It’s a trio of horror flicks from my watchlist, two that have been there for a while because I often find Netflix’s “higher end” selection of horror movies to be a huge disappointment—like two of the three movies I watched for this post…
THE 8th NIGHT (2021)
This Asian film is ridiculously long considering the story it’s telling. It easily could have been shaved by 25 minutes to improve the pacing. Even then, it’s not exactly the most compelling demon-fighting flick out there.
Opening narration and graphics tell us the backstory of a Buddha who slayed a demon and locked its red and black eyes away separately, warning that they should never meet again.
Wouldn’t you know that in the modern day, some jerk reunites the eyes.
A monk and his cute young assistant spend the rest of the movie trying to hunt down those who have been possessed by the eyes in order to stop the demon from taking over the world.
The two standout possessed victim are a young guy with a half zombie face and a school girl, because in Asian horror you simply have to have a scary school girl. Half zombie face ends up being the final boss, but the school girl is definitely the best part of the movie. She does that creaky tick thing with her joints, she smiles eerily, and she goes around sniffing the air.
Important to note is that the monk and his assistant don’t take on these demons until over an hour into the movie. Ugh. The school girl’s battle scene is way better than the final fight with half zombie face.
I will always watch horror flicks starring one of the Ashmore twins, but I was concerned about the near 2-hour running time of Aftermath. Now that I’ve seen it, I can safely say it could have been trimmed by 25 minutes to bring the horror closer together. As it stands, it’s like watching a drama about a couple constantly fighting in their struggle to keep a toxic relationship together while noticing occasional signs of a presence in their new house.
They buy the house knowing there was just a murder/suicide in it, and in between their fighting, cliché as hell occurrences begin spooking her. Their dog barks at shadows. A tennis ball magically moves from under the bed to on it. Faucets turn on by themselves. I had to keep reminding myself there are ten-year olds who’ve never seen anything like this before…
That’s not to say there aren’t a couple of effective scenes, the most notable being when a sibling comes to the house while they’re not home. However, that leads to one of many plot holes in the film. Let’s just say the sibling disappears, and yet no one ever questions what became of her…specifically her own sister!
The story starts to spiral beyond the fear that there’s something in the house. There is poisoning, a car set on fire, sexual assault…and when the couple is suddenly being accused of white supremacy, all bets were off for how the film was going to hold up.
And when the wife, who has been wanting out of the house because she’s so terrified, decides to stay in the home alone without her husband, I gave up. Also, I totally sensed what the “twist” to this “haunted house” movie was going to be early on, yet it was still rather absurd when it was revealed—and done much better in other films.
THE PRIVILEGE (2022)
As a kid, a young man watched his older sister losing her mind, convinced they were being pursued by some sinister force. She tried to get him to do the unthinkable, and as a result…he did something else unthinkable instead.
In the present day, he is still suffering trauma from the incident. He sees a therapist, and she has him take a drug to help with his mental struggles.
But he begins to see freaky visions he thinks are real and becomes convinced there’s something coming for his twin sister.
With the help of his lesbian friend and an expert on funguses and possession, he starts to delve into the possible supernatural occurrences that are making everyone think he is going mad…and possibly affecting the children of privileged families.
It’s an intriguing mixture of classic horror plots we’ve seen before, and although it has some questionable moments and clarification issues, it’s still highly entertaining.