Three more from the Into the Dark series

The longer this Hulu “holiday” movie series lingers, the harder it is for me to commit to watching one each month. They just aren’t very compelling to me…and now the series has been picked up for another season. In the meantime, I finally got around to watching May, June, and July, so let’s see how it went.

ALL THAT WE DESTROY (2019)

This one really shouldn’t have been more than a 30-minute segment of an anthology.

Samantha Mathis, the city councilman on the series The Strain, plays a mother who believes her son is doomed to be a serial killer, so she clones a girl for him to kill over and over again in an effort to cure him.

Her son is played by Israel Broussard, the love interest in Happy Death Day. Oh…and the clone girl, played by Dora Madison (Exists, The Honor Farm, Humans vs. Zombies), starts to remember the previous murders after a while.

In other words, it’s Happy Death Day if it wasn’t fun or funny, he were the killer all along, and there wasn’t a rocking’ horror diva main girl. The only bright side is that the song playing every time the girl dies is “Every Time I Think Of You” by John Waite’s 1970s band The Babys.

 

Brings me back to my K-tel Circuit Breaker album from 79.

The crushing blow? The girl in the movie says something along the lines of “My grandmother used to listen to this song all the time.”

THEY COME KNOCKING (2019)

The Father’s Day installment is a little creepier than most of the others…as long as you hang in there for the looooong character development full of flashbacks focusing on a father and his two daughters losing their mother/wife from cancer.

They go on a road trip with a camper, and eventually this turns into The Strangers on wheels for a while (They come knocking on our trailer home door?). The creeps in hoodies that terrorize the family are reminiscent of the kiddies in The Brood, just bigger.

And that’s the best part of the film—the conflict with the creeps in the final act. There’s also a plot point reminiscent of one of the most disturbing aspects of the original Pet Sematary, and it reminds us that the family is still haunted by the death of the mother.

My one big gripe is a standard ScareBearDan pet peeve—stop using “Mockingbird” as the creepy lullaby symbolizing mother/child relationships. No fricking mothers sing that song to their kids anymore.

CULTURE SHOCK (2019)

It was with much trepidation that I went into this one, which is ripped right from today’s immigration headlines. The state of my country and the world weighs so heavy on my soul these days that I avoid news and social media as much as possible—and I still can’t sleep at night. But while this film about a young pregnant woman trying to sneak into the U.S. hits upon many of the most sensitive complexities of the issue, what I’m glad it isn’t is a simple plot of her getting to the U.S. only to be terrorized and tortured by a bunch of white psycho conservatives.

Instead, a good third of the film explores how badly she’s treated by her own people as she makes her journey. While any conservative horror fans that even bother trying to watch this film will blast it as “liberal agenda” (and lose their shit because at least half the film is in Spanish with subtitles), anyone who actually pays attention instead of immediately getting their Bible belt in knots will see that Mexicans are not painted as completely innocent here, and also get some of the blame for their own decisions. For instance, one woman tries to give a younger woman birth control because a baby is the last thing she needs under the conditions in which they’re living, but the girl refuses because she’s a Christian. See, crazy white Christians? Your religion is fucked up even in Spanish.

The premise beyond that is very unique. The main girl gets caught at the border, but wakes up in what is essentially Pleasantville, where white people are lovingly introducing immigrants into the world of white American culture, with the likes of horror veterans Barbara Crampton and Shawn Ashmore leading the charge.

Of course nothing is as rosy as it seems and white people are as foreign and frightening to Mexicans as Americans have been brainwashed to believe Mexicans are, which is what makes this one a unique approach to the subject matter. Not a traditional “scary movie”, Culture Shock nevertheless has a cool concept with some thought-provoking twists. It’s just so topical that it could “trigger” just about anyone on either side of the Divided States of America.

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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