I saw it on cable: a dead mom, a dead husband, and a killer dress

I can basically just elevate my horror viewing experience by watching horror films on the cable channels rather than picking them off my watchlist on Prime, so here’s my latest excursion into the selection on Showtime and HBO.

THE DJINN (2021)

The directing duo of The Boy Behind the Door is clearly heavily influenced by 80s horror revolving around kids. In fact, this film takes place in 1989, has a synth score modeled after 80s horror movie music, and focuses on a mute boy trapped in his house with an evil entity.

In short, his mother committed suicide, his father leaves him alone for the night, and he then uses some magic to wish for his voice back. In doing so, he unleashes the Djinn, which first comes in a form that gave me flashbacks to The Ring.

Then to confuse matters, it takes on the forms of people unrelated to the boy who seem to have been past victims of the djinn.

Finally it starts showing as a demon version of his deceased mother, and he spends most of the time trying to avoid her. She’s cool in that big teeth/demon eyes kind of way, so that was satisfying.

Yet overall, just like The Boy Behind the Door, this one may seem more frightening and suspenseful to those who haven’t been around the horror block for five decades. I wasn’t bored, but it didn’t blow me away or terrify me at all.

IN FABRIC (2018)

Just because your film is visually beautiful and artsy doesn’t always mean it’s a masterpiece. And quiet honestly, if you’re going to make a movie about a killer dress, it might be better not to go for visually beautiful and artsy or even attempt to make a masterpiece.

This agonizing 2-hour long movie is basically two separate stories in one. First, a lonely middle-aged Black woman scores the dress from the weird clerk in a store, hopes it’s going to help her with her dating opportunities, and then becomes convinced it’s coming to life at night.

There’s plenty of weird stuff going on, including the store workers having a gang bang with a mannequin, the dress making a washing machine go haywire, and the Black woman spying on her son eating out his girlfriend (ew). Plus, the score is quite reminiscent of Mike Oldfield’s classic 1973 album Tubular Bells.

Eventually the dress ends up in the hands of some dude during a bachelor party. His friends make him wear it, he brings it home, and his woman becomes obsessed with the dress and the store. This segment is even weirder than the first…and just as lacking in pacing. If you really love high end horror, definitely check it out, especially if you’re into visual metaphors for feminine hygiene and monthly cycle issues, because this one is loaded with them. It was just way too focused on quality over thrilling horror content for my tastes.

THE NIGHT HOUSE (2020)

The director of The Signal and The Ritual likes the word “the”, so he now brings us The Night House.

This is a dark and heavy-handed tale of grief and depression wrapped around a supernatural mystery.

After her husband’s death at their lake house, a woman comes to the house to cope with the confusing reality of her loss—she was the one suffering from depression, yet he committed suicide.

She immediately becomes haunted by signs of him still being around…or are those just nightmares? Or is she sleepwalking? Or did he have a whole other life she didn’t know about?

As she forges ahead and digs through his belongings, she finds signs that he was dealing with his own demons, which only deepens her own anguish and makes her more determined to unravel the truth of what he was going through before his death.

Plenty of atmosphere and occult aspects make this one creepy, but it also has a bit of a pacing issue, so it starts to lose steam about halfway through. But the premise is intriguing and it’s worth sticking around, especially if you prefer emotional and psychological driven horror over cheap horror thrills.

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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