Skip It: Family Blood (2018)

I was just being polite…

Fun: Hard nope

Nope. Hard nope. There’s one or two clever moments but mostly I felt alternately sad and bored watching this.

Scary:  No

Not really. Same as with the Fun category, there are a few good moments, but not enough.

Art: Mostly not.

It wants to be smart and artsy, and there are some lovely shots. A whoooole lot of close-ups that are effective at first but stop being effective through overuse.

The concept of using blighted urban rowhouses as a setting is pretty genius. But, I don’t know, it’s like this movie is trying to be “The Witch” for vampires, but without any compelling story or content.

Bechdel test: Pass

DuVernay test: Fail

Stream It: Would You Rather (2012)

People, we’re playing a game…

Fun: Nah.

Fun is not the word I’d use here. This is a depressing film in a lot of ways. Not least of which is that I’m pretty sure it’s an allegory for our dysfunctional international aid system.

Scary: Yes.

Not a lot of jump scares, and I’ll tell you, there is nothing supernatural about this horror. But horror there is.

Art: In parts.

The acting is probably the strongest part of this movie. John Heard is a genius. Brittany Snow, Enver Gjokaj, Charlie Hofheimer, and Sasha Grey all make this a much better movie than it would be without them. I don’t think this would work with weaker actors – the story isn’t all that compelling on its own. Lawrence Gilliard Jr was underutilized.


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Skip It: Residue (2017)

Fun: No

I am only willing to suspend my disbelief so far. This movie made no sense, and didn’t appear to even be *trying* to make sense. The neo-noir stuff was just awkward. The supposedly hard-boiled detective lead was way more Charlie Day than Humphrey Bogart. Except not hilarious and good at acting like Charlie Day is.

There were a few good moments but a lot of those felt ripped off from John Dies At The End. I might think that mainly because I just saw John Dies At The End for the first time, and loved it, but either way – nothing about Residue feels original.

Scary: Not really

Some creepy moments, but I didn’t care enough about any of the characters to be too worried.

Art: Definitely not

Stream It: Cult of Chucky (2017)

Even though I’d never seen a Child’s Play movie before today, I was terrified of Chucky as a kid – mostly because of the image I’d see on the front of the VHS boxes in the horror movie section of the video store, every time we’d take the family trip to pick out some movies to rent. (We usually went with The Princess Bride.)

So, Cult of Chucky was an appropriate place for me to start, really. It’s all about 80s nostalgia. And it’s a LOT of fun. The ending especially gets many thumbs up.


Yes! There’s a lot of gore. There’s a theme throughout the movie of torture – specifically of people being paralyzed but conscious, unable to stop the horror as they watch it approaching. It’s not only Chucky who’s menacing helpless victims, either…


Yes. Chucky has some funny lines, and the kills and gore are of the fun sort, if you’re into that stuff. Which, as you’re reading this blog, I assume you are.


Yes? This was unexpected, but there are some really cool shots through the film. And Mancini plays with the color red on a level of visual impressionism that I certainly didn’t expect from my first Chucky movie.


Also, guess what?? This horror movie passes both the Bechdel *and* the DuVernay test. Plus it’s not totally heteronormative, either! Does that make up for the horribly inaccurate depictions of mental illness and its treatment? Probably not, but the movie’s about a murderous doll after all, and the relative diversity in cast and story add to Cult of Chucky’s freshness.

Stream It: The Wailing (2016)

Scary: Yes

There are moments of suspense, jump scares, absurdity morphing into horror… The Wailing has it all in the scare department.

Art: Yes

The cinematography is beautiful, although at times a tad dark. Dark as in, I had trouble seeing what was in the shot. But it was still beautiful.

The acting is excellent too, especially Kim Hwan-hee as Hyo-jin and Kwak Do-won as Jong-Goo.

Fun: Yes

Despite the long run time (2:36), I never felt like I was watching filler or wished they would hurry up and end things. The Wailing is a truly *good* film, regardless of genre. And while there are certainly moments of humor, I’d say this is more of a satisfying horror film than a fun one.

Watch it on Netflix? Yes


Stream It: The Hole (2009)

“The hole has been there since the world’s first scream.”

Fun: Yes

Most of the scares are of the “made ya jump” sort, and the movie is short on pure horror. There are some funny little touches, one involving a talking Cartman doll. And Bruce Dern is in it, playing an eccentric old guy, so that’s about five fun points right there.

Fun points deducted for the “this is so stupid, no one would do this” moments, which include older brother Dane leaving younger brother Lucas alone at their clearly haunted house way, way too often.

No spoilers, but the ending bumped the fun factor up a few points.

Art: No

The dialogue is not terrible. Bruce Dern gets most of the best lines, and does them justice, of course.

Chris Massoglia, who plays Dane, is pretty one-note sullen, but that’s how teenage boys are, I guess? Nathan Gamble, who plays Lucas, was impressive.

Scary: Nah

Not that scary, but it’s not trying to be. Think Gremlins 2, which Dante directed.

Dante also directed Gremlins 1, but that movie is scary.


Bechdel test: Pass (barely)

The mother, Susan, and the girl next door, Julie, have a brief exchange about whether Julie wants a snack.

DuVernay test: Fail

There’s an Asian cop with a few lines.