Greetings, friends! I don’t know about you guys, but I think it’s definitely time to talk about some more scary movies. Sound good? Yes? Awesome. I started things off last week by talking about my first trio of movies (read that here), and now I’d like to discuss three more. Unfortunately, I think my opinion about one of these films might ruffle some feathers…but we’ll deal with that in a minute. Let’s get spooky. 🙂
Friday the 13th (1980)
Synopsis: “A group of camp counselors is stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child’s drowning.” –www.imdb.com
Why It’s Terrifically Terrifying: The first time I watched Friday the 13th, I wasn’t exactly blown away. In fact, I kind of wondered how it managed to launch such a long-lasting franchise. But it seems to be considered a classic, so I decided to give it another shot this year. And I think I appreciated it a little more this time around. I still believe that many of the classics that came before (i.e. Halloween) and after it (i.e. A Nightmare on Elm Street) are much better, but Friday the 13th still isn’t a bad little slasher flick. The film could, in fact, be considered a sort of pioneer for the slasher genre, delivering many of the familiar tropes and bloody teen deaths that we’ve all come to expect from this kind of horror. It does what it does pretty well. I guess the biggest problem for me is simply that it doesn’t go beyond that. You’re not really shocked or saddened by anything. Characters die, and you just kind of shrug and think, “Eh. Saw it coming.” There is a surprise with the identity of the killer, but I find that twist kind of sloppy and poorly explained. Probably the best scare is toward the end—and I’m sure any of you who have seen the movie know exactly what I’m referencing. I knew it was coming, but I still jumped. Overall, I’d label this one as “okay.” I think I respect it more for some of the films it inspired, but you could do far worse for a spooky Halloween film.
My Grade: C+
The Mist (2007)
Synopsis: “A freak storm unleashes a species of blood-thirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives.” –www.imdb.com
Why It’s Terrifically Terrifying…or not: Guys, I tried. I tried to give it another chance. But I just do not like The Mist, and I don’t think any number of viewings is going to change that. Why don’t I like it, you may ask? Oh, I don’t know—pick any number of reasons. Could be the terrible mutant bugs. Or the fact that half the characters are either completely unlikeable and/or mindless sheep who follow the person with the biggest mouth. Or the mutant bugs. Or the use of religious fanaticism, which does not at all seem to fit into the 21st century story. Or those damn disgusting bugs. Or the fact that two hours is way too long for this film. OR THE FREAKING HORRIFYING BUGS. Or the ending, which is just so unbelievably depressing that I find myself questioning why I ever decided to give it another chance. Oh, and did I mention the bugs? Guys, I don’t like bugs. I can work with zombies and ghosts and demons and the like, but mutant bugs?! Hell, no. I mean, that scene with the mutant spiders? Ewwwww. Nope. I can’t. No way. If I have to pick a bright spot, I will say that Thomas Jane is pretty great as levelheaded leading man, David. I know a lot of people praise Marcia Gay Harden’s performance as crazy Mrs. Carmody, but the character annoys me so much that I really can’t express the same praise. I see why people like The Mist, but it is so not my cup of tea.
My Grade: D+
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Synopsis: “Tucker & Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids.” –www.imdb.com
Why It’s Terrifically Terrifying: This…this is more like it. I pretty much adored Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. Granted, horror-comedies are almost always up my alley, so the odds were already in its favor. I expected this one to make me laugh—and I laughed quite a lot—but what surprised me was how very clever the film is. Basically, it flips the idea of a horror film on its head, making the “shady” rednecks the innocent victims while the clueless college kids get quite bold and vicious. The truly hilarious part of this film though is that poor Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) always appear to be guilty of these heinous crimes, but they’re purely accidents. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is ultimately a film for horror lovers because, really, they’re the ones who will appreciate the humor the most. I’m sure there are things to pick on in this, but I loved it so much that I have a hard time pinpointing anything. I’ll leave it at this: if you’re in the mood for a Halloween-appropriate movie, but you’d prefer something lighthearted over something super scary, I cannot recommend Tucker and Dale vs. Evil enough.
My Grade: A
Well, one hit, one miss, and one meh isn’t too bad, huh? I do think I found a new favorite in one, so I say yay! 😀 Anyway, have a good weekend, kiddos! Hope you get around to some awesome Halloween movies, too!