Friend Request (2016)

Friend Request (2016)Laura is a popular girl in high school, with lots of likes and friends on Facebook. She meets Marina, a new girl at school who’s an outcast with no friends. She feels sorry for her, and decides to befriend her online. What was originally supposed to be a good deed towards someone she felt pity for, soon turns into something darker as Marina becomes obsessive over her new “friendship”. Marina starts sending tons of messages if Laura doesn’t reply within minutes, and very much acts like a creepy stalker. Laura tries to convince herself that Marina is just lonely and desperate for a friend, but in the end it gets too much for her and she decides to unfriend her on Facebook. And that is when all hell breaks loose…

 

“Friend Request” is what you could probably call a modern-day horror movie, especially nowadays when social media is something a lot of people feel very attached to, and often use it to compare themselves to others: always a hunt for more likes, more followers, more “friends”. Laura is depicted as the “normal” girl of modern times: socially competent at school, and a personality and looks that automatically brings in both likes and followers on Facebook. Marina, on the other hand, is that classic “creepy girl” dressed in black who is socially awkward, and on top of that she is making moody and dark illustrations. Their “friendship” is something that’s not prone to survive, and yes – we’ve seen that story before. But that doesn’t mean it’s not exciting, and the performances by both Liesl Ahlers (Marina) and Alycia Debnam-Carey (Laura) makes the story believable and thrilling.

 

The illustrations by “Marina” adds a great additional tone to the movie, as they also include a bit of animation and works to set a certain understanding of Marina’s mindset, and the supernatural occurrences that’s caused by her. The movie also provides a back-story for Marina, which explains a bit about her behaviour. The movie does have a fair amount of suspense and even some decent scares, and the social-media theme is not such a large part of the plot that those of us that doesn’t use Facebook (yes! There’s still some of us left!) won’t feel estranged from the story. The ending, albeit a little predictable, is kind of interesting as well.

 

Friend Request

 

Director: Simon Verhoeven
Country & year: Germany | USA, 2016
Actors: Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, Sean Marquette, Liesl Ahlers, Shashawnee Hall, Susan Danford, Lee Raviv, Nicholas Pauling, David Butler, Julian Katz, Kiano Janse van Rensburg, Dorothy Ann Gould
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3352390/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE POND – Gothic horror short

Christiane and her ill mother live in a castle together with her strict aunt. On the premises, there’s a big pond that hides a secret. Although she is not allowed to come near it, it has a big attraction on Christiane.

 

“The Pond” (original title “De Vijver”) is a gothic horror short with great atmosphere and beautiful scenes.

 

THE POND - Gothic horror short

 

Director: Jeroen Dumoulein
Country & year: Belgium, 2014
Actors: Xenia Borremans, Sara De Bosschere, Kirsten Pieters, Tibo Vandenborre
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4444464/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child’s Play (2019)

Child's Play (2019)Kaslan Products have invented a brand new toy: Buddi, the interactive doll that is the most high-tech product available that can also connect to all other Kaslan products and smart home devices. These dolls are produced at a factory in Vietnam, under terrible working conditions. The movie starts off showing us one of the depressed workers getting harassed and fired, and before finishing his final Buddi doll, he removes all safety precautions before he commits suicide by throwing himself off the roof of the factory. Of course, no one knows that the latest doll he worked on was been tempered with, and it is shipped off together with all the others…

 

Soon afterwards, we meet Andy and his mother, Karen, who have just moved to a new place and is trying to settle in. Karen is working at the local hypermarket, that is also selling Buddi dolls on a regular basis. When one of the customers returns a Buddi doll due to it being defected, she decides to bring this doll back home to give it to her son. Despite not working the way it’s supposed to, both Andy and Karen believes it’s just a harmless defect. When Andy can make it swear and do funny things that would not be possible with any of the “normal” Buddi dolls, he’s also able to befriend some of the neighboring kids. All seem fine to Andy for a while…but with this doll having all safety protocols disabled, it’s soon showing signs of a behavior that can turn out to be quite dangerous.

