Title: The Invitation
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writers: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2400463/
After seeing this movie on Netflix, I will never say…
I no longer want invitations to anyone’s dinner party. Keep your invites, really.
Will and Eden were once a loving couple. After a tragedy took their son, Eden disappeared. Two years later, out of the blue, she returns with a new husband… and as a different person, eerily changed and eager to reunite with her ex and those she left behind. Over the course of a dinner party in the house that was once his, the haunted Will is gripped by mounting evidence that Eden and her new friends have a mysterious and terrifying agenda. But can we trust Will’s hold on reality? Or will he be the unwitting catalyst of the doom he senses?
I admit, the beginning of this movie bored me. The man seemed out of it and his mood was flat. I thought he was on some kind of medication. It also made me wonder why the woman was with him. Then, it turns out that they’re going to a party at the home of his ex-wife….with the new girlfriend. That earned an eye roll, because, I wasn’t sure this was going to be a good idea.
Plus, the party was in the hills of California somewhere. Ugh. I don’t like going out into old crazy country without a way to get out of there. In some of those places, you can’t even call a cab or Uber!!
Anyhoo, what a bunch of weirdos at the party. Folks not wearing any shoes. Folks with vacant smiles and blank eyes. As soon as all the characters get together, there’s a general feeling of unease. The folks seem loving and accommodating, but there is something just off about the entire gathering. The man finds strange things around his ex-wife’s house. In addition, we are subjected to hazy flashbacks about their shared past.
As the film rolls on we eventually realize that there is something going on, and it bubbles over the surface in a shocking scene. Obviously, I won’t give it away, but I will say I was glued to the screen until the end.
The film starts quite slow and threatens to lose the viewers’ interest. But I advise you to stick with it and go along for the ride. The ending will make you sit back in your seat, mouth open and head shaking. Additionally, this movie will keep you from going from any strange dinner parties in isolated areas, I promise you that.
Grade A-: Jeez, this was creepy and unsettling as hell.
The Invitation: Trailer
Here’s to watching horror movies in the morning!
Title: Grave Encounters 2
Genre: Horror, Found Footage
Director: John Poliquin
Writers: The Vicious Brothers
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2231554/
PLOT SYNOPSIS: (imdb.com) A film student who is obsessed with the movie Grave Encounters sets out with his friends to visit the psychiatric hospital depicted in the original film.
After seeing Grave Encounters, I just had to see if there were a Grave Encounters 2. And, lo and behold, it was! I quickly queued it up and sat back, prepared to be as scared as I was with the first one.
Alas, this was not the case. Now, this is not to say the movie wasn’t pretty good. It just took a bit of a time to get to the point.
Don’t go into this expect a retread of Grave Encounters. The screenwriter and director went in a bit of a different direction, which saved the movie from being a boring retread of the first movie.
A film student who is obsessed with the movie Grave Encounters sets out with his friends to visit the psychiatric hospital depicted in the original film.
I will say the characters are a little less likable in this movie than they were in the first one. They skewed younger and were less the “seasoned professionals” of the first movie and more snot-nosed college students. Being a woman of a certain age, their antics grated on me a bit, but I was eager to see what the asylum would do with them.
And the haunted asylum didn’t disappoint.
Things are not what they seem at the old homestead and the place starts acting up right away. We, the audience, know what they’re in for, having seen the first movie, we’re just waiting to see how the asylum plays with the new crew.
There’s shouting, there’s yelling, there’s running. There’s spooky stuff afoot and a surprise.
Watch it, if just to have the story continue. Grave Encounters 2 is not as good or as chill worthy as Grave Encounters, but it’s still a pretty good ride.
My advice: Push through the annoying college age antics at the beginning and stay for the scary parts. There is some lore added and maybe a door opening for Grave Encounters 3.
Here’s to watching horror movies in the morning!
I’ll be honest, I saw the movie “The Shining” before I read the book. Saw it on channel seven, ABC’s channel here in the New York area. I’m not sure how old I was, but I must have been in high school because the movie was in the theatre in 1980.
That movie frightens me to this day, even when they show it on the Arts and Entertainment channel.
The whole idea of being snowbound and trapped while the “strongest” of your party goes slowly mad and there’s nothing you can do about it is frightening enough. The fact that the HOTEL itself is making it impossible for you to escape from him is even scarier.
There is also the helpless feeling you have that not only is there “no escape”, but it’s your spouse/someone close, the one person who you love and trust the most in the world, is the one who is menacing you.
The soundtrack adds to the dread with its Native American chants, droning underchords and well-used scare chords.
The most well used scare chord is at the very end. No matter how much I anticipate it, it gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Of course, YMMV (Your mileage may vary). Each person watches a different movie.
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ #quotes #theshining #kubrick” quote=”‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.'” theme=”style4″]
Here’s a taste of Jack Nicholson, before he became the Joker. I must say, no matter what is said about Kubrick, he got excellent performances out of his actors. You can feel Wendy’s fear of her husband. However, no matter how afraid she may be, she’s still reluctant to really hurt him.
The miniseries remake with Steven Weber (from the show WINGS of all places) didn’t half faze me. I mean, this is the dude from Wings against Jack Nicholson for heaven’s sake. It’s a no brainer.
“Come play with us, Danny. Forever. And ever. And ever.“
The movie was made in 1980, but I’ll say SPOILER ALERT anyway.
The Shining is an example of chillingly great horror movie. The final shot of Jack Nicholson frozen in the hedge maze…that haunted me for quite a few nights after that!
So what’s YOUR favorite scary movie????
Title: The Ouija Experiment, aka The Realm
Genre: Horror, Found Footage-ish
Director: Israel Luna
Writers: Israel LUna
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2364842/
This was a movie that I stumbled upon perusing some streaming service or another. I suppose if you run a search for the title, it will tell you where it’s playing or where you can get it. Honestly, even though IMDB gives it a 3.4 out of 10, I actually enjoyed the movie. I’d even watch it again!
Here’s the setup. There’s a film student (already annoying, lol) who plays with a Ouija board with his four friends. Why? They want to solve the mystery of a drowned girl that happened some time ago. I’m really fuzzy on the details because, well, it just didn’t matter to me after a while.
Let me say upfront…it’s not scary. The acting is bad and the found footage-ish way of filming can by annoying at times. I don’t know if it was the mood I was in, but I thought the film was rather cute. I liked the dynamic of some of the actors, and the self-aware of “I’m a black person in a horror movie” of the black actress was pretty funny at times.
I felt the first hour was quite strong in the way it set up the story. The actors did a pretty good job for a low budget movie that looks like it was filmed in somebody’s house on the fly. In addition, trivia for the movie suggests the actors’ lines were mostly improvised during this first hour. They didn’t do a half-bad job!
As I noted above, when the scary stuff starts, the black actress is the best. She really made me laugh.
A note on the dialogue: this was the best part of the movie. The conversations and rapid exchanges seem real and unrehearsed. Also, the actors have such a good sense of timing, they did not stumble over each other’s lines as is often the case in the found footage movies where the lines are improvised. I just liked hearing the characters chit chat with each other.
Otherwise, the film and its eventual reveal of the long-ago murder was rather flat and boring. Do not watch this movie if you are looking to be frightened. It won’t happen. If you watch it at all, watch it for the actors’ performances and how they interact.
Film Grade: D
Actors Grade: B for snappy dialogue.