PRIME TIME: horrors at home

The films in this latest trio from my Prime watchlist have one thing in common; the terror has infiltrated the house. I definitely had a favorite, so let’s look briefly at Knuckleball, Colour From The Dark, and Don’t Run.

KNUCKLEBALL (2018)

This thriller begins with an oddly rushed setup just so it can deliver a pretty darn good cat and mouse chase that lasts for about half the film.

The premise is rather absurd. A wife and husband bring their young son to stay with his grandfather at a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere so they can go to a funeral. Seriously? They couldn’t find anyone to watch him back home? Especially when you take into account that the daughter has a bad relationship with her father and hates the place due to something awful that happened there in the past. Not to mention, based on the husband’s cold interaction with the son, I would have sworn he was the mother’s sleazy boyfriend, not the father of her child.

Michael Ironside is the intimidating granddad. As soon as he starts to connect with the grandson through the forced theme of throwing a baseball, he disappears from the scene, leaving the grandson alone to be terrorized by a psycho for forty-five minutes. It is enjoyable watching the grandson outwit his tormentor for a while.

There’s a rather predictable denouement revealing all the dirty family secrets, and I swear there’s a fleeting moment that makes me think one of those secrets may have been pedophilia, but the film isn’t big on hammering out details…including the ghost that I’m only now mentioning as I bring my thoughts on the film to a close.

COLOUR FROM THE DARK (2008)

The director of Herbert West: Re-Animator and Wrath of the Crows goes back to adapting Lovecraft for this film. I can’t say whether this is a faithful adaptation of the source material because I’m just not big on Lovecraft. What I can say is that while it starts off with some intriguing concepts, it ends up just another possession film.

Debbie Rochon plays a woman who lives with her husband and her sister. The sister is mute and has a special connection with a rag doll that she accidentally drops down their well.

That’s when all hell is set free from the well. It mostly affects Debbie, who begins to change so drastically they have to lock her up in a room.

Call in the exorcist. Yes, they bring in a priest and things unfold as expected–the priest and demon just can’t see eye to eye.

It’s well done, but it’s nothing new. And there’s a Nazi flashback side story that didn’t add much to the events in my opinion.

DON’T RUN (2019)

Reminiscent of the film Under The Bed, this tight little indie delivers 75 minutes of childhood trauma on a modest budget as it focuses on one teenage boy being terrorized by a monster in his room.

Walking a fine line between determined and defeated, the main kid virtually carries the entire film with his performance, as does the director’s ability to make us feel the monster is there even though we barely ever see it. And the setup is the stuff of nightmares—it’s just a given that monsters exist and the boy is at their mercy.

The boy finds a secret door at the back of his closet. He is then visited by a frightening man with a bandaged head (gave me Nightbreed flashbacks) who  warns him he has to be in bed every night by sundown or awful things will happen. Worse, the man has left a monster in the house to watch him at all times.

The boy becomes a prisoner in his own home. There’s something surreal about the events that unfold and the ways in which he tries to maneuver through his new life, with demonic voices coming out of the closet and monster hands swiping at him from under the bed. I’m over fifty and still afraid that this kind of shit could happen to me.

There are some confusing moments that feel like dangling plot points, but overall this film gave me the chills, thrills, and kills I crave.

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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