I’ve been holed up at home for the last three days with a brutal head cold and honestly, what’s a girl to do when she feels too rotten to sleep? Hunker down with horror movies all day, obviously.
Would you know it, I had a good run which almost never happens with these modern-day horror flicks. But somehow I got lucky with the three I picked and so I thought I’d share them.
Here’s to these little gems (available on Netflix/Amazon Prime):
Two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break.
We’ll be discussing this one on the podcast in the coming weeks but I thought I’d feature it here now as I was impressed with its tone and overall execution (literally).
Kat and Rose are two boarding school girls left behind when all their classmates are collected by their families for the holidays. Kat has a disturbing nightmare about her parents being killed in an accident and believes this is why they haven’t shown to pick her up. Meanwhile, Rose thinks she’s pregnant and has deliberately given her parents the wrong date to buy herself a day to tell the potential father.
Although Rose is entrusted to keep an eye on Kat, the younger of the two, she has her eye on her own problems and Kat is soon forgotten. She’s started to behave in unusual ways around the school too, which Rose is disturbed by when she is around. Running parallel to the girls’ story, we meet Joan, a young woman on the road alone. Taken under the wing of a kindly man and his wife, it’s unclear to begin with where she’s headed and what she’s doing – but as the story unwraps it is clear she shares a strong connection to Kat and Rose.
This is a slow burner but in a good way. It’s a familiar horror setting (school/school girls) but it’s different in the sense that for once we’re not presented with a tired old co-ed/slasher scenario. There’s something bigger at play and it’s insidious af. I appreciate this for the way it slowly unfurls, making way for a brutal and horrifying ending. It’s also strangely sad.
Hell House LLC (2015)
Five years after an unexplained malfunction causes the death of 15 tour-goers and staff on the opening night of a Halloween haunted house tour, a documentary crew travels back to the scene of the tragedy to find out what really happened.
The found footage sub-genre has been done a million times over and a high portion of those times it’s been done badly too. I still kind of dig it though when it’s done well and while this doesn’t reinvent the wheel, I really enjoyed myself.
HH revolves around a small team of long-term buddies as they set up for the big opening night of their pet project, Hell House. We get from their conversation that they’ve done something similar on a smaller scale in the city and are keen to get their teeth into something bigger. Moving into an abandoned hotel in an NY suburb, our friends don’t have their eyes on anything but the end result, a big successful haunted house attraction come Halloween.
Or rather it seems the leader of the pack, Alex is the one with the most focus. His friends and colleagues are all slowly losing it as bizarre things begin to happen around the hotel as the weeks pass by. But what’s the story here and what really happened that awful night?
This was super creepy and has some genuine scares. A couple of scenes were a little clunkier than others but overall the effects for something that seems so low-budget were great, the atmosphere was tense and I felt for the crew as they slowly unraveled. The ending is interesting and the concept is right up my street so going in with zero expectation meant I had a blast.
There are worse ways to spend 90 or so minutes and it’s way better than half the bigger studio stuff I’ve seen lately.
Anna suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals break into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only problem.
When will men stop fucking breaking into womens houses, hm? When will men fucking stop, full stop?
As with found footage, the home intrusion trope has been used a lot. It is also one I enjoy, possibly because it taps straight into my number one fear – which is crazy when you think about it and why loving horror is so interesting. Why do we scare ourselves so much on purpose?
Anywho, Intruders offers us a heroine with a difference. When presented with a clean-cut escape route during her HI nightmare, Anna is unable to take it due to her debilitating agoraphobia. This makes her seem like a malleable victim to her captures, a gang of seedy men in her home to steal a huge pile of money left to her by her recently deceased brother.
But oh boy are they wrong about that. I mean for a start they don’t count on the secrets of the old Victorian home, the perfect horror setting. It’s not just a house but a fortress with concealed passages, hidden rooms and mechanical trickery. But it’s the woman they shouldn’t have underestimated (who knew?). Anna is not what she seems and has her own fucking secrets, thankyouverymuch.
Call me biased but I liked this. Again, don’t go in expecting something groundbreaking but it is satisfying. I like the agoraphobia element and Anna is a badass. It also plays out during the day which I think makes it seem scarier, like this could happen at anytime, to anyone.
There’s a lot of (emotional) darkness here and when more of Anna’s story is revealed you’ll either love it or hate it. At the very least, you’ll enjoy seeing these dickheads get their comeuppance (including one Culkin brother).