STREAM QUEEN: home invasions, slashers, and torture porn

I always do my best to find the good in all the crap I stream, so here’s how things turned out with these six films.

SWEET HOME (2015)

sweet home cover

A young woman sneaks her boyfriend into a vacant apartment building as a birthday surprise. This building is in the worst part of town and looks like a lair out of Saw, yet somehow she thought this was a romantic birthday gift? Before long, three men break into the building and the couple is thrust into a game of cat and mouse.

sweet home killer

If you can’t get enough of home invasion films, watch this one either way. If you like home invasion films but wish they would break the mold once in a while, I guess this might also fit the bill. For me, the mid-movie “twist” that changes things up was kind of annoying, because it was the result of the main characters missing a perfect opportunity to be done with their problem for good. After some early suspenseful (but cliché) setup, I quickly tired of the film by this mid-point twist.

sweet home main girl

The only thing that saves it for me is that it kind of turns into a long final girl slasher sequence, with her being chased by a big baddie with an axe for the entire second half of the film.

NO THROUGH ROAD (2008)

no through road cover

Aaaaand…another take on home invasion. The twist here is that a guy finds a woman hidden in his closet because three guys in a car outside raped her. He offers to call the police but she begs him not to. This is the biggest major problem with No Through Road. ANYONE would have called the police! UGH. It made it really hard to continue watching.

no through road cast

So…expect what follows to be a pretty typical home invasion scenario. It’s good, but you’ve seen it all before: unsuspecting neighbors coming by to up the body count; cat and mouse chase; torture porn; battle to the death, etc.

no through road hammer

It’s really well done, but I just can’t get past the initial reason the main guy ended up in this predicament to begin with.

CASSIDY WAY (2016)

cassidy way cover

I can barely bring myself to write about this one. A family is holding out from giving up their house as they are pressured by their town to sell it because of a whole fracking situation. Reba’s cheating husband plays the dad, who snaps when his son – carrying a toy gun – is shot to death by police (the kid isn’t even black…only in the movies).

cassidy way cast

Meanwhile, a trio of students comes to make a documentary. Suddenly, the family decides that they are responsible for killing the son and need to be punished. WTF?

cassidy way dad

Nothing suspenseful, nothing scary, but plenty of torture porn.

BLACK WATER WILDERNESS (2015)

black water wilderness cover

Black Water Wilderness has all the elements of a pretty good backwoods slasher, but is challenged by an oddly slow pacing. And I’m not talking slow burn. I’m talking…well, remember Amy Steel’s slow motion chase scene in Friday the 13th Part 2 with trippy overlaps of her running in different areas, which warped any sense of how much time was passing or where she was actually heading? A large portion of this movie uses that effect, and it totally disorients the entire flow, if that makes any sense.

The plot is basic – a bunch of friends goes camping in the woods, bringing along typical slasher baggage – drama and relationship issues. However, one actor and his storyline rise above it and are what kept me watching until the killings finally began. Despite this being his only movie, Motell Gyn Foster seems like a seasoned actor. In fact, he was so naturally a focal point of the script that it just seemed to make sense that he should be the final guy.

black water wilderness lead

As for the kills, I feared they weren’t going to help the movie when the first throat slit was accompanied by the worst CGI splash of blood ever. But honestly, the kills really pick up after that.

black water wilderness knife

The killer wears net camouflage and has gruesome booby traps set up all over the woods The film plays out like your typical 80s backwoods slasher, it’s just that the damn slow motion kill sequences ruin any sense of scares or suspense.

black water wilderness gore

Although, the cliché of the campfire scare is cleverly mocked here, plus there’s one gruesomely inventive kill involving someone’s head in a jar….

CUT! (2014)

cut cover

This movie is so all over the place that by the time it gets to the intriguing part – the second half – it’s kind of too late.

The first part of Cut! has two jaded dudes working at a movie studio, griping about the film industry and how so many crappy directors can get financing to make crappy movies. There are also plenty of references to horror movies, as well as cameos by Suze Lanier-Bramlett of the original The Hills Have Eyes playing herself, as well as Gabrielle Stone, daughter of Dee Wallace Stone, playing herself (ironically, Dee was in the original The Hills Have Eyes with Suze). It all makes the film seem like it’s simply going to be a dark comedy/indie horror industry satire.

cut cast

Then suddenly, 54 grueling minutes into the movie, the tone complete shifts. The two guys planned to make a movie by simply scaring the hell out of people on camera, but in the process, someone really dies. This causes one of the guys to become addicted to actually kill people on camera for realism. There are some kills that are viciously executed, leading right up to a delicious series of twists, as well as a final scene that basically sums up an entire sequel to the movie.

cut kill

I don’t know—it just feels like the film unnecessarily took way too much time to get to the good stuff—as if the filmmakers (aka: the two lead actors) were using the first half as therapy to work out their own issues with the movie industry before delivering the actual movie.

SICKLE: THE HAUNTING (2015)

sickle cover

This is pretty much a really low budget version of movies like Darkness Falls, Boogeyman, and most notably, Crooked Man, which I just blogged about the other day.

At the age of 12, some kid is locked away for having slaughtered his babysitter. But he claims a creepy man in a top hat did it. Despite the movie opening with interviews about the Mothman, the premise becomes that the kid actually saw a version of the grim reaper, known as Sickle. His look is the only good part of the film. He deserves a much better movie.

sickle killer

The plot has the kid released as an adult and then being lured by various people – including a ghost hunting team – back to the house where the killing took place. There’s endless dialogue until finally, near the end, Sickle sort of pops up in a kitchen and just starts killing everyone standing there one by one (the actors seriously just stand there waiting for their turn to die), with his weapon of choice being terrible CGI. Sigh. The highlight for me was the interspersing of some non-PC banter between a couple of local radio DJs. Gave me a chuckle.

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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