Films I Saw in September 2020

Films I Saw is a self explanatory monthly column dedicated to cataloging each and every film I saw within that month. Each film will be given a grade and a mini review.

Sept. 1—They Came From the Swamp: The Films of William Grefé (2016)

If you’re a fan of “so good, it’s bad” cinema, you’ve probably been exposed to the work of William Grefé without even knowing it. His film Sting of Death is one of the granddaddies of cult cinema. It’s the one with the half-man, half jellyfish monster that just looks like a guy with balloons and trash bags tied to him. It’s hilariously inept, as are the rest of his films. This documentary gives you a good overview of his filmography and provides some interesting tidbits from people who have worked with him, in front of and behind the camera. The best story is definitely the one where William Shatner saved Harold Tanaka from strangulation that he himself almost caused. If you’re interested in the director or are fascinated by do-it-yourself cinema, I say check this one out.

Grade: C+

Sep. 2—An American Pickle (2020)

While nowhere near as good as either, An American Pickle is Seth Rogen’s Uncut Gems or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s the film that shows that Rogen can act and that he’s more than just “that stoner with the laugh.” He was great in films before, like Observe and Report and Steve Jobs but hardly anyone remembers the former and since he wasn’t nominated for the latter (which he should’ve been), everyone forgets he was even in it but I think this will be the one that people will point to as the turning point in his career. The film as a whole is a mess. There are far too many ideas shoved into what is essentially a double fish out of water story but his duo role as a man in the present and a man one hundred years from the past is easily the highlight. It’s not a Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove caliber performance but it’s still convincing enough that I buy both characters as two different people, not just Rogen and Rogen with a funny voice. This is the kind of work I hope he does more of in the future, I just hope he gets tighter scripts to work with.

Grade: C

Sep. 3—Tenet (2020)

Nolan, much like his idol Kubrick, has been criticized for being a cold perfectionist. His detractors often bemoan the lack of heart or an emotional center in his work. Some also label his films as style over substance, claiming that they’re nothing but over-budgeted popcorn films. While I think both criticisms are a bit harsh, I do think there’s a smidgen of truth to them. Nolan has many strengths as a director, he knows how to orchestrate elaborate set pieces and is exceptionally good at scale. All of his films post Insomnia feel huge. He knows how to make big films. And that’s not just because he commands huge budgets. He, like Spielberg and Lean before him, has mastered the art of the epic. But he also has a tendency to get lost within those epics. The Dark Knight Rises was a mess, Interstellar was an ambitious failure that’s nowhere near as meaningful as it thinks it is and Tenet is a James Bond film that’s desperately trying to be more than a James Bond film.

It has all the earmarks of a Bond film: the globetrotting, the maniacal villain, the end of the word plot, and the sci-fi gadgets. The only thing it’s missing is the cool cars and the sexy ladies who inevitably die. It’s 100% a James Bond film but the problem is, it’s way too confusing and convoluted to be a Bond film. The time travel mechanics take forever to get introduced, how they’re used in the third act is poorly communicated and there’s far too little action before that to keep you invested. There’s also a subplot shoehorned in that’s supposed to be emotional or at least heartfelt but was horribly underwritten. I didn’t care about those two characters, so them getting a happy ending meant nothing to me. I think Nolan is a master and I think Tenet has some of his most impressive visuals and set pieces but I also think it has some of his worst writing and characters. This film is him at his best and his worst.

Grade: C

Sep. 4—A Perfect World (1993)

A stripped-down version of Road to Perdition sans the mafia, hitmen, and gangsters, A Perfect World is that film if it solely focused on the relationship between the father and the son. Now in this film, Costner isn’t the boy’s father (he actually kidnaps him) but over the course of the film, a bond grows between them that makes their relationship indistinguishable from that of blood. Costner and that little boy (played by T.J. Lowther) are the heart and soul of the film. They’re so great together, that the film suffers when they’re not onscreen. Every time it cuts to Eastwood and co., I’m marking time till they come back. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even like Costner. I find him boring and vanilla in everything he’s in but here, he’s dynamic and legit frightening. There’s a scene towards the end where he steps past being a charismatic rogue, into a full-blown monster. It’s a chilling scene that has a tremendous performance by Lowther. A Perfect World is a simple little character drama-filled top-notch performances and memorable characters that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

Grade: B

Sep. 5—Blue Monkey (1987)

With a title like Blue Monkey, you’d assume that the monster would be like a shaved chimpanzee or orangutan dyed blue or at the very least, somewhat resemble a blue monkey but nope. It’s a giant bug. You go in expecting a killer monkey movie like Link or Shakma but instead you get an Alien rip-off set at a hospital filled with annoying kids and a checked out Steve Railsback. The monster doesn’t look horrible, so that’s something I guess.

