Amityville 2: The Possession (1982)
Wow, not what I was expecting... and not really what I wanted, either. I was never a big fan of the original Amityville Horror movie - only saw it one time and wasn't all that impressed. If it's not too against the horror-lover code to say, I actually prefer the remake much more. This sequel is something totally different, though, and while I was definitely into it at first, it just kept getting weirder and weirder until it went somewhere totally crazy. The family dynamic, for lack of a better term, was not what is usually portrayed in movies like this - the nice, normal family being attacked and corrupted by the evil spirits in the house. The Montellis are comprised of an emotionally and physically abusive father, a mother determined to act like everything is okay, and a brother and sister who are a little too close for comfort. But I still liked them, which was weird. The haunting occurrences are more obvious and exaggerated and the first two-thirds of the movie, while very strange, is fun to watch. However, the excitement level severely falls off in the last third, when the story goes in a direction that doesn't match the first part at all. Meh, didn't care for this one. On to the next.
The Tall Man (2012)Much like his previous film, Martyrs, Pascal Laugier's The Tall Man is a movie that is not what it seems on the outside. It also seems like a movie that is only as powerful the first time around (also like Martyrs) but that is not really a bad thing. The joy of discovery is what I love about movies and this one will keep you guessing and wondering until the reveal. A movie that is thought-provoking, confusing, muddled, and slightly brilliant at the same time, The Tall Man almost put me off at first, but the intrigue was too strong and I just had to finish this movie and find out what happened. The horror fan in me was a little disappointed that the titular "Tall Man" was not some kind of crazy spiritual entity or whatever, but I'll get over it. The idea behind what the Tall Man is and does is not one that I agreed with initially, but it has most certainly made me stop and think about it several times after seeing the movie. Really interesting little flick here, but I don't think it will be to everyone's liking. Jessica Biel is actually pretty good here, so that's a bonus for everyone. Good job, sport!
SPOILER: Check this out, too: After watching the movie, you realize that the big reveal was actually right in front of your face the whole time - on the freaking poster!
The Loved Ones (2009)
Now, here's another movie that gave me a huge slap in the face. The story and characters in the Australian movie The Loved Ones are not particularly original or anything, it was really the overall execution that made this one a standout for me. And even more than that, I was immensely impressed with little Robin McLeavy who gives a pretty stellar performance as Lola - the girl who makes the boy pay for turning her down for a date. Her face is beautiful, and mixed with the pink makeup that matches her pink dress, she's one of the most beautiful villains I've ever seen. She's definitely got daddy issues, which ups the creep factor, even though there was plenty of that going around with the other weird stuff that happens in the movie. The chicken, the drill, the people in the basement, the knives in the feet - this movie went to a lot of places that I didn't think it had the balls to go to. The Loved Ones is not really as shocking as some reviews have made it out to be, but I still think that it is beautifully shot and executed. The sidestory with Jamie, Brent's friend, and the goth girl he takes to prom, Mia, seems unnecessary at first but hopefully viewers catch on to its meaning (and it's relationship to the title of the film). Good movie, see this one!
And dear goodness, do I love that shot in the final scene of Lola all busted up crawling down the street. This one, this one here!:
House of Wax (1953)Now, having Vincent Price in your movie immediately gives you major cool points but you have to have the goods to back up the star. I understand the nostalgia and classic-ness or whatever of House of Wax but it doesn't live up to the reputation. It's a lot of the talky-talky and not enough action, and not nearly enough horror. I mean, hello?! The guy is making wax figures out of actual human corpses, and the characters and the movie itself treat it as something that is not nearly as horrible as it really is. Again, Vincent Price is the man and he's perfect in the role of Henry Jarrod, a wax sculptor who takes his work very seriously, but everybody else pales in comparison and nothing about them is likable or interesting. Paddleboard Man is a close second to Price only because he's awesome. Anyway, I kept waiting for this movie to finally "go there" and do something shocking and interesting, but it never did. It's too comedic at times and doesn't have the real excitement that it needed to make me happy enough. Maybe to audiences back then it was shocking, but it doesn't work today. And, to again risk losing my horror cred, I actually really like the remake - Paris Hilton and all.