The Mimic (2017)

Hee-yeon and her husband moves to the countryside together with their daughter and the husband’s mother, who is suffering from dementia. Their son, Jun-seo, disappeared five years ago and Hee-yeon is struggling with accepting the fact that he might be dead. One day, she finds a mute little girl in the forest nearby, and decides to take her home. Soon, the little girl starts speaking and claims that her name is the same as Hee-yeon’s daughter, and things start to make the little girl’s intentions questionable.

 

In many cultures, there’s been stories about spirits or creatures that will mimic the appearance or voice of our loved ones, in order to trick us. You might be familiar with one of the many variations of the creepy story where a child is hearing his/her mom calling out (usually from downstairs) but on the way for the mother’s calling voice, the child sees his/her real mother saying: “Don’t go. I heard it too!” (this has actually been made into several Creepypastas as well). Something being able to mimic someone we know is a terrifying concept, and long before I even knew anything about mimics at all, I actually had nightmares as a child where I’d hear my mother’s voice from two places at the same time (usually inside the house). Upon approaching my mother (from the voice I decided to choose) I always knew I’d chosen the wrong one, even though she looked exactly like my real mother. Creepy, right?

 

In “The Mimic” (Jang-san-beom), the plot is inspired by the myths about the Jangsan Tiger (nope, not the striped feline we’re all familiar with, but a creature with long white fur). The Jangsan Tiger is an urban legend, and this creature mimics a person in order to lure people away, and, of course, eat them. It’s supposed to lurk around the Jangsan mountain near the city of Busan, the area where Hee-yeon and her family moves to. In fact, the film’s Korean title “Jang-san-beom” literally means “Jangsan Tiger”.

 

“The Mimic” blends family drama with horror, and mixed with this folktale it actually works pretty well. The movie is beautiful to watch with the scenic images from the forest and mountain area, which adds to the atmosphere of the film. The movie warms up the mood for us with a man and his mistress dragging his wife out to the cave in the forest to kill her, only to confront the creature by hearing his wife’s voice from inside the cave after he’s murdered her. We do not see the creature/spirit at any time during this scene, and in fact it is clouded by mystery very much throughout the entire film, which makes it even more chilling. What you can’t see is almost always the scariest, isn’t it? It builds while still keeping you guessing.

 

“The Mimic” is a slow-burning supernatural horror film with gorgeous cinematography, and while it may not keep you at the edge of your seat the entire time due to the movie’s pacing, it definitely manages to build up a creepy atmosphere and tells a lore-filled tale pretty well.

 

The Mimic

 

Director: Jung Huh
Country & year: South Korea, 2017
Actors: Jung-ah Yum, Hyuk-kwon Park, Jin Heo, Rin-Ah Shin, Yu-sul Bang, Jun Hyeok Lee, Hae-yeon Kil, Yul Lee, Ju-won Lee
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7046826/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLAP CLAP – short horror film

A guy is house sitting in a home where the lights can be turned on and off by simply clapping your hands. Easily amused by this, he has some fun in the house before settling in. It soon becomes evident he’s not really alone in that house, however…

 

“Clap Clap” is a horror short by Brandon Piskorik, which is simple yet still very effective, and should easily be able to give you the chills!

 

CLAP CLAP - short horror film

 

Director: Brandon Piskorik
Year: 2017
Actors: Aaron Burt, Andrew Burt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hell House LLC (2015)

“Hell House LLC” starts with some news-clips where we learn that an abandoned hotel, which has been transformed into a haunted house tour in a small town outside New York, ended in disaster on 8th October 2009. Several people were killed and injured, and nobody knows what really happened, but the police vaguely blames the outburst on a major malfunction. With the suspicion that the police are holding back some info from the public, it creates conspiracy theories among some local journalists who starts their own investigation. They get in contact with one of Hell House’s crew members, Sarah, who gives them all the raw footage that documents the whole process which spans from August 23rd to October 8th. When she is asked why she hasn’t turned this over to the police, she simply says “you’ll see”. Alright, so let’s take a look.

