NOVEMBER 11 — The Halloween movie season throughout October saw plenty of new horror flicks being released, whether in cinemas or on streaming platforms, especially the horror specific ones like Shudder.
I managed to catch quite a few of these, especially the ones on Shudder since for the last few years I’ve made it a point to always try to catch every single one of the newly released Shudder exclusives, because more often than not they’re at least pretty decent.
Of course, most of these Shudder exclusives will be of the lower budget and indie/foreign language horror variety, so let’s just start with a studio horror picture that played in Malaysian cinemas first, shall we?
Five Nights At Freddy’s
This is a Blumhouse production that’s distributed by Universal Pictures, making it one of the bigger horror titles released this Halloween season.
When you add to that the fact that this film is adapted from a series of very popular video games, you’ll know why expectations were so high for this one, and why a lot of the reviews have been pretty lukewarm or even bad.
I’m not a video game guy, so I’ve no idea what the games are like, but something felt strange the minute I entered the cinema when I saw quite a lot of kids in the hall, accompanied by their parents, of course.
The film’s rated 13 here so kids under 13 can definitely see it with parental guidance. The reason I was so surprised was that I didn’t expect a horror flick based on a video game would be quite as kid-friendly as this.
The premise promises something a lot gorier and violent — a security guard agrees to watch a family-friendly pizzeria and video game arcade that was closed down in the 1980s after some mysterious child disappearances, and a big reason behind those disappearances is a bunch of animatronic animals that are possessed by some evil spirits.
Looking at it like one of those entry-point horror flicks for kids that people very rarely make anymore (like The Monster Squad, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Poltergeist), Five Nights At Freddy’s will definitely scare and delight the young ones, and maybe 15 to 20 years from now, it will be looked at much more fondly than the way it’s being received now.
When Evil Lurks
A Shudder original that’s probably one of the most original horror films of the year, When Evil Lurks confirms the exciting promise of Argentine director Demian Rugna whose previous film Terrified was and still is one of the best horror films in recent memory.
Creating something truly refreshing by mashing up the usual possession flick with an apocalyptic horror movie, the movie centres on two brothers who find that a “rotten” (the movie’s lingo for a possessed person) has been decomposing in a nearby farmhouse.
Rugna parses out information surrounding the movie’s lore in a very piecemeal fashion, designed to slowly make you realise how twisted everything is as the movie goes along, leaving room for the film’s many outstanding shock and awe set-pieces, especially one involving a dog and a little child that will haunt your nightmares for days afterwards.
Evil is contagious in this film, and using guns against the possessed will only make it spread faster, and I’ll leave the rest of the movie’s lore for you to find out.
Personally, it’s not as great as Terrified, but it’s still more than good enough to lay a very strong claim to being one of the year’s finest horror films.
Filled with plenty of unforgettably icky visuals and nerve-wracking set-pieces, this is simply a must-watch if you’re a horror fan. And be warned, don’t watch this while eating.
Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor
When I was busy telling people back in 2016 that Hell House LLC, a low budget found footage film, was one of my favourite horror films of that year, never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that such a humble little film would spawn its own low budget horror franchise.
The second and third film in the franchise weren’t that hot, but who would’ve thought that the fourth film, Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor, might just be the second best, if not the best one yet in the franchise?
Another Shudder original which was released on Halloween day, writer-director and franchise mastermind Stephen Cognetti trades the Abaddon Hotel setting of the first three films for the titular mansion.
Using the same mockumentary format that’s become the trademark of the franchise, the film poses as a documentary investigating two murders that happened at the Carmichael Manor, one in 1989 involving members of the Carmichael family and the other one in the present involving a group of internet detectives who booked to stay at the haunted manor for five nights.
Serving as a prequel, sequel and spinoff all at once, you don’t even need to be a huge fan of found footage films to enjoy this one, as it’s got more than its fair share of expertly staged jump scares and a pretty exciting back story involving, wait for it, evil clowns!
Judging from how good this fourth entry has turned out, I’ve a feeling that we’ll see more of this franchise in the near future.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.