In the Meantime: Spooky Scary Films

Happy Halloween everyone. Welcome to ‘In the Meantime.’ I’ve decided to do a trial run on my website where I review a batch of films instead of one. If this is successful and I post more consistently then I will follow more of a theme with each post. My goal here is to get my blog up and running, entertain with my movie reviews/recommendations and also shed light on lesser known movies.

Without further ado, let’s talk about some scary movies.

Lights Out (2016) – directed by David Sandberg.

I had always wanted to see this movie since the short film appeared on YouTube. I was a little sad when I missed the theatrical run, and I was surprised to hear that it wasn’t a bomb. After watching the movie though, I’m glad I waited.

If you haven’t seen the short film then let me catch you up. There’s this lady who is all alone in her house and every time she turns off the light upstairs, she sees a figure (but only when the lights are off). So the lady turns the lights on and off repeatedly and at the end of the cycle the creature is closer. The end of the film was a little comedic but then it was announced that this gimmick was getting a theatrical release.

Gimmick’s are hard to pull off though, the only other successful series (with a successful gimmick) that comes to mind is the Paranormal Activity series.

“Lights Out” has a generic storyline. We have the little kid (Martin) who comes from a troubled family. The mom (Sophie) is in contact with a spirit (Diana) from when she was hospitalized as a child. We also have Paul (the Father) who gets killed by Diana because he was investigating the matter and made some progress.

Martin has trouble sleeping because he is horrified by Sophie’s recent encounter with Diana. Rebecca (the stepdaughter) is called to Martin’s school as he was falling asleep during class. This triggers a whole confrontation with her and Sophie, with CPS just wanting to get involved in this spat.

The rest of the film has a big confrontation where Rebecca and boyfriend (Bret) go to Sophie’s house to confront the spirit (light bulbs, flash lights and black lights in tow). There were some geneine scary moments where they flicked with the lights and I was just waiting for the jump scare and then JUMP SCARE.

“Lights Out” was enjoyable, but it’s only good for a single viewing. There doesn’t seem to be a lasting feel like the other movies I mention later on. It might be a good starter movie if you want to introduce children to a scary movie.

For “Lights Out,”

Watch it if you’re bored.

Streaming on HBO Now

The Babadook (2014) – directed by Jennifer Kent.

2017 was a big year for the Babadook. In June he was nominated as the mascot for Pride and then when “IT” came out, both him and Pennywise started dating (it was all over the internet if you don’t believe me).

“The Babadook” was an instant hit when it came out, scaring mostly everyone who watched it on Netflix. With “The Babadook” and any other indie horror movies (*cough* “It Follows” *cough*) it has different phases of when people decide to watch the film. I’ve listed below the phases of horror indie movies and tell me which phase you fall into (and try to guess mine):

PHASE 1: Hell yeah, I’ve been following this film on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes and it’s been getting some pretty legit ratings. I think this film will be fantastic! Let’s go see this in theatres.

PHASE 2: Hell yeah, I’ve been following this film on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes and it’s been getting some pretty legit ratings. I think this film will be fantastic! Oh hey, this is on Netflix…Didn’t Bob and Linda spend like $18 a ticket to see this movie a few months back at the bougie theatre with the leather reclining seats? Anyway, grab the popcorn, let’s get terrified.

PHASE 3: Bob and Linda won’t shut up about the movie. Also Steve, for some reason, has the Babadook waving a Pride flag as his Facebook profile photo. Well, let’s see what this is about.

PHASE 4: Okay streaming platform, you’ve recommended I watch this movie for the past 14 months. Let’s get this over with.

Most people are on Phases 2 or 3 (I was on Phase 2).

“The Babadook” follows a family terrified by a not-so-friendly monster from a children’s book. The family members are Amelia Vanek (the mom) and Samuel (the son). Amelia is a widow, her husband Oskar was killed in a car wreck that happened as she was about to give birth to Samuel (on the way to the hospital). 

Since then, Amelia has been constantly tired and her son Samuel is the most unlikeable child I have ever seen in a movie. He constantly causes trouble for her, but he shows her love and compassion and is very protective of his mother, so I guess that’s good.

One day Samuel finds a book called Mister Babadook and Amelia starts to read it to him (big mistake). Soon after, Samuel becomes convinced that the Babadook is real and some weird stuff happens after that. Soon Amelia gets possessed by the Babadook and terrifies her son even more.

Though “The Babadook” is a great movie, it’s a little disturbing if you ever had family problems when you were a kid. The film seems to bring those memories up. I also forgot how the film ended so the rewatch had me a little freaked.

For “The Babadook,”

Add it to your list!

Streaming on Netflix

The Ring (2002) – directed by Gore Verbinski

You can never go wrong with some classic Japanese horror done American style, some would even call this film a trendsetter. This is probably one of the best American adaptations of a Japanese horror film (“The Grudge” comes in a very….. very far second). It’s also one of the best movies to watch on a rainy day because you feel like you’re alongside Naomi Watts (look of confusion and all).

“The Ring” centers around a videotape, but not just any videotape. If you happen to watch this videotape then you get a phone call where the caller informs you that you have seven days left until you die.

We follow Rachel Keller (journalist) as she investigates her niece’s mysterious death. She learns of the video tape, watches it and starts investigating the matter. There’s also that scene after where she gets fired from her job and that gets super downplayed. I mean, was she still employed during this search?

Anyway, she enlists the help of ex-boyfriend/father of her downer of a son, Noah. He’s a video analyst and starts to dissect the video. We learn of Anna Morgan and her tragic story with the horses. Anna kills herself after her horses drowned themselves. Anna and her husband also adopted a girl named Samara.

Samara (the titular character of the series) is able to use psychic powers. Unfortunately her powers unintentionally hurt those around her and she eventually is suffocated by Anna and thrown into the well. This is all revealed while Rachel has that time limit of seven days to reveal the big mystery.

Though “The Ring” hold a special place in my heart, it has aged a bit. The videotapes and tube TVs were nostalgic, even the scenes with the old flip phones.

I have yet to see the sequels, heard they were terrible but might take some time in the near future to watch them.

For “The Ring,”

Watch it after you finish reading this.

Streaming on HBO Now

You now have seven days to watch The Ring.

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