The Darkness (2016) Review: zzzZZZzzz

The Darkness is a horror film released on May 13, 2016.

Honestly I couldn’t decide if it was actually a horror film about an upper middle class American family or if it was a movie about an upper class American film that just happened to have so-called demons appearing from time to time.

I had gone into the film without knowing ANYTHING about it, and was pleasantly surprised to see Kevin Bacon playing the father, as I am quite the fan (and had recently watched tremors). Throughout the film I had desperately tried to cling to fond memories of Bacon in other films, but just couldn’t do it. This film took a lot out of me and not because it was intense or tumblr_inline_obxewvyovh1s4eof8_540emotionally draining, but because it was just so boring I could barely stand it. I am a firm believer that one needs to watch/read/listen to the entirety of whatever it is that they are going to publicly review so as to give it a fair chance, but this really tested my will.

Most of it didn’t make any sense, either. I understand setting the scene and explaining the family dynamic that will later play into whatever is plaguing them, but this family had too many cliched problems smashed together that were unnecessary, and not even properly solved. One thing that I liked at first was the fact that Autism was being represented in the youngest child. I had never seen that before in a film, let alone a horror film. In the beginning I thought it was interesting and new and I really felt it promised a good film–but I was so wrong. It turned into the regular idea that children are more susceptible to the supernatural, with a twist! Wowee! Color me unimpressed. It wasn’t new or a representational, it was just this film trying to say “Hey! Look! I’m different than the rest!”

Continuing, I’m so TIRED of demons being the enemy in horror films. Demons aren’t even what most people think of them as, and seeing them constantly in horror films gets so BORING after a while. It’s become some sort of stock monster and it’s not even accurate. At least in the end they tried to fight whatever was attacking them with culturally similar people, compared to when the family first fled their house the wife search for a bible. A BIBLE. TO FIGHT SUPPOSED NATIVE AMERICAN “DEMONS”. Not only does that make NO SENSE but it got on my nerves that Bacon and his wife made fun of the fact that bibles are put into hotels anymore because it’s seen as culturally insensitive to represent only one religion. Did they not realize they were FIGHTING NON-CHRISTIAN “DEMONS”.

EVEN THEN it makes so sense for demons, something that doesn’t even correlate with the idea that they were worshipped by the natives in the Grand Canyon because then they would make them gods, or deities, AND demons themselves aren’t even PLAUSIBLE. Demons are supernatural entities created BY EARLY MAN to explain mental illness, general illness, and small unfortunate happenings. Whatever they faced in this film were not demons.
In conclusion, The Darkness was boring, poorly done, confusing, a money grab for Kevin Bacon, and a waste of time.

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Shelley (2016) Review

If you want to be left staring at the credits scrolling by with your brows furrowed and feeling confused and a little mad, then this is the movie for you!

Shelley is a Dramatic Horror film directed by Ali Abbasi.

It stars three main characters, a couple and their maid, living in the wilderness in a small cabin style house. While assisting with their simple-but-not-so-simple lives, Elena (the maid) and Louise become friends. Finally it comes out that Louise cannot have children due to a history of miscarriages.

Louise asks Elena if she would consider being the surrogate for Louise and her husband, and after some deliberation she agrees.


Shelley felt similar to the style of Antichrist: not really letting you know what’s reality and what isn’t; what is connected to mental illness and what isn’t; and having multiple pleasantly framed shots to illustrate mood (or possibly just a filler).

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While it also felt experimental, it still had a little more of a plot/story than Antichrist did before it devolved into bizarre and shocking violence.

Shelley was interesting, but not the best foreign film I’ve seen.

I honestly felt a little upset when it was over. Way too many questions that could have bee answered in a much more beautifully cryptic way (such as in Antichrist) instead of just ignored. I was bored, then confused, then shocked! And shocked some more! And then down right disappointed. The ending was so predictable and it just became an actual demon baby trope. maxresdefault

Shelley had a lot of untapped potential that I wish the director and writers tapped into. A little more development of the story, maybe? Or even just a better ending. Something.

