PRIME TIME: 4 films that starts with “The…”

Corona is causing my watchlists to shrink drastically, so for this blog I took on a foursome of films simply because they all begin with the word “the”: The Tombs, The Terrible Two, The Recall, and The Russian Bride. So which ones were worth the watch? Let’s get into it.

THE TOMBS (2019)

The title of this one is definitely deceiving. There are no cemeteries or catacombs in sight. It’s the usual slasher in a haunted attraction formula, with a slight change—this time a bunch of celebrities is doing a reality show/movie promotion tie-in.

It’s hard to believe that this basic premise could be rather bland, but The Tombs simply doesn’t deliver much on chills, thrills, or good kills. And the killer? The typical potato sack mask and an axe.

I think the problem might be that the “celebrities” aren’t clearly defined beyond the bitchy diva. These are all forgettable, interchangeable characters despite the introductions of them and the setup being dragged out.

As is the case with most of these haunted attraction slashers, everyone spends a lot of time walking around, giving us a tour of the haunted attraction in the process.

However, that doesn’t even offer much in the way of cheap, faux scares here.

When the killing does start, initially it’s all implied. There are several chase scenes and the kills get a little better, but I’m sure I will remember nothing about this movie in a few months.

THE TERRIBLE TWO (2018)

If you’re going to make a terrible movie, you should avoid putting the word terrible in the title. Those who are less sophisticated and cultured than someone of my breeding might use it against you.

What a mess this terrible movie is. Husband and wife move into a new house thanks to hubby’s sexy real estate friend. Hubby also keeps us watching a little longer by walking around shirtless.

Wifey is obsessed with religion and also convinced their two dead daughters are still in the house. And there are creepy dolls.

Wifey also finds a manuscript in the house from the previous owner, who said he was battling demons.

A therapist comes and goes. A medium pops up briefly. The wife might be sort of possessed. Or there might be ghosts. None of it makes any sense. In the last fifteen minutes two little girls in masks with knives chase the couple around the house.

All I’m going to say is that there are other movies with couples being chased around by children in masks with knives.

THE RECALL (2017)

If SyFy hadn’t become the 24/7 Harry Potter channel, it might actually show movies like this as it used to. The Recall is mostly a good old cabin in the woods film, with the kids in this case being terrorized by aliens.

It might sound like a plot you’ve heard before, but The Recall delivers some surprises and doesn’t skimp on budget.

The kids are pretty (see above), and Wesley Snipes is humorous as a crazy survivalist the encounter. This bunch of white kids even call him a hillbilly. Now that’s progress.

While the focuses is the kids at the isolated cabin, the plot makes the unusual move of also revealing what’s happening in the rest of the world; the storm of the century has brought with it a whole lot of spaceships.

It’s the sheer oddness of the unfolding events that keeps things moving. There are a variety of “aliens”, and the kids all have issues that make them react in different ways and cause infighting. Meanwhile, Wesley Snipes is lurking around the woods dealing with issues of his own.

While we do see a sort of glowing red jellyfish alien, there’s also a major monster alien that we don’t get a really good glimpse of until much later in the film—a very old school creature feature move. The pace is fast until Wesley Snipes really gets involved, at which point there’s a bit of dialogue-heavy slowdown for a while.

But it is worth sitting through, and not just to get to some boy crack. The final act is pretty damn wild, and for me it’s the stuff of alien horror nightmares.

Even the conclusion is bizarre and unexpected, leaving us with an ominous possibility of how an alien takeover might unfold.

THE RUSSIAN BRIDE (2019)

I did not expect this film, which at first seemed like old school thrillers such as the Mary Steenburgen classic Dead of Winter, to punch me in the gut with a totally unexpected change in tone more than halfway through.

A desperate Russian woman trying to escape her abusive husband sells herself as a bride with daughter to rich doctor Corbin Bernsen in the U.S.

That alone is a chilling concept, and it’s very easy to empathize with the wife and daughter. Although you’d think since they’re Russian they would have reached out to Trump for a place to live.

Anyway, it’s everything you’d expect at first. Things start off awkward when mother and daughter arrive at the mansion. For starters, the help seems sinister.

Corbin shows signs of being somewhat off, and his previous marriage is shrouded in mystery. Corbin gives his usual outstanding performance as a total psycho.

And then accidents start happening. The daughter claims to see ghosts. The mother begins to fear she’s made a horrible mistake. There were so many ways things could have gone and things Corbin could have done to them. Most likely you’ll never imagine what actually does happen.

The slow burn suddenly bursts into flames! All I’m going to say is this starts to feel less like a thriller and more like a wacky, gory Tarantino movie. I don’t know what the hell I just watched, but I’d highly suggest you watch it too if you want a violent thrill ride.

The film also does a great job of incorporating viewings of both Frankenstein and House in Haunted Hill so that they align with the plot. Hey, any horror movie that doesn’t show Night of the Living Dead on a TV gets bonus points in my book.

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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