 

“Child’s Play” is a remake of the 1988 classic by the same name, and is directed by Lars Klevberg. This movie is quite different from the original story, however. In the original film, the soul of a serial killer (Charles Lee “Chucky” Ray) entered one of the dolls after being chased and killed inside a toy shop. In this remake, we get a modernized version where Chucky is simply an AI doll that’s been tampered with, and developing a behavior that is not really his fault. In many ways, you can even sympathize a bit with Chucky in certain scenes, like when Andy and his friends are watching a horror movie (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”, which was in fact totally banned here in Norway back in the day…something I suppose director Lars Klevberg knew since he’s Norwegian as well). When the kids start laughing and enjoying themselves, Chucky believes that the killings are “fun”, and he goes to the kitchen and brings back a knife as he believes it will make them laugh. And the doll shows signs of distress and confusion when it realizes that this did not make Andy and his friends happy at all. Thus, Chucky is a completely different “villain” than in the original…and while the original is a horror classic from the 80’s, it’s refreshing to see a remake that does something completely different. When Chucky goes crazy and starts killing, it’s all based on a wish to keep Andy safe and happy. And to be his “best buddy”…

 

The doll is voiced by Mark Hamill, in which we get a little “Star Wars” reference when Andy tries to make the doll name itself “Han Solo”, but due to the defect it thinks he said “Chucky” (which, of course, references the original “Child’s Play”). The movie also brings us some pretty neat killing scenes, and a fair amount of blood and gore. It’s entertaining and fresh, just don’t expect the same story as the one from 1988 as this is a totally reimagined version.

 

Child's Play

 

Director: Lars Klevberg
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Brian Tyree Henry, Tim Matheson, Gabriel Bateman, David Lewis, Trent Redekop, Beatrice Kitsos, Ty Consiglio, Carlease Burke, Hannah Drew, Kristin York, Zahra Anderson, Marlon Kazadi, Nicole Anthony
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8663516/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOOKING GLASS – Horror animation

A dark stormy night. A little girl is home alone, but is she really?

 

“Looking Glass” (original title “Spegelbarn”) is a suspenseful and atmospheric horror animation. It’s a dark and unsettling short, with an art style that fits the concept pretty well.

 

LOOKING GLASS (Spegelbarn) - Horror animation

 

Director: Erik Rosenlund
Country & year: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, 2007
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1062968/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crawl (2019)

Crawl (2019)Haley is a young woman who is struggling to become a champion swimmer, and her competitive nature keeps her always trying to reach her best potential. When her sister calls and informs her that their father won’t answer his phone, she decides to drive to his house and check for him. The problem is that a Category 5 hurricane is arriving, and after finding her father unconscious in the basement of an old house he’s been renovating, they both find themselves fighting not only against the hurricane and a flooding house, but also against a bunch of hungry alligators.

 

“Crawl” is directed by Alexandre Aja, the Frenchman who has earlier given us “High Tension” and “Piranha 3D”, among some other titles both of the horror genre and other genres. While “Piranha 3D” is a nipple-filled gorefest, “Crawl” goes more in the direction of a creature feature combined with survival action/nature disaster. While there are some killing scenes and a certain amount of blood and gore, it’s not the main focus. Instead, it’s a tense tale of survival mixed with a (somewhat) strained relationship between father and daughter. The performances are quite solid, which makes the dialogue between them feel natural and not forced, which brings it all to a believable level.

 

When it comes to the alligators themselves, they are pretty well made, very much on par with the CGI shark in “The Shallows” to make a comparison. It looks good, it looks natural, and it delivers very well on what it intends to be which makes it a thrilling experience.

 

Crawl

 

Director: Alexandre Aja
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson, Jose Palma, George Somner, Anson Boon, Ami Metcalf, Tina Pribicevic, Srna Vasiljevic, Cso-Cso, Colin McFarlane, Annamaria Serda, Savannah Steyn
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8364368/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DON’T MOVE – Demon horror short

Set on one fateful night, six friends gather for their monthly ‘games night’… and accidentally unleash a demonic force that might tear them – and their friendships – to pieces.

