Possum (2018)

Possum (2018)Philip (Sean Harris) is a middle-aged man returning to his hometown in Norfolk with a population of probably ten people, which looks like a depressing place to live in. With him he’s got a brown bag containing a puppet called Possum. A terrifying thing with a human head made of rubber, and with spider feet. Philip turns out to be a totally fragile, traumatized man, trapped in a severe life crisis, who constantly seems be on the verge of blowing out in full panic attack at any moment. And  the nightmare fuel provided by Possum clearly doesn’t makes it any better. Time to watch some cat videos on YouTube, I would say. Anyway, he goes to his decayed, filthy childhood home where he meets his stepfather Maurice (Alun Armstrong), a greasy old man who probably hasn’t taken a shower in years, and likes to preach stuff that doesn’t make much sense. They turn out to have as much of a resentful relationship with each other as Philip has with Possum, which he repeatedly tries to get rid of by dumping it in the river, burying, burning, and beat the shit out of it to a point where you almost feel more sorry for the puppet than for Philip. But just like a cursed Ouija board, Possum always reappears.

 

If you expect a traditional creature-feature here, you can just give up right away. This is a really slow melancholic and feverish nightmare, stuffed with metaphors, cryptic symbolism, and open to being analyzed to death and beyond. Is Possum some sort of a manifestation of Philip’s untreated trauma, or is the guy just crazy? Is the pale, empty, decaying surroundings a reflection of the eternal hopelessness that constantly consumes his head? Who knows. Several scenes seem to last forever without going nowhere, but competent camera work, strong wide-shot visuals and good acting saved the movie, for my part at least. So yeah, a strange little indie film that can be a chore to sit through for sure, and fans of art-house will probably find it more appealing.

 

Possum

 

Director: Matthew Holness
Country & year: UK, 2018
Actors: Sean Harris, Alun Armstrong, Simon Bubb, Andy Blithe
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt6081670/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wind (2018)

The Wind (2018)Lizzy Macklin and her husband Isaac lives isolated on a harsh and untamed land in the Western frontier in the late 1800s. Soon, a newlywed couple (Emma and Gideon) moves into a house close by. The isolation starts cracking Emma’s psyche, causing her to suffer from Prairie Madness (an affliction that causes a mental breakdown due to the isolation and harsh living conditions, something that would happen to European settlers who were not used to living like this). Emma is clearly not able to get used the the isolation, and starts raving about “demons of the prairie”. Emma’s madness soon starts affecting Lizzy as well, and she starts wondering if there really is an evil demonic presence out to destroy them.

 

The Wind is a western horror-thriller written by Teresa Sutherland, and director Emma Tabbi’s feature film debut. Western horror is still a somewhat rare thing to come by, where most horror movies in this genre belongs to the “lesser known” list (probably with the exception of Bone Tomahawk from 2015, which managed to get a fair amount of publicity). And this is despite the setting of the western period being pretty perfect for all kinds of horror-related ideas…but oh well.

 

Now, The Wind is a movie that focuses more on psychological horror and a fair amount of relationship-based drama, and for this reason it’s chugging along rather slowly. In other words, it’s very likely to not keep everyone’s attention, and the suspense it’s trying to build is somewhat subtle and does not always matches the pace. The movie has a strong and chilling start, but then starts jumping back and forth in time to show us a series of recent scenes and “flashback” scenes. A lot of the story is told through flashbacks, and sometimes it can actually be a little confusing to follow.

 

All that being said, The Wind is beautiful to watch with some great cinematography, and there’s definitely some atmosphere to appreciate. Still, there could have been a lot more actual horror to The Wind…but if you’re in for a slow horror mystery with a bit more drama than chills, you’ll likely find something to enjoy here.

 

The Wind

 

Director: Emma Tammi
Country & year: USA, 2018
Actors: Caitlin Gerard, Julia Goldani Telles, Ashley Zukerman, Miles Anderson, Dylan McTee, Martin C Patterson
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt8426594/

 

 

Vanja 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: www.imdb.com/title/tt5734576/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suspiria (2018)

Suspiria (2018)Berlin, 1977. A shitty place to be. A young, disturbed girl named Patricia (Chloë Grace Moretz) is on the run and seeking the doctor/prof/psychiatrist Klemperer. She’s in a state of psychosis and mumbles incoherent lines while she waves with her arms and then says in German “I was right. They are witches”. She then talks about the ballerina school she attended where she was a victim of abuse, and end the therapy session by saying (in German) “they will slaughter me and eat my cunt from the plate”. Yikes… We then get introduced to Susie (Dakota Fanning), a young, shy and naive American lady, who traveled to Berlin to attend this ballerina academy where she meets the strict dance instructor Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton). She settles in and has no idea what rabbithole she has gotten herself into. In the meantime Dr. Klemperer starts an investigation to take a closer look at what shady business is really going on in this academy.

