Category: Horror/Thriller

“Firestarter” (2022)

6.4

Unfortunately fell flat for me…a cross between “Stranger Things,” “Matilda,” and “Carrie.” It had some well-done scenes but failed to build consistent momentum and ultimately left me underwhelmed.

The one bright spot in this hot mess, aside from the brilliant score by John Carpenter, was the performance of the main lead Ryan Kiera Armstrong. She stole the focus in almost every scene and held down the fort while Efron overacted the likes of Jim Carrey.

Throughout the runtime, this film felt like a cheap attempt to play on tropes. Though brilliant in its own right, even the score was essentially the “Halloween” score in a different scale.

“Deep Water”

8.2

Why is it that Ben Affleck keeps getting caught in these toxic on-screen relationships? Between this and “Gone Girl,” his red flag detection is… well, it’s worse than mine.

This is a fantastic ride – a masterclass in suspense. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen for the entire runtime and was sincerely surprised with every twist and turn. I found myself yelling at the screen more often than usual with this one. Everything from “… and now your dead” to “DUDE, RUN!” There’s not an innocent soul in the entire cast. Everyone’s secrets play a role in their demise and play off each other’s flaws to keep the story mysterious and drive the plot to its conclusion.

I’ve done some crazy things in the name of… love? Lust?… But never anything nearing this lunacy.

Content Warning – Hulu may be owned by Disney, but this is NOT a Disney movie.

“X”

8.4

Ah… A return to the classic slasher. From A24, of all studios!

This one thankfully lived up to the hype, and then some. It’s just the right amount of story to hold it all together and just enough sex to justify the killing. A glorious return to the tried and true formula of the classic “Friday the 13th” franchise, among many others. Much better than the recent “Texas Chainsaw” installment. Just because they’re old doesn’t mean they can’t inflict some severe damage. The couple who owns the farm me flashbacks to “The Visit” from years ago.

All in all, the casting was pretty perfect. Speaking of perfect, I will never see “Pitch Perfect” the same after this one. Brittany Snow kills it as the co-lead, alongside wannabe Matthey McConaughey Martin Henderson.

The kills are beautifully directed and, as a result, incredibly impactful and effective. I especially loved a particular scene that turns progressively red as the blood is spilled. The lighting and resulting effect were unexpectedly brilliant.

I highly recommend this one, but caution those with a weak stomach.

“The Cursed”

8.5

“As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the LORD; I have poured out my wrath upon you.” – Ezekiel 22:22

This one blew me away, I’m not going to lie. I came out thoroughly impressed by how far and above this one hurdled my expectations. Biblical/religion-based horror at the height of its powers. Pulled off by a fantastic cast of mostly new faces. This is a masterclass in horror filmmaking, from directing to cinematography.

Lessons to be learned :

  1. Don’t mess with the gypsy women.
  2. If someone threatens you with a curse on your family, don’t dismiss it.
  3. Silver bullets come in handy. Always have a few handy.
  4. For the love of all that is holy… DON’T GO INTO THE OMINOUS FOG ALONE!!!

I spent the majority of the runtime a clenched ball of nerves and still have a kink in my neck from turning away from a couple of well-executed jump scares. This one caught me off guard in the best way, and I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of the genre. It’s up there with the A24 stable of unsettling colonial horror.