12 September 2009

Fall Hits and Misses

Fall Hits and Misses

By Kristin Battestella

It’s that time of year again! Leaves are falling, days are getting shorter-what better time to curl up with a good scary movie? Here are a few must-see masterful horror shows, some passable fun for a Halloween marathon, and several dreadful flicks to avoid. Take this list of semi-recent fearful films for some macabre viewing this autumn. So what if it’s only mid September!


Gabriel- Not horror per se, but this low budget Australian satanic supernatural thriller is surprisingly entertaining. A familiar premise, yes, but the effects are good. The hopeful outcome keeps you interested, and in some ways, Gabriel reminds me a lot of The Crow.

Scream- Spoofed, played, oft-parodied, and perhaps dated-this twist on the slasher genre from master Wes Craven still has it’s share of intelligence, scares, and creative deaths from a fine ensemble cast.

A Haunting In ConnecticutI don’t know why this film is so poorly received. Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen leads a fine cast presenting real life angst and family drama mixed with creepy funeral home baddies. The serious, spiritual nature of this supposedly true story forgives the lack of scares and same old ghost clichés.

The Addams Family (1991)- Based on the witty television series of old; this ooky blockbuster has charm; creeps; and an all-star cast including Angelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, and the late Raul Julia. Even if you’ve seen this one several times on network TV, pop in the DVD again and catch all the jokes, double entrées, and comedy horror. Continue the fun with the lesser, but still decadent Addams Family Values.

Only Half Bad

Dead Silence- Yes, the biggest name here is Marky Mark’s big brother Donnie Wahlberg, but there’s just something creepy and freaky about all those little dolls and puppets in their little suits with their bugging eyes. My mom has all kinds of dolls and bunnies sitting up in little chairs, and this picture has me looking over my shoulder at them!

The Unborn- The Nazi back-story and Jewish mysticism seem like a plug for Madonna and all things Kabbalah, but the premise is unique enough to see to the end. Along the way, you might find a few pieces of The Eye, Mirrors, and every other horror movie with a young girl and a creepy kid; but total originality is tough to come by in recent years.

Mirrors- Another film taken from an Asian horror flick, but director Alexandre Aja adds more investigative mystery and suspense then outright horror. It’s a bit much that it all stems from a creepy hospital like every other horror flick, and that it’s not just mirrors, but even water that causes problems. Though not my favorite, Kiefer Sutherland’s clout keeps this watchable through all the mirror images and reflective surfaces.

Return to House on Haunted Hill – Taking it for what it is-a video direct sequel to a crappy remake- this hunt for an evil statue in said house on haunted hill isn’t that bad. Though not super scary, this quick film has some neat deaths and cool performances from Jeffrey Combs and Steven Pacey.

Urban Legends- Despite the names in the cast, there’s plenty of bad acting in this slasher mystery ode. Thankfully, It’s fun guessing who the killer is and what legend is next. Very entertaining-the first time you see it. Do, however, skip the crappy sequels.


Friday The 13th (2009) - The deaths are numerous, creative, and scary; and there’s plenty of college drugs, booze, and boobs. Unfortunately, there are twenty people in this movie and none of them is a name. Well, the guy from The Sentinel is here, but why should we care? I’m a little tired of all these identical remakes from the same folks. Do something original already! Please, please don’t make a sequel. Let’s just leave one franchise be, okay?

Dark Water- This well acted family drama offers a fine adult cast, but the ghost story and titular water are barely there-and especially not scary. The ending is obvious, too. Another remake of an Asian film about a woman and creepy kids-Connelly’s maturity and John C. Reilly’s wit can’t save this one from itself.

Asylum- Troubled teens being picked off by a mad doctor in a former mental hospital. Too redundant and unoriginal to care.


Anonymous said...

Is it wrong to claim that I actually semi-enjoyed watching the House on Haunted Hill remake starring Geoffrey Rush? I still have not seen the Vincent Price original and I really should get to that as soon as I can.

Kristin Battestella said...

Hi DJ! To each his own, of course. IF you like classics, the original House on Haunted Hill is a must. It's very affordable, too.

Here's the link to our review of both the original and the remake


Kristin Battestella said...

Sugar, here's another link, and I added the Hulu link to the review previously, too.


Kristin Battestella said...

Hey there Horror Folks!

Several of these mini reviews on the fearful and the macabre are also archived at Blood Theatre in their Guide to Gore database!

Check out the entire Guide and a few of my longer reviews here