Grade: D+

Sep. 6—The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

A combination of two of my least favorite sub-genres, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is a gothic horror mixed with an Italian Giallo and the results are exactly as dire as that sounds. Both sub-genres have pretty similar pros and cons (both favor ambiance over plot and style over substance and both are usually terribly boring) and while the pros are usually strong enough to overpower the cons with most films, they’re not enough for this one. Mostly because it’s made up of nothing but cons. It’s about 30% The Whip and the Body, 30% Les Diaboliques and 40% boring as fuck. The “kinky” s & m murder stuff isn’t titillating or interesting, the twist-filled plot isn’t shocking or compelling and the kills and characters aren’t good enough to keep you engaged. If it’s trying to be a horror film, it forgot to add in the horror and if it’s a thriller, there ain’t no thrills. Whatever it’s trying to be, it failed.

Grade: F

Sep. 7—Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018)

There isn’t an original bone in Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum. It’s a derivative found footage film filled with stock characters, a plot you’ve seen a million times (a popular Youtube ghost hunting channel decides to investigate one of the “7 scariest haunted places in the world” but soon after they arrive, they quickly realize it earned that reputation in blood, not just screams) and predictable jump scares but when it comes to horror films, originality is overrated. A horror film doesn’t need to do new or unique things to be effective. It just needs to bring the spooks and thrills and I think this film does that and then some. It’s a meat and potatoes type of film, it gives you the goods without any unnecessary frills.

Grade: B

Sep. 8—The Rejuvenator (1988)

A rich actress who has gotten too old for leading roles employs a scientist who is working on a formula for eternal youth. The formula involves withdrawing certain fluids from the human brain. She takes the serum, but its unforeseen side effects turn her into a murderous monster. A slow-moving soap opera disguised as a horror film, The Rejuvenator barely has enough plot to sustain an episode of Tales From the Crypt, let alone an entire movie. There are some great gooey effects but they’re buried under what seems to be endless scenes of an older woman bitching that she isn’t “attractive” anymore and a thirsty scientist trying to lay pipe with said actress. You edit out all of that melodramatic fluff and you’re left with a solid ten-minute horror short.

Grade: D

Sep. 9—TV Junkie (2006)

Rick Kirkham was a reporter for Inside Edition (he’s also the documentarian that appeared in the Tiger King doc who tried to make a show about Joe Exotic) who appeared on a segment called “Inside Adventure”. From the age of 14, he filmed more than 3,000 hours of a video diary; this included footage during his tenure on Inside Edition during which he was addicted to crack cocaine. A slow, sad decline of what looked to be an energetic, entertaining TV personality, TV Junkie shows in real-time what happens when someone’s addictions become more important than everything else. Kirkham is undoubtedly an asshole throughout but there are glimpses of the man he could’ve been if he just fought his disease a little harder. It’s an uncomfortable watch that will make you cringe and will most definitely piss you off but I doubt you’ll see a more honest depiction of addiction.

Grade: C

Sep. 10—Stand and Deliver (1988)

Convinced that his students have potential, a mathematics teacher in a predominately Hispanic school adopts unconventional teaching methods to try and turn gang members and no-hopers into some of the country’s top algebra and calculus students. No matter how by-the-numbers they are, there’s something inherently enjoyable about “based on a true story” films about inner-city teachers. It’s probably the same enjoyment we get from watching underdog sports movies — it’s easy to root for the losers. The people born with a losing hand who continue to play the game even though the odds are against them. They’re stories designed to make you feel good and even the not so good ones do. There’s very little about this film that works outside of its emotional manipulation. There’s Edward James Olmos’ performance, a couple of the subplots, and the last ten minutes. That’s about it but again, since I can’t help but root for these fucking gangbangers, that’s enough.

Grade: C+

Sep. 11—Class of 1984 (1983)

Although the 1980s produced a shit ton of them, the “teens are terrible” genre can actually be traced all the way back to the 1950s. Before there were gangbangers and punks, there were greasers, beatniks, and motorcycle riding outlaws. Brando wore a leather jacket and revved his bike loudly, twenty years after that, hippies were hopped up on the dope, and ten years after that, punks had mohawks and safety pins in their clothes. Every generation is afraid of the one that preceded them. It’s anti teenager propaganda but if young people actually acted the way they did in this film, I could see why they would be.

