I’ve barely had time to watch anything on streaming because I’m working on a big post involving new movie purchases, which is quickly turning into a two-part post. However, I took a break and checked out four newer flicks involving mommies and their offspring. So let’s see if they were worth interrupting my marathon of movies starring a horror hunk whose movies I’ve been neglecting for too long.
THE PARISH (2019)
Because I started blogging about low budget killer nun movies after The Conjuring franchise made them mainstream a few years back, I now automatically just add new ones to my watchlists when they appear on streaming services. Surprisingly, The Parish isn’t just another killer nun movie. However, that fact doesn’t save it from being just another ghost movie.
In this serious movie, a mother and her daughter move into a new home, and I was immediately thrown off by a first dinner at the new place eating Chinese food that turns into a fart humor scene. What?
Anyway, the father died in war, so the wife suffers from nightmares about him. The daughter goes to a new school where she keeps seeing a nun roaming the halls.
Soon the mom and the daughter are being haunted by a creepy janitor, the nun, and the father all bloody from his battle…
The mom eventually goes to a priest, played by horror king Bill Oberst Jr., and he helps her unravel the truth of what’s really going on.
If you like these types of supernatural films then yay, you have a new one to watch. If, on the other hand, you find them all redundant, uninspired, predictable, and not scary at all, well…this is redundant, uninspired, predictable, and not scary at all.
THE UNBORN (2020)
As the title suggests, this 70-minute movie (yay!) is about the unborn. I’m guessing the overall message here is that when it comes to pregnancy, birth, choice, and parenthood, it can be a very scary proposition for a woman in numerous ways.
A female security guard learns she is pregnant on her last shift working with her male partner at a building that is about to be demolished. So it’s not very comforting when her man makes a dickish, off the cuff comment about not wanting to be a father before leaving her alone for the night.
And then…her male security guard partner also basically leaves her alone for the night. Actually, she tells him to go ensure the place is secure because he didn’t handle his responsibilities and the building may have been compromised.
Odd things begin happening: children’s toys appear, scary children terrorize the guy, and the pair finds fetuses in jars! This discovery could have dire consequences on the plan to blow up the building. Abort mission!
There are some serious metaphors going on here. However, even with there being plenty of eerie atmosphere, much of this short film involves the guy roaming around and communicating with her on a walkie-talkie.
The best horror comes when he falls apart upon discovering there’s something growing inside of him that he wants removed, so she deserts him in the office and goes to handle the situation on her own. Like I said, there are some serious metaphors going on here.
THE NEST (2021)
I watched this one because Dee Wallace is in it, but I was surprised to discover it takes place at Christmas and the spirit of the season is darkly integrated into the tone of the film. Hence, it’s going on the holiday horror page.
To sum it up, The Nest is a sort of killer doll movie meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets a drama about a dysfunctional nuclear family.
The trouble begins with a couple and their daughter at a garage sale (doesn’t it always?). The daughter falls in love with a teddy bear and the creepy as fuck dude holding the garage sale lets her have it for free. What kind of mother a) gives her child a used plush toy? b) lets a weirdo give it to her child for free?
I guess a mother who is a recovering druggy like this mom. So it doesn’t bode well when mom begins having nightmarish episodes soon after the daughter acquires the bear. At the same time, the daughter begins having behavioral issues and becomes abnormally attached to the mother.
As the daughter acts more and more like the usual evil child and the mother more like the usual unhinged mother everyone thinks is crazy, the daughter’s teddy bear begins to do something to the people closest to them—the husband, the school therapist, and Dee Wallace, who is oddly cast as a family friend rather than just the grandmother—off screen.
The film is rather slow until 76 minutes in, when we find out exactly what the teddy bear has been doing to everyone. It’s actually a rather sad, tragic, and horrific scene that carries the film straight through to the end as it focuses on the love between a mother and her child. For me it rescues the film and elevates it to being more than just another forgettable horror flick.
Coming from the director of Abandoned Dead, this film is like a throwback to the supernatural specter horror flicks of the early 2000s. It makes sense that we’re seeing a resurgence of these as we enter the 20-year cycle.
A young woman driving at night with her baby in a car seat gets into an accident when a hooded man suddenly appears in the road.
After the accident, she is informed her baby did not survive, but she’s convinced that the man in the hoodie took the infant. She moves back home with her parents and her little sister, and the tropes of the supernatural specter subgenre abound, as do perhaps too many backstory details.
We learn she lost a military husband with PTSD to suicide. She suffered from depression. There were alcohol and drug issues. Her mother also lost a baby and also believed “the Hoodman” took it, so she goes to see the same therapist the mother used. She rekindles a friendship with the boy next door. Her BFF is into the paranormal so they hold a seance. She learns about another man who lost his kid to the Hoodman, so she searches for him.
And most importantly, she begins to see the Hoodman in her house and it seems to be after her little sister.
There are some creepy, effective moments, but this is all very cliché, and perhaps there were budget limitations, because the Hoodman is never fully realized beyond being a dark silhouette in the shadows. As a result, the final “battle” isn’t very thrilling.