Midnight Massacre

The Invitation

2016 

Dir: Karyn Kusama
*SPOILERS AHEAD*

We’ve all been there. That awkward scenario when an ex invites you to a dinner party; you don’t wanna go because that’s the house you used to live in, also because you think your former spouse is now in a cult, and you have a sneeking suspicion that this might be an initiation ceremony. 

But you go anyway.

And typically everyone gets drunk and shit goes down, and then there’s a massacre, plus a bit of bad mouthing and bringing up the past. Your friends just can’t handle their drinks anymore.

What Will should’ve done when his ex wife called him up and invited him round after a two year disappearence in Mexico, is cancel. Only Will (played by the very handsome Logan Marshal Green) let his curiousity get the better of him. So off he went dragging his jesus beard and his poor girlfriend Kira with him.

Everyone knows an Eden; usually wealthy, usually unfulfilled, usually in Planet Organic buying organic buckwheat and preparing to spend ten grand to visit a witchdoctor from the Tibeten footfills. Typically its those with more stuff, bigger houses, expensive built in kitchens, that seem to crave this need for something deeper and more authentic. “There is no darkness” states one the cult leaders who discreetly came to dinner to show everyone a recruitment video. 

To some degree, certainly in the developed world, which can often feel very soulless, there is a growing desire to feel “special”. I guess there’s an element of new age spirituality (sometimes unknowingly) in many of us; whether you’re actively attempting to reach higher conciousness, doing Kondalini or just drinking wheatgrass shots, this has trickled down in a variety of guises.

Whilst a lot of it can be constructive and turn rich douchebags into bohemian douchebags, there is a history of California dreamin that takes an ugly turn.

Watching the murders unfold in Eden’s home on the hollywood hills is an eery reference to the Manson murders which marked an abrupt and nasty end to the age of free love. There’s something about those hills, the land of dreams, that has a very dark undercurrent, which is made constantly present in the film.

Will knows from the second he arrives that hes not feeling the vibe. “Theres something not right here” he retorts, even before the screening of the video (which shows a woman dying btw-heavens gate anyone?), or the mention of that weird place in Mexico where Eden and David went (Spahn Ranch anyone?) So his spidey senses were very much in tune that night.

Of course the others had their suspicions, but everyone was being super apt at ignoring the elephant in the room. Will just winds up looking like the neurotic crazy guy with trust issues. There are points where you question why he doesn’t just take his girlfriend and leave, but then i guess that would make a shit ending, because if people did sensible shit, horror movies wouldnt exist. 

The pace is slow, so if you have issues with dialogue or sitting still, or metaphors, this might not be the film for you. There’s an underlying theme of loss which is very touching and sensitively executed, despite the massacre at the end, which was impressive. 

I like this movie

I like Logan

I like Edens dress

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A timeline of fear

Hush (2016)
Dir: Mike Flanagan

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“I don’t feel comfortable….”

Four words that very rarely escape from my lips, which i found myself repeating over and over again in the first twenty minutes.

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I knew absolutely nothing about Hush other than the fact that I could A) Watch it on Netflix and b) it comes  up constantly as a recommendation. Then one magical Saturday three separate friends all mentioned it at various times during the day, each insisting it was my kinda movie. I had no choice really, the universe had spoken.

Twenty minutes in and I’m seriously not feeling comfortable or safe in my own home. My flatmate accidently slammed the bathroom door shut and I almost leapt out of my skin. I then had to pause this delight of a movie to do a casual “spot check” of the premise… you know, just a run of the mill surveillance of the property. I go and investigate the back door, kitchen, the downstairs bathroom, shed. Anywhere involving walls.

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And although I’m paranoid as fuck about wandering up and down the house alone, I’m equally trying really hard to avoid going back into the living room to unpause the movie. “Some stones are better left unturned, am I right?” I say out loud to myself. Then I realise I actually write horror reviews and proceed to sit the fuck back down.

Unpause

30 mins in…..WOW. WHAT THE FUCK YO?! Maybe I’m just really not about this life. Maybe I should start watching Rom Coms and writing about them instead. Maybe a movie starring Jlo and some handsome Caucasian dude is less likely to fuck up my sleeping patterns. I just wanna leave the room at this stage, fuck it, judge me. I wanna leave the room and go somewhere loud, with alcohol and unicorns.

