Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987, Directed by Chuck Russell) English 7

Starring Patricia Arquette, Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Craig Wasson, Laurence Fishburne, Rodney Eastman, Jennifer Rubin

Case File 032: Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)  - 27th Letter Productions

(7-Very Good Film)

Imaginative. Gory. Effective.

Kristen Parker: The man in my dreams… he’s real, isn’t he?

Nancy Thompson: He’s real.

Freddy Krueger, vengeful pedophile and horror icon, is back for more in his third outing, Dream Warriors, in my opinion, his best. He’s terrorizing a group of teenagers who’ve all been admitted to a local psychiatric hospital to deal with their apparent suicidal tendencies. None of the adults or doctors really believe their stories about a boogeyman stalking them in their sleep. Finally, Nancy Thompson (Langenkamp), survivor of the first film enters the picture and convinces the head doctor, Neil Gordon (Wasson), to take Freddy Krueger seriously. No, this movie is not particularly scary or thrilling or suspenseful (by this point, Krueger could just as easily be a comedy icon) but it more than compensates with its insanely grotesque effects and imagery that spring up from the Krueger-induced nightmares.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(1,100)

Spiral (2021, Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman) English 5

Starring Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Marisol Nichols, Max Minghella, Dan Petronijevic, Patrick McManus

Spiral Director Explains Why Chris Rock's Movie Doesn't Have Iconic Saw  Characters Like Jigsaw's Puppet - ePrimeFeed

(5-Okay Film)

Mediocre. Grisly. Ineffective.

Det. Zeke Banks: Whoever did this has another motive – they’re targeting cops.

Hoping to reboot the lucrative Saw franchise, this film, instead, feels like a gorier, less impactful version of David Fincher’s Seven. Chris Rock plays the lead-in one of the few fresh ideas this film has-playing Detective Zeke Banks, son of legendary former police chief, Marcus Banks (Jackson). There’s a killer on the loose, targeting cops- dirty cops, to be exact-and it’s up to Zeke to catch the psycho, along with his new partner, William (Minghella). The point of a reboot is to bring new life to an old idea. That typically means having a host of new ideas. Spiral may be unlike previous Saw movies but it’s not unlike any of the cops-hunting-killers films that have come before. It’s riddled with clichés. Zeke doesn’t get along with partners. He lives in his dad’s shadow. And a few others. Spiral’s just more violent than most police procedurals. Not surprising or exciting enough to make much of an impression. It will most likely be remembered as an outlier in Chris Rock’s career rather than a film that people like.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(1,080)

Army of the Dead (2021, Directed by Zack Snyder) English 5

Starring Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Huma Qureshi, Garret Dillahunt, Samantha Win, Nora Arnezeder, Matthias Schweighöfer, Raúl Castillo Jr.

Zach Snyder's 'Army of the Dead' Gets Netflix Release Date

(5-Okay Film)

Aimless. Exciting. Superficial.

Scott Ward: Think about it. Everything we did. All those people we saved. Look what it got us. But what if, just once, we did something for us?

Scott Ward (Bautista) is chosen by a sinister businessman, Bly Tanaka (Sanada), to retrieve a boatload of money locked in the center of Las Vegas, now decimated by the zombie outbreak. Ward puts together a team, and uses the opportunity to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Kate (Purnell). There are certain things I expect from a decent heist film, one example being a degree of cleverness. Army of the Dead lacks this most conspicuously, but it also lacks nearly every other aspect of a good heist the more I think about it. Promoted as a hybrid zombie-heist flick, Army of the Dead never cares much about its heist. The heist is simply a means of gathering a bunch of cool characters and pitting them against the zombies. Naturally, in traditional survival-horror fashion, they’re picked off one by one. This is mostly a brainless action film, which is perfectly fine (I love action), and there are several solid action scenes with a handful of appealing characters (Notaro, a late addition, stands out), but Army of the Dead is well short of what it promises. The humor and style at the beginning of the picture dries up pretty quickly, and the grim second half fails to deliver any scares.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(1,078)

From Hell (2001, Directed by Albert and Allen Hughes) English 9

Starring Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Robbie Coltrane, Ian Holm, Ian Richardson, Jason Flemyng, Susan Lynch, Joanna Page

From Hell" | Salon.com

(9-Great Film)

Sinister. Gory. Lurid.

