It’s that time of year again. After it’s success last year, and the current TV season ending, Halloween in June is upon us. When the summer is filled with epic blockbusters I take a week to look at a variety of horror movies. Like last year I’ve tried to cover a wide variety of movies. From monsters to ghosts I try my best to cover as many aspects of horror as I could. So join me as I go through a work week’s worth of horror.
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
As a kid the Godzilla franchise was pretty essential to my tastes today. I remember renting Godzilla vs Gigan and Godzilla vs King Ghidorah multiple times. Having last watched Godzilla movies before the US movie in 2014 I figured what better time than for Halloween in June. As far as Godzilla movies go it’s pretty grounded. In the future reality of 2003 a new Godzilla has returned. Using the bones of the original Godzilla Japan creates Mechagodzilla to protect the country. While it sounds basic the film is actually pretty well balanced. When we aren’t getting some fun monster fights (with amazingly bad green screen) we focus on Akane Yashiro, a Lt. set to pilot Mechagodzilla and her struggles after getting her fellow soldiers killed before. While it sounds silly for a rubber monster movie it actually works out pretty well. While I can’t say this is my favorite Kaiju movie it is certainly one worth checking out.
I know it sounds silly but I try to put in some prep time for Halloween in June. I will fully admit that I at least try to put in way more effort than I should. A part of that is researching the movies and doing my best to not have them overlap when it comes to monsters. I could do that for all of the movies except one, The Hunted. Directed, written and starring actor Josh Stewart (The Collector, Dark Knight Rises) the movie seemed to be a mystery. All I could find was that two friends go into the forest to film a hunting show when they are stalked by something. I get it now and no, I won’t reveal what it is either.
Not to say the film is perfect. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t fall into the typical pitfalls of found footage like overuse of jump scares and a mediocre pay off. One thing that makes up for these deficiencies are the performances of Josh Stewart and Ronnie Gene Blevins. As Jake and Stevie these two come off fairly likable and are easily able to carry most of the movie. The other is how good the sound design is. Even when you know the jump is coming the sound design is so good that they are still effective. While not the scariest or most innovative movie it’s a great effort for a first time writer-director.
We Are Still Here
Ghost movies follow the same format for the most part. You have some young unknowns in a house, a slamming door and bloodless violence. Found footage conceit optional. Basically the James Wan/Oren Peli method. Every now and then you’ll have a movie try to go against the grain like We Are Still Here.
About a middle aged couple who just lost a son they move into a house with a dark history. While that description is pretty generic it actually goes some unexpected places that are pretty interesting. The other thing differentiating We Are Still Here from other supernatural movies is how gory it gets towards the end. When the ghosts finally let loose they go on a rampage rarely seen in ghost movies. Funny too because before that it’s a more subtle, Changling-esque build up. No matter which style for his first feature film Ted Geoghegan handles both beautifully.
Less successful are the movies’ effects. It’s the curse of indie film making but the actual ghosts look eh, especially in the light. Just as spotty is the acting. While there’s nothing I can call out in particular certain parts feel very forced. Still despite these deficiencies I definitely recommend We Are Still Here. In a sea of independent ghost movies it certainly sticks out.
Now I will admit I cheated in that I saw this years ago. That said the mrs. had never seen it and I was very much in a zombie mood. As it turns out it generally holds up. Just a tad longer than an hour and a half the movie is a breeze to get through with good pacing between action scenes. Speaking of the action scenes these are some of the better ones in zombie movies. With qualms about what is going on directors Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher deliver a more straight forward action zombie movie and it works. Despite a paint-by-numbers story and some awful green screen The Horde delivers on it’s potential as a mix of The Raid and 28 Days Later.
Fun Size Horror: Volume One
When it comes to the horror genre one of my favorite things to watch are shorts. There’s just something fun about having a terrifying tale that gets to the point in a short time. So anytime a new collection hits the market I just have to see it. With 21 shorts from a variety of directors I’ve decided to review each short.
When They Say You’re Alone
A tale about a death cult I found WTSYA to be interesting visually and reminding me a bit of Rosemary’s Baby. Then there’s the demon. I can’t tell you why but it reminded me of those 80’s Frank Frazetta comics. While I don’t think the pay off was the best it worked for what it was.
