Tag Archives: Saturday is Horror Day

Saturday is Horror Day #98 – The Menu

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Menu

Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) invites Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) to dine at a very exclusive restaurant on a small island. This restaurant is so exclusive that reservations are hard to git, and only so many people can dine that at a time. Margot considers herself lucky… until she learns that she wasn’t even Tyler’s first choice for dinner companion and her name isn’t even on the guest list. Well, she’s there now, might as well make the best of it, even if the other diners seem rather hoity-toity to her.

Granted, Tyler and the other diners seem to know a lot more about fine dining than Margot does, and about the chef who is preparing this sumptuous repast for their delight, Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes). The Chef’s staff is extremely devoted and very well-trained, including Elsa (Hong Chau), who acts as hostess to the guests.  However, as the meal progresses and the night advances, all is not as it appears to be. And there seems to be some uncertainty as to whether anyone will make it out of there alive…

I’ve been wanting to see this movie after I watched the first trailer, and I was not disappointed. At first I thought it was a dark comedy, but don’t be fooled – this is indeed horror. I thought it was well-written, with a good cast, including John Leguizamo, whom I love. Definitely some familiar faces here. This film pokes fun at the so-called gourmands who think fine dining has to include foams and fancy swoops across the plate, etc. I’ll probably see something I missed the next time I watch. I left the film being rather satisfied indeed. I will give it 4.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #97 – A Ghost Story, Don’t Panic, The Room (2019)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

A Ghost Story


C (Casey Affleck) and M (Rooney Mara) are a young married couple very much in love. Their only source of conflict is the house they live in. M wants to move, and is researching new residences, but C is opposed to the idea. However, a tragedy makes that a moot point. Afterward, C returns to the house as a white-sheeted ghost, and tries to reconnect with his bereft wife.

 

 

This is one ghost story that actually is about the ghost and not about the living. C is more haunted than 


anyone, most of whom can’t see him. It’s about loss and it’s about time, as C sticks with the house, for better or for worse, and follows it through not just multiple owners but other changes as well. It’s sad and intense, and not what one would call scary, unless you’re afraid of the future and what it might hold. Most of it is silent. The soundtrack is lovely. I don’t think I would watch it again.  Both Affleck and Mara give good performances. I’ll give this film 3 Stars.

Don’t Panic


This 1987 Mexican film about a 17 year old boy who is gifted a Ouija board for his birthday is so bad, I gave it up just a little ways in. Bad acting, bad script, bad sound quality… I would just avoid this one altogether

 

 

 

The Room (2019)


Matt (Kevin Janssesns) and Kate (Olga Kurylenko) buy  a house that needs a little fixing up, having been on the market for a while. In the course of renovations, Matt discovers a secret room and does some exploring of his own. To his amazement, he figures out that if you wish for something while in that room, it appears. He fills the room with all kinds of things, including an original Van Gogh!

 

Kate is astounded at everything in this room and doesn’t buy Matt’s explanation of how it got there. But he tells her to try it, to wish for something. So she wishes for a thousand dollars… and it appears! Amazed, she asks for more and more. The couple go crazy, treating themselves to everything they can think of. But there is one thing Kate wants that they have never been able to have. One day, while Matt is out, Kate wishes for a baby. And the trouble begins…

 

This is an interesting variation on the usual genie granting wishes story, with of course the moral being 

 


be careful what you wish for cause you might surely get it. As everyone knows, magic comes with a price, including this magic. The film is very well shot and the actors do a great job. It keeps your attention and keeps you wondering what is going on. While we never learn why the room works the way it does, we definitely see the consequences.

 

This movie had me guessing what was going to happen as Matt begins to discover more and more of the truth, but can’t seem to do anything to control what Kate has unleased. Definitely worth the watch. I give this one 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #96 – Cannibal Holocaust

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Cannibal Holocaust

A documentary crew disappears in the Amazon rainforest. Professor Monroe (Robert Kerman) heads up a rescue mission to find them. Following their trail, they discover the footage that was taken by the missing film crew. And watching that film leads to an understanding of what happened to the four filmmakers.