 

We get introduced to these four crew members who just arrives at Hotel Abaddon and starts to explore its environments and settles in, and decides to stay for the night. The days go by, and they’re installing the electricity, making the effects and props ready, and everything seems to go as planned, until weird shit starts to happen. Doors are opening and closing by themselves, and from one of the static cams we see a glimpse of an obscure person walking around wearing something that looks like a grim reaper-cape. Boo. When they start hiring local actors to the attraction, one of them reveals that the hotel has a dark past and the rumors are saying that the previous owner hanged himself in the hotel’s dining room. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the crew hears more unsettling stories based in the hotel’s past, and even satanic rituals are mentioned. And just to top that, the hotel is named after a demon from The Book of Revelation known as The Angel of Death. The name Abaddon, which also means ruin, death, desolation, and destruction. Yay. Nothing bad could ever happen here, so just enjoy your stay, and if you survive, please give us a positive review at Yelp…

 

Haunted house attractions are clearly a huge business in USA, where 35 million people around the states are visiting them in October each year to get a great scare (hey, that rhymed). And of course, this concept also makes great set-up for a horror-movie or two. Besides of this we have “The Houses that October Built” which is a more like a half-documentary done in Borat-style where they travel from different states to explore and get a unique insight to the community. Even though Hell House LLC was actually shot in a real haunted house attraction called Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel, it was only used as location with the fictitious title Abaddon Hotel.

 

It’s not uncommon to put on a found footage horror and expect the worst. How many films like this haven’t been spewed out like cheap burgers to be either total lackluster or forgotten trash, in the hopes of becoming the next Blair Witch or Paranormal Activity? But sometimes, if you really dig in the found footage-jungle, there’s some gold to find. And what a pleasant surprise Hell House LLC was. Writer and director Stephen Cognetti does a pretty steady job combining the documentary and found footage-style, while the horror itself relies mostly on the psychological and the atmosphere. The hotel’s dark backstory and lore are also intriguing and is spicing up the mood, not to mention the creepy decorations hanging around that adds to the atmosphere. This is overall a very well made horror flick with great acting, and a tension that builds up to the finale.”Hell House LLC” is  probably on the same level as “Grave Encounters” (2011), another found footage film that really knew how to use the format.

 

The Sequel “Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel” was released on the streaming service shudder.com. It’s also available from other sources, but since we live in Norway we haven’t actually found any place where we can watch it (yet) as Shudder is not available here, and the other sources are region locked and mostly only available in USA or UK. Bummer. As we currently speak, the third installment is being filmed, called “Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire”. So when comes the Hell House Trilogy Box-Set? We just have to wait and see, I guess…we currently own “Hell House LLC” on dvd, and so far it looks like the only other option for us to check out the other movies is to wait (and hope for) a dvd release when the third film is finished.

 

Suspiria 2018

 

Director: Stephen Cognetti
Country & year: USA, 2015
Actors: Gore Abrams, Alice Bahlke, Danny Bellini, Theodore Bouloukos, Natalie Gee, Jared Hacker, Phil Hess, Ryan Jennifer Jones, Lauren A. Kennedy, Jeb Kreager, Miranda Robbins, Adam Schneider, Kristin Michelle Taylor
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4267026/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Possession of Hannah Grace (2018)

The Possession of Hanna Grace (2018)Megan is an ex-cop that’s just gotten out of rehab, and struggles to get back on her feet again. She applies for a job working the graveyard shift at the morgue (yeah…not exactly the best place to be if you’re a previous drug addict and struggling with trauma). She gets the job, and soon thereafter the disfigured corpse of a girl arrives. It doesn’t take long until weird things start happening at the morgue, but Megan tries to convince herself it’s her frazzled mind that makes her see things. Until things become too real for her and she realizes there’s something very wrong with that corpse.

