Horror Movies I’ve Watched on Netflix Instant Recently
I have something like 500 movies I haven’t seen in my collection that I wouldn’t have to watch streaming, but, due to having 500 movies and not remembering what half of them are, I’ve found it easier, as of late, to just log onto Netflix & watch whatever horror movies are available on Instant Play that fit the following criteria:
1) I haven’t seen it
2) Isn’t direct to video dreck
3) Looks relatively interesting
Here’s what I’ve watched over the last two weeks, in reverse chronological order.
This is a Spanish found-footage film that takes place in Sitges, which is notable in my non-linear headspace if only for the fact that it’s where a seminal Fantastic Film Festival is regularly held. We’re introduced to obnoxious teenage siblings who film everything because they consider themselves investigators of urban legends. They go on vacation to an old house that happens to be next to a giant labyrinth constructed of unkempt bushes. Shit starts to go wrong when their dog disappears and they find its dead body dragged through the labyrinth and dumped into a well. Mom and Dad have repeatedly told the kids to not go into the labyrinth without providing any reason as to why, so of course the kids spend every day in there. After doggie dies right after Dad goes back to Madrid “to the office,” lil brother disappears in the middle of the night. Mom freaks out and goes after him, into the labyrinth, and brother and sister follow, camera in tow, until horrible shit happens to everyone. The ending is totally fucking stupid, in a way, because it’s not given enough weight to actually float through the imagination (although, it seems like the version on Netflix is 7 minutes shorter than the full run-time, and I don’t think that’s due to PAL/NTSC conversion speed-up as there seems to be a scene missing from the end, so who knows if that would contextualize more). It’s a decently creepy “handheld horror” movie in the vein of Paranormal Activity and the like. Worth watching.
WHITE: MELODY OF DEATH
dir. Gok & Sun Kim
This is a somewhat strange movie, following a K-Pop group on their attempt at fame–they move into a studio that is, more or less, haunted. The leader finds a VHS tape of a pop song from 11 years ago that the group decides to steal, and when they do, crazy shit starts happening. A somewhat effective ghost story, this Korean film occasionally becomes somewhat confusing due to less than desirable subtitles. The music is also never really all the way there until the end, when our protagonist who has basically “turned evil” goes solo. The mystery is solved at the last minute, but of course it’s too late. What I often find most interesting in Asian horror (and other horror films, but really I feel like it happens most in Asian horror) is that there is a mystery to be solved–there’s always an entire narrative behind the supernatural events that are occurring, and the only solution to the problems that these events are causing seems to be discovering the origin to more or less set the ghosts free (see the original Ring for a great example of this). The narrative here is fascinating in that the mystery is solved via obliquely cutting and pasting parts from the found music video, reversing segments to uncover secret messages, dividing sound to discover the vocals of the song are doubled (by the ghost no less!).
In ways another combinatory effort between The Abyss and The Thing, this feature from 1989 earns its enjoyment points from the delightfully perverse tentacles and gloopy flesh melding special effects for its parasitic monster that attaches itself to a crew via Daniel Stern’s drinking vodka out of a flask recovered from a sunken Russian submarine. There’re other things going on, of course, but the sloopy gloopy wiggly nature of the violence touches upon the body in a way that is sexual and gross, visceral always. Plus, it takes place entirely underwater, which is always something I’m into. Another weird ending where the monster basically surfaces and then suddenly is really easy to kill, but ultimately this made me think of both Event Horizon and how horny weird appendages make me feel so overall it gets two thumbs up.
Okay, so this movie is awesome and part of that awesomeness comes via context. In the morning, while I was at work, my boss was asking me about Chicago’s Field Museum, of which I had little to say since I haven’t been there since I was about 10 (more context: in any city not in the Midwest, no one has heard of anywhere in Illinois other than Chicago, so if you are from Illinois they ask you about Chicago–of course, before I moved I spent seven years living 40 miles from Chicago so I can often answer these questions). I went home and randomly decided upon this movie because I like monsters and the late-90s. I was gleefully excited that this movie was set in the Field Museum after I had fielded (haha) questions about it earlier in the day. As for the movie itself, it’s part of that weird subgenre of sci-horror-hollywood films which means it has a budget and actors you’ve probably heard of in it. It’s great, really, described by some reviewers as “Alien in a museum,” but it’s a lot of fun. Also Tom Sizemore is a weird police lead. I would probably watch this again. OH ALSO: great scenes of rich people that die because their heads are up their own asses and they’re way too privileged. Oh yeah, and also this is based on a book that I’m sure is horrible but maybe isn’t who knows.
What I thought would end up being a fairly typical–if well-polished–handheld camera/paranomal investigators movie ended up being, real talk, really fucking weird. I mean, ultimately it falls into all of the normal traps, but it pulls them off well. Weird, spooky shit happens, technology is either unable to record the spooky shit or–if it does manage–mysteriously gets erased. Effective moments of tension that are weirdly amped up by the father-daughter relationship that really feels like it’s established to lead to an epiphany of child-abuse by the father that somehow both family members have repressed underneath the mother’s death (spoiler: it doesn’t) make the movie really-fucking-tense. Everybody is kind of an awful person in this movie–the young son gets picked up by his grandfather and the grandfather is basically really pissed about it–despite all the shit that has happened. The reveal at the end, at least the narrative of the “ghost” is honestly unique while also being impenetrable, which is what made this work so well.
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Anyway, I guess I’ll stop there because that’s the nice round number of five. Hope you enjoyed, etc.