A 4-movie streaming session. So what did the roll of the dice deliver this time? Here’s a quick rundown of Dead House, Dead List, Inoperable, and The Cleanse.
DEAD HOUSE (2014)
Running only 70 minutes long, Dead House takes a significant amount of time to unleash the guts of the horror, because it’s essentially an exploitative home invasion film and zombie film combined.
Despite the gratuitous sexual nature of the home invasion segment going on way too long, the bigger disappointment for me is that the film shows us within the first ten minutes that there are zombies imprisoned somewhere.
Sure it’s a quick and deliciously gory scene, but its inclusion feels like the filmmakers tipping us off about the zombies to make sure we sit through the less compelling human-on-human brutality that fills most of the running time.
For me, it dilutes the impact of the eventual horror reveal—imagine if From Dusk Till Dawn had started with a brief vampire attack before the initial hijacking of Keitel’s RV?
You know this is going to end up with the baddies getting what they deserve from zombies in the basement, but I personally didn’t love sitting through vile sexual, physical, and psychological abuse of a family to get there.
Although I didn’t mind the big burly bald abuser getting lots of screen time.
Once the zombie action finally kicks in, I had a fricking blast. It’s fast, furious, and gory, and goes beyond simple zombies before all is said and done. And I love me some zombie action that takes place during the daytime…even if it does seem to just magically turn from night to day in an instant in this film.
THE CLEANSE (2016)
It’s sort of a darker, gloomier version of Bad Milo…without all the ass humor.
Having lost his fiancée and his job, Johnny Galecki goes on a “cleansing” retreat in the woods to expel the negative energy.
The only others there are a girl he is interested in, a couple (one of which is Kyle Gallner of Jennifer’s Body), and the two people running the retreat: Anjelica Huston and her sidekick, played by horror weirdo Kevin J. O’Connor.
Not a lot happens here. They’re all given special drinks to guzzle, “something” comes out of each of them, they are not all that freaked by it, and they each start bonding with theirs like they got a gremlin for Christmas.
There seems to be a threat that these cute little critters are going to get bigger and start attacking them, but forget it. Just when the film seems to be turning suspenseful…it ends! And with a sort of positive conclusion!
Happy Death Day plots are becoming all the rage, and in this film, Danielle Harris gets herself into the repetitive predicament. She wakes up in a hospital where everyone is either acting weird, unable to see her at all, or chasing her down to kill or mutilate her.
Each time she has an experience in the hospital it’s completely different than the time before, then she passes out, wakes up in her car stuck in traffic before the accident (which we never see), passes out again, and then wakes up in the hospital again. After a while you can’t help wonder why she doesn’t just get OUT of the car so that she can avoid being in the accident at all! You also have to wonder…why the hell does she have a flip phone?
With the help of two people she meets every time she comes back, she begins to figure out the truth of what’s going on and how to escape the hospital.
If you love Harris, you’ll love that you get her nonstop in this one, even if she is just her running in circles.
And if you love horror movies, chances are you’ll guess the twist at the end before you reach it.
DEAD LIST (2018)
This fun little film has some good ideas wrapped up in a lot of familiar territory, so you’re not going to find anything new or incredibly memorable here, even if you are entertained in the moment.
A bunch of young male actors is always auditioning for the same role, but one lucky guy is given the upper hand when a Death Note…um…I mean…magic book falls from the sky…and starts killing off the competition.
The film plays out almost as an anthology, with each guy getting his own death “story”.
There’s a timely and topical “black lives matter” story, a look at how phones are taking over our lives, a virtually illogical but effectively creepy tale about two guys that pick up a hitchhiking witch, and (hot) body horror (gross).
Finally, we get a tale of a creepy clown with a red balloon, because, you know, It…
And that’s the part that disappoints me most. It’s a cheap cop out that for no logical reason, the clown ends up representing for the book in the conclusion of the wraparound.