Horror Cinema Month: Week Three

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You know how I said I’d watch a bunch more horror movies? I may have said something that I could not accomplish. I’m going to attempt to get through a bunch this final week though, because it is when a lot of the classics I have lined up will be seen. I might have to bail on some of the movies I was going to rewatch, as well. However, for now, I did fit in some more modern horror and was pleasantly surprised by how good one of the films ended up being.

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

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Sam Raimi is a fun director, and when it comes to horror, he knows what he is doing. There were interesting things that happened in Drag Me to Hell that would make me say its worth watching, simply for its tweaks on the formula. The thing I instantly realized is how a jump scare was not treated as a way of creating tension out of nothing – it set the viewer up for something to spiral out of control. A jump scare meant that it was too late to turn back and that I was already in the thick of an action scene. My problems with Drag Me to Hell primarily stem from the feeling I got all throughout the film that Raimi was trying too hard. The absurdity of a situation is never left to linger, it just keeps escalating until you stop caring. A lot of the film’s aesthetics and special effects can be attributed to Drag Me to Hell being a B-movie. But it tries too hard to be one, and rarely does anything to make itself interesting.

Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

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And all I could think with this film was that I was going to be disappointed once again. I saw the first film when it came out, and had the common sentiment of “it’s a film about furniture moving”. There is something inherently interesting about showing completely still moments for lengthy periods of time, forcing the viewer to pay attention to minor changes. Paranormal Activity did that, but it felt like the minor changes were enough for the film to stand on. Paranormal Activity 2 is exceptionally well-done in that regard, because it is not just minor changes. There is action occurring regularly, and it makes those moments where little is happening all the more tense. I have plenty of problems with the logic of some characters, but I became intrigued by the lore that was being built upon in the film. Maybe some day I will watch the other sequels. Probably not until next Halloween though.

The Quiet Ones (2014)

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This is one of those movies that I was passively interested in seeing. The trailers weren’t terrible, but they also weren’t very interesting. It just looked like a rather fun time. Unfortunately, the film is not that. In fact, a lot of the film is actually boring. There’s the occasional loud noise that I’m sure would work as a jump scare in a theater setting. But the only interesting thing in The Quiet Ones is Jared Harris’s character (and performance) as a parapsychologist, whose character isn’t too complex, but adds some excitement to an otherwise average premise. There’s some “cultish” stuff that happens in the film, and I kind of enjoyed that, but at the same time, it gets undercut often.

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