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I frantically start texting my flatmate literally begging her to come downstairs and sit through the next 70 mins with me “i have icecream *smiley emoji*”. I don’t even recognise who I am anymore. I don’t eat dairy or use emojis. I’m a mess and I need to get a fucking grip.

1 hour in. THIS GUY IS SUCH A PIECE OF SHIT…..WTF. WTF. WTF. Why is he doing this?  Does he know her? is he some disgruntled ex?No he can’t be because Craig is the ex, and Craig tried to facetime her and she rejected his call, and I’m pretty sure Craig was black and this guy looks borderline ginger. It’s not Craig. Craig is nice and doesn’t kill people’s neighbours OVER AND OVER AGAIN WHILST STARING IN THROUGH THE GLASS.

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1.15mins. I’m done. I’m so done. You know what I’m literally never gonna do? Live in the countryside on my own. Also, I don’t think I’ll facetime for a while.
Ive heard of a home invasion movie, but this is invasive on all counts. There was absolutely no need for this level of nerve wreck.

I need to avoid all doors and windows for the rest of the evening. Or maybe for life.

Simon’s Bullshit

The Gift (2015)
Dir: Joel Edgerton

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When Joel Edgerton sat down and made this film did he literally just think “Hmm….how random and absurd could one plot twist be? Let’s find something a bit far fetched, roll with that for a bit, and then, right at the end… lets just fuck shit up completely”

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Don’t get me wrong, I love and have a lot of time for Joel. To begin with I think he’s pretty hot (normally…definitely NOT in this). Not that its a prerequisite to what makes a good film (it helps), he’s also an incredible actor, and credit where it’s due, it’s actually a very well written movie.

But man did this escalate…quickly.

Bless Robyn

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Robyn, “the wife”, is so painfully awkward, and middle class that watching her glazed and slightly delayed interactions on screen was a disclaimer in itself. Robyn had the misfortune of marrying an absolute douchebag (spoiler alert) which she miraculously failed to spot for years, and now she just exists, goes jogging and just exists. You desperately wish she would grow some balls and leave her narcisstic excuse for a spouse, (you grow to wish, Simon tricked me at the start too, sneaky fuck), but obviously she doesn’t. She just sits and wonders what having a kid would be like, and jogs, and drinks electrolyte water and jogs some more. All the while you sit there in frustration knowing that if she did just leave him, she would never have to deal with any of his shit ever again. Which essentially is what this film is about…Simons bullshit.

Ladies be carefully who you marry, run a full CRB check, speak to some people he went to school with, contact his doctor, contact his priest, speak to the local authorities DO YOUR DAMN RESEARCH or you’ll end up with a nasty piece of shit like Simon. This isn’t even a horror movie about a stalker, it’s a cautionary tale about marrying an arsehole.  Unfortunately for poor Robyn, she did marry an arsehole, and had to forever live with his unfinished business ruining her otherwise placid existence.

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When Gordo turns up (Joel Edgerton),  Simon acts like he doesn’t know him; acts like he’s some creep from school who’s somehow obsessed with him. For about half an hour I was like “Ok, maybe this guy is just a recluse who’s into forced friendships”, but then it slowly dawns one you that the situation is making Simon feel way too angry for it to be “some dude”.  Then you wonder WHY Simon would entertain it. Here’s a guy you went to school with, claim you barely know, and yet here you are again having another passive aggressive dinner with him. What’s up Si? got something you wanna share?

Now I’m starting to worry less about Gordo (let’s face it psychos are everywhere), and more about Simon and why he’s being mad shady. At this point I’m getting a little angry because I know I’m being lied to and I don’t like it.

And I was right.

Gordo stops being the issue, and shady husbands do. Although this film does top the OTT factor in more ways than one, (bringing in complex storylines that date back to prom night 1925), the message is clear.

Sometimes the bad guy, isn’t really the bad guy. He’s just the messenger.

oh and heres a pic of what Joel Edgerton really looks like…

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Vice Docs gone wrong

The Sacrament  (2013)
Dir: Ti West

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Three flannel wearing, New York hipsters who work for Vice (stay with me), go to the middle of nowhere to find some dude’s sister (“Patrick” being dude in question). In short she joined a cult dressed up as a rehab center, found God, and sent her brother a letter about it, which raised some alarm bells.

