Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hush (2016)

I miss this blog terribly.  I haven't given it the attention I used to, and thankfully, this year Scream King paid the hosting fees without asking me any questions.  I have been a mom for 18 months now, and it has given me so very much, but it has also taken away.  The horror thing was such a large part of my identity, and when my son came home, there was only room for so many identities, and the main one was "mom."

I still cook, and go to Crossfit, two other passions of mine.  I work full time, and I make time for my marriage.  But lately, I just feel like I'm on a low simmer, like I'm ready to jump out of my skin.  Writing has always been my outlet, and I realized I had really been missing it in my life.  I'm writing a mom blog these days, but it's not the same.  There's a lot of screaming in parenting, but not the fun kind ;)

So, onto Hush.  It has a ridiculously high rating on Netflix, so I'm intrigued.  Tonight I am not in the mood for ghosts and creepy crawlies, so a movie about a deaf woman with a psycho stalker is the perfect fit.  Maddie was not born deaf, but became so due to a sickness in her teen years.  Now she is a novelist living in a quiet rural area with a sassy neighbor.  With a modern twist on "the call is coming from inside the house," she soon realizes she is not alone.

With only the house as the setting for the movie, it manages to build up intensity and dread as the two play a cat and mouse game compounded by the fact that one person cannot hear the other. There is only 15 minutes of dialogue and 5 people in this whole movie, but somehow it manages to stay pretty fast-paced, and the short running time doesn't hurt either.  Maddie (Kate Siegel) is presented as a strong and competent female lead, while the Man (John Gallagher Jr.) is thoroughly creepy and manages to carry the whole storyline with seemingly no motive.  Maddie was able to convey so much emotion without saying a word.

This is also a great movie because it really makes you think of what you would do in that situation.  I live in the city, so I'm not as isolated as the character here, but if someone took away my phone and internet, I honestly do not know how the fuck I would contact anyone of importance or assistance. Smoke signals for Chrissakes?

New release Netflix horror gems are few and far between these days, so we can be very thankful for Hush.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Green Inferno (2013)

It's Tuesday night at Casa de Sambuca.  Scream King is working very late, so much of my evening was spent cooking naan pizzas and watching Power Rangers Jungle Fury.  My son loves Power Rangers in all its iterations, and every time you think you've seen them all, a different one pops up on your Netflix suggestions and you wonder what your life has come to.

Anyway, I've had The Green Inferno on my radar for a while, because come on, Eli Roth, man.  Inspired by movies like Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox, Green Inferno follows a group of college protestors into the Amazon, where they are fighting to protect the rainforests.  Upon arrival in Peru, the group, who assumed they'd just be hugging trees and taking some cell phone videos, see that they are in for a much more dangerous mission.  Justine (Lorena Izzo) is the daughter of a lawyer for United Nations, and quickly realizes that she may have been brought along for protection, due to her political affiliations.  After a run-in with the local militia, they believe they've made it out safely.  But small planes loaded with twenty-somethings and booze aren't always to be trusted, and as we may have expected, there be cannibals lurking in this here jungle.

Now there are no longer actually any cannibalistic tribes left in the Amazon, but regular old tribes wouldn't make for a very exciting movie, now would they?  Things happen as you would expect.  People get locked up in makeshift cages, people get killed, people get eaten for lunch, etc.  There is also this whole female genital mutilation storyline woven in, which is one of the more terrifying parts of the movie.  Additionally, they find out that Alejandro is not what he seems, and his motive is not really saving the rainforests anyway!  So he's probably the only one in this group that deserves to be eaten by cannibals.

Apparently Eli Roth used all real Amazonian tribe people in the movie as actors, and some even worked on the crew.  As for the other actors, he wouldn't even let them audition until they agreed to work in extreme conditions -- brutal heat, no bathrooms and tons of creepy crawlies.

I'm not sure what I was really expecting, but I liked this movie.  Sure, cannibals in the jungle isn't really breaking new ground in the horror genre, but the authenticity behind it really added to a pretty good storyline, some action and good old people-eating.  Although it's no classic like Hostel, Eli Roth fans should check this one out.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Gift (2015)

This movie was categorized as a mystery/thriller but it gave me nightmares so I'm going to go ahead and write about it.  I'll venture to say that while I believe both men and women will really like this movie, I think women will find themselves more scared of it.  Unfortunately we live in a world where women often have to fear men -- whether it be strangers, friends, or even our own partners.  I saw a comedy skit recently (Hannibal Burress, maybe?) about guys not realizing the necessity of having to walk a woman back to their car, because they're not actively afraid of someone attacking them when they're just out and about.  This movie scared me because there's no supernatural aspect to it.  This is something that could literally happen to me or any woman I know.  And that, my friends, is true horror.