These teens are fucked up. They have no problem gang-raping women, selling drugs, firebombing property, vandalizing, terrorizing, or even stabbing a young Michael J. Fox. They’re horrible fucking mutants, which makes their ultimate demise all the more satisfying. Since this one of the most mean spirited revenge flicks, it also becomes one of the most cathartic and gratifying ones because you really want to see those kids die and the film delivers.

Grade: C

Sep. 12—Lisa (1989)

Since Lifetime has produced the same kind of melodramatic schlock aimed at women for about forty years now, it’s become synonymous with a very specific type of film. A Lifetime movie has a recognizable look and feel. They’re usually inspired by a true story and almost always involve a woman being abused either physically or mentally by a man. They are the kings of pulpy thrillers aimed at women and it’s a title that’s well earned. They found their target demographic and provided them the same level of enjoyable trash that action and horror fans, which are typically men, have gotten for years. But the keyword there is enjoyable.

Lifetime most definitely makes trash but they’re really good at producing good trash. Lisa is the bad kind of Lifetime trash that makes the network a target of ridicule but the thing is, it’s not even a Lifetime movie. This was directed by Gary Sherman, the director behind Dead & Buried, Raw Meat, and Vice Squad. He’s made fun shit before, so what happened? It has a decent enough set up (a bored young girl randomly calls guys and seduces them but her latest “victim” just so happens to be a local serial killer who kills young girls) but the film does nothing with it. There’s not a single second of tension or suspense nor are there any characters worth caring about. Lisa is so bad, it gives Lifetime movies a bad name and that’s saying something.

Grade: F

Sep. 13—Neon City (1991)

Sometimes the most accurate review is the plot synopsis itself. There’s nothing I can say that will sell this film more than just saying it’s Stagecoach set in the post-apocalypse starring Michael Ironside. If you’re a fan of that sub-genre and/or that actor, you’re already pushing play and if you’re not, there’s literally nothing else about it that’s going to sell you on it. Unless you really really like Vanity. I mean, I guess I could say there are some fun-ish action scenes and there’s at least an attempt at some world building but again, who gives a shit. I either had you at that one sentence elevator pitch or I didn’t.

Grade: D+

Sep. 14—Another Woman (1988)

Marion is a woman who has learned to shield herself from her emotions. She rents an apartment to work undisturbed on her new book, but by some acoustic anomaly, she can hear all that is said in the next apartment in which a psychiatrist holds his office. When she hears a young woman tell that she finds it harder and harder to bear her life, Marion starts to reflect on her own life. After a series of events, she comes to understand how her unemotional attitude towards the people around her affected them and herself.

It’s clear from his work, that Allen pulls inspiration from a number of different sources, from Dostoevsky to Shakespeare to Buster Keaton to Tolstoy. But none have been as transparent as this film. This is his Wild Strawberries. I’m not saying that as a critique or criticism, just a fact. It’s about 85% of the exact same movie. The protagonists (here played by an incredible Gena Rowlands) in both films are both slowly coming to the hard realization that the life they’ve lived, was a fabrication they had created by lying to themselves. They’re both journeys of self-discovery but in the saddest way possible. This is one of Allen’s more serious films (there’s not a laugh to be found anywhere in it) and I would say, the most underrated.

Grade: B

Sep. 15— Big Time (1988)

The best concert films either provide you with the best seat in the house or an intimate look at the band. They could also act as historical artifacts but history is never as important as entertainment. People want to rock out or they want to rock out and also learn a little something about a band they like. This concert film does both of those things but in true Tom Waits fashion, in the most insane way possible. Stitched together from two performances in LA & San Francisco during Waits’ 1987 tour, Big Time is as much a musical art installation as it is a concert film. There are bizarre interludes that involve a variety of odd characters (all played by Waits), a bit of spoken word, and even some stage theatre thrown in too because why the fuck not. This is 90 minutes of a gin-soaked cookie monster singing and waxing poetic about a heroin dealer he once knew in between cigarettes as a bunch of people behind him bang on junkyard instruments. In short, it’s brilliant.

