We continue looking at some more Halloween inspired movie selections. Luckily, I had some better results this time! Below are some quick reactions to three more films that you might enjoy this time of year.
The Awakening (2011) on Netflix Instant
A skeptic who debunks ghost sightings and paranormal activity investigates a Boy’s School out in the country after one of the teachers pleads for her help. Boys are refusing to come back to the school after several sightings of a deformed ghost like apparition. When she begins witnessing strange events and happenings at the school first hand, she begins to question her beliefs and must come to grips with some of the dark past of the school. I can’t say that this was a top-tier horror movie, but this film felt complete, interesting, and satisfying to watch. I enjoyed this film because the acting felt mostly natural and believable (including the main character’s questioning of her own sanity), there is an appropriate hanging sense of tension and dread for most of the film, the camera work and imagery are well done and pull the viewer in, and the movie features some decent scares. There are some slow moving and unnecessary romantic scenes in the movie though. A solid Halloween watch if you are looking for an intriguing, but not too scary, supernatural horror film.
The Last Days (Los Ultimos Dias, 2013), on Netflix Instant
News begins to break that people are dying when they go outside. Soon the whole world has been struck with a crippling case of severe agoraphobia, and everyone is stuck inside. The main character teams up with an unlikely partner, the man sent to downsize his company, in order to find his girlfriend. Unfortunately, the last time he saw his girlfriend they got in a huge fight over whether they should have children. If you can get over the unique, and possibly silly, premise then this is actually a very rewarding movie. This film has a unique feel when compared to typical horror movies because the danger is always present but not actively perusing anyone. The movie does have some scary and tense moments, but it is more about the relationships we have and form with people and loved ones, the exhilaration we can experience from life’s small joys even in the worst times, and how catastrophes can bring out the best and the worst in people. The Last Days features some beautiful and unique camera work, cinematography, and musical score. There are some truly magnificent and emotional moments in this film. Nothing in this movie is too dark or scary, and some viewers may be turned off by the slow pacing (the whole movie is in Spanish also). A very unique and almost artistic film with some stand out moments, but people looking for traditional horror movies may not be interested.
House on Haunted Hill, 1959, on Netflix Instant
A rich eccentric millionaire invites a small group to stay in his supposedly haunted mansion for one night. If they can stay there the whole night, they will win ten thousand dollars (much more money back in the 1950’s!). But is the home truly haunted or is this rich man just trying to play tricks on his guests for his own perverse satisfaction? This plot line is now fairly common in horror movies today, but this film was one of the first to feature it. House on Haunted Hill is an old movie that still holds up pretty well, as long as you understand that it is definitely an older horror film. The film certainly comes off as corny and not even moderately scary by today’s standards. The plot never feels all that well fleshed out, and everything just gets warped up all of a sudden at the end. The film doesn’t always feel like it takes the material all that seriously either (especially when characters break the “fourth wall” and talk directly to the audience) . Still, I thought it was fun watching this older style of horror film. I especially enjoyed watching people freak out over paper mache’ body parts and painfully slow moving skeletons. Unlike in modern horror films where directors use jump cuts, mirrors, or moving objects to surprise viewers with ghosts, ghosts and monsters in the House on Haunted Hill just sort of casually walk in to a shot and wait to be noticed. If you want to see a scarier and more serious version, check out the 1999 remake, but load this one up on Netflix if you want to see the classic original version.
Each of these films was entertaining or enjoyable for very different reasons, so I would suggest checking any of them out that suit your taste. Please leave any comments about the films above or any general horror, thriller, or scary movie below, and thank you for reading!