In Theaters Now: Hereditary

 

Hereditary_poster
This poster is en Francais! Fancy!

As a lifelong horror fan, I can confidently say that there are two kinds of horror movies that do well at the box office.

The first kind of horror movie delivers on thrills and jump scares. Friends have fun clinging to each other, spilling popcorn and jumping in their seats. Afterward, the group quote lines at each other or mimic trademark gestures or sounds, and Halloween Horror Nights has a new haunted house theme. These movies are certainly effective, but it’s not that hard to leave them at the theater.

Hereditary is the other kind of horror movie.

I don’t mean I’m going to check under my bed for anything scary tonight. I mean something else entirely, and quite honestly I don’t even want to talk about it too much because I want people to experience the film for themselves. But I’m going to talk about it and so of course, spoilers will go below the cut. 

Hereditary begins with an obituary. A matriarch has died, and right away Annie (played by Toni Collette) gives a halting but brutally honest eulogy about the complicated relationship she had with her mother. Grandma’s death sets off a chain of events that at first seem normal to a family dealing with grief, but soon even the cracks start to show cracks.

Hereditary is getting mixed reviews, and for good reason: not everyone is going to get it. I don’t say that to sound cool or jaded, I say that because I could hear other moviegoers laughing at certain parts that I found incredibly effective–parts that were almost too effective. This movie upset me quite a bit at times, even though the projector broke two-thirds in and we had to wait half an hour for the staff to fix it.

But when the action started back up, nobody moved or laughed for the rest of the movie.

I can absolutely recommend Hereditary to fans of real, provocative horror. Casual filmgoers might want to wait for home release.

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In Theaters Now: A Quiet Place

aqpposter
Shhhh….

After all the buzz surrounding it and a few recommendations from friends, I decided to see A Quiet Place in theaters. Being a horror fan, how could I not?

What A Quiet Place does well, it does very well. Tension draws out and there are genuine emotional scenes with real payoff, such as those moments when a character is finally, finally able to scream or even speak. However, I admit to being underwhelmed.

I am not saying this film was bad; far from it. I would rank it as above average for a mainstream Hollywood horror movie, which any horror fan will recognize as damning praise. From a technical filmmaking perspective, it was beautiful: John Krasinski, who stars and also directs, knows how to frame beautiful compositions, how to work with ambient lighting, how to film action so it’s exciting and tension so it’s heart-pumping, and how to draw evocative performances from his actors. The creatures look cool and their CGI is great.

As mentioned, the actors’ performances are strong, and there are several character moments that really resonate. Krasinski is great as a patient paternal figure, Emily Blunt is his tired, blonde, and eventually pregnant wife, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe as the children work well together and the whole ensemble effectively portrays a nuclear family.

Most filmgoers and horror fans will enjoy the jump scares and leave the movie rattled, but I found myself frustrated by the end. There were a number of weaknesses that leapt out and jarred me right out of the narrative, and created what ultimately felt like a missed opportunity.

A more detailed unpacking appears below the cut. As always, there will be spoilers.

Continue reading “In Theaters Now: A Quiet Place”

Ironically Titled Entry – The Forgotten

Welcome to Horror Movie Month here at Late to the Theater! Once a year we focus on one of our absolute favorite things, horror movies! For the entire month of October we’ll review at least two movies a week, some old, some new, and usually fitting into a weekly theme. So pop the corn, pour yourself a glass of whatever, and come along for the ride! I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers!

Ironically titled entry because between the horrifying news last week and being out of town on a work trip, I sort of forgot to review The Forgotten. Apropos, considering the film’s subject matter, although the film itself definitely stuck in my mind. Shall we? Let’s!

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No puns, I promise!

 

Continue reading “Ironically Titled Entry – The Forgotten”

Dead Teenager Week – V/H/S

Welcome to Horror Movie Month here at Late to the Theater! Once a year we focus on one of our absolute favorite things, horror movies! For the entire month of October we’ll review at least two movies a week, some old, some new, and usually fitting into a weekly theme. So pop the corn, pour yourself a glass of whatever, and come along for the ride! I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers!

This week’s theme is one coined by dear departed Roger Ebert: it’s Dead Teenager Week! So strip down to your skivvies and dive into the moonlit water with me! I totally got into my dad’s liquor cabinet and stole some of his beers, and the kids from the next school over are meeting us down by the lake where Old Man Crumbles was last seen fishing before he killed that busload of nuns with an axe…or something…

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Just waiting for them to all fall down…

Continue reading “Dead Teenager Week – V/H/S”

Horror On the Horizon!

Next week is Netflix Indie Week, with such offerings as bro-heavy found footage frightfest V/H/S, and crummy council flat escapade The Forgotten.

Good morning! I hope this post finds you well-rested and ready to face whatever this day shall bring!

For the last several years, I’ve dedicated the month of October to one of my great loves in life… horror movies. I’ve fallen off blogging a lot this year for various reasons, but I am dead set on keeping up with this tradition. I WON’T CRAP OUT AGAIN. It’s my intent that these reviews be at least, if not more, entertaining as the movies they cover.

So stay tuned! Next week is Netflix Indie Week, with such offerings as bro-heavy found footage frightfest V/H/S, and crummy council flat escapade The Forgotten. As always, I do my best to be both fair to the filmmakers AND entertaining in my reviews.

And to celebrate, please enjoy my favorite tweet ever from Pennywise Dancing, Numa Numa. This has been playing in my head nonstop since last week, and it’s kept me sane in the face of a severely depressing news cycle.

See you next week!