Despite being pretty unwavering in which subgenres of horror I most prefer to consume, once in a while, a film that doesn’t fit the usual “Dan movie” criteria (or as my friends call them, BDMs—bad Dan movie), catches me off guard and totally entertains me. And I’d even go as far as highly recommending them to others. And here are two of them.
Being fairly slow, ambiguous, and void of any gore-iffic monsters or deaths, After.Life is far from my kind of movie. But it’s a fascinating film that really draws you in.
Christina Ricci is set to marry Justin Long when she is in a horrible car accident. She wakes up in a funeral home, where she soon realizes she is being held captive by the funeral director, played by Liam Neeson, who’s not looking for his kidnapped daughter for a change. But is he really holding her captive? He tells her she’s dead and it’s his job to help her crossover. Yet in the outside world, Justin has this gut feeling that she’s still alive and Liam is up to no good.
The audience is just as unsure of the truth as the characters, which makes this one damn compelling film. Liam seems like a real lunatic, and he’s even dickish to Christina instead of a comforting soul, which makes it hard to believe he’s trying to help her pass to the other side. He chases her around the funeral home and terrorizes her. He dopes her up and she has frightening dreams about the dead bodies in the funeral home trying to drag her to the other side. And although this isn’t a “gory” horror film, the squeamish may not be able to sit through some of the graphic scenes of Liam working on dead bodies.
After.Life is a trip, right up to the bitter end. Check it out.
SHOCK VALUE (2014)
Shock Value should become a cult classic without a doubt. It’s one of the best self-aware horror movies we’ve had in years—one that every hardcore horror fan should adore. This is how you make an independent dark horror comedy and bring something new to the table.
A desperate indie horror director sees an opportunity to make the ultimate horror movie when he witnesses a gruesome and brutal murder. He confronts the killer and blackmails him…star as the killer in his next film or else.
The killer begrudgingly takes on the role but promises when it is all over he is going to make the director one of his victims. So we have something to look forward to as we watch the comic circumstances of the killer struggling with the cliché mockery the director is making of killers—right down to forcing him to wear a dress.
Shock Value is quirky, funny, gory, violent, unpredictable, and never slows down. The cast is perfect, and Malcolm McDowell has a fantastic cameo that helps my mind wash away his massacring of the legacy of Sam Loomis in the Halloween re-imaginings. Do not hesitate in seeing this one.