Horror Movies Mini-Reviews, 2018

As part of my immersion into everything Halloween this month, I knew my Spooktober would not be complete without watching a few horror movies. And I kept a record of all them! So today I’m sharing with you a bunch of mini-reviews for horror movies I watched this month (mostly those released in 2018, though a few I’ve been wanting to see for a while).

Since this is a movie genre which seems to be filled with R rated movies, beware that a lot of these movies are very adult (though not all are R rated). If you are adverse to lots of gore and some nudity (though I tend to stay away from horror movies I know contain nudity), stay away from most of these films.

The Toybox (2018)

I have mixed feelings about this horror film. For the most part, it annoyed me. The acting was horrible, the plot seemed predictable, and the director was a bit too fond of shooting every scene from twenty different angles. However, by the end, I will give it to this movie that it was fascinating to watch.

The plot follows a family—grandfather, his two sons, his son’s wife, and his son’s daughter—who buys a camper van to go see the Grand Canyon. On the way, they pick up a brother and sister duo whose car broke down. But quickly they begin to realize this camper is not normal.

So, Spoiler Alert! Pretty much this camper was owned by a serial killer who kidnapped, tortured, and then murdered many young woman before being discovered and shot by police. Apparently, he’s haunting the van now. It’s crazy how he can literally suck bodies into the van and when the next people enter, it is empty. Anyway, the reason the movie is called The Toybox is because the van was literally this murderer’s toybox, filled with his toys (a.k.a. victims). And everybody dies (except for the dog—maybe—who just vanishes)! The concept was really interesting. And it’s the first horror movie I’ve seen which is about a haunted camper van. But still, it fell short.

Verdict: Okay

Suburban Gothic (2014)

I had such high hopes for this movie, as it does star Matthew Gray Gubler (from Criminal Minds) and it’s a horror comedy (I love horror comedies). However, I was really disappointed.

The plot follows Raymond, an eccentric college graduate who can’t find a job and is forced to move back in with his even more eccentric parents. Some of their workers dig up a dead body, which curses the house and people start getting eaten by this darkness.

I did like some of filming style choices, but the jokes were predictable and extremely overused (seriously, how many times could the dad make a Mexican joke without me yawning), the characters were clichéd to a fault, and even the horror aspects weren’t anything to write home about. The idea was interesting but the movie really just fell apart, which was even more disappointing because the cast were all good actors.

Verdict: Bad

Big Legend (2018)

This is one of those movies that had potential, but it really failed to deliver. It revolves around a man and his fiancé who go out camping in the woods. They hear something, the man goes to investigate, and then he hears a scream. When he returns to their tent, his fiancé is gone. A year later, he goes to track down Big Foot, to prove that he wasn’t crazy and find out the truth.

This is clearly not a high budget movie, which doesn’t necessarily make this a bad movie, but it definitely detracted from the experience for me. The camera was super shaky, the music was either non-existent or blaring into your ears, and the story showed potential but never really came through. The acting was awkward, but not horrible, but the action scenes were poorly shot. And the whole, “Join the secret cult which hunts real legends,” ending was pretty horrible. If this movie was supposed to be the beginning of a series, I don’t want anything to do with any sequels. Even Big Foot wasn’t that impressive!

Verdict: Bad

The Limehouse Golem (2016)

I’ve been meaning to watch this movie for a while and while I thought it was equally a mystery and a horror, it does have a scary feel to it. Set in the late Victorian Era, the plot follows Inspector Kildare as he tries to solve the killing spree of a serial killer known as The Limehouse Golem. His clues lead him to Lizzie Cree, a woman on trial for the poisoning of her husband.

The movie is truly interesting to watch. The actors are all brilliant, and the ending completely threw me for a loop. It was the fourth horror movie I watched this month and the first I really enjoyed.

Verdict: Great

The Body Tree (2017)

I have conflicted feelings about this movie. While there were some great scenes and the ending was interesting, the movie had some issues. The plot follows a group of people who travel to Siberia on the one year anniversary of their friend’s death to visit her family, only to find a demon released during a traditional ceremony, possessing each of them at a time until their friend’s real murderer is relieved. If that plot sounds confusing, it’s because it was.

So, there were way too many characters (at least twelve main characters introduced in the first twelve minutes). The acting was mediocre at best and there were way too many side-plots to keep track of when it came to the characters’ backstories. There were, however, some good things about this movie. It doesn’t fall into horror clichés (like a girl runs but she doesn’t trip constantly). The characters are relatively smart. I will say, I did suspect who the true murderer was rather early on, but it was still revealed well. It also lacked a lot of the gruesome gore I’m used to in horror movies, which was nice.

Verdict: Okay

Sleep No More (Oct. 2, 2018)

This movie is about a group of students in the 1980s participating in a sleep deprivation study where they don’t sleep for 200 hours, instead taking a drug to keep them awake. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because it has a slightly similar premise to the Russian Sleep Experiment Creepypasta. However, the two are drastically different.

I went into this movie with very low expectations, especially since the budget seemed low and none of the actors were great. However, I went out of this film really impressed. It examines the philosophy behind sleep and the monsters which feed on our dreams. Why do humans need sleep and what happens if suddenly we don’t need it. It’s a fascinating movie the rarely relied on common horror tropes and if you like psychological horror, this movie is definitely for you.

