It’s a trio of flicks featuring less-than-human terrors, with a demon, the infected, and an anti-hero.
The director of District 9 goes a completely different route and gives us a possession movie that plays out like a horror video game, often looks like a video game, and features a demon that goes rogue instead of remaining strapped to a bed. Cool…and…weird.
For sure the plot is kind of out there. A woman is asked to be part of a sort of virtual reality experiment involving a coma patient…her mother! They want her to go inside the mother’s mind to see what’s up.
Seems mother and daughter became estranged when the mother killed a whole lot of people. But, like an idiot, the daughter agrees to go along with the research.
And that’s where we get into Silent Hill territory. Scenes inside her mom’s brain get a video game graphics filter, with the daughter exploring creepy locations and seeing frightening forms in the shadows.
What’s odd is that while there’s loads of atmosphere, this movie is never really scary…except one part, which totally kicks ass and doesn’t even take place in the mother’s mind. It’s a sequence that involves her friend coming over to visit her in the middle of the night to see how she’s doing, and it’s chilling.
I do think this is a refreshing break from the usual rip-off of The Exorcist, but the main girl’s infuriating choices to continuously run directly towards danger made this even more like a video game, because they are the kinds of decisions you’d only make in a horror video game. In other words, totally against your will just to finish the damn game if you’re anything like me.
THE SADNESS (2021)
You know you’re old and have seen way too many horror movies over the decades when a movie getting loads of buzz on social media for being mind-blowingly vicious and gory feels totally cliché to you…and even bores you at points.
I will give it credit for having some visually arresting setup shots and several fantastic sequences, but overall, this is just extremely derivative. It’s also clearly a commentary on the whole societal response to COVID.
There was a pandemic, and now the country has decided to move past it despite scientists trying to warn that mutations are inevitable and it’s not just scare tactics because there’s an election coming up.
A cute young guy and his girlfriend venture out into the city and go their separate ways for the day. Before long, everyone around them is turning into The Crazies, gleefully smiling as they stab, beat, eat, and rape people.
The film starts off strong with plenty of horror action and blood gushing as we follow the two on their personal journeys through the insanity. Yet the most perverse and disgusting elements are very often implied rather than shown (for instance, a horny infected dude plucking out a girl’s eye then fucking the socket).
There is also major slowdown in the center of the film before the his and her stories eventually merge together as the couple comes closer to finding one another in the final act. Honestly, her horror adventure is more interesting, with her being chased by the horny infected dude, who is determined to make her his.
SHE NEVER DIED (2019)
This sequel to He Never Died comes from the director of Berkshire County, one of my Halloween horror faves, and it’s a standalone film that focuses on a totally different man-eating crime fighter…this time a Black woman instead of Henry Rollins.
She lives on the street and is in the midst of hunting down a brother/sister sex trafficking team when a detective that has gone rogue to capture them figures out She is following the same trail he is. So he enlists her “services” in killing people and getting rid of the bodies to help take down the sex traffickers.
To complicate matters, a feisty girl She rescues from the sex traffickers becomes enamored with her and serves as an unlikely and unwelcome sidekick (that She has urges to eat).
A basic vigilante film with some okay gore, a few good violent fight scenes, and some understated humor, this is fairly entertaining, but not enthralling enough for multiple viewings. A brief but action-packed massacre at a party near the end is most definitely the highlight.