Grade: A

Sep. 16—May (2002)

A film that embraces the lyrical loneliness few horror films bother to tackle, May is a disturbing tale of an odd outsider who’s extreme isolation and rejection eventually lead to a gory nightmare. Bearing the name of its central, horribly sad protagonist, the film is easily carried by Angela Bettis, whose gloomy disposition stands in stark contrast with her character’s ironically sunny name. An outcast since childhood, May was shunned by classmates due to her lazy eye and ignored by her parents because of her weirdness. Never developing basic social cues and having impaired empathy, May has a hard time talking to and connecting with anyone besides her best friend, a porcelain doll.

But she, the doll, doesn’t always give the best advice. Now grown up and striving for some normalcy and companionship, she tries in vain to find a boyfriend (Jeremy Sisto) or a girlfriend (Anna Faris) but with each attempt marred by a constant string of heartbreaks, she decides that the only friend worth having, is the one you make yourself. Deeply disturbing and terribly tragic, May is a sympathetic journey into the mind of a damaged woman who just wants to be loved, at any cost.

Grade: B

Sep. 17—Shutter (2004)

Capturing ghosts with a polaroid camera, is a novel, albeit slightly unoriginal premise (the video game series Fatal Frame had already done it three years earlier) but Shutter still manages to bring new scares to a familiar concept. Although originating from Thailand and not Japan, Shutter is still among the first wave of Asian horror films that surged in the early 00s, and because of this, it’s one of the titles most associated with the “J-Horror” sub-genre. And since it’s one of the progenitors, it can be forgiven for being littered with clichés.

If you’re at all familiar with “J-Horror”, you know that they all involve an undead pale girl with the stringy black hair who uses technology to get revenge on something or someone and Shutter is no different. It replaces a TV with the sink of a photo developing room and a haunted VHS tape with a spooky picture. Originality is not this film’s strong point. What it is good at, however, is creating spine-tingling imagery and effective jump scares. In addition to that, there’s a twisted final reveal that elevates the film past its tropes to deliver a surprisingly disturbing tale of comeuppance and consequences you won’t soon forget.

Grade: B

Sep. 18—The Five Year Engagement (2012)

For a rom-com to be successful, it has to either make you laugh or make you cry. The best ones do both but all of them have to do at least one of those two things. I mean, that’s the genre. Rom-coms are romantic comedies. You would think that would go without saying but somewhere around the Apatow era, rom-coms became bloated, overlong ad-lib fests that neither pull on the heartstrings nor produce even the slightest hint of a chuckle. I was actually into this film for like the first twenty minutes but the longer it went on, the less I liked it, the characters, and everything about it. The film starts to pose an interesting idea, where it asks “can a relationship survive if one of the partners has to sacrifice their happiness for the other” but it doesn’t do anything even remotely interesting with that question. The couple just becomes “comedically” miserable until they separate, only for them to get back together. It’s not funny, it’s barely a love story and it’s way too fucking long.

Grade: D

Sep. 19—The Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957)

There are certain movies that are so beloved by both critics and audiences, that they eventually garner a reputation as the best of the best. They are held in such high esteem that they almost become intimidating. Nobody wants to dislike a classic nor do they want to be the odd man out but it happens. Once you dislike a movie that everyone loves, you turn into Mugatu from Zoolander. You’ll always live in a constant state of befuddlement over its popularity or even worse, think everyone who loves it is taking crazy pills. This is one of my Mugatu movies. I cannot for the life of me understand why it’s considered one of the great films of cinema.

The first 45 minutes consist of nothing but a Japanese general yelling at a high ranking British prisoner of war to command his men to build him a bridge. The prisoner says no, the general punishes him and on and on and on. Then, around the halfway point, the prisoner finally agrees and his men start to build the bridge. Running parallel to that story is a man who escaped the POW camp, being roped into going back with a small group of men to blow the bridge up. The problem with both of these stories is: I don’t care about the prisoner or his goal to make a perfect bridge and I don’t care if it blows up. I’m assuming the prisoner’s strict adherence to his principals being loosey-goosey, is a commentary on the British stiff upper lip but I don’t care. All I see is a guy bitching that he won’t build a bridge, flip-flopping, then flip-flopping again. I really don’t get this film’s appeal.

