As some of you might know – basically, if you follow me on social media – I embarked on this 31 Days of Horror challenge, which consists of watching 31 horror movies that I own on DVD or Blu-Ray, one every day until the end of the spookiest month of the year.
Thus, I decided to share my quick thoughts on the films I watch week by week with you. Each one of these posts will feature 7 short reviews of the films I watched. Obviously, since I want to keep them sweet and short, if you want to discuss more about the movies with me, just leave me a comment below or on Facebook and Twitter.
Day 1 – Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983). When he acquires a different kind of pornographic show for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality, where sex and torture mix to an extreme degree. Being a big fan of Cronenberg, I absolutely love this odd combination of (fake) snuff movie, sci-fi and body-horror. Carried by fantastic practical effects and by a sleazy and charismatic James Woods, this picture is at ones fascinating and disturbing. The pacing isn’t always balanced though and the minor characters aren’t very believable, which are my major issues with the film. Final grade: 8.5/10.
Day 2 – Inferno (Dario Argento, 1980). This is probably my favourite horror film by my fellow Italian filmmaker and horror legend Dario Argento. It’s surreal, gory, mysterious and it looks beautiful due to the amazing camera-work and the outstanding cinematography. The only thing it’s lacking is the score by Goblin, in my opinion. If you want to know more about this masterpiece, just check my post about the best Italian horror movies of all time. Final Grade: 9/10.
Day 3 – The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012). A British horror film based on the famous play, The Woman in Black follows a young solicitor (Daniel Radcliffe) who travels to a remote village where he discovers the the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorising the locals and killing the children. Very atmospheric and well-acted, this film suffers a lot from a source material that is hard to translate to the screen. Despite some lousy CGI and a few scenes that are too dark to be fully enjoyed, this is quite a solid scary movie that replaces jump-scares with suspenseful moments and clever games of light and dark. Final Grade: 7/10.
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Day 4 – Tusk (Kevin Smith, 2014). This is a horror/comedy that centres around an unlikeable and arrogant podcaster who travels to Canada to interview a mysterious recluse who has a rather disturbing fondness for walruses. Tusk gets praises and criticism in equal measures and, although it is indeed quite flawed, I honestly think it deserves more credit: sure, the horror element is quick as this movie is way funnier than it is disturbing, but great performances and dark comedic tone make it extremely easy to watch and enjoyable. Perhaps my sense of humour is odd, but I do consider Tusk one of the funniest horror comedies of the last few years. Final Grade: 7.5/10.
Day 5 – Dr Phibes Rises Again (Robert Fuest, 1972). I owned this one since forever, but never got to check it out until Friday. It’s a classic sequel to Vincent Price’s The Abominable Dr Phibes – which I think is pretty good – and I personally had a blast with it: the story is simple as it follows the vengeful doctor who seeks the Scrolls of Life in an attempt to resurrect his deceased wife. Along the way, one is treated with solid performances by Vincent Price, Robert Quarry and Hugh Griffith. It’s obviously not a scary movie for today’s standards, and it suffers from bad pacing, but it’s a cult movie that surely deserves more attention even from modern horror fans. Final Grade: 7/10.
Day 6 – Crawl (Paul China, 2011). It’s an Australian horror/revenge flick that had loads of potential. A seedy bar owner hires a mysterious Croatian to commit murder, but some planned double-crossing backfires when a young waitress is taken hostage. Supposedly very gory and quite humorous at parts (which are the foremost reasons why I blindly bought it), the movie fails – unfortunately – due to the unconvincing performances and overabundance of sub-genres within the same movie. The jokes are hit or miss (and, in general, can be appreciated only by a person with a bleak sense of humour), but extreme gore and violence save the film from being too much of a let-down. Final Grade: 5/10.
Day 7 – The House of the Devil (Ti West, 2009). This is a 70s throwback horror film that has been both hated on a lot by many, and immensely praised in equal measure by others. I am a big fan, this is probably one of the few American horror films from the early 00s that I genuinely adore. The very slow build-up, which consists of atmospheric locations, subtle cinematography and fantastic score, is almost as satisfying as the ultra-gory and gruesome payoff. I nearly have any issue with the film, probably just a couple of less-than-solid performances and two or three scenes that feel a bit too uneventful. Besides that, this is a fantastic horror film that fans of atmosphere and gore over jump-scares shouldn’t miss out. Final Grade: 9/10.
What did you guys think of these films? Have you seen them? Also, please if you want me to review a movie over the course of this challenge, let me know and I’ll definitely take your advice into consideration!