 

“Don’t Move” is a gory and fun horror short, where a Ouija Board session has gone wrong…very wrong!

 

DON'T MOVE - Demon horror short

 

Director: Anthony Melton
Country & year: UK, 2013
Actors: Rachel Bright, Jake Hendriks, Beth Cooper, Kate Braithwaite, Martin Skipper, Calvin A. Dean, Ian Whyte, Ben Tillett
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2846600/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nude for Satan (1974)

Dr. William Benson is driving late at night to reach a patient, and stops at a mansion to ask for directions. He learns that he must drive a huge detour and that the roads there are bad, and the man at the mansion offers him shelter for the night. As the conscientious doctor he is, he declines the offer and continues on. A lady in white suddenly stands in the way, and this forces Benson to swerve his car which makes it bump into a mountain wall. When he is going to check for the mysterious lady in white, she is nowhere to be to seen, but another lady suddenly crashes in front of him and lies unconscious in the car with a white blouse…which suddenly turns black in the next clip. Just five minutes in and a continuity error already. Impressive. Anyway, he carries her away and brings her back to consciousness by patting her on the cheek, like the doctor he is. But unfortunately he does not manage to start the car, and sees no other way than to return to the castle to ask for help. When he enters the castle the place looks abandoned, with trash, rats and covered furniture.

 

He then comes across an older guy who seems to have been stabbed to death, who glances at Benton with some crazy eyes as he asks “what can I do for you” and gives a sinister laugh. Okay, Dr. Benton, time to turn around, there’s no help to get here. Still, this is just a gentle start on the rabbit hole he has stumbled into. When he opens another door he witnesses someone who has a sex orgy with scenes of a blowjob, close-up penetration and lesbian sex. Okay. After seeing enough, he shuts the door and looks further around, and suddenly the woman pops up…the one he left in the car, with no signs of harm or discomfort. And she’s really happy to see Benson, as she rather calls Peter, as if she’s known him all her life, and gives some obscure lines that don’t make any sense. And just like the viewer, Mr. Benson is just as lost and confused and wants some fucking answers (pun intended).

 

As I said, a rabbit hole. And a hairy one. The movie actually starts out as a classic Hammer movie with thunder, rain and an old castle, but as soon as we see our protagonist, or whatever he is supposed to be, it quickly nosedives into a stumbling, incoherent obscurity of a demented sleazeball of a movie with x-rated porn scenes in between. The balance between horror and porn is completely off. It’s as if the writer and director Luigi Batzella couldn’t decide whether he wanted to make a traditional horror or a porn, but went for both with no clue how to blend it together, with a script that apparently was scribbled in a hurry on his palm between the shooting. With a title as “Nude for Satan” I expected a fair amount of tits and bushy beavers, but I was completely unaware this was actually a x-rated pornflick with close-up penetration and whatnot. But okay, what a pleasant surprise. So let’s just call it “Fuck for Satan”, then, to avoid further confusion.

 

Fuck for Satan is probably most known for a certain random spider scene. And I must say, it lived up to the hype. How can one not laugh at a fake, giant spider that seems to be made of a bunch of layers of cow dung? And to make it more realistic, just stuff some wooden branches into it and it got some really believable legs. Haha, oh my.. Fuck for Satan also has the most frantic use of zoom I’ve probably seen. As if the cameraman was clearly told to zoom in and out as much as possible to make  a desperate attempt to add some tone of surrealism or whatever. Well, I beg to differ. The movie isn’t trippy for one bit, just weird and messy with lazy directing, while the horror aspects fails as a blind, drunken sailor on an unicycle. And what does the space-like music have to do here? Is there a flying saucer wobbling from a string in the background somewhere I don’t see? Who knows. Who cares. But man, that spider scene..haha.