This film is told in documentary style, but of course it isn’t true. However, what it is is pretty disturbing and very violent. And from what I read, although no actors were harmed during the making of this film, and all the blood is fake, but apparently some animals did actually die. Keep in mind this was made in 1980, so I’ll guess the standard disclaimers of no animals being harmed was not a thing.

Watching the found footage, there is little doubt as to why these people met the fate they did. What is

less clear is why they did what they did. There is a lot of savagery here – and not all on the part of the cannibals. Of course there is cannibalism, but also rape, torture, murder… This is a difficult film to watch, and it’s not what I would call entertaining. It’s truly horror for the sake of horror. Know this going into it – there are no happy endings here. Makes me wonder what The Green Inferno is like, which is mentioned in this film more than once. Not the film, but I guess a place.

At any rate, if you have a strong stomach and want to see why this film was originally banned give it a try. I’ll give it 3 Stars but won’t ever watch it again. Once was enough.

Saturday is Horror Day #95 – White Zombie

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

White Zombie

On the island of Haiti, a young couple, Madeline (Madge Bellamy) and Neil (John Harron) look forward to being married. They’ve been persuaded by Charles (Robert Frazer) to have the wedding at his house. While on the way there, they are approached in their carriage by a strange man, who seems taken with Madeline, and even goes so far as to take her long white scarf before they can elude his grasp. Little do they realize he is “Murder” Legendre (Bela Lugosi), a local business owner.

 

The couple is further disturbed by tales of zombies on the island – the living undead. Once arrived at Charles’ house, it quickly becomes apparent that he is very taken with Madeline, and spends most of his time trying to persuade her to marry him instead. But she is adamant that she won’t and to stop being silly. A desperate Charles approaches Legendre who is responsible for the zombies who work under him. Together they hatch a diabolical plan to separate the young couple. And it works, for on their wedding night, the young bride suddenly and mysteriously dies.

 

This is a little known gem from 1932 starring the incomparable Bela Lugosi. It’s actually quite well 

done, and from what I read, it’s speculated that Lugosi directed some if not all of the film. It’s not very long, not much over an hour, but it says a lot in a short period of time.

Bela is as charming and hypnotic as ever. The film says a lot with little dialogue, almost like a silent movie with a few lines added here and there. Whoever directed, whether Lugosi or not, did a good job in this zombie film made long before the Walking Dead. I’ll give this film 4.5 Stars.

 

Saturday is Horror Day #94 – Stitches

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Stitches

Stitches (Ross Noble) isn’t a particularly funny clown – he’s rude and he’s crude. Even the kids he’s paid to entertain don’t particularly find him amusing.  But something goes horribly wrong at Tom’s (Tommy Knight) birthday party, and Stitches ends up dead. Six years later, Stitches comes back, and this time he’s looking for vengeance!

Tommy and his friends are teens now. And some of the kids have grown up to be assholes. Tom still can’t forget the single kiss he shared way back when, in his treehouse, with Kate (Gemma-Leah Devereux), but he hasn’t had the nerve to follow it up with her and now she’s dating a jock. He invited her to his party and hopes she’ll come.

Through a touch of bad Karma, Stitches receives the invitation and decides to crash the party…

This is an Irish film, made in Ireland, and it is definitely a dark film. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. Some might complain that too much attention is paid to the teens in between the first and second party, but I believe it set everything up for what was to come, including how certain people died. The death scenes are definitely creative and very gory, so know that going into it. Ross Noble as Stitches is great. I could have used more of him. All in all an enjoyable film to watch. I’ll give it 3.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #93 – Midsommar

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Midsommar


Following the tragic death of her family, Dani (Florence Pugh) has been clinging to her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) a bit more than usual, to the annoyance of his fellow students/friends. They’d been planning a trip to Sweden by one of the group to witness a mid-summer festival in his hometown. Christian feels compelled to tell them that he’s invited Dani, but she doesn’t really want to go. However, she does, so they grudgingly accept her presence among them.

There is something very beautiful and at the same time odd about the village where they end up. The people are indeed welcoming and loving. At the same time, some of their ways are… unusual, to say the least. One of the reasons Josh (William Jackson Harper) is there is to write about the festival for his thesis. When Christian suddenly decides to use that specific festival for his thesis is well, tensions begin to run high.

