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Added by xxxTheRipperxxx on 10 Nov 2019 01:32
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TDcore's Horror Jounral 2019: November

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People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7


This is a decent horror comedy, that pokes some clever fun at supernatural horror classics. It's an Irish production and has a uniquely Irish sense of humor, that's a mixture of slapstick and deadpan that works surprisingly well. There's nothing the least bit frightening about it, but the laughs are consistent. Stand up comedian Maeve Higgins is wonderful in the lead role, and the film is peppered with sincere emotional moments. It also has a nice, fairly old-school look going for it. But towards the end, it becomes far too busy and begins to feel like a comedy sketch gone out of control. This cluttered sensibility is a stark contrast to the slower, more ironic humor of the first half, and defuses the film slightly. But it's still a highly enjoyable horror comedy for those who enjoy the sub-genre.
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This one has a number of things going for it, including an old-school sensibility and some excellent practical effects work. But it's in the plot that it runs into a myriad of issues. Chief among them being that there isn't an original or unique bone in the film's body. We've seen millions of ghost stories, and heard far more, as tales of the supernatural are one of the founding blocks of the horror medium. It's possible to tell a good ghost story, even now, but it's effectiveness will center much more on atmosphere and creative scares, than anything else. And this film turns into nothing more than a thoroughly cliched morality play, that checks all the boxes on it's way down the list. There's not one twist or turn that hasn't been done, quite literally, hundreds of times before. And no matter how good the film looks, it can't escape the inherent boredom that comes with it's complete lack of identity. Phil Brooks (retired professional wrestler "CM Punk") is great in the lead, and shows the potential to be a charming actor. And when the gore and grime flows, the film is enjoyable for fans of old-school horror, but nothing can save it from it's all-encompassing familiarity. It's a decent effort, but I can't recommend it as anything other than a curiosity.
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People who added this item 95 Average listal rating (64 ratings) 4.8 IMDB Rating 5.4


Here we have what is basically a blatant rip-off of "The Skeleton Key". A bayou ghost story that even plagiarizes it's twist from the 2005 film, and thus is completely lacking in it's own identity. It also doesn't help that the film is directed by Kevin Greutert, a director most well known for editing most of the "Saw" films, mostly because his directorial efforts have proven him to be something of a hack. Greutert has no idea how to imbue a film with any semblence of style, and all of his efforts wind up feeling like Lifetime originals. The film does feature a decent cast, with Sarah Snook in particular, displaying notable talent in the lead role, and it can present a decent mystery. But when it tries to be a horror film, it fails miserably, amounting to nothing more than phoned-in jumpscares and generic haunting tropes. You've seen this all before, with much more personality, and this is one film that doesn't even attempt to cloak it's derivativeness. On top of this, the twist ending is completely wrong-headed, on both a logical and social level, and only serves to make the entire thing quite silly. It's nowhere near one of the worst horror films I've seen, but far from worth your time.
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People who added this item 46 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 4.3 IMDB Rating 5.2


It's somewhat baffling why anyone keeps churning out films this unimaginative. Supernatural horror has struggled to stay original (but not relevant) for some time, yet we still have films like this one, that literally do nothing but regurgitate scenes from countless other films, with increasingly uninspired direction. Who asks for it? I have no idea. But this is one of the worst, most bizare examples in some time. The plotting is as generic as they come, and the scares and horror elements nothing but the remenants of a horse that's been beaten to death. Family moves into haunted house, teenage boy and cute neighbor girl unravel murder mystery, creepy device contacts the dead, etc. There's aboslutely no divergence from the playbook. The bizare aspect is in the human interaction. The script reads out like a deranged young adult novel, filled with pretty girls who just non-chalantly jump into the new kid's bed at night, so he can be their knight in shining armor. The relationship between the lead characters is completely unrealistic and comes off as an incel's wet dream, as well as the characters never developing any meaningful personas. Then a twist comes in at the last minute, that's both generic and obtuse at the same time, and we're left with a film that feels like it was made by aliens immitating human behavior. You can safely forget this mess exists.
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People who added this item 50 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.9


This one has a decent cast going for it, but it ends up feeling like "The Strangers" set on a college campus. The plot is incredibly bare-bones, mostly concerning some sort of cult that is never properly elaborated on. That could've been the most fascinating aspect of the film, but it's instead keen to settle on the expected stalk 'n slash dynamics that have become cliché. Of course, the heroine ends up turning the tables on her terrorizers, but the proceedings are mostly zapped of any suspense or brutality. Director, Olly Blackburn, seems to have no idea how to convey fear, so most of the chase sequences have almost no tension to them. Even if they did, the film is not the least bit original. Even the killer's masks feel like an image we've seen plenty of times before. Haley Bennett is a good leading lady, and does her best to imbue the film with sincerity, but it's not enough. This is a dull endeavor, and one of the most forgettable films I've seen. I'm having trouble remembering it now.
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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.5


