The horrors of Showtime February 2020

Showtime is the premium channel with the most On Demand horror titles, so I check it every month or so to see what’s new. Here’s a look at five selections from my latest Showtime horror marathon.

SELFIE FROM HELL (2018)

If you want to scare the new generation, it never hurts to go the social media/electronic devices route, which is exactly what this mostly boring film does when it finally ramps up enough to scare tween girls at slumber parties by the end.

A vlogger afraid of taking selfies comes to visit her cousin…and immediately takes a selfie. She falls into a coma in a bed in the cousin’s house and gets exactly one doctor visit. WTF?

The cousin decides something supernatural is going on and digs deep into the web to see what is messing with coma cousin—sort of a dark web situation, only this is called the black room. Scary.

A perv starts calling and harassing her. A Skype buddy helps her investigate. Eventually they encounter the evil electronic entity that is set free by visiting the black room, which is the creepiest part of the film.

Selfie from Hell only runs 75 minutes long, so it’s not the worst thing to watch if you have nothing better to do.

HARPOON (2019)

This movie tries so hard to be a quirky, off-beat dark humor thriller but it failed miserably on all counts for me. The narrator and chapter title cards are not funny enough to elevate the underwhelming plot and characters.

Three entitled assholes—a straight couple and another guy friend—go boating. They are at each other’s throats from the start, and pretty soon tensions mount as secrets, cheating, and backstabbing are revealed. The running “joke” is that the weapon on board is a spear gun, not a harpoon. Gotta love the forced irony of the title.

When they’re not trying to kill each other, the three attempt to survive together since they’re stranded in the middle of the ocean, and we just sit and watch one predictable scene after another.

If you’ve never seen it, save yourself some time and just watch Dead Calm instead.

THE YOUNG CANNIBALS (2019)

Major points for starting a movie called The Young Cannibals with an all-out feasting fest: three guys in the woods, one refuses to eat humans, it doesn’t go good for the other two guys.

Then we meet a group of friends…you guessed it…heading into the woods. Along with a synth soundtrack throwback to 80s horror, the cute guy dancing and singing to the song “Violet” by H Bird while he’s driving is everything, and the song is so going to be on the next episode of my future flashbacks show.

 

The action kicks in quickly—the group is tricked into cannibalism during a barbecue and soon finds out why; there’s a monster in the woods that only hunts and kills cannibals.

This is a good old creature feature with a kick ass creature. There is just one problem…it should not run 100 minutes long. Once you set kids free in the woods with a monster, a slow burn is a bad idea. 10 – 15 minutes snipped from the center could have made this a much faster paced film. It takes way too long for the thrills and attacks to start, but once they do, this well-made film is back in business right to the end.

TONE DEAF (2019)

The director of Excision and Suburban Gothic goes political in a very timely fashion…which feels a bit forced to me considering we get literal “fucking millennials” and “fucking boomers” mic drops before all is said and done.

Tone Deaf just isn’t as quirky as his previous films, although it tries. The basic plot has a young woman getting away for a while after a breakup and being fired from her job all at once. One of her neighbors is Robert Patrick, who is simply crazy and thinks the world is going to shit because of young liberals.

So…he goes around beating people to death with a hammer. There are also dream and drug sequences. That’s about it. There’s not much of anything good beyond brutal kills going on here. Eventually he battles it out with the main girl.

Not even appearances by the likes of Ray Wise, Ray Santiago, and AnnaLynne McCord make this one particularly memorable.

I’LL TAKE YOUR DEAD (2018)

The director of Bite and The Drownsman gives us a horror drama…that actually kept me riveted. It’s amazing to see an engrossing, character-driven, fast-paced story told in 90 minutes, especially considering I watched this right after the 250 torturous minutes of much lauded Midsommar—and that’s all I’ll ever say about that film beyond adding it to the stud stalking page since we see penis and man ass in it.

In I’ll Take Your Dead, a single father is raising his teen daughter on his farm and doing what must be done to keep a roof over her head…by disposing of dead bodies for people.

A bunch of thugs drops off several bodies, but when the farmer goes to prepare them for disposal, one victim is still alive. The farmer keeps her tied up while he tries to figure out what to do, and she attempts to strike up a relationship with his motherless daughter.

In what is an odd mix of Misery and Ghost, the film becomes a tale of loss, grief, morality, and even race and class as the lives of the three characters intertwine. At the same time, the family business seems to be haunting the young teen, who sees ghosts of the deceased, as well as a freaky demon being. The horror isn’t the driving force here, but it sure is creepy and effective.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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