Horrorble: Mortdecai

Mortdecai (2015)

I had a lot of options when it came to picking a movie to close out this year’s festivities. I could have done what I usually do and review a bad movie from this year (Serenity was a front-runner, as were two movies I’ve actually seen, Dark Phoenix and Men in Black: International) but this isn’t just any Shocktober, this is the Decade of Death! In honor of the work we put in this month, I decided I wanted to review a bad movie that represented the darkest, bleakest aspects of the 2010s as a whole. Something so horrible only those who lived through this decade would remember it. So what were the bad directions cinema went in over the past 10 years? Well, there were the unnecessary franchise films, so I could have watched something like Dumb and Dumber To. There was the collapse of theatrical comedies, so I could have watched something like Grown Ups. Then there was “cancel culture” and the backlash to it, so I could have watched something unsavory or truly deplorable but quickly decided that was a bad idea.

One film exists in the crossroads of these terrible trends. A brazen, foolish attempt to simultaneously cash in on the goodwill generated by one decaying franchise and the tiniest opportunity of another. A comedy so painfully unfunny that even watching it on Hulu, I still wanted to find a way to get my money back. A film starring a person who was already creatively burnt out and would go on to reveal himself to be so problematic that I remember hearing an audible groan in the audience when he appeared in another movie just a year after this one. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mortdecai.

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Shocktober Day 30: Us

Us (2019)

I can’t believe Us came out this year. The film already feels so ingrained in pop culture. It was parodied on SNL and at the MTV Movie Awards (that’s when you know you’ve made it). It’s hard for me to picture a pre-Us world. The film was a hit and an immediate genre classic. Yet I still hear the conversation of “I liked it BUT…” Now it was a lot to ask for Us to live up to the critical and cultural impact of Get Out. Jordan Peele’s debut carried an easier message to decipher. Though I do believe Us sheds light on important issues as well. That being said, if there’s one advantage Us has over Get Out it’s that it’s scarier. Which is a big deal when you’re talking horror.

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Shocktober Day 29: One Cut of the Dead

One Cut of the Dead (2019)

One Cut of the Dead begins with a single, unbroken, thirty-minute shot of a crew of filmmakers–making a zombie movie–being attacked by real zombies. It’s impressive from a technical standpoint but the story, characters, effects are nothing to write home about. If you went into this film blind you’d think it was another run-of-the-mill zombie b-movie with nothing new to say about the genre. Make it past that 30 minutes and you’d be wrong. It’s rare that a movie takes such a 360 turn but One Cut of the Dead is special. So much so that if you plan on or are interested in seeing this film I recommend you stop reading right here. This movie has a twist. A big one and I’d hate to spoil the gift that is the last 65 minutes of One Cut of the Dead

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Shocktober Day 28: Hereditary

Hereditary (2018)

Looking over the scores on our individual scores on Herditary‘s Letterboxd page, it appears I liked it the most out of the Mildly Pleased crew. Contributor Michael Sevigny gave it the lowest score of all of us and went on to say in his Midsommar entry “Ari Aster’s filmmaking is anathema to me.” Harsh, dude. Why is it that our biggest cinephile was coldest on the film, while our least film-savvy writer (me) liked it the most? I could have just asked, but let’s guess instead.

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Shocktober Day 27: Climax

Climax (2018)

A great poet once said, “Everybody dance now. Dun dun dun dun dun.” Those words have never been truer than in Gaspar Noé’s drug-induced nightmare dance party Climax. Before Climax I had never seen a Gaspar Noe film. I’m too afraid to watch Irreversible and have never been high enough to watch Enter the Void. So with generally positive reviews and a non NC-17 Rating (a rare feat for Noé) Climax seemed like a good entry point. Did it stick the landing?

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The Pick: Goosebumps & Goosebumps 2

Instead of writing another Shocktober post, today I’m putting up our latest episode of The Pick. Keeping with this year’s Shocktober theme, we’re talking about one of the truly immortal horror franchises of the 2010s – Goosebumps! Ok, so maybe it’s less of a horror movie than a wacky comedy that aims to introduce kids to the beats of a horror movie. But either way, we get a lot of Jack Black talk in, both in regards to his weirdly entertaining performance in Goosebumps and the lack of him in Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Also, we manage to fit our ice-cold Joker takes into this jam-packed episode. Continue reading

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Shocktober Day 25: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

Does it make me a basic bitch if I need to engage with a film on its most literal level to enjoy it? Or, to take a step back, is it fair that I need to enjoy a film to like it? The Killing of a Sacred Deer clearly has a lot going on that thoughtful critics can engage with: complicated social criticism, obscure references, deep themes, and deliberate deconstruction of cinematic tropes. But it’s also, for me, a movie that pushes director Yorgos Lanthimos’ stoic style too far. When I hear the phrase “it’s not for everyone,” I always think “I’m not everyone, it must be for me.” But in this case, a deliberately off-putting movie made me too uncomfortable to really like it. And I think that may be my problem, not the movie’s.

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