The Strangers: Prey at Night. (2018)

Director: Johannes Roberts

Starring: Christina Hendricks (Cindy), Bailee Madison (Kinsey), Martin Henderson (Mike), Lewis Pullman (Luke).

The Strangers: Emma Bellomy as Dollface, Damien Maffei as the Man in the Mask and Lea Enslin as Pin up Girl.

Plot: A family of four are staying at a secluded mobile home park for the night, but their peace and quiet is soon interrupted by three masked psychopaths.

After the success of the first Strangers movie back in 2008, it’s easy to understand why you would want to make a sequel. With Johannes taking the reigns from the first movies director, Bryan Bertino, did PaN hit the mark?

I definitely think Prey at Night lived up to expectations, Johannes didn’t do a bad job at all, I think this instalment put a nice twist on the first one. It’s not a home invasion movie, but it does have the same kind of vibe as the first one. For instance, it’s set in a nice secluded location with no one around, making our family of four, pretty easy targets for our masked lunatics.

I thoroughly enjoyed the tone of the movie, it was all pretty dark and mysterious, then it all gets flipped around when the strangers appear on screen with their old 80s music blaring out, making their hunt seem more innocent and almost romanticised. I mean what’s more romantic than an axe wielding lunatic with a burlap sack over his face, blasting Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart?! I mean come on!

I think out of all this I would like one thing, and that’s a back story. I feel as though we could be missing out on so many key elements, as well as information regarding who these people are, and an actual insight as to why they kill people. Are they part of a cult? Were they abused as children? The information we have been given so far points to them just downright enjoying killing people, but I would love to be inside their heads, seeing things through their eyes with their knowledge. Maybe it’s an idea for the future, who knows.

So with some cool little action sequences, and some entertaining horror genre clichés, i.e he’s dead, but oh shit he’s back!! This movie kicked ass, the current IMDb rating is 5.5, which, for this movie is relatively low, I’m putting it out there at an 8. Am I being generous? Or did this movie just really rock my world? Watch it and find out!

Kinsey: Why are you doing this?

Dollface:…. Why not?

Also keep an eye out at the end for what I think to be a homage to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you know, the scene at the end where Sally’s in the back of the truck and leatherface is swinging his chainsaw at her? Yeah that one.

Basically if you’re home alone tonight and want to stay awake all night due paranoia induced insomnia, then you need to watch this movie.

Anyway guys, that’s a wrap from me. Stay scary.

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Happy Hunting (2017)

Starring: Martin Dingle Wall, Ken Lally, Kenny Wormald, and Gary Sturm.

Directed and written by Joe Dietsch and Louie Gibson.

Plot: An alcoholic drifter must battle his own withdrawal, and psychotic rednecks after he becomes a target in a deranged towns hunting game.

Okay, so this movie currently sits on a 5.1 out of 10 over at IMDb. Which to be honest, is a little harsh I must admit, been as Happy Hunting has a list of awards to its name, to name a few; best action film (Atlanta Horror Film Festival), best overall feature (GenreBlast Film Festival), best horror feature (Studio City Film Festival).

The plot is amazing, let’s be honest. The guys had an idea and they ran with it, and they were able to provide the perfect blend of character and violence. So to paint you a picture, our main character Warren (Wall) is about to do a meth deal, but it goes a bit sour, following this deal gone bad he decides to lay low from his boss and head to Mexico. On his little trip he encounters an old hunting town, Bedford Flats. I mean straight from the get go this movie is gritty, it’s gripping, and better yet, it’s violent! The movie clings on to it’s darker colours such as blue and grey, and it uses them to paint us this bleak existence that Warren is going through. For the second part of the movie, in Bedford Flats the colour is so bright, so happy and uplifting that you have to sit and think, are better things on the horizon for Warren, but no, they’re not. The townsfolk however live in absolute harmony, it’s a small town, maybe 135 residents, with their annual traditions their lives are absolute bliss.

