The Friendship Game is basically if somebody said “hey remember that movie Truth Or Dare (2018) that was terrible and almost everyone forgot about? What if we somehow made an even worse version of that?” That’s what you get here and if that was the intention well then they succeeded because The Friendship Game is a incoherent mess that is so bafflingly bad, the mix of teen melodrama with the horror elements is painfully dull and puts the movie at a complete stop pacing wise. By far the worst part of the movie is the editing, it’s not so much of how bad it really is it’s that scenes are edited out of order leading to the story making very little sense at all and looking like a broken down vehicle. The characters are the most cliched teen horror characters you could come up with, Peyton List and the rest of the cast are not given enough to work with leading to all the performances being painfully wooden. By far one of the worst movies of the year.
The Friendship Game is available on all VOD platforms.
Terrifier 2 is definitely a film I did not expect to love as much as I did, Terrifier 2 is a sequel to the 2018 film Terrifier which I actually thought wasn’t too bad, it definitely wasn’t a film that I would consider to be one of my favorites but it did live up to the expectations. Art The Clown became a newish horror villain thanks to the short film Terrifier (2011) and All Hallows Eve (2013). Terrifier 2 takes everything that wasn’t exactly great about the first movie and completely does a backflip and I mean that in the best possible way. There is so much to Terrifier 2 despite just being a killer clown movie, but let’s start with the basics, for starters the atmosphere of the film which it’s this low budget (has a budget of $250,000) truly works here, often times it would be a bit distracting and take away from a movie. But in this case Terrifier 2 knows what it wants to be and it does that quite perfectly, the cast is truly a huge plus for this movie. As they always seem like they are having the time of their lives on set and who could really blame them? David Howard Thornton returns as Art the Clown and he does a tremendous job, he truly makes Art into a very expressive and villain who can go from being hilarious to downright nasty with a blink of an eye, it truly works in the film’s favor. Especially when it’s going for being a very very dark comedy, Lauren LaVera is the other major standout from the cast mainly due to how well she plays Sienna and just how much fun Sienna is as a character. At first she may seem like your ordinary older sister type character but she quickly becomes quite interesting and so much fun, we get to learn more about her character and slowly but surely learn about her father as well which also gives Sienna character development. LaVera’s performance is truly fantastic and really delivers one of the most fun performances of the year. The gore combined with the kills are nasty but truly incredible, a lot of it has the spirit of the classic splatter film combined with a dreamlike slasher film that opens many doors to creative and haunting kills. A lot of the gore really shows how nasty Art the Clown is as a villain, he truly doesn’t mess around at all and gets quite brutal very quickly. The final battle scene is truly fantastic stuff as well, it’s very well filmed, the music is booming and it’s such a satisfying ending to a incredibly entertaining film. What makes Terrifier 2 so great is that it’s wildly entertaining and just keeps stacking up, as I said before it captures the spirit of the classic splatter film extremely well and really nails that down in the best possible way. Terrifier 3 has been confirmed and I truly can’t wait to see what that has in store.
Run Sweetheart Run is a film that is not subtle at all, it establishes very early on that it’s a #MeToo type of film. Which I’m definitely all for and at times the movie uses that quite well, Ella Balinska gives such a fantastic and fun performance here, she really gives it her all here and completely steals the show in every single way possible. The “RUN” title card sequences when Cherie (Balinska) is in danger are very fun and creative, mixed with some thrilling atmosphere as well a very solid score to go with it. The vampire elements I have to say are solid and actually do a few things differently, it’s just a tad frustrating that they aren’t used to the full potential. Ultimately what stops this movie from being even better is the script, as I said before it’s not subtle at all which leads to many problems as the movie goes on, the dialogue from the other characters is on the weak side and none of them really have any memorable or distinct personalities outside of their respective ones they are given. The third act does have a twist that is quite engaging but unfortunately is a bit too late to really sink in or to do anything memorable with. Run Sweetheart Run clearly had a lot of potential to be great and I truly hope Ella Balinska is given a better horror film to work with in the near future.
Run Sweetheart Run is available on Amazon Prime Video.
