2018, the Year of Overly Complicated Horror Movies
'A Quiet Place', 'Ghost Stories', and 'Hereditary' Review
Before I get into this, SPOILER ALERT! MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! If you've seen none of these movies, well I can't say I'd recommend watching them, but if you don't want them spoilt then just watch some summary videos on YouTube or watch them before reading.
'A Quiet Place'
I love John Krasinski and Emily Blunt and the concept of the movie was cool. I wasn't incredibly excited or happy whilst seeing it because I was absolutely terrified, but I got dragged by my family so what was a girl to do? So going into the movie, I was just scared, then I watched the movie and I was just uncomfortable. It was insanely quiet. I know it's literally in the title and it does severely add to the creepy-ness but seriously, I literally took about 20 seconds to eat a bit of popcorn because I was scared I was chewing too loudly. I eventually just resorted to sucking the popcorn, it took away the flavour a little, but I didn't ruin anyone else's experience, so that's good. A Quiet Place is a horror film released in 2018 starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. It is based around this family of five in the future when aliens have taken over the earth. These aliens have incredibly sensitive hearing to the point where this family walks around barefoot everywhere, communicate predominantly through sign language, which they all seem to know due to the daughter being deaf. The film opens with this family finding medication in a store, when the youngest son grabs a toy that clearly makes noise off the shelf and tries to take it. The father silently tells him off by taking out the batteries before his sister hands the toy back to him and they leave. The kid then puts the batteries back in and activates it before an alien dives on him and kills him. It's a lovely, intense opening that gives you a feel for the serious danger this family is in. It also frankly causes you to question how they survived this long already. Anyways, we skip forward after that and the family live on a farm. The mother's pregnant, the father's working on a hearing aid for the daughter, the daughter's still blaming herself for her brother's death, and she believes her father blames her for it too, which she is wrong about. Anyways, skip ahead a little, the mother goes into labour and the father asks the son to create a distraction to draw the aliens away. The siblings almost die in a seed storer before they get back to the house to meet their mother, after the father sacrifices himself. The family gather in the basement then discover that high frequencies draw and weaken the aliens. The daughter then turns up the frequency on her hearing aid and connects it to a speaker before the mother grabs a shotgun, then the credits roll. Brief sum up there. There was a lot going on in this movie and it was so quiet that I couldn't really think about it. The concept was interesting and I enjoyed the family but I really didn't understand how they survived so long. Also, the idea that humanity just put up with these aliens with such a blatantly obvious weakness kind of drove me crazy. Why was this family the only ones putting up a fight? It just seemed insane to me. Those are the problems I had with this movie. The plot was too complicated and not very well explained, why were these aliens here? Why were we just putting up with it? How did we discover the hearing thing? It was a complicated idea treated like a simple one and it didn't work for me.
We saw this film purely because we had Cineworld cards and too much time on our hands. None of us were excited about it in the slightest. In fact, I wasn't even sure what we were seeing. And by the end? I still wasn't sure. This film is based around a skeptic investigating three cases that are supposedly going to prove to him that the supernatural truly exists. Once again, interesting concept. The first case is this night worker who got trapped then haunted by a bunch of possessed dolls. The second case is a kid who hit a deer then got haunted by a Minotaur. The third case is Martin Freeman who gets haunted by a poltergeist that happens to be his deceased child, this is when things get freaky. The skeptic's still a skeptic, even after Martin Freeman shoves a shotgun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. The sleptic goes back to the person who gave him the cases to berate him, before this man pulls off his face then lowers his caravan to reveal he's Martin Freeman and that they're actually stood in the middle of a train track? Oh and if you thought it couldn't get weirder, there's a crib with a crying baby in the middle of the track and Martin Freeman walks over to feed it dog food out of a can? Then somehow, it gets weirder. We flashback to a group of teenagers in an underpass tormenting this kid and forcing him to go in and read the words on the walls. This kid then has a seizure and the bullies run off, while the young version of the sceptic stays and freaks out. The underpass kid dies. Martin Freeman then pulls off the sceptic's clothes to reveal a hospital gown. The sceptic screams "NO!" before we are shown him lying in a hospital bed as the Minotaur kid appears as his nurse; the night watchman appears as his janitor and Martin Freeman appears as his doctor. They talk briefly about him attempting to kill himself then the credits roll and we had no clue what the heck we watched. The ending was insanely odd and trippy. We went home to watch a few explanations on YouTube, which I don't think you should ever have to do with films. It was overly complicated and unnecessarily odd. The concept was good. A sceptic being disproven and scared by things he doesn't believe exist? That's great! You don't need anything more than that!
