I was never going to hate Black Adam as much as other people do. For one, I like Dwayne Johnson. I think he’s an interesting person, he’s got oodles of charisma, and a fun take on what a modern movie star should be. Also, since I still care a lot about comic book super hero movies but — as unlikely as it sounds — don’t care at all about the DCEU or the Black Adam character, I’m just about as easy to please as any thinking person who saw Black Adam. Which… there must have been at least a few of us, right? It’s been the most popular movie in the world two weeks in a row. Early buzz about Black Adam described its titular antihero as a super hero version of Dirty Harry. That sounds cool, right? Unfortunately, what we got was a lot more The Enforcer than Magnum Force. And if you get that reference, hi dad! Hope you’re having a nice day.
Well, Happy Halloween boils and ghouls, as they say (and by “they”, I mean John). As I close out my batch of Shocktober reviews, it seems as though after doing a Blumhouse movie, I also couldn’t go without reviewing an A24 film when talking about the state of modern horror. While I’m not sure Bodies Bodies Bodies is the most typical A24 horror movie, since it’s not nearly as weird as many of their other offerings, it still has the sharp look and off-kilter quirks you’d expect. Also, while it perhaps does play into a lot more traditional tropes than the recent spate of arthouse horror movies that have cropped up over the last few years, it does have its share of unique touches to offer the genre. Continue reading
I have a short attention span, so naturally I love anthology films. “Bored with a story? Don’t worry there’s another on the way!” That’s my motto. I’m also a defender of Found Footage films. Some people say found footage is cheap and nauseating. Which are both valid complaints. Though I appreciate the art form as a storytelling technique. Would a film like The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity be as effective if they weren’t found footage? No. Found Footage works because it takes the fantastic and grounds it in reality.
Since I already railed against X’s title, I feel like I should expand my commentary to this year’s glut of horror movies with minimal, evocative titles. Many of my favorite horror movies this year — Nope, Barbarian, Prey, Morbius (just kidding) — have one word titles. Yet all of them convey much more meaning than that. “Nope” tells you this is going to be a story about a situation you don’t want anything to do with, and that it’s a story about people making mistakes, and it even plays on that trope about characters acting the opposite way audiences believe they would. But no title this year does as much work as Alex Garland’s Men. All it takes is three letters and we all know that this movie wants to say something about our times.
I’m not sure that it has been mentioned yet, but I believe the main reason we ended up going with all 2022 movies for this year’s Shocktober is that it has been a uniquely solid year for horror movies. Not only in terms of the quality of horror films that have been released this year, but also in terms of their viability at the box office in a year when big studio movies are often making a fraction of what it took to make them. The Black Phone very much embodied this, as it made about eight times its budget despite the fact that it doesn’t have a ton to offer that’s groundbreaking or new to its genre. Still, it got decent reviews and it’s a horror movie, which apparently is all it takes to be a hit these days. Fortunately, it’s still a solid little psychological horror film that shakes out to be distinctive and well-made enough to stand out in a fairly crowded year in its genre. Continue reading
Every year (usually in September) Sean, Colin, and I make our picks for Shocktober. This year’s theme was “2022 New Releases.” I picked: The Munsters, Flux Gourmet, Hatching, Pearl and… God, I can’t even remember the last one. My point is apart from Munsters and Pearl I’ve switched up every single selection I started with. My reason is that even newer films keep coming out and replacing my original choices, and it’s just too hard to ignore something shiny and new. In this case, a shiny new pair of dark glasses…
First and foremost, I’m not a fan of titling your movie just “X.” It’s been done. Hell, even making a “X” out of a woman’s crossed legs on the poster has been done. It’s a title that’s not really evocative of anything, since you didn’t even have the confidence to go for a full “XXX.” And it makes your movie harder to search for, especially on older platforms that have character minimums. Won’t somebody think of the SEO optimization! You end up having to google “X (2022)” or “X Ti West” or “X A24” and while those work and are still very few characters to type, it feels sub-optimal in a way that grinds my gears. Anyway, X is all right.