The thing that makes this movie awesome is that it’s kinda like a low budget, lower class version of the Purge, but it kicks it’s ass in every aspect, I mean yeah the acting isn’t Hollywood blockbuster, the visual effects weren’t spectacular, but the characters themselves, were original. They actually had character and personalities, rather than some tarted up toffs who wore suits and used fancy weapons, this movie is what it is. And what it is, is glorious.

The tone of the movie is pretty dark, it just oozes seediness, backwoods drug deals and moonshine brewing, scattered with flannel wearing, almost primitive people. I think a lot of thought has gone into the characters themselves, something makes them so genuine and so appealing for us to keep on watching, something that makes us watch the movie as a sporting event. We almost want them to succeed in getting notches on their belts in the form of taking the life of a living, human being, we want them to go home, covered in the blood and glory of their hunt.

So if you would like to see a pensioner laying on a blanket in the desert taking pot shots with a sniper, or a fat redneck sunbathing with his shirt off, then you should watch, Happy Hunting.

Rating: 6.4 bloody meth crystals out of a possible 10.

Darling (2015)

Writer/Director: Mickey Keating

Starring: Lauren Ashley Carter as Darling, Sean Young as Madame, and Brian Morvant as The Man.

Darling follows a young girl’s descent into madness as she agrees to be a caretaker at a rather large, and rather strange house. The house itself has a history of suicide and occult rituals and practises.

So to get things started I’m going to mention the current IMDb rating for the movie, Keating’s monochrome flick sits on a rather undeserving 5.6 out of a possible 10. I believe that for such a visually pleasing movie this is a pretty shitty score, I understand it’s not some blockbuster starring Dwayne Johnson but damn it, this movie deserves so much more! (I’ll be posting my rating at the end).

So I love the fact that the whole movie is shot in monochrome, it just looks so pleasing, and it’s hugely reminiscent of the classics such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, which I think Keating drew a lot of inspiration from. Carter reminds me heavily of Norman Bates, she is staying in this huge house, all alone, as the loneliness sets in, the graphic history of the house gets inside her head as she begins the descent into madness.

Keating as a director really pulled it out the bag, the camera angles and the shots used, just look so clean; by this I mean something as simple as a shot of a wardrobe looks immaculate, Keating purposely places his subjects in the centre of the shot. The picture of Darling I have included above is another brilliant example of this little technique Keating used, it’s just mesmerising to watch and extremely pleasing to the eye. So the movie only really has one main location, that being the house Darling is looking after, everything is minimal, even the characters and their dialogue, we only really see two characters engaging in proper conversation, Darling and The Man. This makes it extremely easy to follow, there’s no confusing plot to follow and no pointless characters to distract you from the perfect imagery.

By being so minimalist with characters, dialogue, and locations, when we see Darling lose her mind, it creates a better atmosphere because she is the only thing you are focusing on, and Carter pulls the role off perfectly, she goes from a shy, reserved young lady, into a vicious, no holds barred psychopath, the development of the character is just genius, I won’t go into too much detail but there’s a knife and a hacksaw involved, and a whole lotta blood! There is a time when the story is a little unclear but it really doesn’t take anything away from this spectacular movie, and it only lasts for around 1hour 15minutes, so it’s pretty easy to watch in your spare time.

If you haven’t seen it already, go and give it a go, you will definitely be surprised!

My personal rating of Darling definitely has to be a 7.5 out of 10.

Until next time guys. Stay Scary.

The Hatred (2017) 

Director/Writer: Michael G. Kehoe 

Starring: Sarah Davenport as Regan, Andrew Divoff as Samuel Sears, Darby Walker as Alice, Shae Smolik as Irene, Gabrielle Bourne as Layan, Bayley Corman as Samantha, Alisha Wainwright as Betaine. 

Plot: Four young women travel out to their professor’s new country home for a weekend getaway, only to discover that the house harbours a mysterious amulet that holds a malevolent history. 