This is the second film this year, focusing on a monster inhabited tropical island, to be released from Blumhouse. This one is certainly much better than the aboslutely dreadful, "Prey", but I still find myself wondering how it got picked up by Blumhouse. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine film, but it's nothing more than a very basic creature feature. The plot sympnosis of "girl stranded on island, terrorized by monster" is really as far as the film goes. But it's a decent, effective film for what it is. Kiersey Clemons makes for a likeable lead, and the creature effects are, blessedly, practical. And the monster itself is quite well designed, and very convincing for such a low budget film. There's a few moments of considerable suspense, and the film looks good. It does throw in some other shipwreck survivors halfway through the film, at which point one hopes the narrative will become a bit more thought-provoking, but that ends up mostly going nowhere. This is just a good, old-fashioned monster movie. Enjoy it as a pure genre film, if this kind of thing is up your alley. And if you must see one "monster island" flick this year, please watch this instead of "Prey".
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This one started out with massive potential and a fantastic, moody opening scene. But the further it wears on, the more it begins to fall apart, until eventually, towards the end, it completely collapses onto itself. The film switches back and forth from a found footage format to the events happening in a military bunker, which are filmed regularly. The POV half of the film is easily the best part, and actually features some disturbing writing and genuinely creepy moments. But the other half of the film almost feels as though it was directed and written by someone else entirely. The scenes in the bunker devolve into nothing more than torture porn, and become increasingly cliche. Until the end rolls around, and the whole thing becomes laughably bad, with all sense of script writing logic breaking down, and the effects becoming unbearably sloppy. Julian Richings wastes a great performance on this mess, and really sells the mental anguish of his character. But this film is a film of two halves, that eventually collide and destroy each other.
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This film didn't garner much attention when it was quietly released on VOD back in 2015, but slowly and surely it's become a cult favorite, and even spawned a couple sequels, as well as a dedicated fanbase. And being the found footage fanatic that I am, I was eager to give it a look. The film doesn't exactly have an original plot, as we've seen a plurality of films centering around haunted house attractions within this decade. It's almost become a cliche at this point, but the trope wasn't worn so thin back when Hell House was released. And it's simplicity is a large part of what makes it work. The begining especially, sets a wonderfully creepy atmosphere, full of foreboding. I was fully prepared for a bona-fide classic, and the film continues to hold up until closer to the end. Plenty of subtle, masterfully creepy scares are slowly fed to the audience over the runtime, and the acting is fantastic for a cast of complete unknowns. But once things reach the conclusion, the film has spent far too much time preparing us for an epic, shattering ending, only for us to be met with a denoument that I can't help but call meager. The film remains creepy, but the "revelations" at the end are nothing more than a collection of well worn cliches, and the panic in the final moments never quite lives up to the heights that have been set throughout the film. After all, so much time is spent talking about the awful, unthinkable thing that is coming, and then we are left with nothing more than a predictable series of jumpscares and images. Still, the film is a marvel of low-budget filmmaking, and for the majority of the time, remains effective and incredibly creepy. It simply aims to high, and comes up too short.
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If you mixed together a concoction of Jackson, Raimi and Romero, then added a dash of "Mad Max", this film is what you would be left with. An absolutely bonkers, balls to the wall extravaganza of gore and action. It only helps matters that the film throws in a variety of truly original twists that keep the well worn zombie genre fresh, such as zombie blood being used as fuel, and characters that can control zombies through telekinesis. And as insane as the film is, a good cast and writing keep it emotionally sincere. This is Kiah Roache-Turner's directorial debut, and his direction, despite his being Australian, has a distinctly Kiwi flavor to it. It does amount to feeling like nothing more than a teenage boy's daydreams after watching one too many cult classics, but it pays loving homage to those classics and manages to be a batshit, fun ride all it's own. Roache-Turner is one to keep an eye on, for sure.
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People who added this item 178 Average listal rating (120 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.8


The majority of viewers seem to agree that 2017's "It" was a great film, and I am one of those who greatly enjoyed it. I have a fondness for the original mini-series as well, but the 2017 film was a fantastic adaptation for it's own reasons. And when talks of the second film began shortly after the release of the first, I was quite excited, especially considering the incredibly talented cast that was announced to play the adult version of the "Loser's Club". But somehow, this sequel manages to almost completely miss all of the things that made the first chapter so great.