About a child confronting the monster in his closet. While it is predictable the suspense is built so well that you don’t mind. As far as shorts go this is everything you could want.
A creepy doll/possession short this really didn’t stand out all that much. After some decent suspense it just kind of ends. Shame because I was pretty much sold before the non-ending.
Hand puppets talk about eggs. It has the initial WTF factor and is done before you know it. Not good doesn’t offend either. Just kind of here and gone.
Could have been funny or scary. Ends up being neither. I cringed when we finally saw what was screaming. I generally enjoyed the movie but this was easily the worst of the bunch.
A tale of a woman buried a good twist. It was like a mini version of Buried with a Dia de los Muerto . It’s a solid idea with a good twist.
I want to like this more. Hearing a random voice works and it not contacting someone is a nice little twist. I just don’t think it paid off.
Somebodys Watching You
Like some kind of dumb mix of a reality show and Saw it doesn’t really deliver. Well all but one way, the effects. Oh my god are they amazingly bad. If you’re like me and love cheap effects this works. Otherwise, not so much.
No longer relegated to corporate retreats Trust has two friends taking trust falls to the extreme. As awful as that description was Trust really works as a horror comedy. When the trust is pushed too far, and it is, the pay off is everything you could want it to be.
A look at the worst break up ever this is great in every way a short could be. Starting off with a hint of mystery the build up to the finale is absolutely great. Definitely worth checking out.
The Creepy Fucking Kid in Apartment B
While not my favorite (we will get to that) this is up there. Certainly up there. Stalked by a creepy kid a woman learns that the kid’s not-so dark secret. A mix of horror, mystery and comedy it’s pretty much perfect. When you finally get an explanation and connect the dots you get a great “Oh Shit!” moment. Definitely go out of your way to see this.
A Boy and His Dog
When a man meets the woman of his dreams his dog gets jealous. I think you can see where this is going. Fun and a bit silly A Boy and His Dog delivers on it’s premise, if a bit predictable.
With the screen cut into 4 separate screens we watch a killer take out three separate people. Bloody, inventive and most importantly entertaining. This is not only the best short of the movie but probably the best I’ve seen in quite some time.
Let Me Go
All things considered probably the most “artsy” of the shorts which is totally cool. Heck, I’ll gladly embrace something different. The thing is, this wasn’t really horror. Shame because the director obviously can make a cool looking short.
Because pregnancy wasn’t frightening enough. Aside from a questionable pregnancy belly this is a pretty solid entry. Not necessarily the scariest the effects really are quite good. Definitely worth a watch.
Evil Voices Lie
I wanted to like this more than I did. We are literally watching a video of someone watching a video of someone being interviewed about being the captive on a serial killer. It’s the inception of found footage. Maybe I just need to give it another chance but this is pretty meh.
I actually reviewed this in my 2015 Phoenix Film Festival review. While it didn’t hold up quite as well (maybe because of there being better shorts) it is still quite good. Even when knowing the twist the build up works surprisingly well. While not all of these are on YouTube Paramensia is and should be seen.
To me this is less of a short and more an excuse to make word jokes. That said there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a cute little short but easily forgettable.
Whenever the boogeyman gimmick is I am all in and Mr. Hendrix is no exception. With an almost fairy tale-style beginning and some great editing Mr. Hendrix is a fun, if familiar, version of the Boogeyman.
Of all the shorts this is probably the most polished of the bunch. Which makes sense because it’s directed by Josh C. Waller who did Raze with Zoe Bell. The Collection stars Lance Reddick as a famous fashion photographer with a very special camera. Yes it goes where you think it’s going and it does it well. Between the performances, the direction and the overall short it’s probably the best way to end Fun Size Horror.
Fun Size Horror promotes itself as the Halloween candy of horror movies and that’s the perfect description for the movie. While some shorts are better than others it is still fine and there’s just enough good stuff to have you keep watching. With the amount of quality horror you get it’s at least worth a rental. Even better the film is labeled as Vol. 1. If a volume 2 ever comes out I will be more than happy to come back for more.
Overall Rating- B-
And with Halloween in June II coming to a close I have to say it was a blast again. Not only was I able to see some fun new horror but I also got to rewatch one I almost forgot about. Can’t wait to do this again next year and ruin another Halloween title card.