My longest watchlist these days is on Tubi, which has a vast selection of the kind of indie horror I love to wade through. That doesn’t mean I actually love every movie, so let’s find out if my latest marathon offered up anything worthwhile.
ESCAPE TO THE COVE (2021)
This “zombie” film is written and directed by the star.
There’s a cool premise here, but this 100-minute movie has less than ten zombies—or more like infected in this case, because there’s definitely a COVID-esque virus angle (one character even wears a mask for fear it’s airborne).
If I was understanding correctly, the idea is unique. Most of the zombies are underwater, and there are a handful of people who want to get across the water to arrive at a safe, zombie-free community.
There’s a major shortage of boats, so the limited number of characters will do whatever it takes to get their hands on one specific boat.
In actuality, the cast consists of the boat owner, a young dude who is an admitted wimp and begs to tag along for protection…and then a bunch of modern day pirates that want to commandeer the boat.
There is one totally awesome night scene that shows a zombie with glowing blue eyes in the water. It’s so creepy and effective that underwater zombies should have been exploited to make this an actual horror movie.
Instead there’s loads of dialogue, long stretches of no dialogue and no action while dramatic music plays, and even Eric Roberts in a brief cameo to give this movie “star power” cred. Sigh.
THOSE WHO CALL (2023)
If you think The Blair Witch Project was some sort of terrifying masterpiece, there’s no excuse for you to think this isn’t also. While not found footage, it involves a few people lost in the woods and occasionally running into bundles of sticks.
Only difference is that in this movie there is an actual visual danger pursuing them.
Having recently lost their father, two sisters are working through their issues with each other as they drive a desolate road in Texas.
They run into the kinds of things you’d expect in Texas—creepy white people at a rural gas station and creepy doll stick figures hanging from trees in the woods.
Eventually the girls run out of gas, get lost while trying to hike to civilization, and find a derelict house with signs of cult worship inside.
There are some eerie encounters with unsettling situations in the woods and cult members in red robes, but overall the plot isn’t very unique and the big surprise ending doesn’t pack a punch.
THE WRAITH WITHIN (2023)
Running only 76 minutes long, The Wraith Within is my kind of quick, cheap thrill.
A group of friends is heading home for a high school reunion. They’re not the nicest bunch, and when they meet up with a fellow classmate in her shop, they’re just as mean to her as they were back in the day. Conveniently, they break a box she has on display, so she makes them buy it.
When they open the box and find a teddy bear inside, weird things start to happen in the house at which they are staying.
As the friends try to track down the original owner of the teddy bear, they get murdered one by one by a witchy woman. It’s a low budget throwback to the supernatural slashers of the 00s with plenty of kills. Yay!
Of note is that there’s a very intimate moment between two male friends that seems like it’s going to result in one character coming out or telling the other guy he’s in love with him, but the witch shows up before that can happen. And finally, Michael Madsen plays the sheriff just so we get some name.