Oh the horror! Monsters and Masks

What better way to kill time during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve than to indulge in loads of horror? Hopping from Netflix to Prime to cable, I dug up fear and fun with some of the selections in this round of five flicks from 2019.

DROPA (2019)


Dropa is the story of a future U.S. that has been taken over by Russians. Oh, wait. That’s present day U.S.

Anyway, the planet was also invaded by aliens that have been mostly eradicated. But now one is on the loose in human form, with tentacles that come out only when it needs to kill, and an  former government assassin is on the case.

There are a few instances when we get to see the tentacles during the limited attacks, but Dropa is mostly a character study of both the assassin and the man/alien he’s following, complete with flashbacks of their pasts.

There’s also a lot of talk as the assassin investigates, to the point that I was just confused by all the exposition and couldn’t stay focused on the film.

THEY’RE INSIDE (2019)

I have to say, the opening scene of this found footage home invasion film is my favorite part. A guy is making a video when the masked intruders appear behind him. This quick and brutal scene is so effective because it doesn’t use any music cues to tell us how to feel about what is happening.

Then we meet a group of friends going to a cabin in the woods so two sisters can make a documentary film about their fucked up childhood. This is a heavy-handed plot and it’s quite clear things are not right between several of the characters, so I can’t say the twist is all that surprising.

Things don’t get good until one guy goes to confront whomever it is they can hear chopping wood at night. There are some brutal kills, but this is not a particularly suspenseful film. The best part of the exposition-heavy denouement for me was the full frontal male nudity.

SWEETHEART (2019)


With no explanation why, some people wash up on a deserted island, but only one girl survives. Although some ominous hints that she’s not alone keep us watching, if only she had a basketball, this would be as boring as a Tom Hanks movie…until she finally gets attacked by the creature she hears coming out of the water at night.


It’s an enjoyable creature feature from then on, with a combo of CGI creature and actual practical rubber monster freakiness. And of course it wouldn’t be any fun unless a couple more people washed up on to shore to give us a body count. Definitely a film that gets better as it progresses.

DOOM: ANNIHILATION (2019)

It’s amazing how movie studios will cling to a brand so much longer than fans—although I’m a huge hypocrite saying that considering how excited I was when this sequel to a movie from 14 years ago based on a video game that’s been around for about 25 years hit Netflix.


The plot is so generic it’s virtually a remake of the original movie. A military team explores a base that seems void of people—until zombie-like crazies start showing up in droves. And of course there’s a mad scientist with sinister motives to complicate matters…and bring more monsters.

I’m so there for this generic action crap.

While the movie takes way too long to get exciting, once it does it’s good old zombie and monster madness. The creatures are cool, the hero is a kick ass female this time, and the action is fast and furious. The goofy SyFy style of this one made it perfect for me and my hubby to watch together. Our only disappointment was that there was no cheesy first person video game segment as in the original movie.

BRIGHTBURN (2019)

YIKES! I was expecting a science fiction film my hubby would like more than I would when this one from the director of The Hive showed up on cable. Neither of us could have anticipated how scary, suspenseful, and viciously gory Brightburn would be.

Rather than the usual demon child most couples discover they’ve given birth to in horror movies, Elizabeth Banks and Jim’s bearish nemesis from The Office have a young teen son…that they found in a little pod in the woods when he was just a baby. Now, their beloved child is becoming a little terror.

In fact, the young boy discovers he has super powers, dons a mask, and then terrorizes and tears apart all the special people in his life in the small town in which he grew up. It’s chilling, perfectly acted, dark, horrific, and kept us riveted for 90 minutes.

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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