If horror has taught us anything, it’s that you should never return to your hometown, never go to an underground rave, and never go camping. But the people in these three flicks didn’t learn…
THE DOOMS CHAPEL HORROR (2016)
The director of segments of 10/31 and Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories brings us a found footage film that had me at hello, Mr. Farm Boy Muscle Stud. He appears shirtless for like the first 3 minutes of this film…and then falls into a wood chipper.
This found footage film then does what most found footage films do. It gets kind of boring for about an hour. The chipper dude’s little brother, who was filming the day he gave viewers the woody, comes back to town years later to face his guilt over the past.
He also has reunions with all his buddies…
There are a few hints of there being a monster in the forest—such as dead bodies turning up.
But even with the twist that takes its sweet time in untwisting (even though it’s essentially spelled out from the beginning), I don’t totally get what it has to do with muscle woody. That’s what happens when you give me a found footage film that sacrifices the hottie to a wood chipper in the first 3 minutes. My attention strays.
I finally paid attention again when all the crazy locals started running around the forest and getting torn apart by a giant monster at the end.
It’s very chaotic, you never quite see the entire monster all at once, and it suddenly seems like approximately 20 people are carrying cameras, because there isn’t an angle missed. Mere technicalities. Because I never turn down a good dose of monster madness.
For reasons I can’t comprehend other than to immediately appease a modern audience even more impatient than me, this film opens with footage of military men being attacked by the underground dwellers, so there are no surprises when we flash ahead two years to the actual story.
At a major underground rave, friends get into a cheesy fight like something out of The Fast and the Furious, which segues directly into a raid on the party.
Unfortunately, the group of friends doesn’t escape before the place is locked up.
UNDERGROUND: A LOVE STORY
The guys are hot and the monsters look like they come straight from The Descent.
There’s tons of running, screaming, attacks, and gore, and a good old silly military conspiracy is thrown in…along with a crazy old scientist!
Come on. If you stumble upon a dude that looks like this in underground labs while running from mutants, never trust the fucker!
It’s definitely enough to keep you entertained until we get to the sexy, testosterone-filled combat between a couple of the muscle boys and the monsters. And the escape for the final survivors rox.
THE DARKEST (2017)
This French film runs only 67 minutes long and I’ve seen it described as The Blair Witch Project with some actual payoff, so naturally I had to watch.
A couple with some serious marital issues is in a bit of a cold war, yet heads into the woods to camp. She immediately feels uneasy and starts to hear things, and doesn’t like the caves he drags her to visit.
Note to every horror filmmaker. This cheap jump scare is simply unforgivable at this point in time.
He tries to calm her by getting her to use the darkness as a way to meditate.
It doesn’t work. At night she hears screams and the terror begins. The film truly is unnerving for a while, shot predominantly in darkness, for they have little light—just a flashlight with a limited battery, a lighter, and a camera with a flash.
He tries to teach her to conserve light, setting the film up for a whole lot of quick illumination moments, which keeps you on edge, wondering what you’re going to suddenly see when the lights come on briefly for mere seconds.
As the terror and their troubles mount, I was totally engrossed. And then…the big reveal, the big twist, and the conclusion were all so fricking hokey I was dumbfounded. All I’ll say is, it sure isn’t a witch we get to see. Witches make dessert out of what’s terrorizing this couple.
If this film had been shaved down by 30 minutes and included in an anthology, it would have definitely been a standout with a clever little zinger ending, but in the form of a full-length feature, the payoff just wasn’t enough.