It’s a teen comedy, a remake, and a meta movie in my latest triple feature from my Prime watchlist.
MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM (2022)
The “My” movies of the 80s and early 90s were always fun (My Best Friend is a Vampire, My Demon Lover, My Boyfriend’s Back, etc.), so I was excited to see a new “My” movie that takes place in the 80s.
The soundtrack sets the tone for sure, with tracks by a-ha, Tiffany, Rockwell, and Culture Club, and the main girls make plenty of precise 80s pop culture references.
As for the film, it ends up feeling like a tween cross between the new Evil Dead and The Craft…without any of the edge of either.
A bunch of friends goes to a cabin by a lake to party. While exploring the woods at night, the two main girls come upon a creepy tree-like thing in a cabin, and something happens to one of them. When the others find her, she’s…different.
Conveniently, they all go to a religious high school, so her odd behavior is exacerbated by her surroundings. Her best friend begins to believe she’s possessed, so she hires a musclehead evangelical dude to help perform an exorcism.
There’s just not enough funny stuff going on here to really grab your attention, and the horror elements are also kept to a minimum. It’s kind of a yawn fest.
GOODNIGHT MOMMY (2022)
Naomi Watts stars in this remake of the Austrian film, which I covered here. This is in no way an exact remake, and in the end it feels much more like a tragic drama about grief and mental illness than the original, although that one covered those issues as well. This remake just doesn’t quite capture the unnerving tension and sense of dread that builds throughout the original.
The story is about twin brothers dropped off by their father to live with their mother. When they arrive at her house her face is totally bandaged up like a mummy and she just tells them she had a procedure.
But they begin to notice that she is acting totally different and unloving. They become convinced she is not their mother at all, but an imposter who has replaced her.
There’s lots of creeping around in dark shadows at night spying on her and suspense sequences of her suspecting she’s being watched. She starts to come across as abusive. Some dream sequences are also injected to create some horror moments.
However, the mere fact that I know Naomi Watts is under the face wrap makes the mom much less mysterious and ominous than she was in the original. Hell, every time she spoke, I expected one of her sons to call her Rachel and start ranting about the girl in the well.
Eventually, this moves into Misery territory for a short time. That is when the plot makes some drastic changes from the original final act, quickly watering down the more terrifying aspects of the storyline to focus on the tragedy. There’s even a change in one crucial aspect of the plot line that will just totally drive right wingers up a wall because they will take it as a personal attack on their constitutional rights…
TERROR TRIPS (2021)
The initial setup of this film makes it seem like it’s going to be a meta lover’s dream. A guy plans to start a terror tour business in which he brings people to famous horror movie locations for screenings of the films. So he asks a group of friends, each of them a diehard fan of a specific horror subgenre, to do a test run.
The first surprise for me is that this isn’t a found footage film, because it really feels like its establishing itself for the format. The second surprise is that this great premise is just completely wasted on what becomes nothing more than an astonishingly generic. low budget organ harvesting plot.
The group goes to hike into the woods for their chosen location, they get abducted one by one, they escape one by one, they get abducted again one by one…all by a ring of Russian organ thieves. Eye roll.
There’s simply no worthy horror here, which is dumbfounding considering the whole point of the movie is that this whole group consists of horror experts. However, the catch, and it would be clever if the film were fun, is that as many horror movies as these dipshits have seen, they fall victim to every obvious trope.
The only highlight for me was having the main girl played by Hannah Fierman, best known as the creepy-eyed girl from the original V/H/S. She’s so refreshingly different here as the paranoid, panicked, cautious character in the bunch.