Dear friend,

in some periods, you might not be in the right mood, as everything you try seems to go wrong, and this also affects the time of day you’d like to relax and enjoy a good movie. So I have the impression that my assessment of the films I watched this week, some of which are known masterpieces, was conditioned by my overall feelings.

  • Fall external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Scott Mann, US, 2022: this film had relatively positive reviews, so I decided to give it a chance. The problem is, the premise of the film sounded to me like the exact mirror idea of the premise of a different (and much praised) horror film. And that’s ok, but it becomes less ok when most of the story beats of that other movie are replicated in this one. So when the ‘surprises’ come, they really are not surprising. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Wild Strawberries / Smultronstället external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1957: I know, this is a known masterpiece, but… I guess this is not the right year for me to objectively appreciate a Christmas Carol-ish story of introspection and regret and longing for youth. Sorry, Professor Borg. ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Tom McLoughlin, US, 1986: the one where Jason is brought back to life by lightning, and it’s all the fault of Tommy Jarvis (who has yet another face). I guess that it’s with this film that finally Jason becomes the hero and main attraction of the films, and everything else is played as a joke. I know this is one of the favourite episodes for many people, but I found it idiotic, marred by the worst acting in a series that never lacked awful acting, and honestly, two days after watching it, I had forgotten everything about it. On the plus side, finally there are some kids at this summer camp. ⭐️½

  • Godzilla / ゴジラ external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Ishirō Honda, Japan, 1954: another great film that was a bit too serious for me to enjoy. I must give it another chance at some point, when I hopefully manage to find a version with better definition. ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

  • The Strangers: Chapter 1 external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Renny Harlin, US, 2024: everybody except Renny Harlin was wondering whether we really needed a reboot of Bryan Bertino’s 2008 The Strangers, and after watching the film, everybody is convinced that no, we didn’t. But I’m open to being proven wrong by the next two chapters, which should be released relatively soon. This first one is basically a (worse) remake of the original film, and I have the impression that the only reason for it is to lay the groundwork for a substantial change in the mythology of the masked trio: we have seen what we already knew, next time we will see something new. But maybe I’m clinging too much to the mid-credit scene. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Ghostwatch external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Lesley Manning, UK, 1992: I had heard before about this BBC horror mockumentary that apparently caused a mass panic during its first and only airing on Halloween 1992, and since many reviews of Last Night with the Devil mentioned it, I decided it was time to watch it. Basically, it’s a ’live’ (actually pre-taped) TV ghost reportage with familiar and well-respected BBC hosts playing themselves, heavily borrowing events from the accounts of the Enfield Poltergeist external link to Wikipedia . It didn’t disappoint, with its casual ghost-hunting atmosphere slowly turning into something much more sinister, and almost subliminal appearances of a malicious entity. Hugely influential for what came later: it’s not clear whether The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity were actually inspired by it (it feels like they did), but its effect is clear on many recent horror mockumentaries, such as Lake Mungo and Death of a Vlogger. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Clue external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Jonathan Lynn, US, 1985: a lot of familiar faces (Christopher Lloyd! Michael McKean!) and a phenomenal Tim Curry, but this comedy sprinkles a few good laughs here and there onto a series of long-stretched unfunny interactions between one-dimensional characters and lesser gags repeated over and over again. In some ways, the best possible adaptation of a not particularly exciting board game, but given the ’legendary’ status of this film, I expected much, much more from it. ⭐️⭐️½

This week I also completed a long and sometimes painful watch of a TV series:

  • The Curse external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. created by Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie, US, 2024: two-times Academy Award winner Emma Stone doesn’t need introductions, and I know Benny Safdie as the co-director of Uncut Gems and as an actor in Licorice Pizza, Oppenheimer and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I had absolutely no acquaintance with Nathan Fielder and his quite peculiar comedy style. Honestly, I would have preferred the series to be more focused: I guess it’s good that it has a lot of things to say and that it does that in a non-trivial way, but the main characters are so annoying, and the pace is so slow that it was at times a challenge to continue watching. Plus, I don’t really enjoy cringe comedy. So all I remember now of the first 9 episodes is Emma Stone’s teethful acting. But the last episode is so terrifying that it kept me awake at night like no horror has ever done. ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

So, statistics for the week: 5 horrors (if we count Godzilla and Fall as such), a drama and a comedy, and a series which touches all of those genres; 4 original films and an original series, one sequel, one reboot, an adaptation (from a board game). The Film-of-the-week has to be Ghostwatch.