 

This remake of Dario Argentos “Suspiria”, which was the first of the The Three Mother-trilogy, takes also elements from its two sequels, “Inferno” (1980) and “Mother of Tears” (2007), but goes in its own direction. Which is a good thing. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, who made mainly drama, romances and some documentaries, does a fantastic job here and shows that he has a great eye for horror and the aesthetic. The 70s-style is spot on and while the original had more of a colorful nightmarish fever-look in a baroque environment, this one is the straight opposite. It’s bleak and cold, and the ballerina school being surrounded by tall, wounded buildings gives a more realistic, melancholy look and a sense of dread and urban isolation.

 

The casting is great, but the one who sticks out is Tilda Swinton who plays the ice-cold Madame Blanc and Dr. Klemperer, hidden by the most believable old-makeup I’ve ever seen. Chloë Grace Moretz wanted the role as Patricia so bad that she learned to speak German even though she’s got only six minutes of screen-time. And as a homage to the original, Jessica Harper shows up in a brief moment. The film isn’t without its fair share of death scenes, one who probably stands out the most features one of the dancing students who gets her whole body twisted and broken during a dancing ritual. It’s one of the most terrifying scenes in the movie in terms of violence, but I can assure you that you’ll get a juicy payoff at the end. But the one who got most terrified of Suspiria was the star herself, Dakota Fanning, who got so messed up mentally during the shooting that she had to go to therapy. She also did ballet-training for two years in preparation for the role.

 

Overall, “Suspiria” 2018 is your typical love/hate movie that messes with your head and possibly also with your patience. With its run-time on 2 hours and 30 minutes, it can be a lot to digest. There’s a lot of weird shit going on here that leaves far more questions than answers, opening up to be analyzed to death and beyond. I liked it for what it was and really enjoyed the whole atmosphere, the cold eeriness, the characters and overall the look and style of the film. It grabbed my attention, but you definitely have to be in the right mood and expect the unexpected.

 

Suspiria 2018

 

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Country & year: Italy | USA, 2018
Actors: Chloë Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Doris Hick, Malgorzata Bela, Dakota Johnson, Angela Winkler, Vanda Capriolo, Alek Wek, Jessica Batut, Elena Fokina, Mia Goth
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt1034415/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truth or Dare (2018)

Truth or Dare (2018)While on a partying trip to Mexico, a group of young friends meet a guy who wants them to join him for a game of “Truth or Dare” in an old abandoned church. What starts out as an innocent game, soon turns deadly when they realize they’ve been tricked into an evil demon’s version of the game. If you fail to answer truthfully on the demon’s “truth” questions, or refuse to commit its “dares”, the consequence is a quick and painful death.

 

Yes, you know this is going to be silly as hell. When I saw the trailer for this movie, I actually decided to skip watching it on the big screen. I normally watch most horror movies that comes out in the cinema, but the incredibly silly “demonic faces” the trailer showed off all the time made it somewhat cringeworthy. Thank goodness for streaming services like Netflix and SF Anytime.

 

Watching this movie in the comforts of home, I have to admit that I didn’t find it as bad as I had expected it to be. Silly concept/plot? Yeah, sure. The chesire-cat grins of the demonic faces didn’t bother me as much as I had feared, and I found myself entertained enough. These days, I never expect a movie to be able to scare me anyway (after watching so many horror movies, I’m afraid those days are long gone). The movie goes forward just like you’d expect a movie of this kind to do: young sexy people need to battle the supernatural force while being killed off in various ways, one by one, until (after enough of them have been killed off), the remaining ones need to dig deeper into finding a way to solve the “mystery” behind the deadly game and how to escape from it alive. Yes, you’ve pretty much seen it before…it’s a tried a tired formula that every horror movie fan has seen numerous times already, but who cares about that as long as it works to entertain you. Every new movie release doesn’t need to bring a brand new dish to the table in order to be watchable.

 

Overall, “Truth or Dare” is an easy-going horrorflick to watch on a rainy evening with some pizza and beer. It’s not a masterpiece, but certainly delivers if you’re in the mood for some silly fun.

 

Truth or Dare

 

Director: Jeff Wadlow
Country & year: USA, 2018
Actors: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto, Sophia Ali, Nolan Gerard Funk, Landon Liboiron, Sam Lerner, Tom Choi
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0099611/

 

Vanja Ghoul