Where do I begin? The first twenty-something minutes is a back story, which sounds pretty cool right? Wrong. It seemed to have so much potential at the start, Samuel Sears, an ex Nazi general, escaped his past and moved to the states with a clean slate, still proud of his Nazi heritage. He receives a package one day containing an old amulet  that was stolen by the Nazis during the war, the amulet is said to feed off hatred and fear. So anyway some stuff happens, we then find Samuel randomly stumbling towards his wife,  we never find out the answer as to why?  I am still asking myself this and it’s extremely annoying. 

Okay now that that’s out the way, cue the group of ditzy, annoying college girls that think they are clever but we just know they’re not. Their acting was so flat I just couldn’t see them develop as characters, they lacked so much personality,  I think this is due to the long back story section of the film, we only needed 10 minutes at the most to get a bit of history, allowing more time and effort in the character development side of things. Regans’ character (Davenport) is the only slightly interesting one throughout the entire movie. The whole group are just so cliche and rather annoying, the writing definitely had a part to play in this though, if the characters were given better dialogue I feel the development of the whole movie would of excelled. 

I will admit though, the crew did well to produce the movie on an $800,000 budget, there were some pretty cool cgi moments that had a lasting effect on the movie, the things we see were pretty creepy.  

The most annoying thing about this movie for me, is the lack of answers. We see some German writing appear on the wall right before someone dies and it doesn’t even pop up with subtitles, they offer us no translation at all so we are sitting there in the audience kinda scratching our heads. 

It was all a bit misleading really, we never really find out how the characters die, our main girl Regan, who apparently loves her friends so much, leaves them behind not even bothering to check on them or find out whether they actually died or not. The ending was a bit of a farce really, the writing was flat, the ending was poor and the movie tried to go off everyday childish fears, including the classic short horror story that goes like this “there’s a monster under my bed” *checks under the bed* and there’s another child under there saying “there’s a monster in my bed” it was all just a bit boring really. 

I really wanted to enjoy this movie because it had so much potential, the story was solid, a Nazi general making a new life then dying, leaving the amulet behind to be found. Unfortunately Kehoe really didn’t step up to the mark in the writing or directing for that matter. The Hatred, should be called “The Hated” because sadly I really disliked it, the idea was there, but nothing else was. 

For this movie in having to go pretty low on the scoring system, a rather dismal 3 out of 10 for me, I can’t even think of a snappy rating system for this movie, that’s how much it disappointed me. 

*I do not own any images used this review* 

Stay Scary folks. 

Lights Out (2016)

Director: David F. Sandberg (Lights Out short film)

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Maria Russel, Andi Osho, Alicia Vela-Bailey. 

Plot: Rebecca (Palmer) must unravel the mystery behind her younger brother’s terrifying experiences that once tested her sanity, ultimately bringing her face to face with a chilling entity that has latched onto their mother.

So David F. Sandberg is the director behind the short film that took the internet by storm, Lights Out was a 2013 short movie (available to view on YouTube), what made it so popular was its simple setting, it made our own paranoia a nightmarish reality. We’ve all been in the situation, it’s late, we’re tired, we flick the light switch off and we have that thought “Did I just see something?” burrowing into our mind, we get in bed and try to shrug it off “It was my imagination” we reassure ourselves. But what if we did actually see something? 

So fast forward three years and we were blessed with a feature length movie! This time we see the entity terrorising a mother and her children. It’s fascinating to see the backstory of Diana (Vela-Bailey), she was merely a child with some medical complications, we see her brought to life and she really is the stuff nightmares are made of, she looks like she stands about 7 foot tall, with elongated fingers and crooked limbs.

So this is Sanbergs first major project, aside from a number of short films, and I really believe he took a few pointers from producer James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring). With a well thought out storyline sprinkled with jump scares and some excellent shots, Lights Out is certainly a horror movie for the ages. Maria Bello who plays the mother, Sophie, really is a character to watch, she acts as an enabler for Diana, because she can’t let her go, she allows Diana to exist and wreak havoc.

Overall I think Sandberg did an impressive job to extend the storyline and really turn up the creep factor, it had me scared in every sense of the word, the last 35 minutes of the film are just a constant grip of nightmares like tension. Let’s just hope Sandberg can keep this performance up with the upcoming Annabelle: Creation, which is set to release on August 11th (2017). From me Lights Out receives a whopping 7 broken lightbulbs out of 10. That’s all from me guys, stay scary, and remember to stay in the light. 

