Jumping between my DVR and streaming, I chipped away at the backlog of shit waiting to be watched, and much of what I got through was shit. So here are five I indulged in, desperately clinging to hope that I’d finally strike horror gold before the weekend was over and it was back to five days at the work desk.
Curandero is loaded with potential, seeming like it’s going to be a demon-hunting buddy movie. A female federal agent teams up with a spiritual healer/witch doctor guy after the leader of a cannibal cult makes a meal out of everyone in a police station and escapes. As the duo visits various locations trying to track the cannibal down, the spiritual healer has some seriously gruesome and disgusting visions and there are plenty of shootouts, but before long it becomes extremely repetitive. The plot isn’t really propelled forward at all. Eventually there’s a battle with an awesomely grotesque demon in the town square, after which the movie is abruptly over. Overall, it just feels like a more horror focused Constantine.
This sloppy supernatural mystery attempts to pad an hour and 20-minute running time with the repetitive “scary” visions of the main character as she unearths convoluted details of the death of her sister.
When the main girl was younger, she and her sister got into a car accident, and the sister eventually died as a result. Ever since, the main girl has had visions that her sister was buried alive and scratching to get out of the coffin. She returns to her hometown for another funeral, stays in the home of her brother-in-law, and becomes convinced someone is in the house with them—especially since her young niece says a dark monster is living in the walls. Character names of dead people are thrown at us left and right as the main girl pokes around trying to learn the truth of her sister’s death and put an end to the visions we are endlessly subjected to.
There’s one positive to this mess—when the main girl finally faces off against the thing living in the walls, it at least sort of feels like a horror movie for a few moments.
THE TOMB (2009)
Frankenstein meets Elizabeth Báthory in this disastrous gothic romance soap opera plagued by melodramatic music. While based on the short story “Ligeia” by horror master Edgar Allan Poe, it feels like it was made for the Lifetime Channel.
Wes Bentley is a college professor married to the white chick from Empire. Some other chick on campus has been doing research, trying to contain souls to use as a means of keeping herself young and healthy. She seduces Wes, his wife dumps him, he moves into an old manor with the soul-stealing chick, and some other people show up, including Eric Roberts (I seriously think he’s just kept locked up in an old manor these days and taken out every few weeks to make a cameo in a shit horror movie). The soul stealer pretty much becomes a traveling soul, jumping into the bodies of the random characters to manipulate everyone and get what she wants. Avoid this film at all costs (I saw it on the Chiller Network for free and I want my free back).
BLOOD RIDERS: THE DEVIL RIDES WITH US (2013)
You can tell immediately this is a low budget indie. Even so, the premise at first seems like it’s going to be fun. Some friends steal a car then find a dead body inside the trunk. As they argue over what to do, the lone girl in the group pushes one of the guys and he accidentally dies. So they cover it up…but then his disappearance gets investigated. So the chick takes out the detective!
It seems like this is going to be a funny movie about a bunch of guys trying to cover up a series of murders by their female friend, but everything shifts, and it ends up being about them taking on a Satanic cult doing some sort of ritual involving Hitler’s mustache.
This isn’t a horror themed movie after all, and it’s not particularly funny—it loses steam and feels more and more amateur the deeper into it we get. Of note is the reveal of a couple of the male characters being gay toward the end.
THE GALLOWS (2015)
What begins as just another irritating as fuck found footage film—especially since the guy manning the camera is an obnoxious douche bag—turns into a fun found footage slasher by the end.
Back in the 1990s, kids were doing a play involving a scene of a hanging, when a horrible accident left one of the kids actually hung. Twenty years later, the school has made the brilliant decision to resurrect the play on the anniversary of the tragedy. Even better, some students have decided to sabotage the set. As a result, they get locked in the school overnight with…the hangman!
If you can make it through the irritating banter and chaos of the characters and the usual screaming, fighting, and spastic running around that comes with found footage, eventually the hangman shows up and you get loads of hanging kills and chase scenes, plus a devious little twist. The only downside is that there are only 4 kids trapped in the school. There should have been more so the hangman could have shown up sooner, cutting down on the annoying filler dialogue and upping the body count.