 

Still reeling from the death of her family, Dani is none too pleased when one of the village maidens 


seems to have set her cap for Christian. Another couple, Simon (Archie Madekwe) and Connie (Ellora Torchia) are there also, and Simon unwittingly does something completely unforgivable to the villagers. He inexplicably decides to leave without informing Connie, who is understandably distraught. The villagers assure here that the man who took Simon to the station will be back for her as well but she doesn’t wait and runs off.

Things get stranger and stranger… and then somewhat sinister…

This movie was beautiful to behold, set in a beautiful country. Everything looks wholesome and clean, but of course what you see isn’t always what you get. It all depends on how you look at it, as simply a horror story (from most people’s viewpoint) or a lovely fairy tale (from Dani’s POV). Although it’s about two and a half hours long, it doesn’t really feel long as you keep wondering what is going on and what’s going to happen. Pay close attention for clues, even though they won’t really prepare you for the ending. But there are hints. Might have to watch it again sometime to find more. I’ll give this film 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #92 – The Descent

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Descent


Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) is recovering from a devastating life event the previous year. She meets up with some of her friends for a vacation. But their idea of having fun is exploring caves! Juno (Natalie Mendoza) is the somewhat leader of the group. She’s the one who picks the cave and gets all the information they need to safely explore, making sure they all have the right gear as well.

 

This particular cave is actually in a hole, so they have to go down on ropes. The only way out is through the exit, as they won’t be able to ascend the same way. No problem, right? Except that Juno neglected to mention that this isn’t the cave she told them they’d be going to and they don’t have any guidebooks for it! She thought it would be fun for them to be the ones to explore it, and also maybe bring Sarah out of her funk. Maybe even name the cave for her late daughter!

 

 

 

But things start to go horribly wrong, and now they’re not even sure how to get back to the surface… and they are horrified to realize they are not alone.

 

This is one creepy scary movie! I will admit to jumping more than once. Imagine being underground and not knowing how to get back up? Assuming there is a way up? And then, on top of that, the creatures… *shudders* You may recognize MyAnna Buring as she was in Ripper Street and more recently The Witcher. This is a good horror movie. I’ll give it 4.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #91 – Funny Games

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Funny Games


Imagine if you will an all-American family – mother, father, and son – going to visit their vacation home for some rest and relaxation. Spend some time boating, visiting with neighbors. This is the life of Ann (Naomi Watts) and George (Tim Roth) and their son Georgie (Devon Gearhart).  But the all-American dream becomes an all-American nightmare when two preppy-looking young men, Paul (Michael Pitt) and Peter (Brady Corbet) come into their lives.

It begins with a simple request for four eggs by one of the young men, who claims to need it for the next door neighbor, whom he is visiting. But this ordinary request quickly becomes a game, and the only people who are amused are Paul and Peter. They take the family hostage and announce the game – see who will live to see the following day.

 

This movie was well written and well executed, but I have to warn you, it is brutal and hard to watch. I found myself wondering why these adults didn’t just slap the shit out of those two punks and have done with them. Or why they ever let the situation escalate the way it did. But perhaps you had to be there. And I have honestly never been in such a situation, nor do I want to be. Great performances by Watts and Roth. I know this film will stick with me for some time. I’ll give it 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #90 – Nope, Don’t Breathe 2

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 Nope


OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) Haywood’s lives are shaken when strange objects falling from the sky kill their father on his horse ranch. They become determined to prove that UFOs exist. While purchasing electronic equipment at a local store, they make the acquaintance of Angel Torres (Brandon Perea). He realizes they don’t know the first thing about installing what they’ve bought and wrangles his way into doing it for them. But once he figures out what they are up to, not only is he onboard but he has some expertise to bring to the table. Along the way, they also enlist the aid of one-time child actor Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun) and documentarian Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott).

 

Jordan Peele, as always, brings us his own brand of horror/sci fi with a definite side of humor. You 


might even remember Daniel Kaluuya from Get Out. In Nope, we are dealing with a UFO that isn’t your typical outer space alien. OJ and his sister have to think outside the box to beat this thing which is wreaking havoc in this small California town. It’s very well done, and I enjoyed it, but not as much as I did Get Out. And I confess to not always understanding what was going on. 

