1. an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.

“The children screamed in horror”

Shocktober 2016, Update #1

Hush (2016)  ★★★                                                                                                                                        Directed by Mike Flanagan                                                                                                              

hush_2016_posterIn the most original take on the home invasion horror sub genre, Hush, provides a unique take on a familiar concept. Writer Maddie (Kate Siegel) has moved to a remote cabin in the woods, though her isolated abode quickly becomes threatened when a masked man appears outside. And he wants in. So far, this is a pretty straight forward premise that’s been done a hundred times ad nauseam, but what makes Hush unique is that our protagonist is a deaf mute. Director Mike Flanagan, has handicapped the protagonist before the killer has even been introduced, adding a new and unique level of tension and terror to the film. Flanagan should be commended for his use of Maddie’s deafness as it doesn’t feel exploitive, it’s used creatively and is interwoven into the film in a manner that doesn’t make it feel tacked on.

As Maddie (obviously) doesn’t speak throughout the film, her body language fills the void of her voice, as Kate Siegel gives a stellar performance utilizing her facial expressions and suppressing her terror as the masked man lurks outside her home. My only real complaint of the film is that the unique take aside, the rest of the film follows the standard home invasion formula which follows a predictable beat. That being said, Hush is an easy recommendation for any and all fans of horror who are looking for a unique take on the sub genre.

Chernobyl Diaries (2015) ★                                                                                                             Directed by Brad Parker

chernobyl_diaries_ver2To its credit, Chernobyl Diaries has a solid premise. Tourists backpacking through Russia decide to sign up for Yuri’s (yes, Yuri) ultimate back packing experience, promising to take them on a tour of the abandoned city of Chernobyl, a town exposed to radiation during a power planet melt down in the 1970’s. You know, an ideal location for a stroll. Soon after arriving, the group is attacked by something other than the Russian wild life, and the group attempts to gather parts to fix their recently disabled van. Seeing the result of radiation fallout makes for a cool idea, but the film fails to capitalize on it in a meaningful way. While not being a found footage style horror film, the director bizarrely decided to adopt the standard shaky camera of a found footage film. Obscuring the audiences view of the things pursuing our  protagonists forrrrr the entire film. Typically, obscuring the audiences view of the monster or antagonist helps to build suspense for the eventual pay off of seeing said monster. In Chernobyl Diaries, the pacing is so painfully dragged out and once the reveal is made, it’s just ridiculous. Apart from terrible, cliched dialogue Chernobyl Diaries isn’t scary. It very much feels like a movie that as a trailer, is tense and suspenseful, but when stretched into an hour and a half film its just a sloppy mess that doesn’t do anything meaningful. At. All. 

Session 9 (2001) ★                                                                                                                               Directed by Brad Anderson

“It certainly is a place…”

I really have no one to blame other than myself for thinking that a movie staring David Caruso could have any redeemable qualities. That, and Session 9 is a made for TV horror movie. Much like Chernobyl Diaries, Session 9 has a pretty solid premise; A cleaning crew has accepted a contract to clean the asbestos out of an old mental asylum before it’s to be sold. About as creepy of a setting as possible, right? It doesn’t take long for the asylum and its secret past to begin to affect members of the cleaning crew, but despite long periods of building tension and suspense in the film it never amounts to anything memorable. This was a movie that didn’t quite know what it wanted to do in terms of its plot, as it hints at various outcomes and instead opts for a messy and rushed conclusion. Lack of acting ability aside, none of the characters are likable or interesting, so it becomes increasingly difficult to care about their fate any more than this mess of a plot did so already. The only redeemable part of this movie is that David Caruso’s greatest contribution to the medium of film has been immortalized for posterities sake [below].