In case Hellboy and The Reckoning weren’t proof enough that the glory days of Neil Marshall are over than The Lair just confirms it. While The Lair isn’t as bad as the two previous mentioned movies it’s still a horrible addition to Marshall’s career. It’s pretty much if you took any sci-fi movie where a bunch of creatures attack from the last 10 years and did absolutely nothing new with it, the acting and writing are beyond abysmal and like in The Reckoning there’s a few so bad it’s hilarious moments but not enough to save this movie. Even the actions scenes and creature designs are very poor, I get this was on a low budget but a lot of it was very uninspired a huge disappointment due to knowing how capable Marshall is as a director and his creativity. Which is probably the main point I’m trying to get across here, the creativity is just no longer in his movies, The Descent, Dog Soldiers and Centurion had so much creativity, atmosphere and character to them that were and still are really great (The Descent being one of my favorite horror films of all time) the same can’t be said for The Lair, it’s a terrible sci-fi monster movie that is very disposable that you will quickly forget about after watching.
Definitely not a whole lot to say here, Matriarch has it’s positives such as the acting that is all around pretty solid and the atmosphere combined with the cinematography creates at times a haunting type of experience. The major problems here mostly stem from the movie not using it’s themes all that well, the movie is definitely trying to say something about childhood trauma and combine it with slow burn elements. The problem is there’s been films that have come before it that have done this exact type of thing a lot better, the last 25 or so minutes are definitely the standout here where the movie just goes off the rails (in a good way) but by then it’s a bit too late to bring you back into the movie. It’s a shame because the ideas presented (some light body horror stuff) are quite interesting but the rest of the movie really takes away from it, Matriarch isn’t a bad attempt and might actually work fine enough for some people but there are definitely better options out there.
Slayers is what happens when you have no idea what you want your movie to be so you throw whatever you can at the wall and none of it sticks. Thomas Jane and Abigail Breslin are tolerable, but the Jane’s voice over narration is nothing but filled with exposition or not relevant information that the viewer isn’t going to need. Way too much stock footage of random clips from TV or the internet and it’s a piss poor attempt of combining the vampire and social media horror subgenres, it doesn’t help that this doesn’t feel like a vampire movie, I wouldn’t mind that so much if it wasn’t done in such uncreative ways, lastly there’s the “lol random” type of humor that hasn’t been funny in a movie since forever. Terrible movie all around and one to completely avoid.
Hounded (or The Hunt) is if you took The Hunt (2020) and somehow made an even worse version of it, the movie suffers from almost the exact same problems. From very poor development of why idea of the movie is actually happening, to the very weak writing that really doesn’t explore the surroundings of the main characters or even the characters themselves. There’s actually some surprisingly decent kills here that for what the movie had to work with is actually quite impressive, the setting is actually beautiful and actually fits the movie pretty well. The issue is the movie doesn’t do a whole lot with it, at least The Hunt used it’s setting in some effective ways (although there were very few moments) here it just doesn’t happen unfortunately. There’s great ideas here they just aren’t fully realized.
Hounded is available on all VOD platforms.
One type of small genre of films that I have a soft spot for are killer inanimate objects, or people and things that wouldn’t normally kill people but they for some reason do in the movie (Zombie Cats From Mara, Thankskilling, Santa’s Slay) these types of movies tend to be a lot of fun and go on to be some bad they are hilarious movies. But like every genre not every single one of these movies is successful and that’s the case with The Killing Tree or The Demonic Christmas Tree. Like with some movies in this genre it doesn’t fully take advantage of the absurd nature of the idea of a killer Christmas tree, instead it mostly goes over the characters and their past which really doesn’t help since the characters are about as interesting as cardboard cutouts. The biggest problem with this movie is it’s just not funny, outside of maybe one or two jokes the movie again doesn’t take advantage of the premise. The kills are about what you expect but are yet the best part of the movie, it’s a shame because this idea could work but instead it’s just largely forgettable and executed in the most dull way possible.
The Killing Tree or Demonic Christmas Tree releases tomorrow on all VOD platforms.
