Archives for posts with tag: horror movies

Most horror flicks live in the tight confines of a long night, or 24 hours, or a weekend. There’s significant passage of time in “Gone in the Night” (2022), which is both interesting and annoying. Interesting, because it hints there might be an actual story beyond the gory instant gratification of typical horror. Annoying because we keep jumping between the present and flashbacks, which is cliche camouflage that the actual story sucks. Middle-aged Winona Ryder, confronted with her mousy, mediocre existence and a twisted alternative, must find a solution to the ultimate dilemma. We’re left wondering, and rolling our eyes.

The supernatural is weak mortar to fill cracks in a film’s plot. That being said, everything else about “The Black Phone” (2022) is so stylishly done, I’ll grant some willing suspension of disbelief. This low-ceiling horror film leans into its late 1970s Denver setting, so much so it sometimes seems the set decorator and costumer are bragging. Meanwhile, kids are disappearing. The Grabber gains schoolyard-myth status as the suspect. Our protagonist is in the crosshairs. Earnestly sold clairvoyance and paranormal activity begin to intervene, but young heroes Madeleine McGraw and Mason Thames prevent the story’s potential undoing through heartfelt performances.

When “Scanners” debuted in 1981, it was quite the talk of the schoolyard. “My big brother’s girlfriend’s cousin went to a midnight showing! A guy’s head really blows up! This girl at the theater ran out screaming!” Lord knows my mom would never let me see a weirdo Canadian horror film like that. When I finally viewed it decades later, I wish I’d seen it when I was 15. Corporate-weaponized mind readers (who somehow never know when someone’s sneaking up on them) trying to blow each other’s brains out (so to speak) required a little too much suspension of disbelief.