 

Horror movies based on possessed people and exorcisms rarely bring anything new to the screen, so when checking this movie out, we didn’t really expect anything groundbreaking or new here. The movie starts with an exorcism scene that brings us many of the used-to-death clichè’s: possessed girl talking with deep male voice: check. Possessed girl making things levitate: check. Possessed girl making typical demon-grins and exaggerated facial expressions: check. The movie starting out this way does give it an unfortunate amount of predictability since we already know what’s wrong with her corpse (unlike for example “The Autopsy of Jane Doe“, which keeps us wondering why/what/how). The possessed girl (Hannah) does get a little bit too much at times and becomes somewhat goofy rather than actually scary.

 

With that being said, “The Possession of Hannah Grace” does have some creepy moments, and it does bring an interesting twist on the possession genre: will a demon really stop by just killing its vessel? Or can it possess the corpse and thus become even more menacing? It’s a good concept for a possession horror movie, so in that regard it actually does bring us something new (or at least, a tiny variation of a tale told numerous times). The movie could have benefited from making Hannah more of a mystery from the start, though, in order to prevent all the predictability. But all in all it’s an okay horror flick to watch.

 

The Possession of Hannah Grace

 

Director: Diederik Van Rooijen
Country & year: USA, 2018
Actors: Shay Mitchell, Grey Damon, Kirby Johnson, Nick Thune, Louis Herthum, Stana Katic, Maximillian McNamara, Jacob Ming-Trent, James A. Watson Jr., Marianne Bayard, Adrian M. Mompoint
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5734576/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deathgasm (2015)

Brodie is a heavy metal-outcast whose meth-head mom is sent to a mental ward after trying to give a mall-santa a blowjob, and thus he needs to live with his uncle, aunt and cousin. They are “some good Christians”, by the way, who thinks Ricky Martin is the heaviest thing they’ve ever heard. Not much in common between him and them, in other words. His cousin is a complete sport-idiot-psychopathic douche who calls Brodie a “devil worshipper” and bullies him at school, but at least he’s got two friends at school who thinks playing board games at lunchtime is the most badass thing to do.

 

Also, there’s one really cool thing about this new place: Alien Records, which is a record shop that specializes in 80’s metal on vinyls and cassettes. Here he meets the like-minded Zakk, who plays bass guitar, and they start a black metal band with the catchy title Deathgasm. When they come across some obscure note-sheets from their black metal-idol Rikki Daggers, “Black Mass”, they make it into a Deathgasm song, and unintentionally conjure the demon Aeloth who then possesses the towns residents to be devil worshippers. With the help of heavy metal, chainsaws and sex toys, it’s now up to Brodie and his friends to prevent a full-blown hellraising metalapocalypse.

 

Written and directed by Jason Lei Howden, a young newbie from New Zealand, who won a contest and a price of NZ$200,000 to make his first feature film. Howden took inspiration from his own experience as a metal-outcast in the mid-90’s, combined with a lot of splatter-fun and blood puking. When Howden isn’t behind the camera, he works at Weta Digital, Peter Jackson’s CGI company. Impressive.

 

Horror and metal goes hand in hand, and “Deathgasm” shows it to the fullest, with a plot that reminds us of “Trick or Treat” (1986) and some elements of Rob Zombie’s “Lords of Salem” (2012). The Evil Dead-ish demons look pretty cool, and the humour is a mix of “Bad Taste” and “Braindead” (or “Dead Alive” as it’s called in the states). There’s also some funny references to the Norwegian black metal-fans. The zero-budget music video our friends in Deathgasm makes in the woods, Immortal-style, is spot on. Otherwise, there’s a lot of crazy zombie action going on with dildos, vibrators, chainsaws and whatnot to keep you entertained. The perfect recipe for a party movie, in other words. And I have to mention the chopper-scene reference from Dawn of the Dead, which was awesome.

 

With a title like Deathgasm and its satanic imagery, it’s not completely without some controversy. The title was a little too much for Walmart, who refused to sell it. Pretty ironic since Walmart can be a horror-shitshow in itself (search “people of Walmart” on YouTube to get a great lol). They agreed to sell it when the title was changed to “Heavy Metal Apocalypse”.

