionally convincing and gut wrenching sequence you’ll see on screen this year. As a film about loss and grieving, though, it’s hard to sit back and fully appreciate Aster’s feature debut when the hardships the Graham family faces are experienced in oversaturated waves, leaving one feeling broken, frustrated, and perplexed.
Following his debut feature, The Eyes of My Mother, Nicolas Pesce returns with another Sundance installment, this time in the form of Piercing, an adaptation of Ryu Murakami’s novel of the same name, who rose to fame with Audition (adapted into the now well-referenced Japanese horror film).
I feel guilty writing that I was disappointed with Insidious:The Last Key. Here I was hoping that it was the last movie in the follow up to the only good idea Insidious: Chapter 2 established: dead ghost hunter Lin Shaye finally conquering the Further!
Every year the BGH crew selects their picks for best and worst horror films of that year. Stay tuned toward the end of the year for our infallible consensus for the best and worst of the year, compiled by our very own genre mega-scholar Jonathan Schnaars.
The end of the year is typically reserved for a handful of films that’ll only ever reach a small audience lest they garner widespread attention. Reaching only 39 theaters in the U.S., Joachim Trier’s Thelma was never given the chance it deserved to play to broader audiences; nor did it score consideration on the Academy’s shortlist for a slot on the 2018 ballot in the Best Foreign Language Film category. It’s a tragic oversight for the film – a Norwegian update of Carrie in many respects, and a refreshingly positive look into female sexuality.
Something is not quite right about My Friend Dahmer. Granted, any film centering the infamous title character is bound to be rife with oddities. The film, though, which provides a humanizing insight into Jeffrey Dahmer’s upbringing, falters for its bold intentions despite a strong lead performance from Ross Lynch and its meditative plot that far from exploits Dahmer’s crimes.
The late Roger Ebert, perhaps, best describes Herk Harvey’s low-budget, surrealist nightmare, Carnival of Souls, as possessing “an intriguing power.” One can see, as Ebert did, how Carnival predated masterpieces from Lynch and Romero: its eerie mood and atmosphere coats an oblique and minimalist story, led by sterile (otherwise detached) characters who – like the audience – understand little of what happens to them.
There are three basic don’ts every player, viewer, and creator of the Saw franchise should know eight movies deep. Don’t: (1) break the rules of Jigsaw’s games, (2) mention Betsy Russell or her character Jill Tuck…ever, and (3) rely on an illogical plot twist that breaks the rules of the universe.
Sometimes with a little scream you need some laughs. Blumhouse’s latest, Happy Death Day, commendably nods to slashers and satires like Scream and The Cabin in the Woods. Though not quite as groundbreaking as those titles, the film certainly delivers on chuckles by poking fun at well-established (and relatively dormant genre) slasher tropes. What makes it engaging, however, is its choice to zero-in on clever characters and precise plotting to deliver an exceedingly good time.
Should vampire films hold sway in theaters once more, let’s hope that they’re like The Transfiguration. Michael O’Shea’s directorial debut is quiet and disturbing – embracing what it so reverently admires, but keenly aware that it cannot tread previous ground.
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