Rob Zombies 31

Written and directed by Rob Zombie. 

Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips,  Richard Brake, Malcolm Mcdowell,  E.G Daily, Meg Foster.

You Jesus freaks are so fucking sensitive, you should be thanking me man, I’m sending you straight to the fucking pearly gates with a first class ticket. 

After the Lords of Salem was released it seemed that RZ had some making up to do, after all he’s the man behind the Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses and the Halloween reboots, so the Lords just seemed a bit toned down in comparison. So here we are with the highly anticipated 31.

Five carnival workers are kidnapped the night before Halloween,  held in a compound they are forced to fight for their lives in a sick game called 31. Over the course of 12 hours they must survive against a barrage of homicidal maniacs while their captors place bets.

As a huge fan of Zombies movies I was extremely excited when he announced he was working on a new project,  armed with a decent cast featured in his older movies I was really expecting the acting to be on point, however that was far from the case. Our

Only two characters really stood out to me, Malcolm Mcdowell and Richard Brake, they delivered stellar performances, no idea what the other guys were doing which is sad really, as I love all the main cast dearly. The premise of the film is one big game of cat and mouse, until the victims begin knocking off all the killers, which is odd really, a group of people with no real training take on a group of professional killers as if they’re mere pedestrians like you and I.  The actual killers are all, well a bit weird, all posing as clown like characters with a few cross dressing tendencies, one of which is a nazi dwarf. Like I said, weird. Not really sure what Zombies angle was, was he trying to a bit offensive, or just plain weird? Death-head is a giant of a man who wears what seems to be a ballerina tutu, Sex-head (E.G Daily) parades around like a lovestruck teenager, then there’s psycho-head and skitzo-head, the most clown like characters who just talk a lot of shit but don’t have the flare. Then there’s Doom-head, the one we see the most of, the only character we actually see grow from a normal man, into his alter ego killer, which impacted his role massively. 

I thoroughly enjoy RZ imagery in his films, the flashes of gore and weirdness, the photos of dead bodies plastered on the walls, it shows that he still has the grit and passion that he had in his earlier projects, the dark gritty surroundings of the compound all build up and make this film what it says,  a murderous joyride into the mind of a madman. Putting the flat performances from certain  characters aside, 31 just worked for me, the simple plot, Richard Brakes presence,  and some memorable moments have allowed me to award 3.5 bashed heads out of 5. 

I’m not crazy I’m in control – DoomHead. 

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

Starring: Jill Larson (Deborah Logan), Anne Ramsey (Sarah Logan), Michelle Ang (Mia Medina), Ryan Cutrona (Harris), Brett Gentile (Gavin). 

Director: Adam Robitel.

Plot: a daughter and her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, let a film crew come into their home and film a documentary about her ailing health. Throughout the duration of the film they uncover a much darker presence fighting inside Deborah. 

I don’t like found footage, there I said it. HOWEVER! Deborah Logan provided me with a huge reason to enjoy the style of film. It just seemed so real, I think the crew definitely handled the subject well, as we all know, mental health is a very touchy subject but they tackled it tremendously. 

Jill Larson was a real winner in the way she pulled off her performance, the way she presented herself as the lovely Deborah Logan, a sweet old lady with old fashioned manners, with a stern side, a very straight minded lady who could hold her own.

Like a lot of found footage movies, this didn’t need the blood and gore that other movies rely on, Deborah Login pulls you into its visceral storyline with mere intrigue and mystery surrounding who, or what, is actually going on inside her head. It’s interesting to see an actress change throghout the course of a film, not just their characteristics but there visual appearance, below are a couple of images showing the transformation she undergoes. 

So the top picture is Deborah as she is made up for her interview with the film crew around a third of the way through the film, note the vacant expression on her face, this shows that although she looks healthy, there is more going on than we know. The bottom image, is Deborah nearing the end of the film, you can clearly see the changes that have been made, her early self is glowing, fresh faced, but the later image shows her blue, gray complexion as not only the illness, but also the evil entity that has taken over her body, comes more and more malevolent. 

