For my latest streaming binge, I turned to Hulu, Netflix, and Shudder, for some “refined” horror…which usually doesn’t work out for me. However, nearly half of these four films brought me some horror joy.
Blech. I’ll get 1BR out of the way first because I don’t even consider it a horror movie. It’s a brainwashing and torturing cult movie—a horrifying situation for sure, but not my idea of a good horror time. On the bright side, it’s shorter than Midsommar and isn’t just hours of people standing in a field.
A young woman lands herself in the middle of a mini-Scientology nightmare when she moves into a new complex loaded with seemingly nice neighbors.
Then she’s abducted and forced to endure cruel punishments to condition her to be a better human and better member of her community.
Obviously it’s all going to eventually lead to her making an escape attempt. If it weren’t for the chaos that ensues in the final few minutes, this movie would have been a total letdown.
SEA FEVER (2019)
Sea Fever is slooooooooow with little in the way of action, thrills, chills, gore, or scares.
It’s mostly just people sitting around on a boat talking for a majority of its run time. You know…like Alien on a boat.
Anyway, it turns out there’s a parasite in the water, one guy finger fucks the gooey thing through a hole in a wall at one point, there’s a dive underwater that reveals the parasites look like giant day glow sperm, and someone has a bunch of little parasites shoot out of their eyes.
Also, everyone starts distrusting everyone else like…sort of like The Thing on a boat.
That’s about it. Those are the highlights.
RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE (2020)
Jay Baruchel, known for his nerdy roles in early 2000s flicks and his friendship with Seth Rogen, brings us a road trip slasher that feels to me like a mashup of The Hitcher, Bloody Knuckles, and High Tension. Jay is also under attack on social because of some negative comments he made about the state of horror today, but I’m not going to jump on a “let’s destroy him!” bandwagon and trash his film, considering I make at least one negative comment about horror every time I post a blog. That doesn’t mean I don’t still love the shit I trash (see some examples above).
Anyway, always gorgeous Jesse Williams (Cabin in the Woods, Jacob’s Ladder remake) plays a creator of a gruesome comic book series about a highway serial killer.
When he needs inspiration, he hops in a vehicle with his girlfriend (Jordana Brewster, who wears distractingly geeky glasses), and another couple (Baruchel and Niamh Wilson, who appeared in the Saw series when she was younger).
As their journey progresses, they seem to be leaving behind a string of new murders exactly like the kill scenes in Jesse’s comic books. Would you believe the killer eventually targets them?
The horror tone and style are excellent here, the killer wearing a welding mask is plenty ominous, and the kills and the aftermath are brutal and gory, so it’s quite satisfying in terms of horror thrills. However, the story doesn’t offer anything new, which would be fine if it didn’t attempt to make itself more complicated than it needs to be, delving into Jesse’s psyche and how he may be contributing to violence in society (the comic book made me do it!) with convoluted flashbacks that distract and confuse. However, they do revolve around the Christmas holiday, so this one lands a spot on the holiday horror page.
THE SHED (2019)
Start a film with a Salem’s Lot style vampire attacking a guy in the woods and you’re going to grab my attention. And if the movie is The Shed, I’m going to order the Blu-ray before I’m even finished streaming it. I’d say this is the perfect double feature with The Wretched, which I just blogged about (then bought on Blu) the other day.
The film focuses on a troubled young man, living with his asshole grandfather, in and out of juvy, bullied at school—who discovers there’s something evil living in his shed. And despite his moral compass telling him not to feed his enemies to his hungry creature, everything and everyone seems to be working against his best efforts to do what’s right.
Fast-paced and suspenseful, The Shed isn’t as predictable as it at first seems. It’s quite a fun film that doesn’t get overburdened by its dark themes. If I have any minor complaint, it would be a few too many unnecessary dream sequence scares, but I’m all about the growing pains story enveloped in a vampire film.