This movie has a couple twists and turns and although I'm usually "beware of spoilers," I'd like to not give it away in this post, especially because horror fans may have initially given this movie a pass, you know, with Michael Bluth and all.  Simon and Robin (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) are a young couple getting a fresh start near Simon's hometown somewhere in California.  It's insinuated that they had some problems in their prior home of Chicago that they are hoping to put behind them with this move.

While purchasing furniture and decor, they run into an old classmate of Simon's, Gordo (Joel Edgerton), who Simon cannot immediately place.  But he recalls Gordo as a "weirdo" and while Robin seeks friendship, Simon would just like to move on.  Gordo, as it was, seeks friendship as well. Noting their address from when they spoke to the cashier, he leaves a bottle of wine on their doorstep, prompting a dinner invitation.  Subsequently, the gift deliveries continue.  What seems friendly as first becomes imposing, and then creepy.  Robin becomes increasingly paranoid, and finds herself wary of both Gordo and Simon.

And that's as far I'm going to go before giving anything away, but the only other thing I can say is see this movie now!  It's creepy, well written, flows nicely, and sticks with you.

For the love of horror...

It's no secret that I haven't been keeping up with this blog very well lately.  It's bittersweet when life gets in the way of the personal things you enjoy doing.  We adopted my son about a year ago now, and just celebrated our second Christmas together.  Prior to my son coming home, Sunday afternoons stretched out before me with hours open for horror movies, a few drinks, and the soothing sound of my fingers typing on my MacBook.  Horror conventions were a given -- a guaranteed drunken exciting time with my sister, and a weekend off for my husband. When my son was first home, I could squeeze in a review (if I had the energy) while he was napping.

Now, a year later, my son just turned three and he doesn't take naps anymore.  The lethargic little boy that came home with us is now full of energy and curiosity.  At the moment, I actually am alone.  Yesterday I took him to the museum for a few hours, and today my husband is taking him into Manhattan to give me a break. I ordered a few things online, started a load of laundry, made a drink, and looked at the computer and my endless Netflix queue, both hinting that maybe it's time for another review.

Before my son came home, my blog, and my interest in horror was something that defined me.  Now with so many things that define me -- mom, advocate, wife, financial writer, daughter, cat mom, Crossfitter, friend...I'm finding it harder to accommodate all of the different roles I once filled.  I miss writing, being up to date on horror movies, and discussing them with fellow fans.  I know this is just a phase in my life, and I know that soon enough my son will mellow out and I may have more time to myself.  In the meantime, as a New Year's resolution of sorts, I want to commit to making more time for my hobbies and interests, which can be a challenge when most of your life is spent as MOM. (or Mommy, Mama, Mommmmmyyyyyyyy)

If anyone is still following my blog and checking in, I really appreciate it.  I like to think I have something small to add in the giant world of blood, gore, and destruction.  Rock on, horror lovers.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Seasoning House (2012)

I did a major overhaul of my Netflix instant queue yesterday.  Whereas I used to be able to bang out 6 movies on a lazy weekend, now I'm lucky to get through one or two.  So therefore, I had to cull all the one-star stuff that I used to love to hate.  I've turned the parenting duties over to Scream King for a little while, and first up this afternoon is The Seasoning House, which I've been hearing about.

The Seasoning House is the story of a brothel in the Balkans, which mainly supplies kidnapped prostitutes for military men.  Angel, originally kidnapped to be a prostitute herself, is deemed unattractive due to a large birthmark on her face, however, trustworthy due to the fact that she is a deafmute.  Instead of being killed or abandoned, she is assigned to work for the owner of the brothel, Ivan, cleaning up and drugging the women that work there.

Sadly, women keep dying as the patrons of the brothel are raping and abusing them to an extreme degree.  Angel, who is able to traverse the house through crawlspaces, unbeknownst to the men, befriends Vanya, who communicates with her through sign language.  When she sees the group who brought her into the brothel in the first place, with one of the men violently raping Vanya, she snaps.  This leads to multiple deaths, standoffs and attempted escapes.  The movie ends on a high note, for one person at least.

This isn't a standard horror movie with blood and guts, and there's actually little to no nudity, even with the portrayals of graphic rape.  This isn't one to watch with a six pack and popcorn, but is a well-made thriller nonetheless.