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this viewing, I’m going to award Robitels’ flick a 3.5 serpents out of 5. 

Split 

Starring: James Mcavoy,  Anya Taylor-Joy,  Betty Buckler, Haley Lu Richardson,  Jessica Sula.  

Director/Writer: M. Knight Shyamalan. 

Plot: Three girls are kidnapped by a man with 23 diagnosed personalities, but they must escape before he unleashes his most dangerous personality yet. 

Okay so I’m gonna go ahead and say it. Best film I’ve seen in years! Mcavoy was so convincing and into his roles, it made the film a magnificent piece to watch. The different roles he had to play were complete opposite ends of the character spectrum but he managed to execute it perfectly, everything from his body language, to his facial expressions, the smallest details made this his best performance yet, it really gave me an insight to his talent as an actor.  

Above: Mcavoy as Hedwig, and Patricia.
Not only was his performance spot on,  but the use of camera angles was genius, we see the camera moulding to him in different ways depending on what personality is in “the light” at the moment in time, so it was an all round well made and we’ll thought out film. Taylor-Joy also put on a stellar performance as the more head strong one out of the three captures, as the film unfolds and they all start to wonder if they’ll survive, we see her character reminiscing on old childhood memories, which brings her purity into question, which is what “The Beast” wants. 

I really can’t praise this film enough, well done to Shyamalan for this masterpiece of a film, and a huge well done to Mcavoy for pulling off this phenomenal piece of acting, if you hear anything bad about this film, I urge you to ignore it, please give it a watch and you will understand the hype.

Easily giving Split 4.5 personalities out of 5.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Starting: Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophelia Lovibond, Olwen Catherine Kelly.

Director: André Øvredal (Troll Hunter)

Plot: A father and son, both coroner’s, receive a body late one night, they are unknowingly pulled into a dark mystery while attempting to unravel what happened to the young lady that lay before them.

First things first, one main location, and a couple of main characters is what really brings this film together. Our opening scene sees the body of Jane Doe (Kelly) being discovered half buried, looking like a pretty normal corpse, it is then up to our dynamic coroner duo (Cox and Hirsch) to figure out what tragedy bestruck this young lady. So Cox and Hirsch are about to lock up for the night after doing 3 cases already, when a nervous looking sheriff turns up at their door. He has a right to be nervous because this Jane Doe in particular has had some pretty nasty shit done to her in her time. 

With their detective like skills, they set about slicing her open and seeing what the COD was. The pair unravel detail after grisly detail, with some pretty terrifying occurrences along the way,  bodies moving around by themselves, a freak storm, could it get worse? You bet your ass it could.  

With a stunning mix of greys and blues from the morgue walls and the pale skin of the corpse, the film leaves you feeling colder than the slab she is laying upon. Jane Doe herself is pretty normal looking, however, her wide captivating, grey eyes leave you with the feeling that she is always watching, like she knows all of your secrets and deepest fears, unleashing them through her mysterious powers. The whole aura of the film makes you so curious that you begin to question what happened to her right from the start, burying you in intrigue throughout.  

A massive 4 out of 5 toe tags for The Autopsy of Jane Doe!

Welcome to ROTLB!

Hello world of WordPress! My name is Luke,  a lover of all things bloody and scary. I decided to create this blog to share my opinion (and obsession) of the best, and worst horror movies ever to grace the big screen. 

So as you can guess from the name and theme of my blog, I do love good ol’ fashioned zombie flicks, not this new age Tom Cruise s#!t,  I’m talking real zombies that moaned and groaned like there’s no tomorrow. I will try to cover all eras and sub genres of horror as I can, I like to think of myself a connoisseur of horror, but if there are any requests or recommendations then please feel free to leave them in the comments section. 

So as for now folks I bid you ado, I look forward to sharing this experience with the WordPress community, and remember guys, Stay Scary!

They’re coming to get you Barbara!