• The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

    The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

    ★★★½

    “TIde’s coming in. We need to hurry!”

    I began watching The Woman in Black 2 with absolutely no expectations. None whatsoever. Which, now that I think of it, is the best way to watch a film.

    What I found was a beautifully shot film with some exquisite sets and locales…a moody and atmospheric film that truly captivated me.

    Sure, the film includes a lot of jump scares. Like, a whole lot. But there are a handful that are staged so well that I can’t in good faith call them cheap. The film balances them with well-crafted storytelling and fine performances by the lead cast.

  • Malignant

    Malignant

    ★★★★

    "It's time to cut out the cancer."

    Malignant is absolutely entertaining, bold in it's go-for-broke storytelling, and at time flat out bonkers. It is a fever dream come true, and I was not disappointed.

    I will never forget the moment of "the reveal." Wide-eyed, slack-jawed, half laughing, half gasping...I was in pure horror movie delight.

  • The Evil

    The Evil

    ★★★

    “We’re not going to get out! We’re never getting out!”

    There’s just something so appealing about the 70s horror film aesthetic: the clothing, the kitsch, the low budget practical special effects…and the go-for-broke creativity.

    Such is the case with The Evil, and I don’t think it would have been possible for me to enjoy the film more. Its campy blend of 70s-era over-dramatization, practical…and occasionally quite effective…special effects, compelling haunted house setting, and a bonkers finale with Victor Buono as the devil himself, left me wanting more in the best possible way.

  • Peninsula

    Peninsula

    ★★★

    While Peninsula is a perfectly acceptable zombie film in its own right, as a sequel to Train to Busan, it comes up woefully short. Peninsula lacks most of what made Train to Busan exceptional - emotional resonance, thrillingly staged action, a clever script, and original zombie design. What we’re left with is, again, perfectly acceptable - but unfortunately, nothing special.

  • Julia's Eyes

    Julia's Eyes

    ★★★★½

    "You told me that when you looked me into my eyes you could see the entire universe."

    Julia's Eyes is a Hitchcockian masterpiece. Its suspense is palpable and expertly sustained, it is a visual treat, it is well written with clever twists and turns, and it is wonderfully acted.

    The flash photography scene near the end of the film is an achievement worthy of applause.

  • Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

    Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

    ★★★½

    "Please don't hurt me. I have two kittens."

    Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead is a rare film in that it is a sequel that is better than the original, much like Evil Dead 2, from which this film clearly takes gleeful inspiration.

    And much like Evil Dead 2, the film is a perfect blending of horror and comedy. This achievement makes it so that the film's comedy doesn't detract from its horror, a balance that very few films can…

  • Diabolique

    Diabolique

    ★★★★½

    "Some things are hard to swallow, and I'm not talking about the fish."

    Les Diabolique is superbly suspenseful from beginning to end, cleverly written, and perfectly acted. The film deserves all of the praise that it receives and more.

  • Nightbreed

    Nightbreed

    ★★★½

    "God's an astronaut, Oz is over the rainbow, and Midian is where the monsters live. And you came to die."

    Nightbreed certainly divided moviegoers and critics alike upon its release, but watching the director's cut all these years later made me realize just how much of a masterpiece the film truly is. Based on Clive Barker's book, Cabal, the story centers on monsters who are the good guys, and humans who are the bad guys, and this genre twist strongly resonates 30 years later.

  • Body Bags

    Body Bags

    ★★★

    "Give me a big stab wound to poke at and then I'm happy."

    Oh how I wish that Body Bags, which was created as a pilot episode for a proposed anthology series, had been picked up. It would have been such a treat for horror fans. But at least we're left with this fun set of three horror shorts.

    The three stories in Body Bags provide a well-rounded experience, The first story, The Gas Station, is by far my favorite.…

  • Shutter

    Shutter

    ★★★½

    "Sometimes spirits long for their loved ones."

    Shutter is a well-made horror film. It is consistently tense. often scary, with actors who give strong performances. It also boasts a well-written script that remains interesting throughout and keeps the viewer guessing with a few twists and turns thrown in.

  • Rent-A-Pal

    Rent-A-Pal

    ★★

    Rent-A-Pal is a disappointment. With such an interesting premise, my expectations were high. And for the first third of the film, I was intrigued. But then, as the film progressed, its repetition brought fatigue, even annoyance. And when the climax comes, and the secrets of the film are finally revealed, it's such a letdown that, as the credits rolled, I said out loud, "Gosh, I think I hated that."

    And you know what? The more I think about it, the more I realize that I really did hate it.

  • Spiral

    Spiral

    ★★★★

    "Choosing to live your life loud and proud is about the bravest thing you can do in this world."

    Sprial's main achievement is its pervasive mood of dread, which becomes unnerving as the film progresses. I remained tense throughout the film's runtime, and that is a rare occurrence.

    The film's secondary achievement is its strong performances. The lead actors provide a depth to their characters that is more than what is included on the written page. I cared about them. I rooted for them.

    I was gripped by the film from start to finish.