WHAT I WATCHED - DECEMBER 6-12 2015:The house move continues so another very quiet movie-watching week.
- "Victim fights back against intruders" is hardly an original theme and one that has been done quite a lot in recent years (The Strangers, You're Next etc etc). But this one has an interesting setting (deserted college campus during holiday break, which reminded me of 1981's The Final Exam), an excellent performance by leading lady Haley Bennett (The Haunting of Molly Hartley) and some decent action and suspense. The killers are also made more interesting with the addition of a mysterious cult element. I recommend this one for fans of man-made horror.
The Den (2013) Netflix
- This one has been on my Netflix list for the longest time, but I recently belatedly read someone's blog entry listing their favourite horror movies of 2013, and this was quite high on the list. So I decided to check it out. First of all, yes, it's "found footage" in that it's completely made up of footage captured on webcams, phones and camcorders. Having spent a great deal of time on Skype (my American girlfriend and I lived in separate countries for a couple of years), I dug the premise of a college student studying online relationships (in this case random interactions on a chat program called The Den). Of course this is a horror movie so things go bad - she pisses off the wrong person online and quickly finds her life being turned upside-down by this "hacker", ultimately leading to a bloody conclusion. What makes this so terrifying is that it's so plausible. If you hate found footage move on, but otherwise this one is highly recommended.
Viking Women and the Sea Serpent (1957) DVD
- This Roger Corman-directed, Samuel Arkoff-produced cheapie has the formal title "The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent"! But either way don't let the name fool you, the sea serpent plays only a small part in proceedings. This is no monster-fest, instead it's a sword-and-sandals "epic" about a group of viking women who go in search of their lost men and must save them from an island of evil warriors. It's only real value is in laughing at the low-budget antics. It also gets points for featuring The Wasp Woman's Susan Cabot in a villainous role.
Stir of Echoes (1999) Netflix- This was my first time seeing this Kevin Bacon movie, which I remember seeing the trailers for back when it came out. I can see why this one didn't do so well - it was released at around the same time as Sixth Sense and covers similar ground (someone who can see dead people). It was just a case of bad timing, because this is actually a good movie. The "hypnotism opens man's mind to seeing ghosts" angle is a good one and while in essence the plot boils down to a whodunnit murder mystery, Bacon's great performance as the family man driven crazy by his "visions" takes it up a notch or two.