Camping 

The idea of a sequel pains me. 

With the exception of The Godfather and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, I really don’t have an overwhelming desire to watch a sequel. Ever.

Look at what happened to Paranormal Activities. What started as an incredible film (a film, 1 film, singular), turned into a barrage of annoying follow ups including a baffling offshoot called  The Marked Ones (#neverforget), which was literally the worst movie ever madeSo obviously when I saw this, THE Blair witch, being advertised it was a major eye roll moment. 

I’m a big fan of the original, and naturally I didn’t care much for the HORRENDOUS follow up. Luckily it turns out that this version has nothing to do with the sequel; in fact director Adam Wingard goes above and beyond to bypass Blair Witch 2 and any reference to it altogether. Just like Catwoman with Halle Berry, we’ll all pretend it didn’t happen. 

I like Adam Wingard, I trust him. He’s made some solid, terrifying and well written films in the last few years which he should be applauded for. The horror genre isn’t easy you guys, it’s really challenging to make a. something original and b. something scary, because we’ve all become so accustomed to the formulas. We KNOW when to expect shit, which is why horror directors now have to do the absolute most to keep us engaged without being predictable or resort to lots of unnecessary and gratuitous torture porn tactics.

I digress, what I’m essentially trying to say is that having Adam Wingard as the director of this remake, and in essence the captain steering the entire reboot of the franchise, means he was bound to inject some quality into it. He was responsible for Youre Next and V/H/S so I was rooting for him in a big way. 

Netflix it turns out, was not. In fact Netflix stopped working a grand total of TWENTY FIVE TIMES whilst we were trying to watch this film. What ended up happening were 3 days (yep) of “screenings” all in 20 minute segments because basically Netflix hates me and doesn’t want me to enjoy a well rounded cinematic experience. 

As you can probably imagine, a horror movie, drawn out over 3 days is going to somewhat dilute the whole “horror” aspect. Luckily I was engaged, and wanted to know how these poor bastards would end up dying, so I watched with the same enthusiasm and vigour on the third day as I did on the first; trying to catch a glimpse of the witch and taking mental notes of things I wouldn’t do whilst camping. 

Basically I would never go camping.

Here’s a thought. Why not just drive? I personally don’t fully understand the logistics of a wood because I live in London, but SURELY you can just drive, park up on a main road and basically avoid dying? 

Anyway 

The whole premise of the film is a that very uncharismatic guy called James wants to go into the woods to find his sister Heather (remember Heather, the girl from 1999 with the snot and the camera and the fear?) A new video emerges on YouTube which indicates that Heather may still be alive, and basically provides new evidence to lure people back out in the woods. James takes the bait and heads into the woods with 3 of his friends, plus the couple who originally found the tape and put it on YouTube. They thankfully go armed with literally every camera, gadget, GPS device, drone, smart phone, walkie talkie, hovercraft etc that they can get their hands on. 

This element actually makes this a much more “up to date” found footage movie, as it is sadly filmed in that style. Often directors can just forget that their movie is meant to be “found footage” and halfway through a mysterious “other” camera appears which kind of defeats the purpose and breaks any form of continuity (hence why I hate found footage movies). Luckily Adam Wingard et al get around this aspect with all the additional “stuff” that the group have brought with them, meaning you get loads of angles and perspectives which don’t seem far fetched. 

So let’s get to the nitty gritty. Was this film shit? No. It surprisingly really wasn’t.

The beginning was a solid suspenseful lead up seasoned with lots of subtle indications, references to the witch, and general vibes predicting the fuckeries about to be bestowed upon them. Then they get lost…..(drums), and an infection gets worse (more drums), and Peter goes missing (several drums)…and it descents into absolute hell.

The end could have been shorter. There’s a long winded final scene at the witches house which is just stressful and confusing and goes on for way too long. Like, really really long.

Aside from this. It’s a good horror movie and not a total embarrassment to the Blair Witch legacy. IN FACT I would go as far to say that if the 1999 classic were made for the first time in 2017, this would be the result.

