Found footage, slashers, ghosts, crawling girl ghouls, etc. How badly do you want to be scared in the same way you have dozens of times before? This is a bunch of quickies I figuratively crossed off my watch lists—and got what I deserved since I added them purposely because they looked comforting and familiar. Here’s what I thought of each.
DEVIL’S PASS (2013)
Devil’s Pass uses every found footage rule in the book—and unfortunately drags it out for 100 minutes. The good news is, the horror payoff at the end is really worth it.
A group of students goes to the location of an infamous mystery that took place in Russia 50 years ago. After getting some cold reception from locals, a guy offers to take them to the spot where it happened—in the middle of the snowy mountains.
Pretty soon, they think they’re being terrorized by a Bigfoot. Then they find a secret door in a mountain. They’re hit by an avalanche. They’re shot at. They take cover inside the mountain. And then they discover all the secrets about the evils the Russians have been up to, thanks to perfectly preserved, perfectly laid out files and reports.
But it’s the underground lair and the freaky monsters that chase them in the final act that give this one some excitement at last. While it does look a bit like footage from a first person video game at times, it’s still a bunch of cheap thrills that at least makes up for all the time you waste watching the first part of the film.
There’s also some good music in the film by bands Mirror Talk and Oh Boy Les Mecs, both of which I’m totally going to be playing on my Future Flashbacks show.
This one gets points for its intriguingly weird premise…despite being as derivative as modern day ghost movies come.
A couple moves into a new house. She’s pregnant and plans to spit the kid out right there on the floor in the middle of the new house with a midwife. The locals act weird. The couple’s friends are kind of weird, too, considering they come to visit and decide it would be fun to go explore the local abandoned, haunted prison…???
This after one of the friends is already being terrorized in the house by visions of a scary Rob Zombie looking dude. Then the wife starts seeing a little girl ghost who appears to be begging for help (aka: trying to warn the fuck out of her).
So they spend most of the movie running around the gnarly prison and being chased by ghosts and visions as their flashlights bob up, down, and all around. You know the drill.
If you’re a diehard fan of this kind of horror flick, then grab the lube, because Bleed offers you just about every orgasm-inducing cliché you can hope for.
6 PLOTS (2012)
I almost feel like this movie was made to be tedious just so we’d know how the characters are supposed to feel.
Bitchy high schoolers party at the house of one of their privileged friends. Next thing they know, they all wake up to find only one girl is free while the others are all trapped in confined spaces. Their only lifeline is that they have phone contact with each other. The free girl is given an ominous emoji message warning her their time is running out and she has to figure out where they are to save each of them.
Basically, everyone just cries on the phone as they wait their turn to die. I can’t with this movie. I…really…can’t. It’s like the future of horror movies is going to be people using Jigsaw apps so they can just torture and kill people trapped in confined spaces from the comfort of their couch.
13 HOURS IN A WAREHOUSE (2008)
In this indie ghost flick, a bunch of thieves robs an art museum and waits in a warehouse for a guy who is coming to buy the stuff they scored. They inadvertently kidnap some chick along the way, so they chain her up in the basement.
Luckily for her, there are some evil assed ghost girls in the building that set her free and do everything in their power to help her escape her abductors for the remainder of the film.
The first appearance of a ghost made me jump out of my fricking seat, and the ghost girls are pretty cool, even if the special ghost effects are of average computer quality. The real problem here is that the film drags on forever with not enough thrills and chills.
There’s one fucked up bathroom scene at the beginning of the haunting action that is so damn good that nothing ever lives up to it (man butt is just icing on the buns…I mean…cake).
There’s some entertaining suspense for the final girl near the end, but it doesn’t make up for all the lackluster action during the bulk of the film.
PARANORMAL XPERIENCE (2011)
This Spanish film has such ridiculously American sensibilities (hell, it was even in 3D originally) that at first I thought I was going to be bored to tears. Actually, I kind of was bored for a while.
Looking for an easy way to make the grade, med students make a deal with their professor…they’ll go investigate haunted mines in an old ghost town.
Some very cheesy, very American cheap horror scares, really cute guys, and some boy butt fill the time while the group heads to the location and discusses the legend of a crazy killer doctor who was supposedly locked up in the mines by the vengeful town.
Then they spend a bunch of time basically doing the found footage thing without the found footage POV. They explore the mines, they experience weird shit, they realize that the sister of the main girl seems to have a psychic link to the spirits in the mine…or actually, one in particular. The psycho doctor from hell! Well…from the mines.
GITCHI GITCHI GOO!
Suddenly this shit turns into a brutal slasher! What the frick? And I’m not complaining!
It is good old trashy, brutal violence, blood and gore as the doc tears his way through the group in a swift, timely fashion. AWESOME.
DEAD AWAKE (2016)
Horror queen Jocelin Donahue (The House of the Devil, Summer Camp, Holidays, The Burrowers, Insidious: Chapter 2) stars as twin sisters in this supernatural flick, which is a bit of a throwback to the PG-13 spookfests of the mid-2000s (think The Boogeyman, The Ring, Pulse, etc.).
With the phenomenon of sleep paralysis making its way into horror culture, this one attaches an old hag legend to the condition. Can you imagine having a spell and being unable to move as a withered old version of Samara crawl all up in your face?
When her sister’s life falls apart as a result of sleep paralysis episodes, Jocelin joins forces with cutie Jesse Bradford of Bring It On fame to try to get to the truth of the situation.
The pair also begins getting attacked by the hag whenever they go to sleep. They seek help from an expert, played by Jessie Borrego of Fame fame (I had to). He believes there’s a way to conquer the bitch while sleeping. Aw shit. We all know how that usually works out. Just ask Jessie (No, not Borrego – Jessie from Elm Street).
The 3 Js (Jocelin, Jesse, Jessie) run around town trying to save all their loved ones from going to sleep and getting nightmare hagged. Unless you’re twelve, you’ve pretty much seen it all before, but if you still feel like you’re twelve some of the time (like me), you’ll get some cheap thrills.
WAKE THE DEAD (2017)
This low budget flick is coincidentally like a mashup of a bunch of the other flicks in this blog. A couple – he’s cute and gets shirtless, she looks like Brittany Snow – moves into a house. They invite all their friends over for a party.
The wife begins to see terrible visions of ghosts being tortured. The group discovers the diary of a psycho doctor that used to experiment on people in the building.
They have a séance. They call a priest.
There are gnarly gore effects but subpar ghost effects.
For a low budget film, things start off better than they get. Instead of leaving, even after the priest gets tossed around the house and flees, telling them to just get out, they stay…and have another séance! So it’s hard to feel sorry for them when they have a stabbing circle jerk.
It becomes really goofy by and goes off the rails by the final act, when suddenly someone else becomes the “main girl.” I wasn’t paying attention to the movie anymore by that point. Hey, once you have a circle jerk with a knife, I’m ready to just roll over and play dead.
However, there is one classic part of this film that totally won me over. In response to the chick holding the séance saying, “Uh-oh,” the main guy responds with, “What? What’s uh-oh?” just before…