Tagged Horror

Velvet Buzzsaw (Gilroy, 2019)

If Velvet Buzzsaw was going for incisive critique of the art world’s myriad frivolities, it doesn’t work well. The best it can do is to emulate the kind of dead air that’s generated by those who equate premium connoisseurship with maximum pretension. And even then it can only go so far without looking incompetently cartoonish—and oftentimes it…

Upgrade (Whannell, 2018)

It’s not exactly sophisticated aesthetically or thematically, being another skeptical morality play on the dangers of biotechnological advancements that seek to erase our humanity, but Upgrade is quite a likable bit of pulp. There’s a Frankenstein quality to it that appeals. Like Grey Trace’s resurrection from traumatizing disability, the film revisits key sci-fi classics such as 2001: A…

Cam (Goldhaber, 2018)

This film does a good job of fooling you into thinking you’ve pressed play on a low-rent affair, with sets that look like they were assembled on a tight budget, and a premise that feels pulled from the dark recesses of the Internet. Camming (a form of online sex work) has not been an especially…

Suspiria (Guadagnino, 2018)

A bit of a disclaimer: I am not an Argento purist, so a reimagining of Suspiria was never going to drive me up the wall. I’ve only seen the original once, and that was but a month ago. I am about as new to this mythology as you can be, which allowed me to walk into Guadagnino’s…

November (Sarnet, 2017)

Lithuanian though I am, Estonian folklore is still quite a ways away from what I used to hear as a child. For instance, the concept of a kratt—a sentient creature made from household implements and given life by the Devil—is unfamiliar to me, so seeing one kidnap a cow and fly it over to its…

The Cloverfield Paradox (Onah, 2018)

I’m not averse to schlock if it’s entertaining. And there are definitely moments in The Cloverfield Paradox that are fun in a schlocky sense, like Chris O’Dowd’s arm being… ripped? sliced? bitten? from his body, and then ending up as some sentient, disembodied Addams Family reject. Or when the Russian (of course) crewmember is somehow invaded by the worms…

Don’t Breathe (Alvarez, 2016)

A most dangerous game of “blind man’s buff” plays out in Don’t Breathe, with a group of thieves trying to avoid the wrath of a blind army veteran after breaking into his home. It’s an interesting concept, in that we’re customarily used to rooting for the person being invaded. It’s taboo to trespass on someone’s property…

The Wolf House (Cociña & León, 2018)

I don’t know all that much about the Chilean cult that haunts The Wolf House. A cursory search reveals far more than I want to know, with atrocity after atrocity being unveiled like stepping stones. It’s enough to churn your stomach. The directors of this stop-motion phantasmagoria don’t tackle this subject matter head-on, choosing instead to…

Mandy (Cosmatos, 2018)

Let’s start off with the good. Panos Cosmatos knows exactly the kind of aesthetic he wants to project, which is a psychedelic, deep-toned phantasmagoria. It’s perfect for stoners and those who like their films vividly rendered, and it’s an aesthetic that he can probably utilize again without it becoming too tiresome. Mandy is also another effective vehicle…

The Haunting of Hill House (Flanagan, 2018)

This is certainly not your mother’s Hill House. Mike Flanagan has taken Shirley Jackson’s novel and re-imagined it as a family saga—something I was apprehensive about, because family sagas are so common nowadays. I’m rather partial to Jackson’s setup, with a group of strangers trying to tolerate each other while being driven out of their minds because of…

Annihilation (Garland, 2018)

Will 2018 give us another film as strange, mesmerizing and uncompromisingly cerebral as Annihilation? As I sit here writing this, I am inclined to say no. I’m sure there will be films I’ll like better, and films that will devastate me to greater degrees, but I’m not sure the year will bring me another film with…

Unsane (Soderbergh, 2018)

I wouldn’t say that Unsane is necessarily quality cinema, for a lot of it is of the pulp thriller variety that could pass off as an adaptation of a number of books with black covers with sinister images. And instead of elevating it, Soderbergh brings it down to the absolute basics by shooting it with an iPhone,…

Hereditary (Aster, 2018)

Kudos to Ari Aster for making a film that is so unbridled in its insanity that it has the durability of Teflon. There are several images in Hereditary that will be hard to forget anytime soon. From a traumatized teen going home with his tail between his legs to bodiless heads and levitating bodies, Hereditary worms its way into…

A Quiet Place (Krasinski, 2018)

A Quiet Place is among the best experiences I had watching a film this year, as it utilized its technical facets with a great amount of intelligence. From the sound design to the cinematography, John Krasinski ensures you are actively involved in the family’s plight—and maybe even implicated in it, as one flinches at every minute sound from…

The Endless (Moorhead & Benson, 2017)

My somewhat low rating here does not mean that I don’t respect Benson and Moorhead’s ambition. Creating a legible sci-fi tale involving temporal loops and sinister, omniscient forces is not an easy feat, and they manage to pull it together decently—especially on the limited budget they had at hand. Their efforts are appreciated, and I…