Abberline: This ain’t killin’ for profit. This is ritual.

Taking very loose inspiration from Alan Moore’s sensational, dense, intelligent graphic novel, The Hughes Brothers have dumbed down the material significantly. This isn’t a police procedural like the book, nor is it much in the way of character study. It is, instead, a big-budget slasher film with high production values. No wonder Alan Moore, the author, despised it. As for the critics, most of them anyways, who dismissed it, I think they were unfair. Depp plays Scotland Yard Inspector Abberline, as London nears the end of the 19th century, assigned to an unprecedented series of murders orchestrated by “Jack the Ripper.” Along with finding a group of prostitutes to be the killer’s targets, he grows close to one of them, Mary Kelly (Graham), while wading his way through what amounts to an epic conspiracy. The plot and the characters are complex without being especially deep or thoughtful. This is what many might hone in on, but I would call that missing the boat. The setting, atmosphere, performances, and stylish direction make this a superior slasher, a beautiful nightmare.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(1,069)

Eyes Without a Face (1960, Directed by Georges Franju) French 7

Starring Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Édith Scob, François Guérin, Juliette Mayniel, Alexandre Rignault,Béatrice Altariba

Amazon.com: Eyes Without A Face (Aka Les Yeux Sans Visage) Edith Scob 1960  Photo Print (28 x 22): Posters & Prints

(7-Very Good Film)

Grotesque. Uncomfortable. Unique.

Christiane Génessier: My face frightens me. My mask frightens me even more.

I entered this film overconfident, certain that this french “horror film” from sixty years ago couldn’t bother me, couldn’t get under my skin. I was wrong. It follows a physician, Dr. Génessier, earnest and fanatical in the grand tradition of mad doctors from horror fiction. His grown up daughter’s face is horribly disfigured and he’s vowed to restore it to its original beauty. To do this, he resorts to kidnapping and stealing unblemished faces off of unsuspecting women. Eyes Without a Face is a beautiful film in shimmering black and white. It’s also a bizarre fairy tale perverted into an effective horror. What shocked me was the surprisingly graphic surgical scenes. Its a fairly unsurprising narrative that hearkens back to Frankenstein and the novels of H.G Wells, but the imagery is unique and unforgettable.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(1,066)

Scream 4 (2011, Directed by Wes Craven) English 7

Starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Adam Brody, Anthony Anderson, Rory Culkin, Mary McDonnell, Alison Brie, Marley Shelton, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Lucy Hale, Britt Robertson

Classic Craven With A Twist: Scream 4 — Talk Film Society

(7-Very Good Film)

Fun. Clever. Worn.

The Voice: This isn’t a comedy, it’s a horror film. People live, people die and you’d better start running.

Scream returns! A little older, slightly tired. Like most horror sequels, Scream 4 pales in comparison with the original. But Scream is a superior horror franchise and Scream 4, especially compared to the fourth entry in most series, is still pretty good. The freshness is gone, and most of the surprise has dissipated, but the cleverness is still there. Sydney Prescott (Campbell), the series’ final girl, returns to her hometown of Woodsboro, where it all started. Naturally, some new psycho rises up to don the mantle of Ghostface and wreaks havoc on the town’s teenagers. The first film spoofed horror films, the second one spoofed sequels, skip the third film, and then the fourth film spoofed internet culture and fandom. Best of all, Scream 4 gave Wes Craven one last chance to show his flair for horror and gruesome thrills.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(1,043)

Scream 2 (1997, Directed by Wes Craven) English 9

Starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Jamie Kennedy, Jada Pinkett, Laurie Metcalf, Omar Epps, Liev Schreiber, Timothy Olyphant, Jerry O’Connell, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Elise Neal, Duane Martin, Portia De Rossi, Tori Spelling, Luke Wilson, Heather Graham, David Warner

Scream 2' Ending, Explained: Why the Big Twist Makes It a Great Sequel -  Thrillist

(9-Great Film)

Clever. Suspenseful. Worthy.

Randy: There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate – more blood, more gore – *carnage candy*. And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.

