31 Days of Hallowe’en, Day 6: #Horror (2015)

A super-stylized movie always gets me. The immaculate shots, the intricately-olotted blocking, the crisp lighting, the vibrant colours, the meticulous positioning of every prop and performer in view. Yes, the super-stylized ones get me. But it’s the ones that have layers of good plot and character work that keep me. 

The latter is probably my go-to cinematic weakness, but I guess it doesn’t matter that #Horror doesn’t have much of either. It offers the possibility of a genre cliché – a lone madman stalking a group of unsupervised young girls in a secluded home in a some vast, snowy woods. All the girls are 12, and addicted to their phones – in particular, an app that’s a hybrid of Candy Crush, Facebook and Instagram, which pops up several times to dominate the entire screen with an interlude of its hideously obnoxious, glittery, metallic Comic Sans-infested graphics.

The girls are bitchy, to the point of outright bullying. One takes it a smidge too far and is promptly ejected from the house. The others don’t seem to care that it’s cold and creepy in the surrounding woods, and instead drink hard liquor, tell secrets and go indoor swimming. Oh, and they’ve locked away their phones to ignore the ejectee’s pleas/mild cyberbullying – oblivious to the murdered corpse in the car at the edge of the woods. 

The build-up is long – over 80 minutes – which is a lot to ask when 90% of that is terrible tween acting and the other 10% is an underutilisation of Chloë Sevigny as the house’s owner. Those 80 minutes play out like a rejected Gossip Girl episode, and the payoff is little more than some mild tension with awkward direction and a feeble twist. 

Much like the house in which it’s set, it’s very pretty to look at, but there’s not much lurking in the way of scares.

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