While there is definite bloodshed in this film, Peele is careful not to make it a gorefest, as others have done- you see enough to get the idea of what is happening, but not too much. There are flashbacks to when Ricky was a child actor and a horrific event he witnessed. Even after reading the explanation, I still don’t see how it connects with the rest of the film, but that’s just me.

 

To be honest, I would watch anything Jordan Peele does. I think he’s a wonderful director. Nope has some slow spots, but it has lots of terrific moments. The first time Emerald bursts onto the screen is hilarious, as is her rapid-fire delivery. If you are a Peele fan, you’ll enjoy Nope. And if you’re not – become one. I give this film 4 Stars.

Don’t Breathe 2


Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) lives a quiet life with his young daughter Phoenix (Madelyn Grace). Although he’s blind, he is far from helpless, and he has taught her many important life skills. But the price she pays is a lonely isolation, broken only by occasional outings with their friend Hernandez (Stephanie Arcila). On their last trip, Phoenix encounters a stranger in the restroom, but she never loses her cool and gets away from him, due in part to their dog.

If Norman is overly cautious, perhaps he has reason, considering his past life, when he was less than a good man. But his precautions prove to be in vain when he and Phoenix seemingly become the victims of a random home invasion by some sketchy men. All is not as it seems, though, and Norman’s past is about to catch up with a vengeance, and Phoenix is about to learn some ugly truths. The question is, will they be able to survive the ordeal and make it out alive?

 

I’ll admit that I didn’t like the sequel as well as the first one, but there is a certain satisfaction gained by 


watching people get what’s coming to them. At first glance, neither side is what you might call angelic by any means. But one man will rise to the occasion and prove himself to be more than he thought he was, while the others, pretending to have loving motives for what they are doing, are nothing but scum.

I do like watching Norman in action, and I must say he has taught Phoenix well. I’ll give this film 3.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #89 – No Good Deed

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 No Good Deed


Colin (Idris Elba) is a convicted criminal who is serving a lesser sentence than he should have received due to circumstances. Up for parole after only five years, he is turned down because the decision has to be unanimous and one member of the parole board is determined he stay behind bars. On the way back from the parole hearing, Colin catches a lucky break and manages to escape. After visiting his ex-fiancé and dealing with her, he steals her car and drives away. But luck deserts him as he flees in the midst of a storm and is unexpectedly run off the road, crashing the car.

Terry (Taraji P Henson) has her hands full with a young daughter and an infant son. Her husband Jeffrey (Hemry Simmons) is a busy man, but he has promised her he’ll come home early so she can get some things done. Only it turns out he has no time because he’s heading out to take his father on a golf holiday for his birthday. Terry is unhappy, but what can she do, so she battens down for the approaching storm. An unexpected knock at her door turns out to be a man in distress, who wants to call a tow for his vehicle. Reluctant, she allows him to use her phone outside and doesn’t admit him into her house. But after finding out it might be a while for the tow truck to arrive, she admits him, against her better judgement.

 

Her guest, whose name is Colin, turns out to be charming, and Terry begins to relax. Her friend Meg 


(Leslie Bibb) soon arrives for what was to be a girls night, but she doesn’t mind the stranger in their midst and offers him wine as well. She flirts with him outrageously. But when she gets him alone in the garage, where he has gone to smoke, and he tries to convince her that he and Terry have been having an affair that Meg is unaware of, the shit hits the fan, and the situation goes from uneasy to dangerous…

I really enjoyed this movie.  I am a huge fan of Idris Elba, and much as I like him, I wasn’t exactly rooting for him here lol He is quite charming… until he isn’t. While Terry starts out as somewhat weak, or tired, and maybe too nice for her own good, by the end of the movie, there is quite the change and I was rooting for her all the way. I’ve liked her ever since Person of Interest and was glad to see her again. Nothing is cut and dried, and while you may assume how the ending will go, it’s the journey to get there that will hold you spellbound. I give this film 4.5 Stars