This triple feature of films spanning different horror subgenres was culled from various mediums—cable, a Blu-ray, and streaming. Only one really paid off for me. Let’s take a look at which one.
THE CURED (2017)
While it’s thrilling to see Ellen Page in a zombie film since she kind of already did enter the zombie realm when her likeness was ripped off for the video game The Last of Us, it is mind boggling to me that a movie would so blatantly “borrow” from the plot to the TV show In the Flesh…right down to what appears to be a gay relationship, even if this movie does wimp out, leaving it as the love that dare not speak its name.
If you were a fan of In the Flesh, you basically know the plot. There was a zombie outbreak. A cure was discovered. Those who were cured are still treated like they’re sick and remain outcasts.
As a segment of society plots to kill the former zombies, believing they will turn again, the zombies form a resistance. They strike before their enemies can…by using their memories of what they did as zombies to do it to their enemies.
So, they are…post-zombie cannibals. It’s a drama, it’s a downer, and it just doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. It’s hard to be moved by the depth of a movie when all that meaning has been done before.
DEATH HOUSE (2017)
This project from director B. Harrison Smith (Camp Dread, Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard) has been touted as The Expendables of horror ever since its inception. So it’s with great disappointment that I must say that this film is virtually unwatchable. Worse? I had blind faith and bought it on Blu-ray.
I can’t even process how excruciating this was. Maybe it sounded much better on paper. The fact that it is weighed down by exposition in the form of endless dialogue should’ve at least tipped off the writers (the late Gunnar Hansen and director Smith), and filming one flat scene of dialogue after another should have raised a huge red flag.
The story focuses (and focuses, and focuses) on an underground government facility running a secret operation to rid the world of evil. To do so, scientists have captured and are reprogramming crazed killers to eliminate their evil urges.
That’s the simple plot, and it should have remained that simple. Instead, the scientists endlessly supply more and more complex details of the operation to two “agents” that have arrived at the facility.
None. Of. It. Matters. All that should have mattered is that the killers resist the reprogramming, escape their cells, and go on a killing spree. Death House could have been packed with action, suspense, and gore, especially considering the title. It isn’t. I don’t understand it. I can’t comprehend it. It just isn’t. Instead, we’re bombarded with scientific and historical mumbo jumbo (virtual reality, Nazis etc.).
The cast of horror veterans—Tony Todd, Bill Oberst Jr., Dee Wallace, Barbara Crampton, Sid Haig, Danny Trejo, Felissa Rose, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, etc.—can’t save it or make the material they’re given to work with interesting or cohesive. Most of them basically just stroll on screen for a moment (sometimes unrecognizable in costume) so the film can brag about its amazing cast.
This skinless people scene, which gave me hope way too far into the film, can’t save it.
Even the hot male agent doesn’t get the opportunity to be the studly hero, which would have at least stimulated my senses enough to keep me focused.
The Expendables of horror should be total midnight movie splatterhouse madness filled with thrills, chills, and campy horror fun. So what are the chances someone will be able to assemble all these people again to actually make that movie?
MAY THE DEVIL TAKE YOU (2018)
It’s Ringu meets Evil Dead with a lead girl who could be the sister of Tara from The Walking Dead. It’s everything that is so familiar about Indonesian film May The Devil Take You that makes it so easy to watch. This is the straight up midnight movie fun I needed in my life.
You know those fucking eyes are going to pop open any moment.
A young woman’s father is dying in the hospital…thanks to attacks by a Ring girl, killer hair and all.
But the shit really hits the fan when the main girl goes to stay with her wicked stepmother. After the contentious relationship is out on display, the stepfamily decides to break open the basement door the father has kept locked up tight. For the record, I will never break open any mysteriously locked door or vent I stumble upon.
Needless to say, something is released and everyone starts turning into creepy crawly evil Deadite Ring girls. Who even cares about the plot when there’s this much freaky demon face action?