The Other Side of the Door (2016) Review

“The Other Side of the Door” is a horror film like any other. It does not reach any new heights, it does not provide any shocking jump-scares, it barely offers a speck of individuality in general. It follows a similar formula that was instated in the early 2000s, and reinforced to the brim in 2009 and 2010. This film is a frustrating attempt at bringing another culture into an American-made horror film.

“The Other Side of the Door” is about a mourning family trying to cope with the death of the oldest child after a tragic accident. In attempting to do so for the sake of her surviving child, a mother desperate to reach some sort of closure goes through more supernatural channels. Though she was warned to follow a ritual to every detail as to not only respect the culture she is not a part of but also the otherworldly forces she wishes to meddle with, she selfishly ignores the rules she receives from her friend, and opens the door.

This is more than just a metaphor; by physically opening the door and acting on her desire to see her son, she actually opens the door that connects our world to a sort of purgatory.

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It feels as though those who made this film disregarded the opportunities they had to bring in information about another culture, and stuck to the same ‘09/’10 formula. Everything is normal with a normal family until it isn’t, and in the end the story closes and the family is back to normal—or is it?

Sure, the malevolent demon has characteristics that resonate with the country in which the movie takes place, but that’s really all the representation that the culture gets. The opportunities to bring in stories, names, folklore in general was completely ignored for the sake of some histrionic woman to be the victim throughout.

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Hostel (2005) Review

“Hostel” is a horror film made in 2005 and directed by Eli Roth. It follows the story of three young tourists backpacking around Europe. During their travels they hear about and decide to stay at a youth Hostel in Slovakia.

This mind numbing attempt at a sort of slasher film had me rooting for the main characters to die before the film was even halfway over.

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Whether it was intentional or not, I was still thoroughly annoyed and disgusted by the the three main characters more than I was by the gore.

Granted, the special effects used were great, and the air of distrust of one’s surroundings was correctly portrayed. I feel that if the director allowed for the main characters to be less of the disgusting pigs that they were, then it would have made for a more interesting and intense film. A viewer doesn’t necessarily have to feel completely connected to a character, but even feelings a little sympathy instead of rooting for the “bad guys” to finish the job would have been more preferable.

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Because I mean, what are the odds that the tourists who are captured by the people running the organization are gross examples of American tourists, let alone gross human beings in general? It just seems highly unlikely to me. The prospect becoming attached to at least relatively relatable characters who you know are going to die horrendous, gruesome deaths that you have to fast-forward is exciting.

While I do tend to be a fan of mindless, violent films from time to time, I wasn’t a fan of this film. It had no substance and between the honeypot technique and the gross personalities shared by the tourist trio I was just waiting for it to end.

Ouija [Bored] (2014) Review

In the aftermath of the unexpected death of her best friend, a high school senior named Laine tries to say her goodbyes with the help of her friends, and an antique Ouija board. In attempting to contact the friend, Debbie, they happen upon another spirit that resides within the home, who calls itself DZ. After contacting this angry spirit and one other, the friends realize that not only was Debbie murdered, but also they will face the same fate if they fail to understand the history they have uncovered, and successfully close the doorway to the other side.

For its time, this movie was interesting. I wasn’t excited, but I was intrigued. Being superstitious, the prospect of watching a film centered around something I had been constantly warned not to use and in turned warned others of was nifty. It seemed like a promising concept that would at least offer around two hours of entertainment and a jump-scare here and there. Unfortunately, I was to be greatly disappointed.

Ouija, is the most boring, hackneyed, and mundane film I had seen in a very long time. I even re-watched it this past night to make sure that it wasn’t my teenage cynicism clouding my judgment. Yet lo and behold, it was just as poorly made as I remembered it if not worse. It follows the same exact track that countless movies have before it, and what could have been an interesting story surrounding the ghosts ended up being brushed under the rug for the sake of some scares.

You may think, “Hey, it had to have had some interesting points! What about that plot twist?”