Many thought the second part of the 1990 mini-series was the weaker as well, but I actually loved it. Here, I certainly feel the the first chapter is the stronger one, by a long shot. This is still far from a terrible film, but it feels much more empty somehow. The town of Derry was a character in itself, and in this film seems like an afterthought. The scriptwriting is rather bare-bones, and seems quick to reintroduce the characters so a series of CGI frights can begin. There's still some effective moments of terror, but the greatest loss is a complete waste of Bill Skarsgard's Pennywise. His characterization was phenomenal in the first chapter, and truly iconic. Here's he's regulated to occasional appearences, and a longer stint at the end, where he's turned into a giant CGI abomination that gives him so much consistent screentime, that he simply becomes less frightening. The first film was thoughtful in how much, and when it showed Pennywise. This film simply switches gears from his barely being a prescence, to showing him far too often.

The cast is filled with fantastic actors like James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader, but they end up wasted on bland characterizations that aren't nearly as vivid as the child cast from the first, who continue to appear in flashback form this installment, and show up their adult counterparts each time they're on screen. And worst of all, the end is monumentally anti-climatic, and overindulges in schmaltz and teary sentiment. I blame most of this on a lack of all but one of the three screenwriters from the first film, which shows in the trite dialouge, thin plotting and lazier scares. Still there's some effectively nightmarish imagery, decent performances and the film looks good. But whereas the first chapter frigtened us with restrained scares, this one feels like nothing more than a fairly empty CGI spectacle, filled with greeting card sap, instead of honest emotion. It's honestly a huge dissapointment.
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This starts out as a rather routine home invasion film, but rather quickly takes a turn into something else entirely, and becomes a pretty fun riff on genre conventions. There's not too much I can say without ruining the central plot twist, and it's advisable that you avoid trailers all together. It's not a perfect film, and it can be quite misogynistic at times, while also serving as not so subtle commentary on social issues. The cast is fantastic, with the duo of Olivia De Jonge and Ed Oxenbould returning from "The Visit", and Levi Miller displaying range beyond his years in the lead role. It's nothing particularly special, but it's an enjoyable, batshit take on modern horror, with a very dark sense of humor. Go in blind.
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This one has a decidedly nostalgic bent, focusing on a cursed VHS board game. As someone who had no idea that such things even existed, but has an insatiable affinity for all that is 80's, I just had to see this. And the low-budget is readily apparent, despite a good cast and decent writing. Graham Skipper and Chase Williamson, two of the indie horror scene's finest, have great brotherly chemistry, and even Barbara Crampton shows up the "game master" to lend horror nerd credibility. And the film has a surprisingly emotional core to it, which is a good thing, because the plot is rather ill defined. The cursed board game never begins to feel like a tangible threat, because none of it's horrors are given name. The characters simply set about on a series of tasks that makes no immediate sense. The ending brings things full circle, with the whole thing serving as a metaphor for the dramatic backdrop, but the supernatural elements feel rushed. Still, the film looks pretty good for such a low budget, the acting is great, and it has heart and some gore to spare. Fans of old-school horror will be the only ones to reap something from this cheesy, but well meaning flick.
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.8
We Go On (2016)


I was eager to give this film a look after being impressed by director Andy Mitton's other two films, "YellowBrickRoad" and "The Witch In The Window", which have both gone on to garner very deserving cult audiences. And I'm happy to report that this film is yet another solid addition to add to Mitton's growing filmography. Much like "Witch In The Window", this film takes what could be an incredibly cliched supernatural premise, and filters it through a restrained, thoughtful and emotional indie lens. The film is low budget, but never feels cheap, simply because it doesn't overstretch it's boundaries. Instead of using overblown visual effects, loud music or jumpscares, Mitton is more interested in finding situations that are psychologically disturbing. Concepts and images that creep under our skin and stay there. And the film is filled with genuine emotion, without ever overindulging in sentiment. Clark Freeman and Annette O'Toole have perfect chemistry as the mother and son duo, and their dialogue is expertly written. It has a few clunky moments, and one, single, very out of place jumpscare. But otherwise, this is everything low budget, independent horror should be. And really, horror films of all kinds could take a page from this moody, sincere and effective little film. Sometimes, frightening us with what we feel is the best way to make a horror film.
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People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.8


This begins with a rather cliché setup, but quickly throws twist upon twist, proving itself to be quite an unpredictable little film. At it's heart, it's nothing more than a modern slasher, but it does feature some poignant commentary on the relationship between the audience and the medium, not unlike "Peeping Tom", as it deconstructs the notion of reality TV style horror. The cast is decent and the gore is plentiful. It doesn't skimp on the creatively gruesome murders, so the slasher fiends should be happy with that aspect. However, the more twists it piles on top of each other, the more vague it becomes. In the end, there's too many questions left unanswered, and the film's execution remains rudimentary, even when the twists offer opportunities to explore much more original concepts. Thus, we're left with a decent slasher flick, with seriously untapped potential to be a meta horror masterpiece. It's good fun for undemanding gore fans, but it stops when it should've kicked into overdrive.
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People who added this item 62 Average listal rating (41 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.1