Patrick, Vice’s very nonchalant fashion photographer, hasn’t seen said sister (Caroline) in years. Contrary to what the film intends to convey, he actually seems highly inconvienanced by the idea of making such an elaborate journey to check on her safety, because it involves going all the way to Africa, and not hanging out with models in LA as he is used to. Great guy

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In the letter he’s given a non specific place in Africa to fly to, (maybe because TI West didn’t feel a geographical context was necessary), to then get picked up by a random guy in a helicopter and head to a secret location which he and his friends may or may not die in.

Cue another found footage movie.

At this stage you’ve gotta question how forced this initial interaction is. Now before anyone slams me with the “true story/Jonestown speech” I am perfectly aware that it’s based on the Jonestown Incident THANKS (click Jonestown Massacre if  you are unaware of the incident and for whatever reason and want to depress yourself and ruin your day with some nasty historical trivia). For the sake of simple narrative its just their basis for the journey and sudden concern over Caroline’s safety which remains a total mystery to me.
If I had a sister who turned into a junkie and went to rehab in Mississipi I may call in every now and again to check in on her progress, because it’s a bit extreme to move from NY to Mississipi in the first place. Then it might occur to me to possibly visit if I haven’t spoken to her in a while, like on a flexible quarterly basis (like a gas bill). What I wouldn’t do is just WAIT until I randomly  got a letter one day inviting me to an undisclosed location on the opposite side of the world before I thought “oh yea….my sister.”
If it’s gone THAT far without a visit, an email is sufficient…maybe Skype on a special occasion.

On their way to the location,  which we later find out is called “Eden Parish” we get the feeling that they’re really not fully comprehending  this whole “danger” thing. The people responsible for picking them up and dropping them off begin the pleasant exchange by pulling out a gun and threatening to shoot them if they carry on filming. Luckily super chirpy Caroline pops up to let everyone know it’s just a precaution because of where they are, and it’s all peace and love and they’re in Paradise now.

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Caroline then takes them on a very anti climatic guided tour of the “grounds”, which looks more like a handful of scattered shacks then paradise, and explains that Eden Parish is lead by “Father”. Father is a man who “saved” her, and seemingly did the same for dozens of other people living there. She tells them in a highly exaggerated charles manson-esque monologue that everything was built from scratch and they are the happiest people on earth.. BUT it wouldn’t have been possible without some level of secrecy.

And this is when the questions start….

I don’t really need to bore you with a spoiler alert, because you know what happens in Jonestown and that’s literally what happens here (sorry kids). Theres no axe welding killer in the commute,  no satanic worship, no supernatural forces, just some old creep who’s sadly managed to rob and manipulate a bunch of people and successfully detach them from all contact with the outside world.

There are times where his rhetoric and vision actually seems quite socialist and profound. Like a slightly nutty more religious left wing leader, but then you remember he’s literally just an opportunistic mentalist who’s using people for money, sex and to stroke his ego. Like a political leader, but with cyanide.

There are points where it’s slow, and a bit “where the fuck is this going” (basically like a Vice documentary), but then it gets really good when they have a one-on-one with father, and he manages to shit all over Sam’s questions. I don’t know why I found that so satisfying, guess I obviously like rooting for the bad guy.

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I will admit when I initially heard “Hi I’m Sam Turner….Vice….Williamsburg…Brooklyn…beard….fashion photographer….ginger beard…” I was like ok I hope you die soon.

Sadly you’ll have to watch the film to find out

Official Trailer

Black Mess

Black Mass (2015)
Dir: Scott Cooper

Slightly off topic, (mainly because there aren’t enough horror movies around to warrant an hour of thought), I’ve opted for Johnny Depp horrifying us all with his rotton front tooth and deeply dehydrated skin.

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Theres been more gangster biopics lately then we’ve had in a while. After Legend I think we were all ready for a further exploration into the criminal mind, Depp hasn’t done anything that hasn’t involved LSD or chocolate since Donnie Brasco, so many have really been looking forward to it.

The film tells the tale of one of the FBIs most wanted men, the infamous Whitey Bulger leader of Boston Mob “the winter hill” gang. The almost unrecognisable Depp plays a chilling Bulger and really gets into his role. Lots of killing, teaching people lessons, burying bodies under bridges, highly loaded yet ambiguous gangster threats (please refer to scene at the dinner table, which has forever changed my opinion on soy sauce and garlic powder), the usual. Apparently the purpose of the film was to chronicle the rise of Whitey Bulger and his relationship with the FBI. Sadly what we were presented with (sorry Guardian film page) was a flimsy script, and a disjointed picture of how and why Bulger goes from small time criminal to FBIs most wanted.

