It’s a foursome of films about groups of people trapped in various buildings ripe with possession, demons, and the supernatural. So which of these four did I like the most?
5IVE MUST DIE (2017)
In the tradition of a whole bunch of other movies, 5ive Must Die has a cool title but gives us 57 minutes of archaeology students walking around an abandoned asylum exploring with flashlights, getting minor hints about what went on there, and arguing with their suspicious professor.
There’s very little in the way of odd or creepy occurrences beyond them all being tied up without remembering how.
The final act throws in some creepy settings, dark and macabre visuals, and brutality at the hands of a killer that seems to have a cameo instead of major significance.
It’s not easy to follow what’s actually happening, and there just wasn’t enough here to thrill me or keep me riveted.
You have to be a very special person to appreciate this low budget Night of the Demons rip-off…that takes place in the 80s…in a roller rink…with a roller derby battle to the death between mortals and demons…and an appearance by Linnea Quigley as an occult shop owner. In other words, you have to be someone like me.
The horrible intro takes place “many years ago” and looks like a bad local theatre production.
Cut to 1986, and there’s a lot of uninteresting talk between kids getting prepared for a roller rink party.
A goth girl gets hold of an ancient necklace, she turns demon, kids start to have sex, and that’s when things get cheesy fun.
For me, a lesbian subplot steals the show and delivers the funniest moments.
The first guy who encounters the demon does so in a bathroom in what is clearly a nod to Linnea’s scene in Night of the Demons, but instead of lipstick through the tit, we get a dick bite scene, the goriest exploitation moment in the film.
The demons simply have gray face paint and contacts, along with a demon voice filter, so you can’t expect anything intensely scary here. Not that I need to say that since it should have been clear when I mentioned the roller derby battle…
This film so should have been called Night of the Demon Derby.
It’s Night of the Demons done found found footage style. The mere fact that the demons are creepy enough to satisfy me since this is one of my favorite horror subgenres makes it more enjoyable than a majority of the found footage crap I watch.
Guys take their buddy on a surprise road trip, during which they have a conversation about whether or not sleeping with a woman who used to be a man means you’re gay. Making clear this isn’t an offensive discussion, one of the guys says, “Nothing against gays, but….”. He left out the “nothing against trans people” part.
They arrive at a house to party with a bunch of girls, they hang out and argue, there’s a story about the history of the house, yada-yada-yada…
Then the guy behind the camera begins seeing everyone as demons during a dancing montage scene. Awesome.
This straightforward demon flick goes the FPS video game route, with tight, claustrophobic shots through narrow halls as he continuously runs into demons and takes them down with a variety of weapons, including a sledgehammer, wrench, gun…
The plot is thin, and the twist at the end is predictable, so it’s all about the demon thrills. Just how I like my horror these days.
HAUNTING ON FRATERNITY ROW (2018)
When a movie begins with loads of cute, shirtless college boys (including Puck’s adorable younger brother from Glee) pranking each other with bunny costumes and dildos, I know I’m in for a good time, even if the movie sux.
Luckily, Haunting on Fraternity Row doesn’t suck if you stick with it.
Boys throwing a kickass party in their frat house accidentally unleash a smoky cloud demon by knocking a hole in a basement wall when they drop a keg down the stairs.
No, it’s not an image from my last colonoscopy.
Pacing is the main issue here. A good chunk of the movie feels like watching Jersey Shore with an occasional demon ghost sighting thrown in.
It really takes forever for the good stuff to hit, and the banter between frat boys and babes isn’t compelling or relevant to the plot, and there are way too many prank scare moments.
However, bonus points for plenty of sexy moments. Plus, the shadowy demon appearances are awesome, with some tight special effects.
The movie fluidly moves between standard 3rd person POV and found footage style presentation, which is used to great effect here.
I also couldn’t help notice that it’s usually bad news for anyone who enters a bathroom in the house. I don’t think it was intentional on the filmmaker’s part…it just becomes a pattern I couldn’t help notice! Coincidentally, a gouged out eyes theme used in P.O.V is also used in this movie. It looks like the same exact special effects team did the work.
When all hell breaks loose (finally), the film delivers all the body count horror you’ve been waiting for, and it’s loads of fun. Camera angles create suspenseful shots as kids are tossed all around and slaughtered by the demon. There are even some twists you won’t see coming.
The only thing that I found very unbelievable is that the black dude in the bunch sees the horrifying demon early on and doesn’t leave the house immediately. Plus, instead of running out the door when the massacre begins, he runs upstairs to warn his friends. I’m sorry, but black dudes are smarter than that…which tells me I was probably a black dude in a previous life.