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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.

The Conjuring. A film thats not about zombies. Also a true story

It would have probably been a good idea to go and watch World War Z and talk about how much i hated it, because I now have such high expectations from the undead that anything outside of my comfort zone (like zombies that run), are a no-go area for me, an area filled with hate and confusion. Luckily I didn’t watch World War Z, nor is this post a rant about that. So that’s ok and we can move on.

I watched The Conjuring, which was directed by James Wan, and featured the one from The Departed that looks like Heather Mills, and that dude that played the Paedophile in Hard Candy, and then played the really hot rich guy in Girls.(FYI, to anyone who didn’t see that episode of girls, made no fucking sense). Maybe to the untrained eye this movie is your classic haunted house/hang on it’s a demon/hang on it’s a witch/hang on it wants to kill your entire family type scenario, but if you dig deep it a whole lot more. We’ve seen the formula, James Wan is not reinventing the wheel, it’s just a classic creepy film with demons and kids and a possessed doll, (but obviously a billion times better than insidious, because insidious was shit). I’m here more specifically to discuss the demonologists that are at the core of this film-Edward Warren and his wife Lorraine Warren.

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This contains no spoilers, so carry on reading if you so choose.

Edward and Lorraine, self-proclaimed ‘seekers of the supernatural’ are, according to the film, the worlds leading experts in demonology and paranormal research. The main reason why I was so interested in them after i left the theatre rather than the ‘story’ is partly due to the highly refined way Wan chose to portray them in this movie. The Warrens were no con artists, oh no, they were essentially classified as ‘academics’; very rational, highly articulate, highly intelligent, always on some campus doing a slide show presentation, answering questions, being very sincere. It was all so different to what one may associate with a ‘demonologist’.

Edward Warren also states at one point in the film that he didn’t believe in vampires, which was highly reassuring.

Lets take a look at Ed and Lorraine and see who the hell they are.

FUN FACT 1) The Warrens had been in business of tracking down evil for over 40 years, and casting it away with holy water and high-tech sound equipment. I was ASTOUNDED to discover that they had previously been involved in the Amityville case (yes THE Amityville) with the Lutz family, who famously fled the house after an alleged 28 days in the property. The Warrens were called in to do a séance on live TV after the media frenzy that surrounded the house. Nothing actually came out of that particular séance but later they found a picture featuring a little boy who had not been present in the house at all. It is suspected (wait for it) that he was one of the victims that were murdered by Robert Defeo who had gone nuts one night, reached for his rifle and shot his entire family to death. This was prior to the Lutz’s moving in. Hence all the crazy shit that happened to them whilst at the house.

Allegedly Lorraine said that she hoped Amityville was ‘as close to hell’ as she would ever get.

FUN FACT 2) The Snedeker family haunting which lead to movie ‘The Haunting in Connecticut was also an investigation that the Warrens had been actively involved in. This was a particularly grim case that dealt with a mortuary run by necrophiliacs (yea told you), that then became a family home, unknown to the Snedeker family. Luckily the current owner fails to give a shit.

FUN FACT 3) The Warrens have a museum FULL of all the possessed stuff they’ve retrieved, found and worked on over the years. Yes that’s right, a WHOLE room full of satanic objects and voodoo dolls, all full of evil, in one tiny little space. You can visit the museum if you like, but you can’t touch or taunt anything. If you do, you might die. Literally. One guy famously taunted the Annabel Doll in his visit to the museum (featured in the movie), and died three hours later. Alternatively you can visit The Tate

FUN FACT 4) They have Annabel. The weird creepy rag doll, who has the ability to totally kill people. In the movie she sets the scene, creates the context, gives us an idea of the horror of inanimate objects created for children. Below is her story….oh and next time you wanna buy your kid something from the junk shop, expect bad stuff to happen. That’s why video games were invented.

Enjoy sleeping

S