Dear friend,

It has been an all work and no play week, with not even time for a visit to the multiplex, and that is clearly reflected in the constant search for comfort watching - and that means horrors horrors horrors - but also in the not very enthusiastic ratings:

  • The Belko Experiment external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Greg McLean, US, 2016: the writer and director of Wolf Creek helms here a 100% James Gunn script which works like The Office meets Battle Royale. I find John Gallagher Jr. always very pleasant to watch, and the cast includes usual Gunn cast members like Sean Gunn and Michael Rooker, as well as David Dastmalchian. Overall, an interesting - if not extremely original - idea, that soon becomes too straightforward and repetitive. But good enough for a bank holiday afternoon. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Significant Other external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Robert Olsen and Dan Berk, US, 2022: Paramount+ was offering this ‘original’ and I like Maika Monroe so I watched it without realising it was written and directed by the duo responsible for Villains (if I had noticed it before, I would have watched it sooner… Villains was weird). An interesting film, with an intriguing first half, but a weird change of tone later on ruins the atmosphere. Jake Lacy keeps the same energy of ‘adorable insensitive partner’ he had in White Lotus. A few days after watching it, I have no recollection of how it ends… ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by John Carl Buechler, US, 1988: my usual weekly self-punishment in the form of Jason Voorhees reaches chapter seven, also known as Jason Vs Carrie, or The One with Bernie Lomax from Weekend at Bernie’s (why do I remember the name Bernie Lomax from a 1989 film I haven’t even seen? No idea). In line with my usual track of unpopular opinions, this is one of the chapters I enjoyed the most (because it finally does something different). ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • In the Mouth of Madness external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by John Carpenter, US, 1994: I don’t like Carpenter as much as I’m supposed to, but this one - faithful to its title - is so crazy that it mostly won me over. A pastiche of H.P. Lovecraft via Stephen King, it makes little sense in its first half and absolutely no sense in its second one. I feel like the appreciation of this film really depends on what you expect from a film, and the mood you’re in when watching it. For me, at least this time, crazy was good. Sam Neill started seeing/not seeing well before Event Horizon. I recognised Vigo the Carpathian but not Hayden Christensen. And I recognised Hobb’s End as an homage to Quatermass and the Pit . ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

  • It Follows external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by David Robert Mitchell, US, 2014: Significant Other prompted a double dose of Maika Monroe this week, and I’ve wanted to rewatch It Follows since the announcement of the upcoming sequel They Follow. I liked it much more this time, maybe because I have now a better understanding of the horror genre - despite being able to identify how much this film owes to other movies. I gladly found out that I mostly misremembered the part I liked (and still like) the least, i.e. the pool. And this time I appreciated the ending too. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (📈 - 2016: ⭐️⭐️⭐️)

  • Creature from the Black Lagoon external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. by Jack Arnold, US, 1954: ‘homework’ for this season of Evolution of Horror, I didn’t find this entry particularly interesting, aside from it being an inspiration for Guillermo del Toro. Basically it’s King Kong underwater, with no big surprises, and no environmental conscience at all (even the very sensitive leading lady throws a cigarette into the uncontaminated Black Lagoon). The underwater scenes made me think of Thunderball, so it was not a shock to find out that the creature itself, Ricou Browning, ended up directing the final confrontation of the fourth James Bond film. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • The Addams Family external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. by Barry Sonnenfeld, US, 1991: I remember watching this film in cinemas when it was first released, and loving it. Thirty years on, without the sudden realisation that ‘hey, that Uncle Fester is Doc Brown!’ that probably inflated how much seventeen-year-old me liked the film, what I watched is a flawed and inconsistent movie, however blessed by the spirited performance of Raúl Juliá and the really iconic presence of Christina Ricci as Wednesday. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (📉 - 1991: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ )

Statistics: as I mentioned above, these are all horrors except for the ‘goth comedy’ that closed the week. And they are all American films - though two of them are narratively set in South America. Two re-watches. Five original films, a sequel, and an adaptation from a comic strip. Double serving of Maika Monroe. Film-of-the-week is It Follows.