Grade: C

Sep. 20—Class of 1999 (1990)

In the future year of 1999, youth gang violence is so high, that areas around schools have become “free-fire zones”, areas in which not even the police will venture. When the principal of Kennedy High School decides to rid his school of gangs, a robotics specialist provides him with “tactical education units” that are basically educational Terminators. They’re highly advanced human-like androids that have been programmed to teach and are devastatingly effective at disciplinary problems. After a couple of problem, students go missing, a punk starts to piece together that his teachers are actively trying to kill everyone in the school. Will he be able to convince all the different gangs to stop fighting and to team up to fight these robots or will he get a failing grade….in keeping his head.

Even if you don’t like this movie, there are so many great individual things in it, that it’s impossible to hate it. There’s Stacy Keach’s albino hair, the robot teachers (played by Pam Grier, Patrick Kilpatrick, and John P. Ryan), the soundtrack, Malcolm McDowell, the action-packed last third, and Stacy Keach eating a banana. It’s not a great movie but it’s an amazing movie and if you don’t know what the distinction is, it’s not for you.

Grade: C+

Sep. 21—The Signal (2007)

Released one year after Stephen King’s novel The Cell, The Signal tells a similar story about a mysterious signal transmitted through television, radio, and telephone that when listened or watched, turns the viewer into murderous maniacs, catatonic zombies, or paranoid, delusional lunatics. It’s a crazy premise that’s broken up into three hyperlinked anthology segments. The first is very reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead, the second is a surreal black comedy and the third is a tragic love story. If you’re a fan of all three segments, this is easily the greatest horror anthology due to its legit scares, great performances, and unique humor but if you didn’t like all three segments, there’s no denying its effectiveness at connecting all the stories and creating a riveting apocalypse scenario. Either way, it’s considerably better than The Cell. Sorry King.

Grade: B

Sep. 22—Prison (1987)

Aristotle once said, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and I respectfully disagree because he’s clearly never seen Prison. It doesn’t matter how good the ingredients are, if you don’t know how to properly wrap a burrito, you will always end up with a mess. That’s this film in a nutshell: a whole bunch of amazing individual parts that never come together to make a cohesive whole. It has a great premise (there needs to be more haunted prison movies), a great lead actor (Viggo Mortensen, while underutilized, still gives the best performance in the movie) and a handful of great kills (the melting guy and barb wire deaths are particularly memorable) but it’s weighed down by a molasses-like pace, a boring mythology and paper-thin characters. I’m shocked this was the film that launched Renny Harlin’s career because it should’ve been the thing that ended it.

Grade: F

Sep. 23—A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

A twisty turny puzzle box of family dysfunction, supernatural entities, and weird siblings, A Tale of Two Sisters is a chilling mystery that gets crazier and scarier with each revelation. After a period of hospitalization in a mental institution, a young girl returns home to her family only to be ignored by her father, verbally attacked by her stepmother, and haunted by a ghost. Is she suffering from delusions or is she been gaslit (gaslighted?) by her stepmother. And if its the latter, why? With only her younger sister to help her, she must somehow survive her tormentors, both real, unreal, and potentially imagined, if she is to unravel the truth behind her madness.

As beautiful as it is terrifying, the film perfectly recreates what it would feel like being stuck in a haunted art museum. The cinematography is equally gorgeous and eerie, with each shot designed to either look like a painting or to take your breath away. On top of its visuals and scares and twists (so many twists), the film also deals with trauma, guilt, and other psychological problems. There’s a lot to unpack in this film, just make sure you do it with the lights on.

Grade: B

Sept. 24—Found Footage 3D (2016)

Horror is often criticized for becoming stale and uninspired in recent years and while the last decade clearly proves that statement false, there is a nugget of truth to it, which is certain subgenres have become stale. The horror genre is thriving, with original projects being released all the time (truth be told, you do have to look for them) but some genres within that genre definitely need some new blood. The zombie genre is starting to rot, nostalgia bait movies need to calm down, and found footage is beyond exhausted. Nowadays, in order to stand out from the crowd, a found footage film has to be either exceptionally good or have a great gimmick, and Found Footage 3D is a little of column A and a lot of column B.

Deadset on making the first 3D found footage horror movie, a group of filmmakers eventually find themselves in the first 3D found footage horror movie when an evil entity from their film escapes into their behind-the-scenes footage. Meta as hell and funny to boot, Found Footage 3D will not keep you up all night but it does what it does extremely well which is, being two steps ahead of the audience and delivering one hell of a third act. It’s not good enough to single-handedly bring the genre back to life but it is good enough to easily recommend.

