(*homocinematically inclined)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Dearest Review: This is Halloween, Part 2

Continuing our look at the latest fright flicks, all of which are now streaming on Netflix… call it “Netflix and Chill-ers”...

Click here for Part 1.

The Babysitter:
Meet Cole (played by the young Zac Efron-ish Judah Lewis), a nerdish 12-year old whose parents still hire a babysitter when they go out. You’ll understand why he doesn’t mind though when you see Bee (Samara Weaving): she’s every pubescent boy’s dream girl, a total babe who likes playing video games and eating pizza and watching kung fu movies and, most importantly, wants to do all that with him. But what does his incredibly hot babysitter do after he goes to bed? This being a horror film, that would be satanic rituals and virgin sacrifices… and now Bee needs the blood of an innocent. Yep, that would be Cole’s. Charlie’s Angels director McG doesn’t stray far from his usual pop art-y style, but it fits in the heightened reality of this goofy but gory story, a sort of millennial Scream complete with hat tips to scary movies past and an attractive young cast, including the pretty-much-shirtless-the-whole-time Robbie Amell. (7/10) Watch on Netflix.

Abs Fab

Did you know that French veterinary schools attract hordes of fresh-faced students willing to endure weeks of humiliating hazing rituals all so they can learn how to insert their arms up to their shoulders inside a cow’s rectum? No? Well, if Raw is to believed, boy do they, and that is only the beginning of the illogical absurdities piled onto its otherwise intriguing premise. Brainy vegetarian Justine is the newbie who, after being forced to eat rabbit kidneys (ew), develops an overwhelming hankering for raw flesh. Following an unfortunate pubic hair waxing accident that results in her sister’s finger being cut off (seriously), Justine chows down on the severed digit like it’s a chicken wing. But sis doesn’t mind so much because she too is a cannibal (one can surmise at this point that not just an interest in veterinary medicine runs in the family). This is that type of movie where the characters don’t say much to each other merely to keep the plot from unraveling. (3/10) Watch on Netflix.

Justine does have a hot gay/sexually fluid roommate, so at least there’s that.

The Dark Tower aside, this has been a great year for Stephen King film adaptations, what with the huge box office hit It and the following two Netflix originals:

Gerald’s Game:
Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood are Jessie and Gerald, a married couple taking a romantic weekend in the country to reignite the passion in their marriage. To that end Gerald's plan involves a bed, two pairs of handcuffs and a certain blue pill. What he didn’t plan was a fatal heart attack that leaves Jessie helplessly shackled to the solid wood headboard with no one to hear her cries for help… except a hungry stray dog, and perhaps a grim reaper. Upon succumbing to physical and mental exhaustion, Jessie is visited by her inner demons and haunted by a disturbing, life-altering incident from her childhood, her ordeal climaxing with a squirm-inducing act of survival that rivals 127 Hours in its visceral intensity. Director Mike Flanagan maintains a taut tension throughout, notable as the story mainly takes place in one location. But, thanks to her incredible performance, this is Gugino's movie all the way. You feel her pain, fear and, most of all, her will to live. (7/10) Watch on Netflix.

"(Sigh)... I knew I should never had let Gerald read Fifty Shades of Grey... "

The protagonist in Netflix's second King adaptation of the year, Nebraska farmer Wilfred James (Thomas Jane, employing an Ennis Del Mar accent), faces his own demons as well, but these are of his own devising. Sick of him and her life on the farm, his wife wants to sell the land she inherited from her father and move to the Big City. Ol' Wilf don't take too kindly to that idea, so naturally he plots to murder her, and he ain't above manipulating his son to help him do it. A sense of impending doom settles over the story like a fog once the deed is done... and the corpse is buried under a dead cow. This being a King story, such evil doings do not go unpunished, the dead come back to haunt the living (even if it may all just be in their minds), and there are rats... lots and lots of rats. There's nothing really new here, and it ends exactly as expected, but the effective atmosphere and Jane's committed performance make this a ghost story worth retelling. (7/10) Watch on Netflix.

"I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks..."

Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

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