“Gorier, sexier, funnier,” Scream 2’s adverts promised. I’d say it delivers. The rare sequel that might even surpass the original, though it’s debatable. Scream 2 moves its surviving characters to college, just about a year after previous events. Survivor and final girl, Sydney Prescott (Campbell), is effected but remarkably functional considering, though an avalanche is coming. A movie version (a movie within a movie) of past tragic events is coming out and two college kids were killed at the premier. It seems someone is at it again. Like its predecessor, Scream 2 is clever about the slasher genre’s limitations while simultaneously delivering on the genre’s tacit promises. Scream 2 isn’t as scary as the first one. I would argue that bigger with more characters and more over-the-top scenarios makes for less tension, but it is funnier and has a handful of incredibly suspenseful scenes (Sydney climbing over the killer to get out of a police car, for example). Also, perhaps as a response to how white the original film was, Scream 2 has an excellent opening scene from the black point-of-view.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(1,038)

Freaky (2020, Directed by Christopher Landon) English 6

Starring Kathryn Newton, Vince Vaughn, Uriah Shelton, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Alan Ruck, Dana Drori, Katie Finneran

One More Trailer for 'Freaky' Body Swap Slasher with Vince Vaughn |  FirstShowing.net

(6-Good Film)

Goofy. Grisly. Entertaining.

Josh: Great. We’re gonna be killed by Murder Barbie.

Body swap comedies are inherently ridiculous and, in past, have been almost exclusively family flicks, Freaky Friday being the template. Freaky is decidedly not a family flick. Teenage outcast, Millie (Newton), is still mourning the loss of her father and trying to stay afloat at a school full of jerks and creeps. Stabbed one night by a local psychopath, known as the Blissfield Butcher (Vaughn), she swaps bodies with the mentally unstable giant. Even with the interesting twist on the body swap premise, much of Freaky functions the same as those previous comedies. Vaughn is now a teenage girl and the once meek Newton is now a single-minded killer. It’s a good setup for its actors to perform and be funny. Freaky basically delivers on that front which makes the over-the-top gore consistently surprising. Freaky isn’t remotely scary, but it is fun and grisly in a memorable way.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(1,036)

The Ghost Breakers (1940, Directed by George Marshall) English 7

Starring Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Anthony Quinn, Willie Best, Paul Lukas, Richard Carlson, Paul Fix, Pedro De Cordoba, Robert Ryan

On DVD, 'Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memories Collection' - The New York Times

(7-Very Good Film)

Fun. Spooky. Well-made.

Larry Lawrence: I don’t mind dying, but I hate the preliminaries.

Apparently, The Cat and the Canary (another horror film starring Bob Hope and Paulette Godard) was such a big hit back in 1939 that the studio rushed out to try and emulate its success. They dusted off an old stage play, one that had been adapted twice before, and made The Ghost Breakers, a wonderful blend of spook house thrills, Hope’s rapid-fire comedy, and his chemistry with Goddard. He plays Larry Lawrence, a crime reporter on the run after a mix-up involving a local underworld bigshot. He stows away with the sympathetic-and beautiful-Mary Carter (Goddard), who has problems of her own. She’s inherited a large estate in Cuba, but the property is haunted. At least, that’s what someone wants her to think. Larry and his sidekick, Alex (Best), help her investigate. Like most of Hope’s early pictures, The Ghost Breakers is a lot of fun. Sadly though, it’s difficult to find in good quality.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(1,034)

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014, Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour) Persian 7

Starring Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Dominic Rains, Rome Shadanloo, Ana Lily Amirpour

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night' Gets Stunning New Trailer - Bloody  Disgusting

(7-Very Good Film)

Cool. Affected. Intriguing.

The Girl: I’m bad.

A film marketed as the first Iranian Vampire Western is sure to be looking for cool points, therefore, it could hardly achieve the effortless cool of an old Steve McQueen flick. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is calculated; the soundtrack, the black and white photography, vampires. It’s a cavalcade of hipster touchstones. That being said, hipsters are people too, and I’m probably one, at my core. This is a hypnotically interesting movie. In a town simply called “Bad City,” corruption and moral decay abound. Arash, a young man with a good heart in a bad situation, meets the Girl (Vand), ominous and beautiful. A vampire, she lurks through town, righteous and violent, much as Clint Eastwood used to in old spaghetti westerns as the Man with No Name. Spaghetti westerns are clearly the biggest influence on this bizarre work; desolate town, sparse dialogue, visual storytelling, moral anti-hero. By its end, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night does what it set out to do. It’s a cool movie.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(1,032)