My latest marathon of a trio of films from the past two years was fairly derivative, making it a rather “been there done that” experience.
THE OUIJA RESURRECTION (2017)
The “sequel” to The Ouija Experiment is an entire meta premise in which the actors from the first film are running a haunted attraction at an old theater after a screening of the film.
The cast may be back, but the Ouija board isn’t—other than a few obligatory moments due to the title. The movie is not about a Ouija board, it’s about some sort of scary, ghostly woman demon that haunts the place.
This is a simple haunted attraction slasher flick with some humor thrown in and some standout scenes. Highlights include a tight homage to Exorcist III and a suspenseful scene involving a guy wearing special glasses (very reminiscent of the Thirteen Ghosts remake).
The freaky woman killer is awesome—and perhaps underutilized, as the movie kind of meanders rather than having a clear-cut trajectory.
Also of note is that there’s an openly gay character, the final girl kicks ass, and director Israel Luna has a cameo as the seller in the ticket booth. This is actually my favorite film in this triple feature (I also own the DVD).
WHO’S WATCHING OLIVER (2017)
I never quite felt compelled to watch this film based on the trailer, and my instinct was right—it just isn’t my thing.
Essentially it’s Psycho meets Maniac…and I’ve already seen those films, so it wasn’t imperative to sit through this one.
A geeky weirdo has a twisted relationship with his mother over video chat. Of course you immediately start to wonder if she’s actually there or if it’s all in his head. Bringing them closer together is some incestuous masturbation and voyeurism. Yay.
The biggest issue with the film is that this pretty girl in the park starts making moves on him despite the fact that anyone could tell just by looking at him that he’s a psycho killer whose mother makes him masturbate for her while she watches.
And there lies his big conflict. Can he fight his mother’s urges to kill so that he can actually have a relationship?
SUMMER OF 84 (2018)
The obsession with the best horror decade ever just won’t stop, even though there’s one blatant fact that makes these throwbacks films virtually pointless…if you want to truly experience what horror was like in the 80s, you should just watch 80s horror.
There are plenty of 80s references—an Asteroids arcade game, GI Joe walkie talkies, Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer”, etc.
Plus, the adventures of the group of four main boys capture the spirit of Stephen King’s It, Stand By Me, ET, etc., but the film is unforgivably 105 minutes long, with an excessive amount of time focused on letting us get to know the individual personalities of each boy…which can easily be done in tighter storytelling while they are actually on their adventure, not before.
These kids become convinced a cop who lives next door is responsible for a rash of murders of young boys in town. So they start their own little investigation to prove it’s him.
There are some suspenseful moments, but mostly this film is super slow with not much going on, including no body count…because it’s not a slasher movie. It’s more like a kids’ thriller film. Only in the final act do we actually get to see some murder that will slightly satisfy a horror audience.