So I checked out four up-and-coming films—a ghost, a boogeyman, a psycho, and witches—but should you be waiting in anticipation? Let’s take a look.
THE CABIN (2018)
I’ll never understand why indie directors produce movies blatantly inspired by hugely iconic films and then do nothing to make them unique or at least effective for what they are. I mean, you’ve studied some of the best horror movies! Mimic THAT instead of just imitating the plot!
The Cabin opens with a promising scene of a man hearing something outside his cabin before that something comes in wearing a mask and wielding a hatchet.
It’s all down hill from there. A couple spends the entire movie arguing at a cabin. They meet a weird but not very menacing dude in the place next door and then…
Absolutely no surprises here. He invades their house. They have to figure out a way to escape.
During what could have been a suspenseful scene of the guy sneaking into the neighbor’s house, there are constant distracting jumps to the woman back at their cabin just standing at the window waiting for him to return.
They find scraps from a butcher shop strewn across a table to look like someone has been hacked up. Then the cat and mouse game begins, with the woman painfully understating what a terrifying situation she is in.
Personally, I would skip this one if I were you.
PET GRAVEYARD (2019)
Way to cash in on the remake of Pet Sematary—make a low budget Flatliners clone that’s also a slasher, and throw in a cat once in a while.
There’s not a lot to say beyond that. A group of friends learns of this ritual that lets you kill yourself temporarily to speak to the dead. So, they begin suffocating each other.
After a (long) while, they start to see a hooded grim reaper during their death sessions, and eventually he begins killing them in reality.
The brutal deaths are all this one has going for it, because it’s a rather dull Flatliners/Elm Street mashup…the second one I’ve seen in a matter of a week, the other being Sleep No More.
BLOOD CRAFT (2019)
I applaud James Cullen Bressack for plugging away and continuing to bring us indie horror films. I just don’t often applaud his films (I think Bethany has been my favorite so far).
Watching Blood Craft, something clicked for me that explains why a lot of highly praised horror films (that I won’t mention) disappoint me—they’re basically dramas wrapped around a horror premise that doesn’t deliver enough chills and thrills.
For instance, Blood Craft is a family abuse drama with some witchcraft, blood, and torture thrown in, but not enough to give me genuine horror feels. And honestly, dramas mostly bore me. I’m better immersed in “deeper” horror stories when I’m reading them as fiction stories. I just think they work better in that medium.
Anyway, two sisters reconnect after their father dies. Their father is played by horror cutie Dave Sheridan, who will simply never satisfy me in a horror movie again unless he reveals all he did here…
The girls have flashbacks to practicing witchcraft with their mother and being abused by their father. So they do a spell to resurrect their father’s soul—and put him in their neighbor (Michael Welch of Z Nation). Once they do, they torture him for revenge.
That’s it. That’s really all that happens…aside from the pointless lesbian incest…
AMERICAN POLTERGEIST: THE CURSE OF LILITH RATCHET (2019)
We meet Lilith Ratchet in the opener, and this freaky floating, ghostly woman brings to mind the bitch from Stay Alive. In fact, the film reminds of the early 2000s era of supernatural slashers.
The main plot is about a dude who wants to do a “Lilith Ratchet” shrunken head hot potato game at a Halloween party and film it for the Internet (things sure have gotten more complicated than just saying Candyman three times). Unfortunately, the silly urban legend is true, and soon everyone is being hunted down and killed by the resurrected legend.
Lilith is super creepy, scream queer Roger Conner makes an appearance in the film, and there are some fun deaths, but in terms of pacing and plot, this isn’t one of my favorites from Lengyel.
Scenes run too long, there’s excessive talking that doesn’t add to the plot and slows the film down, and the final girl chase scene loses steam, lacking the energy to keep us on the edge of our seat. Even so, this is by far the most satisfying horror flick I watched in this bunch.