Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Watcher (2022, Chloe Okuno)

Although Watcher is a slow burn, the movie pays off pretty well in the last half and it is a very claustrophobic and intense horror thriller that lets the viewer into the mindset of a woman in a foreign city. Lucky for her she is with her boyfriend, however she is left alone to her own devices while he is working and she wanders Bucharest, all while a serial killer runs amok. Maika Monroe is excellent in role of Julia, who attracts unwanted attention when she looks across at another building’s window from hers. Sure this is very Rear Window to a degree, yet Watcher operates differently from that one. Chloe Okuno does a fine job of showing the viewer what possibly justifiable paranoia feels like, and how women often experience this whenever they go. It’s quite different for a man, and I often think about how I’m fine walking alone in many places, where as women wouldn’t feel this way. That’s too bad, yet that’s often the case.

I’m a little mixed about the finale, and I kind of wondered if maybe things could have played out a bit differently. Maybe the movie couldn’t have had it’s cake and eaten it too, yet that final shot is rather haunting and very effective. I probably should have tried to see this movie in theaters, and I loved those late night scenes that linger in my mind a little. Cities look so beautiful and peaceful at night, yet behind closed doors may lurk unknown horrors or evil that we don’t know about. Horror movies do a great job of bringing that to the forefront, although some times it can make one very fearful and well, paranoid. Shudder has this one, check it out.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Werewolf by Night (2022, Michael Giacchino)

Finally the MCU and Disney went full horror movie, although this one isn’t very scary. No it’s just tons of fun, has some great action scenes and nice humor that works. Werewolf by Night also has a good cast, too, and despite being a tad short the length works here. This is supposed to be a homage to classic Universal Studios horror movies, too, although it is clearly based on Marvel Comics as well.

Gael García Bernal is great in this as the hero, Laura Donnelly is also fantastic, and Harriet Sansom Harris is wonderfully evil. There is a surprise appearance by one Marvel character, and a fight scene that might be one of the best in the whole MCU and which I want to watch again, sooner rather than later.

I would love it if more horror was done in the MCU, and I’m hoping the future Blade project comes to fruition. Whether or not the characters in this one are revisited is for now unlikely, although that remains to be seen. Check this one out if you can, too bad since it’s on Disney+ we are probably unlikely to get this one on physical media. Such is the downside to online viewing these days.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022, David Blue Garcia)

Boy does this movie suck in a new way I didn’t think the franchise could suck. Due to lawsuits and other issues we can’t get sequels to Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but guess what: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise refuses to die. At least Halloween keeps on trucking even if it should probably be done, and of course it won’t be. However that series makes money and gets shown in theaters, TCM gets dumped on Netflix for a valid reason.

I didn’t like any of the characters, if the movie’s goal was to make you root for Leatherface to kill them all, well then mission accomplished. Making them people looking to gentrify a local town and my lack of caring what happens to them goes to an all time high. This movie is gross, sad and offers both sides for politics. Which in the process should piss off both sides cause it’s a bunch of bad stereotypes. You know what? Fuck this movie and this franchise. Bury it deep in a Texas field, for the good of mankind.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents The Munsters (2022, Rob Zombie)

Is Rob Zombie’s latest a good movie? I donno, it made me laugh quite a bit, I wasn’t bored by most of it and the cast makes up for some clearly lesser aspects. I think a solid 7/10 sounds about right, and Zombie doing a TV series revival of the TV series instead of a movie probably would have been a much better idea. Oh well, I’ll take what is offered to me, I guess. I’m not sure this movie deserves the hate it’s getting considering the source material. It’s The Munsters, not The Twilight Zone, people.

Sheri Moon Zombie (of course) and Jeff Daniel Phillips are two monsters who fall in love while her father, played by Daniel Roebuck, shakes his head in disapproval. You also have Sylvester McCoy as the loyal butler, Catherine Schell as the count’s disgruntled ex-wife and even Cassandra Peterson in a nice small part. Richard Brake and Jorge Garcia made me laugh, with Blake as a mad scientist and Garcia as his dimwitted assistant.

Are there some jokes that fall flat? Sure, yet most land well enough and the movie has this odd sense of humor and entertainment that works. It’s very goofy and not particularly high brow. I was amused regardless, which does remind me of the original show from what I recall, so perhaps Zombie channeled it well enough. Netflix picking this up and acting it seems oddly on brand for them, I suppose.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Pearl (2022, Ti West)

It’s a shame that Mia Goth won’t get an Oscar nomination for Pearl considering how the Academy ignores horror movies. Too bad, cause she definitely deserves it. The movie is really good too, maybe even great, yet none of this works without Goth breathing life into Pearl. You sympathize with the character at first, then get freaked out by her, and then you are completely scared by her. This is a brave performance, used in a movie that almost feels like The Wizard of Oz meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only not quite.

Even though this prequel is that rare good one it doesn’t quite address certain questions that both it and X raised, although maybe West just didn’t feel like filling in all the gaps. I do enjoy how he went from covering 1970s indie cinema to classic Hollywood, which is pretty cool. I also cannot wait for the third installment, which will be set in the 1980s. I’m sure that one is going to be just as gory and insane as the other two in the franchise.

Look ma, it’s Pearl!

Horrorfest Presents Day Shift (2022, J. J. Perry)

Day Shift may be a dumb vampire action comedy movie that should have leaned more into supporting unions. Still this is my dumb vampire action comedy, and perhaps I shouldn’t expect a pro union message from a company like Netflix. Jamie Foxx does his best with some weak material that he helps elevate along with Dave Franco. This movie needed more Snoop Dogg, not less, although that is quickly rectified in the final act of the movie.

Karla Souza is actually pretty good as the head vampire Foxx’s hapless character has to deal with. I did like the action scenes in this movie, and I was amused by how the vampire hunters’ covers are day jobs such as pool cleaner or video stereo repairmen. That part doesn’t really get fleshed out enough. I would have loved to have seen more of the universe presented in this flick. Guess they’re saving that for the sequel.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents Barbarian (2022, Zach Cregger)

Funny how horror movies make basements creepy or scary. I never found them to be as such outside of movies, as I’ve spent way too much time hanging out with friends in basements. I used to set up a TV in my parents’ basement so I could watch shows uninterrupted. Both of my grandparents’ old houses had pretty nice basements. Barbarian eagerly goes to work on making you terrified of basements, although Salem’s Lot also comes to mind. In horror movies basements hide deep, evil bleak secrets and unknown terrors lurking, waiting for new victims.

Zach Cregger’s movie begins rather innocently enough with Tess (Georgina Campbell, the movie’s MVP) and Keith (Bill Skarsgård showing us he can play a likable yet still creepy awkward human being) both at the same rental house. This mistake leads the viewer and them into a situation that I will not reveal. You’ll have to just watch the movie yourself, but let me just say this flick is not for the weak hearted or those who don’t regularly watch horror movies. I’m a die hard horror fan and this movie disturbed and freaked me out. It digs under your skin and lingers in your brain long after the end credits finish rolling.


Oh and the movie even throws in Justin Long, just to see if you were still paying attention at that point or not. See this movie in theaters, avoid spoilers and give it a chance. The only thing is I feel some character decisions existed to keep the plot going, but hey that often happens in movies. I can excuse this one for it’s few sins when it delivers this kind of freaky entertainment. Also Barbarian would pair nicely with both It Follows and Don’t Breathe for Detroit horror movies.

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