OCTOBER 10 — Even before we entered the post-lockdown era of watching movies in the cinema, it was quite apparent that there’s never a shortage of horror films being made and shown in cinemas from all across the globe, whether they’re big budget studio productions or indie ones from the much lower end of the budget spectrum.
Anyone paying attention to the posters displayed in cinemas as well as movie trailers will notice that there’s a hell of a lot of horror movies out there that actually reaches cinema screens here with actors and directors we’ve never heard of, and with production values of varying quality.
But it’s in this Covid-19 era of movie-watching that there really can be no doubt that there are more horror movies out there than we can ever watch, as even though the Hollywood conveyor belt has pretty much stopped supplying new movies to Malaysian cinemas, horror has proven to be more than up to the task of filling our cinema screens with new titles almost every week.
And we haven’t even begun to ponder the sheer number of new horror films released on various VOD and streaming platforms out there.
So from Netflix to Amazon to Shudder and even Malaysian cinemas, here are some new recommendations I have for you after sifting through the endless avalanche of new horror flicks on offer and picking the ones that I thought were interesting.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen
Reviews have been pretty savage for this Netflix sequel to the surprise hit original from 2017, which I was not much of a fan of.
I’m still dumbfounded by how bad the reviews for this one have been, because I found this sequel to be a much more enjoyable horror comedy romp than the original.
In fact, it’s made even better by the ending, which was probably only tacked on in order to make room for a very much expected cameo, especially considering that everyone else from the original movie (even the supposedly dead ones) are reunited in this movie.
It more or less repeats the first film’s plot mechanics, down to the exact motivation for the bad guys, only it’s set in a world where the hero is now a teenager.
Where I think it trumps the original is in the execution of its tone, which straddles the line between horror comedy and teen movie very nicely, resulting in a hugely entertaining ride from beginning to end.
Hitting VOD and digital platforms in the US in early September, this British horror flick starring Maisie Williams from Game Of Thrones has probably flown under the radar for most people.
But this very knowing retread of Don’t Breathe is actually a whole lot of gory, blood splattered fun as debuting writer-director Julius Berg has a field day toying with audience expectations, even if we know going in that this is going to be a reversed home-invasion thriller a la the aforementioned Don’t Breathe, where the would-be terrorizers suddenly find themselves terrorized by their “victims.”
Focusing on a group of British youths breaking into an old couple’s mansion looking for what they believe to be a huge pile of cash in a safe hidden somewhere in the house, they of course found more than they bargained for when it slowly dawns on them (and the audience) that there might be more to the old couple than meets the eye.
Seasoned horror fans will probably see the film’s “twist” a mile away, but it doesn’t take away from any of the fun to be had when the two parties clash, with Berg not afraid to shy away from visceral shocks and over the top violence to keep the audience glued to their seats.
Not a horror great, obviously, but a very solid 90-minute watch nonetheless.
Directed by Brandon Christensen (who made his feature film directing debut with Still/Born) and co-written with Colin Minihan (one half of The Vicious Brothers, who gave us Grave Encounters, Extraterrestrial and It Stains The Sands Red), it’s actually quite a surprise that Z has somehow made its way into Malaysian cinemas this week, especially since it has already made its debut on Shudder and made its way onto home video already in the US a few months back.
But since it’s here now, I might as well give a heads up to all you dear readers out there, because this is another solid entry in the increasingly crowded “child in peril and only mom seems to realise, but wait, there might be a twist somewhere” sub-genre of modern horror films made popular by the likes of The Babadook and Hereditary.
In Z, the threat of danger comes from Z, the child’s so-called imaginary friend.
Things begin innocently enough, of course, with creepier and creepier escalations carefully managed and staged by the filmmakers, leading to some truly horrific moments that will make you gasp or at least squeal with shock.
There are two big plot twists here, both excellently taking the film to fresher directions than we might have anticipated before, but the real joy of this film is in how good the jolts and scares are.
Check this out in the cinema if you can, I’m sure the jump scares will be even more fun with the added value of a nice and loud sound system.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.