Friday, December 5, 2014

Reviews: Horror Edition

The Babadook
Man, I have found horror to be disappointing for the most part this year, but what a gem this turned out to be.  Filled with great atmosphere and a truly unique creature, this is the horror film I wanted with Oculus.

Following Amelia (Essie Davis) and her son Samuel (Noah Wisemen) as they are haunted by a mysterious creature called the Babadook, the film explores depression, loss, and family with a deft hand and a great screenplay from first-time director Jennifer Kent.  Light on jump scares, and heavy on atmosphere and tone, the movie slowly builds, giving horror fans something they don't get very often:  Likeable, if flawed, characters to root for.  Special mention to Essie Davis for giving one of the best performances of the year in any genre.

The trailer is slightly misleading:  The Babadook itself appears very little in the movie, and it leans more toward a character study/psychological thriller than a creature feature.  Still, this is a great movie that I highly recommend to any horror fan.  9.0 out of 10.

Willow Creek
A found footage movie that follows a couple trying to prove that Bigfoot exists, this effort from writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait is a solid, if unspectacular.

One thing I appreciate is the slow build up:  You get to know the couple (Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson) and see a bit of their travels before getting to the meat of the movie.  Again, by creating characters that we care about, the stakes are raised in the latter part of the movie when the actual scares occur.

While both Gilmore and Johnson have onscreen chemistry and charisma, the film does drag in a few spots, most notably when interviewing locals and during the initial backpacking into the woods.  However, an extended sequence involving the couple waking up in the middle of the night is a great moment that the movie could have used more of.

Not the greatest horror film, but there are worse ways to spend your evening,  7.0 out of 10.

This was just a quick cash grab of a movie, and it shows quite a bit.  Following the creepy doll from The Conjuring, the movie could have been worse, but it definitely could have been better.

To give credit where it is due, the lead performance from Annabelle Wallis (yes, the main actress is the film also has the name Annabelle) is fairly strong, and there are two sequences that are exceptionally well done, but this is by-the-numbers horror cranked out to make a quick buck off the prior movie's great reception.

It's competent, but nothing extraordinary, which is a shame, because there was some good stuff to build off of.  6.5 out of 10.