STREAM QUEEN: a home invasion, ghosts, and a backwoods slasher with back door boys

My latest selections come from Hulu, Netflix, and Prime respectively, definitely making for a better triple feature than my last one. And there’s even a gay couple as a major focus in one of the films.

TRESPASSERS (2018)

Tightly made Trespassers is never predictable merely because it’s constantly bouncing between subgenres before finally ending as a home invasion film.

However, what is cliché is the variety of relationship issues the two main couples have, along with the secrets they harbor. Damn. Heterosexuals problems sure are predictable.

The couples are staying at a house in the desert, and after their soap opera is presented, The Craft queen Fairuza Balk rings the doorbell. She’s as weird as always, but things don’t totally go as we might expect, and pretty soon the two couples are clashing.

When the home invaders at last strike they bring on the suspense, gore, and chase scenes, with techno music and Argento lighting really kicking the suspense up a notch.

The home invaders also subject the main characters to some torture porn.

Unfortunately, this entire final sequence is disappointingly rushed, causing the climax to feel anti-climactic.

ELI (2019)

The director of Sinister 2 brings us what mostly seems like just another Hollywood ghost girl movie, but with a unique premise.

A young boy with a disease that makes him “allergic” to air is brought by his parents to an isolated house where Lili Taylor, who plays a scientist, will subject him to an experimental treatment to cure him.

Her facility is specially equipped to allow him to walk around freely without his hazmat suit. But there’s one door that is off limits to him…

Would you believe he begins being terrorized by ghostly apparitions?

It’s essentially The Boy in The Plastic Bubble with ghosts—and without John Travolta. The scares and atmosphere are effective if you haven’t seen every Hollywood ghost film made in the past decade. What really blew my mind was that this well-polished film dared to steal a classic element from the low budget 80s slashers Splatter University.

However, Eli goes to a place that totally redeems it. The final act is absolutely delicious, for as predictable as I thought it was all going to continue to be right up until the end, there’s a rockin’ surprise in store.

WARNINGS (2019)

Warnings is a less than average slasher that barely manages to present the point of its plot and has very few victims. However, where it stands out is in its cast. Of the five main characters that head to a house in the woods—three guys, two girls—a majority of them are black or Latino, and the whitest dude in the bunch is gay. And one of the other guys is his boyfriend. And their relationship gets the most focus, landing this one on my die, gay guy die! page.

The beauty of this diverse group is that it triggered some asshole to attack the film for these very reasons on Amazon.

Now, how about the horror? Much of the film is conversation between the characters, with one girl suffering from dreams about ghosts.

Eventually there’s a kill, then the focus becomes on the group looking for the missing friend. This is where the film works in terms of standard slasher expectations yet fails terribly in that the whole plot seems to be crammed into the last half hour and rushed.

Someone enters the picture to suddenly lay a backstory on the group that is supposed to explain to the audience who the killer is. The killer is revealed once the killing starts, but his weird “red neck wearing face clay” look is never explained, and we are left to surmise that the girl’s dream ghosts were trying to warn her of the threat, hence the title of the film. I just find it bewildering that the screenplay didn’t bother to create a steady buildup to both the killer and the ghosts throughout the course of the film.

 

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.
This entry was posted in Johnny You ARE Queer - Gay Thoughts, Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply