Category: Horror/Thriller

“Candyman” (2021)

7.6

If you enjoyed the original, you’ll enjoy this one.

They dive deeper into the lore of Candyman and into the psychological connection between a community and the myths they pass down through generations. Jordan Peele was involved, so you know it will be time well spent in the theater. The originality of the kills was a nice change from the typical horror movies lately. Very Freddy Krueger-esque at times. Where you’re not quite sure which reality you’re currently standing in and witnessing. That instability keeps you on the edge of your seat and attempting to look around corners before the camera does. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II nailed the manic paranoia of the character being drawn into Candyman’s grip. He went all-in, and it pays dividends in how captivating he is on-screen. He keeps you invested in going deeper into the insanity of the story. Very well done and well worth a watch!

“Halloween” (2018)

7.9

Definitely one of the strongest reboot/remakes this century. They may have pulled off the impossible and cleansed the sins of oversaturation committed by this series before Rob Zombie took it over.

Unlike the recent “Star Wars” trilogy, this film seems to use the former cast to more effectively handing the baton to the future generation. Other than the unstoppable killing force of Michael Myers. I don’t think they’ll ever make the mistake of relieving him of his duties again (see “Halloween 3”).

The kills fall a little flat as they lean pretty heavily on headbanging early on. It does get better later in the film, though. I felt like this one was doing more heavy lifting in the “establishing lore” department than in the slasher film department. Overall, a fantastic reboot and hopefully a sign of things to come for the franchise and genre in general.

“Halloween Kills”

8.4

Did they just nail a Michael Myers movie? Yes. Yes they did.

The perfect balance of psychological thriller and brutal slasher, this film picks up right where we left off in Halloween (2018) and didn’t let off the gas until the credits roll. I was hoping they would get more creative with the kills in this installment. They did, and then some. This is one of the most beautifully brutal slashers this side of the ’80s.

The story does lean pretty heavily on nostalgia on the character side, but that’s to be expected when your main characters are this legendary. Michael develops more depth than I ever thought possible while being matched up against the entire town of Haddonfield this time. Laurie feels like she completes her arc in the series, finally passing the baton to the younger generation. The ending was off the charts but in the best way possible. They get into the psychology of the town as mob justice prevails in the face of perilous fear, which was a very timely subject and angle to attack this from. The score, as always, was terrific. If I had to summarize, it would be, “just enough nostalgia, just enough surprise.” Highly recommend for your Halloween viewing pleasure. It is streaming on Peacock but plays so much better on a big screen.

“Malignant”

7.7

James Wan at the height of his powers.

A creative, original story. Camera angles no one else would think of using. A largely unknown cast that you care for enough to cause buy-in into the story, heightening its impact. This film fires on all cylinders.

You can see elements of Wan’s entire filmography in this. The music and feel of “Saw,” the storytelling and characters of “The Conjuring,” and the road trip scenes of “Fast and the Furious.” The third act reveal of the true villain, and some of the closing shots had me on the edge of my seat in a way I haven’t been since I first watched “Saw.” The film’s rewatchability may not be as strong as some other horror films, but the initial wow factor is superb. A solid start to spooky season!

“The Resort”

5.1

It’s been a long time since I’ve rooted this firmly for a cast to die so I could be done with watching this mess of a movie. The likeability of the characters is worse than the “Escape Room” franchise. They’re trespassing, breaking every rule, ignoring every warning… they deserve what comes their way. There’s a way to pull off great low-budget horror. This ain’t it. Saved you an hour and a half. (That was the only upside to this movie. it was shockingly short in runtime.)