This was one of those stream streaks that didn’t have me hopping on the Internet to purchase the films for my collection, but also didn’t leave me wishing I’d spent the time watching something else. It’s also a good mix of subgenres and indies vs. more polished productions. So let’s make this a quick rundown of what you can expect from Night Howl, The Hexecutioners, Witch-Hunt, Slumber, and Mom and Dad.
NIGHT HOWL (2017)
This little werewolf indie runs 75 minutes long, and writer and director Michael Taylor Pritt also stars in it.
It would be easy to laugh this one off when you see the werewolf costume in the trailer, but I have to say, this is a psychological werewolf horror film, and the costume look of the werewolf actually makes sense. Not to mention, if it’s merely a commercial costume purchase, it’s a pretty dang good one.
The director could have better cloaked the fact that it’s a costume using lighting, shadow, and editing to make it even more impressive, but there’s a reason he doesn’t. The werewolf is presented as the main character remembers it from his childhood.
Confession: I watched the movie because of the werewolf costume in the trailer, and was sort of bummed that there was a good reason for it…
The simple plot is about his adult struggles dealing with seeing his mother killed when he was a child, and how he created a narrative in his mind of her being mauled by a werewolf.
But when the people closest to him in his small town begin dying, he believes the werewolf really does exist, for he has nightmares of the murders as they’re happening.
Bears and cubs are out…underwear wolves are in.
This is a very watchable indie, particularly if you’re into low budget flix made by guys with a true passion for the genre. And I’ll be damned if there aren’t a few jump scares that totally got me big time.
THE HEXECUTIONERS (2015)
Director Jesse Thomas Cook (Septic Man, Monster Brawl, Scarce) takes a familiar premise—desperate young woman accepts a job at a creepy remote mansion and experiences the supernatural—and makes it more interesting than the usual generic crap by adding elements that are a bit more out there.
A young woman works for a company that performs on demand euthanasia. When she is assigned to a job taking care of an old dude in his home in the middle of nowhere, the circumstances are unique, so she is partnered with another girl.
Despite their differences—the other girl is rather morbid and has no crisis of conscience about their job—they form a quick bond because everything about this particular case is suspect. There’s a creepy assistant who won’t let them see the man they will be killing. There are specific instructions on a ritual that will need to be performed during the job. And there’s a freaky hedge maze in the backyard they are warned never to enter. Which means it’s kind of hard to get past the recycling of a device used in iconic movies like The Shining and The Maze.
The visions the main girl is plagued by of a faceless man chasing her help.
While there’s a lot of walking around in dark halls to set up atmosphere with no pay off, the twist at the end is a juicy one that makes The Hexecutioners stand out from the crowd.
This is a deliciously quirky indie about a group of girls getting together for a joint Halloween/birthday gathering that goes wickedly wrong.
There are clearly some tensions from the start. When the birthday girl gets gifted a game called Witch-Hunt, she’s excited at first…but then hesitant when the others insist they play.
But play they do. The game includes a good old cassette tape with a narrating witch that explains the rules and takes them through the journey of the game. Think of it as the “witchdunit?” version of Clue.
Things are fun at first as the girls delve into the revealing banter of the game, but when one girl becomes convinced the others are cheating, She has a fit and sparks a string of mysterious occurrences that leads the girls to believe one of them may actually be a witch.
And for a horror fan, that’s when the game really gets fun…
Okay, so maybe there is one I’ll end up buying for my DVD collection.
Making sleep paralysis horror has become like beating a dead horse…or beating a person in bed who can’t move. We get it. It was scary in the first few dozen movies made about it in the past two years—even more scary when there was actually some sort of creepy creature holding them down.
Especially when it was a creature in an indie film, where the creators actually took great care in creating something freaky for the big reveal.
Here we get yet another one for The Conjuring/Insidious tween crowd to watch at their next slumber party. With all the hair being blown around by fans, dark lighting, fleeting shadows, and running and screaming as the camera shakes spastically, it is sure to terrify them!
A couple’s young son is suffering from sleep paralysis. But they and their young daughter are also experience side effects in the waking world as a result.
They take him to a special clinic. Maggie Q from the short-lived series Stalker is their doctor. Eventually she’s at her wits end trying to figure out what it is, so she calls in an eccentric old dude to help.
More fans, darkness, shadows, and spastic camera…okay, so maybe there was one film that made me wish I had watched something else.
MOM AND DAD (2017)
The director of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance does the unthinkable…another movie with Nicholas Cage. There’s something else unthinkable going on here. A Nicholas Cage movie besides Valley Girl that I might actually watch a second time.
Perhaps what I find so endearing about this film is that it’s about every parent suddenly turning into a crazy…but with one very special goal. They only want to beat their own children to a pulp.
Fuck The Purge. THIS is what’s going to make America great again.
That, and more movies in which Nicholas Cage turns into a babbling idiot so his special brand of acting doesn’t go to waste.
Anyway, we meet our family (Nicholas Cage, Selma Blair, and their son and daughter), we get to see a normal day in action with a bunch of quirky, stylized director stuff thrown in, and then eventually…adults just begin losing their shit and creating an uproar.
Things don’t get really good until The main kids end up at home and trapped in their basement, with Cage and Blair plotting evil ways to flush them out. It’s devilish fun when parents vs. kids…and then parents of parents show up, including Lance Henriksen.
There’s suspense, gore, humor, violence…and a total non-ending that will probably piss off anyone who watches the film.
Plus, classic tracks like “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette and “Chains of Love” by Erasure are used at most unexpected moments so that suckers like me will toss the film bonus points in his blog.