HULU HORROR: school scares from K through college

This month’s Into The Dark finally goes simple high school slasher, while my other two choices for this Hulu triple feature deal with little kiddies and college kids. Only one of the three kept me vaguely entertained. Let’s see which one. 

ASTRAL (2018)

Despite the title and the subject matter, the protagonist never actually astral projects.

If Frank Dillane left Fear the Walking Dead to do this movie, he shouldn’t have. Especially since he’s more miserable in this movie than he was on that show. His character is a mopey college kid who becomes obsessed with the possibility of using astral projection to meet his dead mother on a different plane.

He does a lot of researching, he films himself sleeping Paranormal Activity style, he sees a dark image on the footage, there are a couple of Lights Out moments, he moves from focusing on astral projection to researching shadow people, we get two glimpses of a demon face and then…

…this is suddenly a possession movie for a few minutes at the end. The big question for me is, why does a spiritual psychic who uses Tarot cards and a Ouija board suddenly convert to Christianity to combat a demon?

THE SCHOOL (2018)

The opening scene of The School feels like an homage to Kristen stuck in the Elm Street dream world, but before long it becomes a confusing take on Silent Hill

A mother is trapped in a derelict netherworld school looking for her son. I have no idea why. She teams up with two children in this nightmarish setting and has to keep them safe as they are chased by, well, mostly what looks like a teen version of the baddies from Mad Max.

There is one creepy-crawly girl creature and a few eerie scenes, but honestly, this is just derivative horror-lite. Just watch Silent Hill again.

INTO THE DARK: SCHOOL SPIRIT (2019)

At last, Hulu’s Into the Dark series goes for a straightforward teen slasher.

If you’re a fan of Scream era slashers, definitely watch this one for the kill scenes.

As for the plot, if you’ve seen The Breakfast Club, just imagine it with kills every now and then.

I’m not talking homage. This film virtually lifts dialogue and simply rephrases it. Not only is that not very original, but there already is a slasher movie that pays homage to The Breakfast Club.

But back to the kills. For me, two scenes rise above all the generic crap going on here.

One is nasty good, the other is quite creepy because it uses silence instead of music to set the eerie tone in a red-lit hallway.

As a bonus, there’s a good old body reveal party at the end. It’s my favorite aspect of the denouement, because when the killer unmasks and the motive is revealed, it’s rather lame and cliché other than the fact that the killer chooses “All My Life” by K-Ci and JoJo as the soundtrack to the insanity.

 

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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