Each of these four films I’ve watched recently brings a little something different to the table…but none of it is something that hasn’t been served up before. So which ones are worth going back for second helpings?
A BRUSH WITH DEATH (2007)
The title alone is as off the mark as everything that happens in this backwoods movie that you can’t help but keep watching in hopes that it will finally make some sense. It never really does.
A bunch of babes heads to a mansion for a weekend getaway. The horror starts as soon as their car breaks down. A pervy old dude and his hot, slow, stuttering sidekick stop to help them, and we get total spoiler flashbacks of the pair doing awful stuff to another couple!
The girls get to their destination and have a pool party. A cute guy next door stops by and joins the fun.
He tells them an urban legend of a murderous child that lived on the premises—and he fantasizes about killing one of the girls! Is he bad, too?
It’s just part of the convoluted mess this film is as the girls constantly split up and walk into what seems to be inevitable danger that turns out to be nothing despite all the killer POV. Meanwhile, we are distracted by confusing footage of the little boy urban legend that fails to make anything any clearer.
In the end, while it’s nice to get a corpse dinner party, the “twist” introduces us to an entirely new character as the killer!
THE HOARDER (2015)
A group of people gets trapped in a storage facility overnight and is hunted down by a viciously life form.
No, it’s not Storage 24. But really, The Hoarder is actually different. Granted, it’s not much different than any movie about people trapped in an underground location and plucked off one by one by a creature in the shadows, but if you like these kinds of films, it gives you exactly what you’ve come here for (as long as you haven’t come for excessive gore or major terror), plus a bit of a twist at the end.
Mischa Barton stars as a woman who drags her friend with her to break into her fiancé’s secret storage unit to read his diary to see if he’s having an affair.
It’s only a matter of minutes after they get there that the shit hits the fan. The formulaic characters on the scene provide the usual fights, backstabbing, and systematic thinning of the herd by a creepy man creature like the kind you’ve seen in dozens of other movies…
…and no apparent reason for the movie to be called The Hoarder. That is until we learn of the twist, the only thing that makes this a little different that every other film just like it.
Rob Zombie’s 31 hasn’t quite made the impact on the horror genre as his previous films have, and I can see why.
In an age when there are loads of films about people trapped in a location with either a bunch of psychos or a bunch of killer clowns—Slasher House, Slashers, ClownTown, Circus Kane, etc.—31 is simply a combination of all of that done with Zombie’s self-indulgent style over substance or scares.
It also means we get the usual Zombie white trash and 1970s classic rock soundtrack. Although this time it’s white and black trailer trash on wheels in an RV.
There’s a load of familiar faces (many of them from previous Zombie films)—Malcolm McDowell, EG Daily, Meg Foster, Jane Carr, Tracey Walter, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Ginger Lynn—as this skanky hillbilly bunch gets abducted when they come upon a creepy roadblock on Halloween night.
They are set free in a building filled with a bunch of psycho misfits, and the goal is for them to stay alive for 12 hours.
Brace yourself for this shocking spoiler…Sheri Moon Zombie is the badass final girl.
I’ll just continue to pretend House of 1000 Corpses is Zombie’s only movie until he makes another one I like.
CUT SHOOT KILL (2017)
It’s the good old horror movie being shot in a horror movie premise…which led to me thinking over and over again that the really good shit was starting to happen only to find out it was just a scene being shot in the movie. This happened so much that at some point the death scenes became real and I didn’t realize it. Or maybe my attention was just focused elsewhere…
The plot revolves around a woman who gets the lead role in a horror movie after her main competition on the audition circuit dies.
It’s a horror film in the middle of nowhere. The sexy director uses unorthodox techniques to get performances from his actors, which creates some serious clashes with the main girl.
Naturally, his pushing her as an actress is what she needs to tap into survival mode in the final act, when she discovers she really is the final girl.
Despite the film/reality lines getting really blurred, this one definitely breaks away from the usual masked killer plot when the twist hits.
Plus, the really good faux kill scenes keep the horror vibe going, but the film could perhaps have been shaved of about 15 minutes to improve the pacing a bit, because it starts to feel repetitive as it goes from faux kill scene to talking scene over and over again.