It’s not often that five films in a row keep me fairly entertained, but this batch mostly worked for me—especially an all-in-one good Thanksgiving flick and memorable Into the Dark installment.
The director of The Collector films delivers the second annual Thanksgiving installment of Hulu’s Into the Dark. Not only is it one of the best of the series so far, it’s one of the best of the limited number of Thanksgiving horror films to choose from (my full list on the holiday horror page).
The movie definitely has a weird premise—Kerr Smith (Final Destination, The Forsaken, My Bloody Valentine remake) and his family have pilgrim re-enacters come for Thanksgiving…to stay at the house! WTF?
Just overlook that bizarre premise, because it triggers the whole plot. The pilgrims are weird. They never break character. The film builds a slow sense of dread…but then comes what I’d say is its one weak spot. It suddenly feels like a whole chunk of the slow burn was just cut out and we are thrown into not only the midst of all hell breaking loose, but somewhat of a totally different movie with a different tone.
Pilgrim becomes a darkly comic, whacky gorefest, and I’m not complaining. The pilgrims don’t stick to history…meaning they don’t slaughter Native Americans. They go for Kerr and his interracial family, and it is a Thanksgiving dinner to remember, with torture, gruesome gross stuff, and even puking. Pass the gravy!
THE EVIL GENE (2015)
The Evil Gene isn’t groundbreaking, and unfortunately it isn’t even fully satisfying in the familiar horror it delivers. The atmosphere at a prison is pretty darn good, and there’s plenty of potential, but I personally think it just needed more scares and more guys with demon eyes.
An FBI agent goes to a prison to investigate after a doctor dies and begins having encounters with a dude with demon eyes and a bloody hole in the back of his head.
The FBI agent also hooks up with a pretty prison doctor, consults with a prison priest about demons, and pops pills, because apparently he has issues…
You really can see where this one is heading even if there are some twists. If only there were more demons and they were more terrifying I would be okay with that.
Outcast is listed as horror, but when I began watching, it was immediately clear there was some sort of horror fantasy angle, so I turned it off and decided to make it one to watch with my hubba hubba.
Serious fantasy horror is not usually my type of film—there’s a family, the mother is a witch, and there’s a man (who gets hardcore tattoos nailed into his skin) hunting down a young man.
But damn, the side story about a monster stalking and killing women in the city is
The monster is freaky good, and there’s some gore, making this just as horrific as it is fantastic.
And of course the two stories collide. Definitely didn’t regret watching this one.
RED SUMMER (2017)
Red Summer is as derivative as it get, but considering there are very few missteps in its predictability, it fills the void if you’ve been itching for a backwoods family comfort flick.
A group of friends is on a road trip in a foreign country. They make a pit stop and the store
attendant is creepy. They almost hit someone lying hurt in the road. They end up in cages and are tortured and killed by the family: sleazy dad, grandpa in a wheelchair, a quiet son who seems to feel bad about what his relatives do, and a big guy in a pig mask who takes everyone to his lair for the slaughter.
You’ve seen it all before. The group of friends is small, so almost half of the film turns
into the final girl being chased. After dinner, of course, where the freaks at least serve fruit with her friends…
My only real gripes about the film: you could easily kick out cages made of chain link and chicken wire fence nailed into a wood frame; you can’t stick a cleaver directly into someone like it’s a knife; if one of your family characters is wearing a mask, it would be nice to know why or know what’s under the mask; if you are trying to escape a house of crazy people and keep coming upon each person sleeping, kill each of them in their sleep!
BLOODY MONSTER (2013)
This is the kind of low budget horror mess I can get into simply because it appeals to the most basic aspects of the genre—sex and blood. Adding to the cheap charm—it’s dubbed.
Bloody Monster combines a mad scientist plot with a simple backwoods slasher.
As if the first introduction of the killer chainsawing the fuck out of a dude wasn’t enough, cutting to our main man pumping iron shirtless with his pierced nipple quite prominent right after kept me watching.
Plot was mostly irrelevant to me. The lead hunk and his small crew heads into the woods hunting for the scientist, who is creating a mutant species.
While they’re busy doing that, groups of people are in the woods partying, having sex, and getting slaughtered, including rockers, lesbians, and more.
The difference in tone between the killer/slashers segment and all the bad low budget nonsense going on around it can be a bit distracting, and personally, I could have done
without the mad scientist plot, which is the cheapest feeling aspect of all. But I can’t deny I was entertained by this silly film.