My latest streaming marathon—three very different subgenres of horror—left me wanting more, even if each movie had its moments.
DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT 2 (2015)
This is pretty cool. This direct sequel to the 1973 film Don’t Look in the Basement (my blog here) comes from the son of the man who directed the original. As a result, it seems to have been put together with loving care. It looks great, the performances are excellent, one of the actresses from the original film returns, and the movie picks up with the main character that survived the first film.
40 years later, a small mental hospital is shocked to be taking in the man believed to have committed all the murders in the original film. But this sequel is barely about him. It’s mostly about the issues of each of the doctors at the hospital. Since we know something bad is going to happen, the film essentially spends a majority of its time demonstrating that any one of the doctors could be ready to snap and go on a killing spree. Unfortunately, the red herring game wears thin pretty fast. There’s just not much going on for a majority of the running time.
However, there are two orderlies who absolutely steal the show as a sort of comic duo. This film isn’t a horror comedy, but this pair brings moments of humor that leave you wanting even more (and I think the big guy – Scott Tepperman of Ghost Hunters International – is adorable). These two need to star in their own horror comedy.
The ending ramps up the gore and suspense, but I have to admit, the denouement was kind of confusing to me. I didn’t totally get it. Plus, it seemed just when the horror was getting good, the movie came to a halting conclusion.
I wish the film had been more about the craziness that goes on at the end than all the buildup that happens earlier on. Even so, as this sequel is clearly paying tribute to the original, it kind of makes sense that the pacing is pretty much the same.
I was psyched to see our beloved Heather Langenkamp of Elm Street fame in a new horror film, and even more intrigued to discover she plays a mother in a lesbian relationship in Home. Her wife is singer Samantha Mumba, a one-hit-wonder here in the U.S. in 2000 with “Gotta Tell You” (hunt down the Skribble and Acid dance mix, it kicks ass).
They’ve just moved into a new home. Samantha has a young daughter, Heather has a teen daughter. Heather plays a woman named Heather. Samantha plays a woman named Samantha. Heather and Samantha are only in the movie at the beginning and the end.
The focus is on Carrie, the teen daughter of Heather. Carrie’s name isn’t Carrie in real life. Carrie is a religious nut who isn’t so happy that her mother is a lesbian. Carrie has little interest in her stepsister. Carrie is so busy with her boyfriend that she forgets to pick her little stepsister up from school. I can see why. Mercy.
A neighbor ends up bringing the little girl home, scolding the mothers for leaving her behind and warning that they need to be careful of how they project themselves to the community, because they don’t need any more judgment than they’re already getting.
Since Carrie messed up and embarrassed her mothers by deserting her stepsister, the mothers decide to let her babysit the child for the weekend. Once they’re gone, there are bumps and creaking sounds, good Christian Carrie decides the house is haunted (isn’t that sacrilegious?), and invites her boyfriend over to help her cleanse the house with prayers.
For no good reason, there’s a creepy doll tossed into a few scenes, as well as a creepy portrait of a man holding that doll. They mean nothing to the plot. And don’t expect that creepy thing in the movie poster to be crawling around. Eventually, shit starts breaking and flying off shelves, the little sister is whisked away like something right out of Poltergeist, and Carrie walks around the house reciting “The Lord’s Prayer.” There is eventually a flash of a scary white face in a black cloud before the mothers return and we learn what was really going on.
Many complaints online say this movie is religious, anti-gay propaganda disguised as a horror film. I agree it’s lacking in horror and heavy on the “Can I get an AMEN,” but I don’t see it as anti-gay. As far as I’m concerned, the reason everything goes wrong is because the little Bible-thumping, holier than thou teen bitch was too busy canoodling with her boyfriend to care for her little sister, thereby tearing a family apart.
THEY’RE WATCHING (2016)
I’ll make this one short and to the point. If I wanted to watch a fucking movie about Americans experiencing the culture and traditions of people in a small foreign town, I’d watch Eat Pray Love or Under the Tuscan Sun. However, chick flick They’re Watching segues into a 15-minute short, campy horror film with the same characters.
Although it’s a found footage film, there is a musical score. It’s straight out of The Omen and adds to the playful, spoofing tone. Plus there’s a witch with a demon face, and people explode, get torn into pieces, turn into frogs, get attacked by frogs, get axed in the head, and get flung into the air willy-nilly. It’s a fucking blast. If only there were a full-length They’re Watching that was this much fun.
Seriously. If you must watch, skip the first hour and twenty minutes and just watch the end. Although, if you do, you’ll miss their cute daddy bear tour guide with the bad shirts.