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We see so much of Bulger being a total douche, without really understanding what actually makes this guy tick, that this lack of context ends up creating a widening bridge between him and the viewer as we can never truly immerse ourselves in his world. Allegedly the real Whitey Bulger also didnt care, so much so that he refused to cooperate with Depp et al regarding characterisation; this was highly apparent in the end product.

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So much revolved Bulger’s relationship with FBI agent Johnny Connelly, that it almost felt like “Stand by Me”. This relationship alone should have been the focus of the film, rather than trying to cram in 30 years of activity. No other characters really mattered, it starts with a promising intro and then solely becomes about Bulger and Connelly, and essentially how obsessed Connelly was in pleasing him. Everything and everyone else just felt like they were there for decoration.

Why even BOTHER with any female characters? They literally serve no purpose to the plot, literally zero. Bulger’s wife? Pointless fifteen minutes of airtime. Why cast such a great actress if you’re just going to give her a  one minute scene in a hospital and never explain where she went afterwards?

In fact where do any of the women go? Are there any women in Boston in the 1970s? What the hell happened to Connelly’s wife? Did she get over Bulger’s psycho medical speech in her house? Did she buy another pair of satin flares? Does she leave Boston? I really would’ve liked a resolve to that situation.

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Essentially my primary beef with this film is the utter disinterest in developing any of the other characters. Take Benedict Cumberpatch for example (I wish this was the start of a sherlock joke), he played a powerful political figure, whose brother was a mob kingpin, THAT SHIT IS INTERESTING GODDAMIT!! Couldn’t we perhaps have a bit more development there? So there was absolutely no issues with the fact that this was a real situation? It was skimmed over at best, which was super infuriating and yet again a reflection of a poor script. Soz.

Having no emotional involvement with anyone in the film whatsoever does also make a film feel considerably longer than it should. Just a casual FYI.

Johnny Depp, aside from looking tired,  doesn’t do enough with the complexity of Bulger’s character to make me care. His mannerisms, fucked vibe in general, yes. Why this guy is so fucked up? no idea. Take Ray Liotta and his portrayal of Henry Hill; he brings me in, involves me in his world, and therefore I get him, appreciating his intentions and actually feeling bad for him when things start to unravel in his life.

This guy Bulger…don’t get it, I don’t understand why that whole bit with his wife and kid was put in, I don’t get how and why he got into organised crime, I don’t hate him enough to feel sickened by what he does, don’t like him enough to feel pity for him.

The one thing that entertained me more than it should was John Connolly. Joel Edgerton plays him so brilliantly as a FBI wannabe mobster that it makes you recoil. He’s that guy in college who does shit to impressive the popular crew, it’s pretty painful to watch. He goes out of his way for Bulger in a way which is confusing and seems to have very little gain (aside from financial) for him. Subsequently he ends up doing one of the longest sentences out of anyone, which makes it all the more pitiful.

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Watch it for the violence and sexy accents.

Don’t watch it if you’re tired 

Revisited: Orphan

Well…what can I say.

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Round of applause to the guy that made this. YOU sir, deserve a drink.

like…where do I even begin? I’ve spend the past hour shouting profanities at my laptop and wanting a 9 year old dead so badly (even though she’s really 33…we’ll get there), that my brain is actually overwhelmed with emotions.

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I first watched this amazing car crash of a film when I was like 23 and thought I knew everything. I was so pretentious and full of shit  at the time that I categorically refused to finish it deeming it “ridiculous”. man I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to lighten the fuck up. I missed out BIG time with this one. No amount of fellini will ever give me the same joy that an escaped lunatic from Estonia with dwarfism can.

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The layers to this film are stupendous; you literally don’t know who to hate more. It gets to a stage where you basically want everyone to die because their middle class problems are more frustrating then the psycho dwarf in the tutu.

