“We have to do something”
Stream it on Hulu.
A family of four gathers in their spacious bathroom as a storm rages outside. The teenage daughter (Sierra McCormick) anxiously texts someone who doesn’t respond. His alcoholic father (Pat Healy) is suspicious of who calls his wife (Vinessa Shaw). The little brother (John James Cronin) thinks a “giant tornado” is on the way.
Then the lights go out, and no matter how hard the family push the door to escape, they won’t budge. What happens next is what it looks like when all hell breaks loose inside four walls.
This thrilling and unnerving feature debut from Sean King O’Grady tells a darkly comedic existential tale of a teenage girl’s coming of age and the disintegration of a family by forces beyond her control. As if being trapped in a room with your dysfunctional loved ones wasn’t scary enough, it also brings bloody shocks and surprising death.
“We did something wrong,” the girl tearfully confesses at one point, one of many unexpected twists the film takes as it reveals just how much evil showed up on the doorstep. entry of this family. Make it their bathroom door — it’s on my list of deliciously spooky movies set in the same place.
This new Tubi Original, written and directed by Justin Lee, is a horror movie that isn’t scary and a comedy that isn’t funny at all. He does not know what it is. Me niether.
So why recommend it? Because it’s got a terrific supporting cast, it’s free, it’s just under 90 minutes, and VHS-era horror fans will savor its one-dollar flavors.
Supposedly set in the 80s, the story has something to do with robed cult members terrorizing the small town of Hope Valley. But get a load of who’s in town: Billy “Dead Calm” Zane as a satanic conjurer, Tony “Candyman” Todd as a cool guy with fighting skills, Meg “They Live” Foster as a waitress, and Adrienne Barbeau as — get this – Radio DJ, the same role she so memorably played in “The Fog.”
But it’s Bruce Dern, in an understated role as a cantankerous Vietnam War veteran, who strikes comedy gold. If only the whole movie let Dern go wild, as he does in a brutally funny scene with the exasperated sheriff (Ed Morrone) – a totally off the cuff conversation, I guess – that absurdly implicates Purdue University in hippie evil.
‘Last radio call’
Post it on YouTube.
A documentary crew makes a film about a woman named Sarah (Sarah Froelich) and the unsolved disappearance of her police officer husband, who disappeared while investigating a disturbance at an abandoned Texas hospital. His body camera shows him crawling through dark hallways and encountering a coffin in the chapel. When Sarah comes across additional footage, she suspects that evil hands have taken hold of her husband that night.
This effective mockumentary was written and directed by Isaac Rodriguez, who based it on his highly emotional short film “The Cop Cam.” The actors aren’t compelling as documentary subjects, but your skin will crawl as the film transitions to its unnerving body camera scenes. The ramshackle setting — much of the film was shot in a former hospital in Yorktown, Texas — hits the jackpot for low-budget found footage, and the sound design is killer.
My advice: turn off the lights, put on your headphones and let this movie scare your ears. It’s free on distributor Terror Films’ new horror movie YouTube channel.
It’s 1999 and James (Harry Shum Jr.) is archiving old TV news tapes when he comes across an interview from 1987 that has been interrupted by an unusual video. In it, a macabre robotic masked figure makes aggressive digital noises from an innocuous living room. It turns out that video pirates pirated the programming that year for reasons even the FCC couldn’t uncover, and the dates of the hijacked signals matched those of the missing women.
Five movies to watch this winter
There are also rumors of a third broadcast intrusion around the time James’ own wife went missing. It’s only by digging deeper into his research that James realizes that solving this mystery is his best chance of coming to terms with his grief.
Jacob Gentry’s film is a taut conspiratorial thriller set in the paranoid spirit of “The Parallax View” and, with its geeky analog detective angle, the new Netflix series “Archive 81.” The film gets truly spooky when Gentry assigns it to effects artist Daniel Martin, who is credited with the gruesome and formally sweeping sequences that Gentry says were inspired by a creepypasta video titled “I Feel Fantastic.” They haunt mini-nightmares.
The setting is war-torn 19th-century Spain, and on the isolated family farm, Salvador (Roberto Álamo) hopes to toughen up his young son, Diego (Asier Flores), by telling him about the Beast, an eyeless creature that sees everything. His wife, Lucia (Inma Cuesta), is more emotionally protective of their boy, who would rather peel potatoes than bludgeon a rabbit for food.
When Lucia and Diego are on their own, it’s mom who teaches her son how to stab an intruder to death. That’s a good thing too, since the Beast is focusing.
This popular Spanish horror survival thriller, directed by David Casademunt, is an impassioned riff on “The Babadook” from the perspective of a scared boy. The film’s sweeping vistas and claustrophobic interiors are striking, but the story falters as it focuses on Diego’s survival against an unseen evil. When the creature finally appears, the scariest thing is that it’s big.
The beating heart of the film belongs to Flores, who gives a tender and confident performance as a young protector struggling with an absent father, a paranoid mother, and her harrowing childhood trauma.