Verdict: Good

The Dark (Oct. 26, 2018)

This movie was released just this month, and I went into it thinking it would be an entirely different movie. I expected a gory horror movie about a zombie girl living in the forest. However, what I got was a moving drama about an undead girl with a dark past and a blind boy who brings her back to humanity. I will be spoiling the end of the film, so by warned!

The story follows Mina, who was raped and murdered by her mother’s boyfriend when she was a young teen, only to rise from the grave as a zombie and take revenge on those who wronged her. Since then, she’s lived in her now abandoned house alone, feeding on any human that crosses her path. However, when criminal Josef, who is on the run, arrives in a car and she kills him, she finds a young boy in the back of the car. Alex has been kidnapped and blinded by Josef and now the two abused humans find a sense of comradery.

I cannot gush about this movie enough! There is no music, and instead of filmmakers chose to use just organic sound from the scene, which actually adds to the haunting tone. The movie explores the topics of becoming a monster. Mina, after she meets Alex, slowly begins to become human again, which reminded me a lot of Warm Bodies (another zombie movie, though a bit lighter than this one). The acting is amazing, and I was even pleased by the ending. If there is one movie you watch this Halloween, I recommend this one.

Verdict: Great

The Meg (2018)

I have a thing for prehistorical life mixing with the modern world (I cannot get enough of any movie with dinosaurs, even if it’s horribly made). So when I saw the trailer for this movie, which features a prehistoric megalodon, I knew I had to see it! It follows a research team who goes down deep into the sea and awakens this megalodon, and have to destroy it before it kills a lot of people.

It is a good movie, and there were a lot of things that I liked about it. I liked how it was bilingual. Many of the actors where Chinese (including actress Li Bing Bing, who I adore), so it added an interest to the characters to have them from all over the world. The meg itself was impressive, though I will say I was hoping for a bit more when I saw the trailer.

While not strictly horror movie, it definitely has horror elements (a monster from the deep sea, characters being picked off one after another by the monster, etc.). And I liked many of the characters, especially the little girl Meiying, who was adorable! There were also some interesting themes, like the debate throughout the movie about whether they should save the meg or kill it (the same debate that was in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom). It was a fun movie, if you like these types of movies (which I do), but nothing stood out to me as being unique or new.

Verdict: Good

 

So, there were are. You may be surprised that I only watched eight horror movies this month, but I actually rarely watch movies anymore. It’s just not my thing, and it’s even rarer to find me in a movie theater. However, I am glad I finished off this month with two movies I did really enjoy.

What movies did you watch this month? What are your favorite Halloween movies (horror or not)? Also, have you watched any of these films? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more madness and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

16 thoughts on “Horror Movies Mini-Reviews, 2018

  1. I realize this is late, but what are your thoughts on the “found footage” genre of horror movies? I generally don’t go for horror movies either since a lot of the time the plots are not convincing and the characters make stupid decisions, but something about the “cinema verite” style of filmmaking just fascinates me. You could say “found footage” films are a guilty pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not against found footage movies. They can be done quite well, giving a realistic, gritty visual experience. However, I think they are so overused in Hollywood nowadays, as an excuse to make movies cheaply. There is this Spanish film called Rec (2007), which is a found footage horror movie surrounding a zombie outbreak. It’s an amazing film (I haven’t watched the sequels though). However, I’ve also watched a lot of bad found footage horror movies. But I will admit I agree with you, I don’t watch too many horror movies.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rec is definitely one of my more favorite “Found Footage” movies since it actually uses special effects pretty well and it has a very claustrophobic atmosphere. It was remade in America as “Quarantine” which is….okay.

        It is a very cheap way to make films nowadays since you don’t have to hire many actors, don’t need to compose a score, and sometimes don’t even need to use any kind of practical effects. However, that just means it can be a lazy film and still make back plenty of money. Hell, look at the Paranormal Activity franchise. Amazing first film that slowly lost its power the longer it went on.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m not really a fan of Paranormal Activity. The first movie was boring to me, and I didn’t bother watching more. I also saw Quarantine…and I think your ‘okay’ rating was too kind (it was horrible). But I agree that it’s an unique film style that can be interesting if not reused too much.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, in all fairness, it’s not like the subsequent movies were any great shakes either, so you weren’t missing much. I stuck on the franchise to the bitter end and I DEEPLY regret it. And Quarantine may not have been the best remake but it was so much better than its sequel, which ironically did not even use the “found footage” style.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved The Limehouse Golem a lot and I am glad to see you did too. I thought it was a perfect role for Bill Nighy (Kildare). Also, I did not expect the ending at all, was very well-done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I saw MGG and his ex, starring in a movie, I was like, “No way! Not gonna work!” MGG strives to make the most eccentric movies, but most of them are a miss. I think he tries a little too hard sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never seen him in anything but Criminal Minds, but I was certainly disappointed with Suburban Gothic. I agree that he tends to take on more eccentric roles. It’s a pity they aren’t better movies, because he has such an interesting image.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw him in quite a few including ‘500 Days of Summer’, ‘How to Be A Serial Killer’, and ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’. He held his own fairly well in those films.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t remember him in Alvin and the Chipmunks, but I did see that years ago, before I started watching Criminal Minds. I have to go back and rewatch that movie now. I haven’t watch the other two, but I’ll check them out.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. He was Simon (my favorite since childhood) in the live versions. They couldn’t have picked a finer actor for the voice of Simon. If you ever get around to watching it, let me know your thoughts. I tried watching ‘Life After Beth’, but zombies are not my thing and I couldn’t finish it not even for MGG.

            Liked by 1 person

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