So you have the ex alcoholic mum, who has been dealing with a lot of issues since having a stillbirth  (understandable). She’s seeing a councillor (Dr. Bobby) who, it emerges, seems to know jack shit about her job ( nice, wildly inaccurate, observation of Esther… keep up the good work there buddy). Karen drives a lexus, lives in a beautiful house has a tense relationship with her husband and plays the piano to compensate her alcoholism. Fantastic

Then you have the passive aggressive cheating husband who obviously can’t spot a psycho dwarf when he sees one. he. He’s one of those annoying men who tries to act totally chilled about the fact that his wife doesn’t wanna sleep with him anymore, but you basically suss out that that’s potentially what lead him cheating on her in the first place…possibly, I’m just brainstorming here.  

Then you have the crazy lunatic posing as a 9 year old when she’s actually a grown ass woman who escaped from an asylum (SO brilliant)

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So they decide to adopt, (which it later materialises was a really bad idea). Said adopted child categorically ruines their already pretty unstable lives, and does so in the most manipulative and cinematically epic way possible.

In true “yuppie thriller” fashion (think the hand that rocks the cradle, fatal attraction) we see the husband and wife turn on each other and (surprise surprise) Karen looks like the crazy one for thinking that there’s something wrong with the creepy kid.

I won’t ruin the good bits by telling you all the amazing shit this crazy bitch does… but it is MIND BLOWING.

watch this with a loved one. they’ll appreciate you more.

Deliver us from tired scripts

Sometimes I go and watch horror movies and I’m all like “meh”. The usual haunted house/scary Japanese chick with long hair/young possessed catholic girl/ hillbillies who eat people situation. As a horror fan you get so used to these formulas then eventually you’re just like immune…and often jaded…and that’s fine I guess, just a bit disappointing.

It’s nice to occasionally see something, y’know, different

The Pact. That was different. That was pretty cool actually. I liked The Pact. That was some scary shit.

Cockneys vs. Zombies. (see last post), also different, funny, really well acted, not the most terrifying, but whatever, it was pretty cool.

Sometimes different can be bad. Like when P-Diddy did that song “come with me” or when David lynch made that experimental movie with all the rabbits, and the shaky camera. That’s when different starts to unnerve me and make me wish things were normal again.

And then you get films like “Deliver Us from Evil”, which ironically fulfils it’s title in more ways then you can ever hope for.

So let’s just clarify one thing- this is not a horror movie. It thinks it’s a horror movie, in fact it actually dresses itself up as one; the trailer, the demonic possession “storyline”, the music box and the scary stuffed toy, the dude who’s covered in Latin writing carved into his skin….we get it, you’re trying.

Only it’s not really a horror movie.

It’s basically a really long episode of CSI, with some supernatural shit thrown in for good measure. It’s actually not even CSI, it’s borderline “buddy” movie, you know those 80s buddy movies, like Beverly Hills cop or Miami vice? Where they love their partner in a non homoerotic way, and yet seem to spend more time with them then with their wives? Those movies. It was one of those movies.

Steven Segal could totally be in this movie. That’s how 80s this shit is.

 

Ok so what’s it about? Fuck knows to be honest. Three disillusioned soldiers go nuts in Iraq after stumbling on a possessed ancient burial ground/ gates of hell (it’s not made clear, but you get the gist). They all go nuts and come home and do cray cray shit.

The police officer, played by an extremely boring Eric bana (who looks like Matt Dillon a LOT), is doing his best at a New York accent, and gets a “radar” when he knows he’s onto something. His partner, played by some unknown who looks like Fred durst, is the most annoying “bro” character known to MAN. Not gonna lie, when he died I didn’t even care. Like not even a bit. Sorry yo, I just didn’t.

So they find these guys doing isolated nutty stuff (beating their wives, scratching shit into their walls, killing cats) and realise the Iraq link.

Then there’s the possession stuff.

Then there’s this priest.

Ok so I really need a MOMENT to talk about this priest. This guy has got to be some type of inside joke, because there is no way in hell the writers were keeping a straight face when they included a sexy, ex junkie catholic priest who looks like a Latin jazz singer and sings in Spanish whilst performing exorcisms….

oh and works out….and smokes slowly….and drinks whisky….whilst sweaty…..

No seriously you guys, seriously. Don’t even..

So in a nutshell this is forgettable, uninspired and really overlong.

Olivia munn is also in this and she annoys the crap out of me, so there’s another reason to avoid it.

Save your money and buy a ouji board instead. Much more entertaining

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