 

Deathgasm

 

Director: Jason Lei Howden
Country & year: New Zealand | USA, 2015
Actors: Milo Cawthorne, James Blake, Kimberley Crossman, Sam Berkley, Daniel Cresswell, Delaney Tabron, Stephen Ure, Colin Moy, Jodie Rimmer, Nick Hoskins-Smith, Erroll Shand, Kate Elliott
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3705412/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FISHERMAN – SciFi/Fantasy Horror Short

Honourable old Wong has been a squid fisherman for nearly all of his life, but unfortunately, nowadays, he struggles to make ends meet. Soon, his fishing rod’s bell will cheerfully ring, but does he really want to surface his prized catch?

 

“The Fisherman” is a fun and well made horror short that should be able to please any sea monster fans out there!

 

THE FISHERMAN - SciFi/Fantasy Horror Short

 

Director: Alejandro Suárez Lozano
Country & year: Spain, 2015 (filming locations: Hong Kong)
Actors: Andrew Ng, Ng Kam Cheun, Patrick Yip, Fung Tak Che, Scott Eliasoph
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4506186/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FISHERMAN – SciFi/Fantasy Short Film from A. Suarez Lozano on Vimeo.

The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

We’re in the 1970’s Los Angeles. Anna, a social worker who’s now alone with her two children after her husband’s death, is at the risk of having some of her cases handed over to her co-worker, one of them being the case of Patricia Alvarez and her two boys. She demands to get the rights back to this case and arrives at Patricia’s house to check on her, only to find out she’s locked her children in a closet, and the boys have strange burn-marks on their arms. The boys are immediately taken away, but that soon proves to have sealed those children’s fate. Finding them both dead in the river the same night, Patricia puts the blame on her children’s deaths on Anna, claiming it’s her fault that La Llorona managed to get them. And then, Anna and her own to children are about to figure out that the curse of La Llorona is more than a simple folktale…

 

La Llorona, also called “The Weeping Woman”, is a Mexican folktale that traces back to the 1800’s. It’s the story of the ghost of a woman who drowned her own children, and after committing the horrible deed ended up drowning herself in the same river, and her spirit wanders around, crying while searching for her children. There are several variations of the folktale, but it’s one that’s been scaring the children of many Spanish-speaking families for generations: be good and don’t wander around at night, or La Llorona will come and get you.

 

Director Michael Chaves is making his feature debut with this film (he’s previously known for his horror short “The Maiden“). He is also listed on IMDb as the director for the upcoming “Conjuring 3”, and “The Curse of La Llorona” actually has connections to the Conjuring universe as well. With this being said, it’s a given that you can expect some of the same formula used in the movies from this universe, and it does feel like it’s at home here. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too much of what we have already seen numerous times, and while scares are a-plenty, and there are a few scenes that does manage to build up some good tension and atmosphere before La Llorona jumps into the screen, many of the scenes are quite basic and serves for little more than making you jump in your seat (or, if you’ve seen enough horror movies over the years, know that the jump-scare is coming, but you’re not budging even a millimeter from your chair because you’ve gotten so used to them).

 

While it may feel “unfair” to compare “The Curse of La Llorona” to the rest of the films from the Conjuring-universe, it has put itself in that position since it’s making some very clear references in the movie that it does, indeed, belong here. It’s not the best installment in the series, but not the worst either. And if you’re familiar with the old folktale of La Llorona, you might find it interesting to see her appearance in the Conjuring-universe.

 

The Curce of La Llorona

 

Director: Michael Chaves
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tony Amendola
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4913966/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKAY GOOGLE – Horror Short

A young man is alone one evening, when his Google Home starts receiving commands he’s not given it. Apparently he’s not alone in the house after all…

 

“Okay Google” is a creepy horror short with lots of suspense, with a modern twist on the technology that’s becoming more and more common in our everyday lives.

