Killer nun. Killer kids. Video game turned CGI movie. Ghosts in an apartment. Religious possession. Mothman in a mirror. And… a killer vase on a plane? I’ve assembled my own little version of one of those 8-pack DVDs you can get for 5 dollars at Walmart. You’re bound to find a couple that aren’t so bad.
THE NUN (2005)
The Ring meets generic teen slasher. When the opening scene of The Nun features a freaky demonic nun, I was so ready for some wild horror.
Instead, The Nun is just another well-made but average film about teens being hunted by a CGI monster. After a chick’s mom is murdered by a nun apparition that rises out of her overflowing sink, the chick and her friends head to mom’s old religious school to solve the mystery of why.
EEK! CGI sink monster!
So much for the demon nun. Instead we get a floating CGI nun ghost that likes to rise out of drains. Eh. It’s standard PG-13 feeling stuff from the period from which it comes. Fun but forgettable.
THE CHILDREN (2008)
Forget hordes of evil children. The Children simply has a handful of families spending a snowy Christmas together when their own children begin to act like little spoiled animals. So how would the parents know anything’s wrong? Heh heh.
It takes one teen daughter to realize that these devious little monsters are plotting various “accidents” to kill their parents!
Even though we never clearly understand why the hell these children have gone crazy—and really, does it matter?—this one works because it really plays on our perception of children as inherently innocent, especially when they are our own. Right up until the bitter end, these parents can’t bring themselves to attack their own children, even when the little fuckers are slicing and dicing everyone to bits.
And that’s why I love the teen chick. She doesn’t give a fuck. She lets them have it good. Violence against evil children in a movie has never been so satisfying.
ALONE IN THE DARK (2005)
This movie adaptation of a horror video game is even more off the mark than the first Resident Evil was. In fact, it’s pretty much just a bunch of army dudes shooting at CGI demon dinosaurs.
Not totally true. We have Christian Slater as the lead character from the video game. We have Tara Reid as the curator at the museum where the ancient evil is unleashed. And we have Stephen Dorff as…well, a guy who really needed an acting job.
Forget about the intriguing intro story about a mad scientist dude who fused orphans with monsters, because that’s all tossed out the window so that we can get to CGI monsters, a sex scene between Slater and Reid (complete with sexy times music), and a big explosion finale.
You know it’s bad when a horror fan as forgiving as I am will not forgive a single second of a movie.
APARTMENT 143 (aka: Emergo) (2011)
Yep. Another ghost hunting found footage flick. This time, it’s an apartment building in which there are apparently few to no tenants other than the family being affected: a single father, his bitch of a teenage daughter, and his adorable little son.
The paranormal research team consists of a British chick, an older gentleman, and the awesome Rick Gonzalez of the TV show Reaper! And for a change, the crazy ghost activity starts almost as soon as they get in the place. We get a ringing doorbell, ringing phone, stuff crashing, doors slamming, shaky cam galore, night vision cameras, and an occasional flash of an apparition.
But aside from all the clichés, Apartment 143 is actually a pretty good found footage flick. It’s creepy, fast moving, and is a much deeper character study with a better plot than most found footage crap. The father’s acting is great as well. And shit gets wild when the possession, demon voice, and levitation starts! Oh yeah. It’s par for the course these days.
There are only a few minor complaints. One is video selfie footage of Rick Gonzalez taking a subway, which shows up for a brief moment in the middle of the movie and is totally pointless. Second, even after everyone in the apartment sees a ghost, the older gentleman claims it’s not a haunting. And finally, the totally predictable final jump scare right up in the camera is just a huge laughable cliché (even though it did make me scream, dammit).
DELIVER US FROM EVIL (2014)
The never-ending religious horror flick from hell. Eric Bana as a cop who finds a load of satanic shit and creepy-crawlie possessed people whenever he goes somewhere dark with a flashlight. Eric chased by a lion in a zoo. A rock star-looking priest who has to help him face his inner demons and find his faith. An exorcism that requires subtitles to understand the demon. The priest falling for the demon’s mindfuck games. The demon blasting “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” by The Doors in the middle of the exorcism. Whatever. Over 40 years later and The Exorcist still makes everything since look like a fucking joke.
Boredom on a plane. There’s an ancient vase artifact with a mysterious past. People start disappearing. Those remaining begin to distrust each other. Nobody—including the audience—knows what the fuck is going on. Mark Hamill plays some sort of official back at the airport. There’s a bit of blood and violence at points.
Airborne skids off the runway, hits endless turbulence, and finally crash lands.
Leave it to SyFy to give us a mashup of The Mothman Prophecies and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Most embarrassing of all, Mothman is wickedly entertaining. The CGI creature, which can only attack in reflective surfaces—a TV, rearview mirror, stainless steel trailer home—is an awesome black-winged, red-eyed monster that does some fun mutilating as it gets back at all the kids in a small town who killed one of their friends and covered it up.
Evidence is an interesting hybrid film that “stars” Radha Mitchell of Silent Hill and The Crazies and Stephen Moyer of True Blood as detectives trying to solve the mystery of a massacre of a bunch of people on a bus.
And how do they do that? They watch found footage! Yep. It’s basically a found footage flick about a killer welder. All the found footage clichés are there, but it is fun watching what is essentially a slasher film done in the found footage format. And when the slashing is all done, we return to our two big names so they can solve the case and unmask the killer for us.