Halloween Ends is the final of the David Gordon Green trilogy of Halloween movies and the thirteenth film overall of the franchise, I will start out by saying that Halloween Ends is not going to be for everyone. It’s a very different film that doesn’t completely focus on being a full on slasher film as it does with the concept of evil and how it goes from person to person, there’s also the theme of the people of Haddonfield suffering as well. Jamie Lee Curtis and Andi Matichak are both fantastic here, they really give it their all and truly give some worthy performances of closing out the trilogy. The kills are of course quite great some of which being some pretty brutal ones that really capture the atmosphere of the film quite well, Corey Cunningham is a pretty interesting character that the film focuses on and the evil that is trying to take him, while the concept itself does have some weak moments as there are some script issues. The concept itself for the most part is pretty well done and actually captures the dark atmosphere the film has, there’s a lot more character moments in Halloween Ends than a lot of the other movies which is actually a breath of fresh air. The final moments of the film is a very strong wrap up to the trilogy and really captures the suffering of Haddonfield coming to end very well, overall Halloween Ends is a very different approach to the series and is a really strong one!
Halloween Ends is available in theaters and on Peacock!
V/H/S/99 is the fifth entry in the V/H/S series, this is a series that I often look forward to especially with it’s incredibly strong return from last year. There’s 5 segments here and I’ll talk a bit about each of them, it’s worth noting that this time around there isn’t an overarching frame narrative in between the shorts. Instead it’s some bits with toy soldiers that in a later short are used, the toy soldier bits are just sort of whatever. They are fun for the most part but really aren’t anything to write home about.
Shredding directed by Maggie Levin is the first short and a pretty decent way to start off the movie, it’s a simple premise of a punk rock group who pull pranks break into a venue and are attacked by zombies. The gore is really great, the atmosphere is quite effective and the pacing is very well done, the segment doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and knows what it is trying to accomplish.
Suicide Bid is directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down and its sequel, The Strangers Prey At Night, Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City). The premise is once again pretty simple a college freshman named Lily wants to be part of a Beta Sigma Eta so she has to be part of a ritual where she’s buried underground in a coffin for a night. The first half of the segment is really strong, there’s a great sense of claustrophobia when we see the scenes of Lily trapped in the coffin and it’s quite effective. It’s what happens afterwards that’s on the weak side, the revenge against the Sigma Eta sisters is way too rushed I get that it’s a segment but everything goes by so quickly giving little time for the viewer to breathe. However I don’t think it’s a bad short, the pacing is just a bit too fast.
Ozzy’s Dungeon directed by Flying Lotus is the standout segment of the film, it’s an insanely weird segment that really goes all out and isn’t afraid to hold back. The premise centers around a children’s game show called Ozzy’s Dungeon where kids compete against each other in physical challenges whoever wins gets a wish granted, the segment starts out straightforward enough the second half reaches a revenge aspect to it that’s quite gory and reaches a disturbing atmosphere that is truly effective. The acting is pretty fun and the found footage element is truly the most effective here, combine that with the dark humor and you have yourself a really satisfying short.
The Gawkers directed by Tyler Maclntyre (Tragedy Girls) is the weakest segment of the movie, it’s a bunch of teenagers who try to get this girl’s attention and the girl isn’t who they thought she was. It’s a lot like Amateur Night which was a segment in the first V/H/S. Only that it’s much slower paced and just not nearly entertaining or well written, the humor isn’t funny and the characters are completely flat.
To Hell And Back directed by Vanessa & Joseph Winter (Deadstream) is the final segment and a pretty solid way to close the movie, the premise is two best friends are hired to film witches performing a ritual. The ritual goes haywire and the two friends are sent to hell now they have to find their way out. There’s some really great gore here and the pacing is quite well done with a great atmosphere and creature designs, it’s an entertaining short that like many of the others doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.
Overall V/H/S/99 is a solid addition to the series, outside of a few hiccup moments the film brings what’s come to be expected from the series. Another sequel V/H/S has been announced to release next year!
Significant Other is one of those movies that has the right ingredients to make a really interesting little movie, but only meets at the halfway point. Maika Monroe gives a strong performance here, she really turns what would otherwise be a lot of dull moments into something truly interesting. The atmosphere is definitely there as well, the movie quickly establishes a thrilling and haunting atmosphere that works for quite awhile until the movie starts to become a bit too goofy. Especially during the third act where the twist while I can see what they were going for, doesn’t quite stick it’s landing. It’s a bit too goofy and takes away from the atmosphere that made the movie pretty thrilling, there’s a few decent character moments here that really work and the setting combined with the atmosphere works well. The movie itself just doesn’t fully come together in the end.