A mish mosh of stuff I saw on cable this month

Honestly, I didn’t have the motivation to come up with something more inventive to lump these five together. We have a psycho boy, a werewolf, found footage, a memory invader, and mutants. So let’s get to it.

THE BOY (2015)

the boy cover

Ugh. Setting this movie in 1989 and throwing in songs such as Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” didn’t make this psycho killer character study any better than the many others I hate (which is all of them, including the ones I’ve never seen).

Imagine that Norman Bates had only a father instead of a mother, and Psycho IV was a lot ickier, and you’ve got the boring film The Boy.

David Morse (Disturbia, Twelve Monkeys) is a dad running a motel and—a farm? His young son is in charge of cleaning rooms and tending to the animals in the barn. Rainn Wilson is thrown in as a very creepy guest whose interactions with the boy at times feel like they are about to cross a line. It all comes together to make the boy grow more and more fascinated with death.

the boy rainn wilson

Blah blah blah blah blah then finally, the boy kicks some chickens to death, inappropriately touches a girl, and sets a shitload of people on fire in the motel…while wearing only his undies and deer antlers. Like I said, ICKY and BORING. The end.

WEREWOLF: THE BEAST AMONG US (2012)

werewolf beast among us cover

How can you make Dan stick with a period piece? For starters, stick in Nia Peeples and Steven Bauer to make it sort of feel like the 80s. Throw in a whole lot of sleek werewolf action, a cool looking werewolf, and some good gore. On top of all that, toss in a somewhat campy, snarky villain at the end to battle the werewolf.

werewolf beast among us ed quinn

But wait! There’s a bonus—a nice balance of scruff and smooth sexiness. Ed Quinn of House of the Dead II and Navy Seals vs. Zombies looks delicious with a beard and cowboy hat and is a great, sadly underutilized hero. And young Guy Wilson of The Midnight Game (blog here) was clearly cast just so he could be shirtless as often as possible. Wait until you see him chained up.

Chandler Massey Replacement Revealed - Guy Wilson 01

NIGHTLIGHT (2015)

nightlight cover

Someone had a great idea—don’t worry about presenting a movie that makes sense, just throw in every cliché that has been known to work in the most successful found footage films. And they called that movie…Nightlight.

There’s this forest where kids seem to go to die, so a bunch of brilliant kids go there to check it out (with their dog). Things begin with a found footage train scare—yes, a train scare—then the kids play a game in which they each get blindfolded and left alone to see if they can handle the terror.

nightlight back

So begins the utterly confusing, headache-inducing found footage insanity. Kids are thrown, tossed, and dragged around left and right before being dropped in front of the camera for the best blank stare selfies they can muster. There’s blood, screams, flickering flashlights and camera flashes, kids sitting with their backs to the camera in the woods, a creepy old building loaded with creaking and bangs, a scary tunnel with bats, snarling and whimpering dog sounds, a bear trap, lampposts that go on and off, a snake attack, a fall into the water, and someone taking a dive off a cliff. And, considering this is a found footage film, I assume the implication is that someone was actually able to find all these cameras and assemble this footage together….

I honestly have no idea what the fuck this movie was about.

ANNA (2013)

Anna cover

Taissa Farmiga of American Horror Story and The Final Girls is the highlight of this film about Anna, an aloof teenage girl who won’t eat. A “memory detective”—a man able to enter the memories of others to figure out what is troubling them—is called in.

Anna doesn’t make it easy on her memory dick. She is always thinking one step ahead of him as he delves into her past—including her mother being stabbed, her stepfather hating her, and a tragedy that occurred when she was a student at an academy for girls. Anna flirts with the memory dick, challenges him, makes him confront the grief he is suffering from the loss of his wife (also named Anna), and tries to convince him that all the bad things for which she is being blamed were part of a plot against her. Unfortunately, the real problem with Anna is much more obvious to the audience than to the memory dick, so the ending is really no big surprise.

anna still

The creepiest part of the film is not what the memory dick experiences when he gets inside Anna’s head, but the seeming manifestation of “Anna” in the real world. It’s a neglected subplot that actually could have made this a more interesting and frightening film if it had been explored as the main plot.

MUTANT WORLD (2014)

mutant world movie

This mess of a SyFy movie is essentially just another zombie flick, slapping together various clichés that are sort of fun simply because they’re familiar.

We quickly meet a couple of characters, and then a meteor hits the planet. Years later, some of those people have survived in a bunker. Without us really getting any sense of who they are or why we should care about them, they head out into the world for the first time. Almost immediately, radiation victims attack. These “mutants” have pockmarked skin, a green flesh tone, glowing neon green eyes, and a need to feed.

mutant world zombies

There are a bunch of suspense and action scenes, the group joins another group, that second group is a bunch of religious freaks, and suddenly…fricking Ashanti shows up for the final battle as some sort of mutant fighting priest (you’re totally thinking “what was that song she sung?”). To top it all off, one of the characters from the beginning of the film has to confront her long lost boyfriend, who is now a mutant.

Leave it to SyFy to make a movie that starts off all serious and ends up laughable.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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