31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 31: Freddy’s Nightmares 1×07: Sister’s Keeper (1988)

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Another year, another horror-thon comes to a close. It’s my second year of doing nothing thanks to bastards who won’t wear masks or social distance (thus, creating new variants, sigh) – or, at least, those who are in the position of doing so but choose not to. Fucks. I went for a run, which is the only way I’ve been leaving the house these past few months, and I guess maybe I shouldn’t have been whisper-singing along to that PJ Harvey song since I choose to run at night like a fucking weirdo.

Freddy's Nightmares (TV Series 1988–1990) - IMDb
source: imdb, but i bet i could have drawn this shite, and i can’t draw for shit
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 29: The Night [2020]

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I had been looking forward to The Night for about a year since I first heard buzz about this Iranian film in a few festival and preview reports. So it’s probably my own fault if I feel let down a bit, especially when I compare it to far superior pieces like Under the Shadow and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

The Night Trailer #1 (2021) | Movieclips Indie - YouTube
source: youtube
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 28: Lamb [2021]

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It’s important to get this out of the way: Lamb is not really a horror movie. But, if you knew it was being distributed by A24 and if you know anything about A24 films, then this shouldn’t surprise you. Personally, I like movies that have quiet horror elements but aren’t necessarily like a traditional film from that genre. And Lamb fits this bill.

source: wikipedia
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 27: The Dark and the Wicked [2020]

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I’m surprised that The Dark and the Wicked came “from the writer and director of The Strangers” (Brian Bertino). It’s different in every possible way, from the style and tone to the casting choices. It’s for the better.

The Dark and the Wicked (2020) - IMDb
source: imdb

But I’m never watching this again. As someone who struggles with depression, anxiety and (CW: SH, suicide), I don’t think I’m able to watch repeat a viewing of this. That said, I think the film stays on the right side of exploiting mental health trauma for spooks, a cheap trap that, sadly, even the better horror films let themselves into. But it will still be tough and possibly triggering viewing for most.

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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 26: The Call [콜] [2020]

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I am so fucking mad at this movie. This is a soju-fuelled review. Expect typos.

However, firstly: DO NOT READ THE NETFLIX SYNOPSIS FOR THIS MOVIE.

Even if you start it, pause it, then need a wee, and that blurb comes up, DON’T FUCKING ACCIDENTALLY READ IT LIKE I DID because it COMPLETELY SPOILS A HUGE PLOT POINT.

I repeat: DO NOT READ THE NETFLIX SYNOPSIS FOR THIS MOVIE.

The Call (2020 South Korean film) - Wikipedia
source: wikipedia
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 25: The Dark Tapes [2016]

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In a couple of Reddit threads over the years, I’d seen The Dark Tapes recommended a few times. For the life of me, I can’t understand why. I had to eat an entire box of blueberry cheesecake pretz just to stay awake to finish it. And I’m a night person.

The Dark Tapes - Wikipedia
source: wikipedia
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 24: The Mare [2020]

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This tiny Norwegian film almost escaped my radar because it was nestled into what I consider to be the movie dumping ground that is Amazon Prime, a site with a terrible user interface, full of bugs, with utterly crap sorting and filters, so you can never bloody find what you want. So luckily this film, with a date of one year ago (20 years in horror-movie-years) – somehow I was able to come across it. And it’s weirdly almost brilliant. But fuck them for making it, because I’m never watching it again.

The Mare (2020) - IMDb
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 23: Gaia [2021]

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Eco-horror is usually something for which I have a soft spot, but when the pace moves slower than earth itself, I struggle to recommend it.

Gaia (2021) - IMDb
source: imdb

This is a shame because Gaia has all the hallmarks of something that sets itself apart: a less-trodden setting (South Africa), a non-traditional lead (a WOC), and SFX that are a mesmerising blend of practical and CGI, all packaged in a brisk runtime punctuated with quieter, subtler storytelling beats, rather than the amped-up, by-the-numbers creature feature I had been expecting. So, for that at least, credit is due.

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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 22: Detention [返校] [2019]

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I must confess that I am shamefully ignorant of the political history of Taiwan, but that didn’t detract from my understanding of what was going on (something I’ve read at least one professional review complain about – ???). As long as you’re not second-screening like a dickhead (and why would you if you can’t understand Mandarin?), you shouldn’t have any problems following the plot of this movie – Detention, or 返校.

Detention (2019 film) - Wikipedia
source: imdb
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 21: Titane [2021]

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I feel weird and bad that I struggle to recommend Titane, because actual critics seem to like it and it won the Palme d’Or. And I loved director Julia Ducournau‘s other film Raw. She clearly knows how to push boundaries with body horror but via an entertaining film, and Titane does tick all those boxes. But parts of it feel…problematic.

Titane (2021) - IMDb
source: imdb
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