 

Nude for Satan

 

Director: Luigi Batzella
Original title: Nuda per Satana
Country & year: Italy, 1974
Actors: Rita Calderoni, Stelio Candelli, James Harris, Renato Lupi, Iolanda Mascitti, Luigi Antonio Guerra, Barbara Lay
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162503/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE COATMAKER – Horror short

A tailor is closing up his shop for the night, and soon realizes that something is not quite right with one of the mannequins…

 

“The Coatmaker” is a suspenseful little horror short that builds up the tension, and serves us some nice chills!

 

THE COATMAKER - Horror short

 

Director: Scott Dale
Country & year: Australia, 2018
Actors: April Carson, John Jenkins
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874262/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coatmaker – Award Winning Short Film from Scott Dale on Vimeo.

 

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)In this third “Annabelle” horror movie, we follow the doll to its final destination: the Warren’s occult museum, which houses all kinds of cursed and possessed items. After the Warrens bring the doll back home with them, they quickly realize that the doll has the ability to possess and control the other things around her, and so they put it inside a glass case and lock it, containing the evil presence and prevents its influence on the other items around it. When a teenage girl is babysitting Ed and Lorraine’s daughter, one of the babysitter’s friends decide to invite herself in order to check out the place for its occult items. Having recently lost her father in a terrible accident which she blames herself for, she wants to use the place to get in contact with him…and takes a peek inside the occult museum after finding the keys. She is immediately drawn to the Annabelle doll in the glass case, and uses the key to open it…and soon, the evil presence in the doll is awakened.

 

“Annabelle Comes Home” is the third installment of the “Annabelle” horror movies (which are spin-offs from the first “Conjuring” movie). In many ways, it could also be considered the third Conjuring movie as well, since the story takes place inside the home of the Warrens, and bringing forth small glimpses from several of their “cases” throughout the years. The premise behind this movie is that Annabelle awakens the other cursed and possessed items in the museum, and it actually works pretty well. It gives us the claustrophobic haunted house feel, with some really good atmosphere and even a few truly creepy scenes. The director, Gary Goberman, is making his debut as a director with this movie, and it’s a pretty solid one. Earlier he’s also been the writer of the first “Annabelle” movie.

 

We are also being presented to several ideas for upcoming movies in the “Conjuring” universe: The Ferryman, a haunted bridal dress that possesses people and turn them into killers, a Samurai armor that apparently holds a gruesome backstory, and…a werewolf. Now, there’s been a few rumors that the third Conjuring movie would include a werewolf story (from the story about Bill Ramsey) but this is not confirmed. Personally I’d love to see the third Conjuring movie deal with the story of Maurice Theriault (Satan’s Harvest), which was actually referenced at the end of “The Nun”…but no such luck, I guess. That being said, there appears to be tons of ideas for any sequels, prequels and spin-offs, so I’m fairly certain we haven’t seen the last of the Conjuring universe yet…far from it.

 

The real Lorrain Warren passed away a few months prior to this movie’s release, on April 18, 2019, at the age of 92 (Ed Warren died several years back, on August 23, 2006). In some ways this movie can be seen a nice little tribute to her.

 

Annebelle Comes Home

 

Director: Gary Dauberman
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Michael Cimino, Samara Lee, Kenzie Caplan, Sade Katarina, Michael Patrick McGill, Brittany Hoza
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8350360/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALEXIA – Horror short film

Although Alexia, Franco’s ex-girlfriend, has been deceased for some time, Franco still has her as a contact on his social network. When he decides to delete her and move on, something strange starts to manifest through his computer.

 

“Alexia” is a creepy horror short film with lots of atmosphere, showing us that internet and social media has opened up a new way for horror directors to bring new ideas to the screen.

 

ALEXIA - Horror short film

 

Director: Andrés Borghi
Country & year: Argentina, 2013
Actors: Sergio Berón, Paula Carruega, Pilar Boyle
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3328092/