Ever since seeing their segment in the first V/H/S film, I've been waiting for the directorial team of "Radio Silence" to produce their own horror magnum opus. And while this film is certainly much better than their first effort, the laughable flop known as "Devil's Due", it's still nothing to write home about. The film is mostly a collection of well worn clichés. A combination of "You're Next" and "The Most Dangerous Game", and amounts to nothing more than another tale of the wealthy hunting the poor. I was expecting something more, due to the overwhelming praise, but this is a highly unoriginal film. And when compared to a more brutal, dynamic film like "You're Next" this one just feels watered down. There's gore, but nothing particularly memorable, and not even that many stand out moments of suspense. The film is ably directed and looks great, and one hopes that it's going to end up finding it's own identity somewhere along the way, but it never does. I just can't bring myself to get excited about a film this unoriginal and tired. Especially when it doesn't introduce any plot points or twists to make itself stand out amongst the films just like it. That's not to say it's bad, as it is a decent, fairly fun little effort. The cast is fantastic, with Samara Weaving standing out in particular as a charming, easy to root for lead. And the humor is spread throughout just sparingly enough that it never overtakes the horror elements, allowing a good balance between tension and laughs. But I wasn't surprised, shocked or even thrilled by anything going on here. This is nothing more than a decent retread of familiar trappings, and while enjoyable in it's own right, I fail to see why anyone would think it fantastic. Good for a one time watch, but not anything I'll remember all that well.
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 4.5 IMDB Rating 0
The affects of sleep deprivation aren't explored often enough in horror cinema, and it's a topic that has grown increasingly popular in other horror mediums, thanks in large part to the infamous "Russian Sleep Experiment" creepypasta. This film is the closest we've come so far to an adaptation of the story's main themes, but beyond the basic concept of "sleep deprivation experiment gone wrong", that's where the similarities end. Instead, the film takes a supernatural route that completely destroys any sense of effectiveness it might've otherwise had. The "entities" are brought to life using clunky CGI effects and abundant smoke machines, but besides looking like crap, they never take any form or become tangible threats. The cast is merely okay, with not one of the performers being memorably bad, but none of them particularly likeable either. And the script can never settle on whether it wants to take the psychological route or go for hammy jumpscares, ultimately settling on a lackluster ending. It's almost as if the filmmakers had no idea whatsoever where to take the concept. This could've been a Lovecraftian masterpiece. But the low budget and seeming inability to create an actual plot make this one a mediocre disappointment.
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People who added this item 18 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 5.5


This anthology film brings together several talented directors, including Joe Dante (Gremlins), Ryuhei Kitamura (The Midnight Meat Train), Mick Garris (The Stand) and David Slade (30 Days Of Night). Thus, one might think it would be an assured classic in the omnibus sub-genre. Sadly, this is a fairly mediocre film with brief moments of brilliance. The segments are incredibly hit or miss, and one of them is downright torture to sit through. The first segment sets the stage wonderfully, with a clever, enjoyably cheesy riff on the old-school slasher. Dante's segment deals with the horrors of plastic surgery, and features some effective body horror moments, though never being quite as fucked up as it should be. Kitamura's segment is shockingly, the worst by far, in a shoddily directed, poorly acted tale of exorcism. David Slade serves up the most memorable segment of the batch, with a black and white psychological horror that features truly nightmarish imagery, and feels like a lost Lynch film. And Mick Garris handles the last segment, which is decent, albeit incredibly generic and loaded with sap, as well as directing the wrap around. Sadly, Mickey Rourke is completely wasted on a barely coherent performance as the evil "projectionist", and the wrap-around is a shameless rip-off of other anthology flicks. There's enjoyable moments to be found here for cult horror fans, but this is mostly a disappointment.
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People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.1


The concept here is promising and this could've been something of a cult classic, if it had any idea where it wanted to go, or any semblance of story or character. Instead, the script is so thinly written that none of the characters ever begin to take shape. The dialogue is awkward and trite, the plot is almost non-existent, next to an excuse to get a group of teens out into the middle of nowhere and set an ill-defined shape shifter loose amongst them, and the characters themselves never do much of anything other than drink and smoke. There's no stakes, no one to root for, and the monster itself struggles to even feel like a resonant threat. There's just nothing to the film, whatsoever. It's like a skeleton without any meat hanging off it's bones. Add to this some of the worst CGI effects I've ever seen, and you've got one hell of a clunker. It's a damn shame, because as I said, it's shape-shifting premise had a lot of potential. But it's completely wasted here.
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Well, I'm back folks. I haven't posted an installment of my monthly horror journal since summer, for a variety of reasons. Things have been tough lately, but recent circumstances allowed me to get back into doing this. And I can pretty much assure that I'll be back for good now.

Also of note; with the end of the year approaching, and thus the end of a DECADE approaching, I spent much of this month catching up on 2010's horror that I had yet to watch. Basically so I can have a definitive list of my favorites this decade, as everyone will be making their lists.

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