Oh I’ll tell you about that plot twist. It was the same thing I’d seen in the American version of One Missed Call. The film itself followed such a similar equation/routine (like in Unborn, Sorority Row, My Soul to Take, Legion, Grave Encounters, etc.) as movies before it had that it’s obvious it was a poor attempt at a money grab along with allowing some D list actors’ their 15 minutes of fame.

The film was so predictable that the jump-scares felt like lullabies; the acting reminded me of fifth grade; and the ending was reminiscent of a simple mans’ attempt to be witty. The whole thing fell flat on its rear end while trying to be cool and instead of getting back up and walking it off, cried and pulled grass out of the ground to try to distract from the embarrassment that was Ouija.

The scariest part of this film was that I thought there might be a sequel.

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Antichrist (2009) Review

Antichrist is a Danish experimental film released in 2009. It was written and directed by Lars von Trier, and stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

While a married couple played by Dafoe and Gainsbourg are having intercourse, their infant son falls out of a window to his death. After the mother is hospitalized due to her grief, the father, a psychiatrist, decides to take matters into his own hands and attempts to treat her on his own.

He comes to the conclusion that she must face her fears, and takes her to a secluded cabin in the woods where in the past, she and the late son would go and spend time. Once there, the mother’s sanity steadily declines. The horrors that unfold range from bizarre outbursts, violence in general, to specifically, sexual violence.

The question that is presented to the viewer is this: is the mother’s own sanity to blame for the frightening occurrences, or is there something more sinister at work?

While the film is positively beautiful, it is equal parts frightening, and oftentimes disturbing. This is not for the faint of heart. I remember the first time I watched it I was struck by how aesthetically pleasing and visually striking it was. It’s format was strange, almost childish, for it is split up into different chapters with titles referring to each part. It also felt as though it was trying rather hard to help the viewer locate the symbolism that occurs throughout the film. Though this is the case, the images, music, and acting worked so fluidly as to make this film more than a film, it became a work of art.

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Krampus (2015) Review

Released in December 2015, and directed by Micheal Dougherty, Krampus has brought a new meaning to Christmas spirit.

While most associate Christmas with warm fires, holiday songs, and ugly sweaters, this movie allows for the spread of a classic European folktale, which warns naughty children of what could happen if they continue their dastardly ways.

In this film, a family at odds finally wears out one of the youngest children with their constant fighting. He loses his hope for a perfect Christmas, like the ones he remembers from past years before the family began to dread the festive holiday, and unwittingly unleashes the fury of the “shadow of St. Nicholas”. Otherwise known as Krampus.

As the family is picked off one by one, they slowly come to find the true meaning of Christmas as it pertains to them.

While I sat in the dimming theatre, forced to watch at least four previews before the feature film, I unimpressed. This was until a holiday movie appeared that I could see myself getting behind: Krampus.

I’d recently taken out a book of the same name by Gerald Brom, and silently hoped that it would follow the same plot. Though, while it did not, I still had high hopes. Seeing the demented toys and the fantastical rendition of Krampus itself, I was honestly very excited. The humorous snippets that

were shown didn’t quite stick out to me at the time, and I thought that it may follow the familiar track that most films do, where often some form of comedy relief is necessary to prevent complete emotional exhaustion in the audience. With this in mind, it was relatively understandable that those scenes would be advertised, to make it a little more appealing to a general audience.

With the advertisements on the websites, people talking about it, and some reviews coming in, I thought it was going to be an interesting take. It was also an exciting prospect to finally see an actually well made, live-action representation of Krampus.

After waiting month after month, I find myself only now being able to see it via Amazon Video, and after doing so I have to say:

I am disappointed.

It would be one thing if it was advertised as what it was: a borderline satirical review of dysfunctional families blowing smoke during the holidays with something spooky thrown in, but personally, I only saw that it was advertised as a horror film. And that, I strongly believe, is one thing it is not. It is something akin to Cabin in the Woods, or even the Scary Movie franchise. It’s almost a joke in itself, and while entertaining and the monsters in it clever, I feel that I was led astray by the raving reviews I heard of this so-called horror film.