Grade: C

Sep. 25—Jennifer (1978)

Nothing aggravates me more than the legion of stupid assholes who parrot the same thing over and over again every time a remake is announced. It’s the same shit every time– “Hollywood is out of ideas” and “Why can’t they come up with new ideas?” It drives me crazy because none of them say shit when their favorite horror film gets another sequel and because we wouldn’t have a ton of horror gold if it wasn’t for remakes and rip-offs. There’s no Godzilla without The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, no Friday the 13th without Bay of Blood and Halloween, no Orca, Alligator or Piranha without Jaws, no Abby without The Exorcist, and no Jennifer without Carrie.

There’s no point in recapping the plot because the two films are identical but where they differ is in the two girls’ powers. Carrie had psychokinesis, or the ability to move objects with her mind and Jennifer has, well, they don’t have a name for her power. She can manifest snakes. Many snakes. An army of psychic vengeful vipers that she uses to dispatch of everyone who gave her shit. Hollywood doesn’t need new ideas. It just needs fun ones and Jennifer fits the bill.

Grade: B

Sep. 26—Fear(s) of the Dark (2007)

It seems like the creators behind Fear(s) of the Dark went out of their way to be as idiosyncratic as possible. First, they decided to make an anthology film, which went out of vogue years ago, then they decided to be born French, which immediately cuts their audience in half (Americans hate reading subtitles) and then tops it off, they not only animated it but made it black and white. For any other film, that would be enough strikes to kill any interest before watching it (which is probably the case for most considering its relative obscurity) but Fear(s) is more than just its gimmick(s). One segment feels very Junji Ito inspired, another takes cues from Lovecraft and the best one is very Cronenberg-y. Like all anthologies, it’s a bit hit or miss but I can guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it.

Grade: C+

Aug. 27—Demolition High (1996)

Jim Wynorski is a director that never should’ve gotten work outside of the 80s. The video rental boom of that decade afforded directors like him the opportunity to release tons of trash but since some of them like Wynorski had some studio backing, they at least produced fun trash. Remove the demand for content, the desire, and means to make fun popcorn garbage, and all you’re left with is a hack with a camera. Demolition High is what happens when a horribly low rent director gets access to some actors who desperately need work and has a good enough set. It’s Die Hard set in a high school set to the theme of Speed but made by a hack.

Grade: F+

Sep. 28—Among the Living (2014)

A coming of age story in the vein of Stand by Me that slowly turns into a hardcore slasher by the directors of Inside and LivideAmong the Living is easily one of the best slashers since the 80’s heyday. Three kids skip school in order to explore an abandoned film studio lot where they catch sight of a woman being dragged across the lot by a masked man. What follows next is a harrowing tale of survival that’s as nail-bitingly intense as it is horrifically gruesome. A truly insane horror experience—this is the type of film you’d dare your friends to watch when you were a kid.

Grade: C+

Sep. 29—Hell’s Ground (2007)

A Pakistani love letter to American slasher movies, Hell’s Ground is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre but with zombies inexplicably thrown in. Five teens on their way to a rock concert, are diverted by a political protest only to encounter a group of flesh-hungry psychopaths and a family of backwoods killers led by Baby, a burqa-wearing maniac who brandishes a giant medieval flail. Filled with every cliche and trope you can think of, the film gleefully embraces the campy elements of Hollywood slashers. It knows what it is: a throwback to old-school splatter flicks with cardboard characters whose only purpose is to die violent deaths, a ton of blood, a cool looking villain, and just a pinch of social commentary. The only thing it’s missing is nudity. And a better soundtrack because good god, my ears.

Grade: C

Sep. 30—Another Evil (2016)

If Mark Duplass remade The Cable Guy as a horror-comedy that had way more cringe humor and had 1/12th the budget, the end result would look a lot like Another Evil. The film is much more a character drama than an outright horror but when it’s scary, the film doesn’t fuck around. There’s a scene towards the beginning that does an excellent job of cultivating dread and while it’s certainly effective, it’s not terrifying enough to carry you through to the end but the chemistry between the two leads and a couple of spook encounters sprinkled throughout, definitely do. If you approach it with the right mindset, e.g., not expecting a ton of scares or non-stop jokes and go in knowing the humor it does have is purposefully awkward and the pace is deliberately slow, your odds of enjoying it will be much higher.

Grade: C+

What did you watch last month?

Author: Sailor Monsoon

I stab.