So, what were the offerings and how do I rank them? Let’s go.
Now to go catch up with week six.
#7 – Nightmare Cinema
Nightmare Cinema is a horror anthology. It’s not my favorite of the anthologies shown during the 61 Days of Halloween so far, nor is it my favorite of the movies shown in week five. The only real segment that felt worth watching was the final segment involving ghosts and a vengeful carjacker. Even with that being said, the segment was still a bit of a mess. The shorts are presented as films in a purgatoryesque movie theater where they are being shown their sins or whatever. The whole project feels like it is more of a failed horror anthology television show than a cohesive anthology film.
It’s not great.
#6 – The Lift
This horror film from the Netherlands, The Lift, is a little bit goofy and not written well, but still pretty fun. You’d be surprised how many ways an elevator can kill people. Well, there’s really only two or three… but they sure are fun to watch. The movie follows an elevator technician who discovers a computerized menace that has caused an elevator to become homicidal.
Honestly, it sounds like a standup bit, I know, but it’s worth seeing for the novelty of the elevator killing people. The story around it is kind of terrible, including the awful subplot about adultery, but you gotta take the bad (poor writing) with the good (elevator murder).
#5 – Dead and Buried
What happens when you get Dan O’Bannon as your screenwriter about two years after Alien? You get this delightful little seaside horror tale called Dead & Buried. The movie, dated to 1981, feels like it is firmly planted in the storytelling and aesthetics of the late 1970s, but it isn’t a terrible thing, either. The film is very modest in budget and means, telling a limited tale about disappearing strangers in a seaside community and a mortician who seems to know more than he lets on. It also has a rather fun twist ending which, ultimately isn’t that shocking, but has a fun reveal regardless.
All in all, a surprisingly fun like slice of horror. Plus, a surprising appearance by a pre-Freddy Robert Englund.
#4 – The Mimic
K-Horror has been a big feature of Shudder’s 61 Days of Halloween and as a whole, they’ve largely worked as good Halloween flicks for the event. They also come off as surprisingly worldly. The Mimic is a good example of this.
Based on a Korean folktale about the Tiger of Jangsan, the film follows a family, struggling with the loss of a child, under assault by the supernatural entity. The film plays a bit with themes of isolation quite well, and it really ratchets up the tension inherent of the Tiger’s ability: it mimics voices to lure the unsuspecting. The film has some generally creepy moments and while it has some culturally-specific moments, anyone should be able to dive in and enjoy it. Overall, a solid pick.
#3 – Daniel Isn’t Real
Daniel Isn’t Real was one of the first Shudder exclusives I had heard of, but never got around to seeing. Thankfully I finally sat down to watch it and it turned out to be one of my favorite films of the week.
The movie follows a young man from a family troubled by mental illness who develops an imaginary friend as a child, who is not so imaginary back then, or now, when he resurfaces. The film is pretty stylish and presents some creepy moments involving possessions and influence. It’s particularly tense to watch if you cringe easily at people doing things against the will and hurting people in their lives.
The film also has the unique bonus of starring sons of major Hollywood figures: Miles Robbins, son of Tim Robbins, plays the protagonist, Luke, while Patrick Schwarzenegger plays the titular Daniel. I should not need to explain who Patrick’s father is…
#2 – Scare Me
We arrive at another Shudder exclusive that was surprisingly fun and an example of some of the more unique horror-comedy offerings on the service. Scare Me is a fun little film that follows two writers telling scary stories that grow increasingly personal until the early hours of the morning. There is a kind of manic improvisational energy to the whole thing, and while it is light on scares, ends up being a fun diversion for an October night.
You can read a more in-depth review of Scare Me here at Haunted MTL.
#1 – Wake Wood
Wake Wood surprised me. I had not heard of it before and I was pleasantly surprised to see the logo for Hammer Films pop up as I sat down to watch. Hammer Films’ recent resurgence has been fun to witness. The movie is a throwback to 1970s rural village horror and as a whole, it is quite fun. I could see this being made back in 1976 or so and turning out quite well.
The film itself is effective, carried largely by the performances of Aiden Gillen and Eva Birthistle as parents who strike a deal to bring their dead daughter back to life for three days. Unfortunately, secrets are kept and this deal goes south, as one would expect from a horror film. It just feels like a deliberately small-scale throwback and I really enjoyed it.
So those are the films of week five, ranked. What do you think? Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments.
As for the lineup for the rest of the month, Shudder has us covered.