 

Okay Google - Horror Short

 

Director: Levi Morgan
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Calvin Young, Lexi Young

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Jones (2013)

Mr. Jones (2013)A would-be filmmaker, Scott, brings his girlfriend Penny with him to a cabin far away in the woods. Here, he hopes to achieve the ultimate inspiration for this film (a nature documentary) but that proves to be harder than expected…that is, until they accidentally come across one of the artistic works of the mysterious “Mr. Jones”: an artist surrounded by mystery, known for creating creepy artistic scarecrows. Both being very fascinated by this artist’s works, not to mention thrilled by the fact that they accidentally found his secret hideout, they decide to make a documentary about Mr. Jones instead. Mr. Jones does not appear to enjoy this unwanted attention, however, and soon the couple are drifting into a world of nightmares…

 

“Mr. Jones” is a found footage-style horror movie from 2013, which is Karl Mueller’s debut, who both wrote and directed it. The first half of the movie is actually quite thrilling: the scarecrows are creepy as hell and sets a really good atmosphere, and the mysterious artist (Mr. Jones) is quite creepy too.

 

What’s the biggest downside with “Mr. Jones” is that it actually starts with a concept that leaves you quite intrigued: the mysterious scarecrow-artist who’s hiding away in a cabin deep in the woods is a very interesting concept. Unfortunately, the final part of the movie slides away from this and into a dreamy latter part that becomes trippy and confusing, to the point where it simply gets a bit tedious. It strays away from what we expected to be a creepy villain/monster and delves into something more philosophical, and the unfortunate result is that all the built-up tension dissipates.

 

“Mr. Jones” does have its moments, however, especially in the first half of the movie. It’s a different kind of found footage horror movie, where its originality might either make or break the viewing experience for you.

 

Fun fact: the scarecrows in this movie were made by an artist called “Pumpkinrot“, who’s making some really cool Halloween decorations.

 

Mr. Jones

 

Director: Karl Mueller
Country & year: USA, 2013
Actors: Jon Foster, Sarah Jones, Mark Steger, Faran Tahir, Stanley B. Herman, Ethan Sawyer, Jordan Byrne
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2507280/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still/Born (2017)

Still/Born (2017)Mary, a new mother, gives birth to twins, but only one of them is alive. While taking care of her living child, Adam, she suspects that something, a supernatural entity, has chosen him and will stop at nothing to take him from her.

 

The horror genre has quite often touched the subjects of pregnancy and child birth, where what is supposed to be one of the greatest joys in some people’s lives suddenly turn into unimaginable horror, where the death of a newborn being the ultimate fear of any pregnant woman. After losing one of her children during birth she gets a severe depression, refusing to remove the second crib from the room, desperately holding on to what ‘could have been’. So when the first paranormal incident happen – when she hears a second baby’s cry from the room – we actually see a glimpse of hope in her eyes, not fear. As the viewer you feel that this might portray a mother’s ultimate loss in a way that makes us feel that she is, indeed, on the brink of insanity. Then again…they’ve just moved into a new house. And more things start to happen where it’s not so obvious that it’s all in her mind or a result of depression and anxiety due to her loss.

 

Still/Born does have a certain atmosphere in the first half, much thanks to “old hat” scare techniques where less is more, and where it plays more on the psychological level. When the demon/entity is introduced it turns into something that’s considerably less creepy, despite the idea of this baby-grabbing entity having potential. Unfortunately, the progress becomes somewhat monotonous, where her experiences with the demonic entity has the unfortunate effect of toning down the suspense rather than increasing it. It does have some creepy scenes, but it also feels like there is a bit of lost potential here, as it could have been so much more.

 

Still/Born is director Brandon Christensen’s first feature film, and despite some issues it is not at all a bad movie. Thus, I’m glad he’s already got something else in the works according to IMDb: a horror movie called “Z“, which is about a family that find themselves terrorized by their eight-year-old son’s imaginary friend.

 

Still/Born was co-written by Colin Minihan (one of the directors behind “Grave Encounters“). Colin Minihan is also the co-writer for Christensen’s upcoming horror movie “Z”.

 

Still/Born

 

Director: Brandon Christensen
Country & year: Canada, 2017
Actors: Christie Burke, Jesse Moss, Rebecca Olson, Jenn Griffin, Michael Ironside, Sheila McCarthy, Sean Rogerson, Grace Christensen, Dianne Snape
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6087426/

 

Vanja Ghoul