Killer ghosts, a killer witch, a deformed killer, and a killer creature

This foursome of films has a little bit of everything, including found footage, slashers, the supernatural, and a creature feature. Let’s see which ones delivered on the horror.

REEL EVIL (2012)

This routine found footage film is from the director of Dark Walker, Cryptz, and Patient Seven. Right from the start I knew I’d seen this, but I have no record of ever having blogged about it. Also, it was tossed in as a free DVD under the title Specters when I ordered something else from Full Moon. Tells you everything you need to know…aside from the whole plot, which I’m going to do now to save you 77 minutes:

—three filmmakers are about to do a documentary on a movie being filmed at an old hospital. But first, how about a found footage sex video with huge boobs bouncing in the camera?

—they get to hospital, explore creepy halls, we see flashes of scary specters every now and then behind them, and they walk in circles and can’t find their way back, killing an hour of the movie.

—there’s more sex on camera, flickers of a freaky surgeon ghost, running, screaming, spastic camera, and finally, the last man standing…and then falling down dead and dropping the camera as in every other found footage film.

BLOOD BAGS (2018)

This Italian film fluctuates between languages, forcing you to sometimes read subtitles. I’m more of a one or the other kind of guy.

It’s a classic deformed human hiding in an abandoned building story. Two young women sneak into an old mansion for fun. There’s great atmosphere, shadowy corners, unnerving camera angles, and warped monster POV, plus we don’t have to wait for the horror to strike, because the mutant begins attacking right away.

That means other people start cycling into the house to up the body count, and that’s fine. The killer is classically creepy with bandages around its head, information is lying around the house gives us its backstory, and there are some pretty good kill scenes.

After jumping right into the horror, the film inevitably hits a slow spot in the center as other characters are introduced. Blah. Once it gets back to business, it ends with the usual chase scene and battle to the death. Overall, this is a satisfying if predictable little film.

THE CANDY WITCH (2020)

The director of Pet Graveyard gives us a terror tale about a killer witch that uses candy canes as her main weapon. There’s some good witch action here, but also a lot of backstory talk, mystery solving, and rehashes of things we’ve seen in other movies.

The candy cane kill, for instance, has been done before, only it’s usually a Santa in a Christmas horror movie. The very first scene borrows the on/off light baddie appearance shtick from Lights Out.

The witch uses cookie cutters to dig the skin off a victim (this has been done in numerous movies I’ve watched in the past few years, but once again, usually in Christmas horror). There’s a ghost hunter couple helping the troubled family (and the guy is a sexy hunk).

Despite all that, the atmosphere is quite good, the witch is creepy, and the kills are brutal enough to satisfy slasher fans. The plot gets much more complex as the death toll rises, so pay attention to all that plodding dialogue and investigating.

ISLAND ZERO (2018)

Island Zero is well put together with tense atmosphere, an intriguing build to its premise, and some effective suspense. It even takes place at Christmas, landing it on my holiday horror page.

It’s also a creature feature, which highlights its major problem: no creature. Rather than put any money towards a creature design, practical or CGI, this film goes with an invisible creature. Literally invisible for the whole movie. Sigh.

There are a couple of cutaway kill scenes that allow cuts back to victims that have been disemboweled or had their limbs torn off, which gives us some good aftermath at least, since we never see anything happen on screen.

For instance, the people living on the island are trapped there because the ferry has stopped coming. Most of them get on two privately owned boats to head back to the mainland. We learn the creatures have infiltrated their boat during a CB radio conversation that ends in bloodcurdling screams. Sigh and sigh again.

If I wanted this type of horror-free horror, I’d torture myself by sitting through Pontypool again.

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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