I actually wanted to watch this one as it has Alex Wolff in it and I loved him in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The trailer was also really good, really intense, and scary. I'm not exactly sure how to explain the plot of this one. It opens with a funeral. The mother is talking about how she recognizes no one. (Because the people at the funeral are a part of her mother's cult.) The grandmother who died was a part of this cult and wanted her daughter to birth a son so a king of hell could possess him. When she had a kid, Annie (the daughter) chose to ban her mother from seeing him, because the mother drove her brother to insanity by possessing him with multiple people when he was a kid. However, when she had her second child, she appeased to her mother and essentially gave her her daughter 'Charlie,' who I think was possessed at birth because she was probably the creepiest thing in the world, she was beheading birds with scissors whilst just eating a Hershey bar! Anyway, apparently she wasn't the ideal host for a king of a hell because she was a woman. So the grandmother's cult orchestrated her brother 'Peter' to make her eat some nuts in a slice of cake and have an allergic reaction. Peter then drove 100 MPH to a hospital before swerving; ramming into a post and beheading her. Peter became completely numb, and was basically a shell of who he was, whilst Charlie's 'incorrect form' was dead. The film then goes further into this and Peter ends up forcibly slamming his head into his desk a few times whilst his father combusts after his mother burns the book that contains her daughter's spirit. She then gets possessed and goes after Peter before Peter runs into the basement to find a bunch of naked cult members and the blackened body of his dead grandmother minus her head. Before his mother starts slicing off her own head and he dives through a window to escape and dies. Peter's spirit goes and Charlie/Paimon possesses him, before they witness his mother's headless body floating into Charlie's treehouse. Charlie/Paimon then walk in there to find a bunch of naked cult members plus the headless bodies of her mother and grandmother bowing towards Charlie's old head. A crown is then placed on her head and the screen blacks out. My first words after seeing this film were "What the hell?" I had to watch a couple YouTube videos and read a few articles to actually understand a minuscule amount of this movie. It was absolute insanity but I will say a couple of positive things about it. The symbolism, once understood, is great. Annie creates dollhouses or mini displays of her life for art museums and it sort of gives this 'puppet master' vibe right from the get go and that's what this film is. The family's lives and deaths are entirely controlled by this cult. The acting cannot be faulted, everyone is incredible, but everything else was wrong. It was slow and boring most of the way through and I should've left. It was just slow, then Charlie dies, and it is intense and exciting for two minutes, before going back to slow, then Peter slams his head into his desk, their father gets lit on fire and we go from "Slow, I should leave now," to "Whoa! What the hell is going on?!" But by this point, you're too confused to focus because nothing is explained!
Horror films have gotten too complicated.
I miss films like Chuckie, Friday the 13th, and Omen where there's a clear villain that kills people and needs stopping. Horror films are supposed to be jumpy and scary, that's why I enjoy them at least. Why did they have to hit drug-induced hallucination levels of weird? I don't want horror movies to mess with my brain! They don't need to be complicated. I would rather go into a horror film and watch people die and be scared out of my wits by the time I leave, then go into a horror film and get, excuse the expression, mind f**ked. I get enough mind f**king with real-life movies, thrillers, and even creepy animations like Coraline and Monster House. Film genres like animation and horror should be simple. Horror movies are to give you that scared feeling. Animations are for cute, childish fun usually with sweet characters. I'm all for hybrid movies and for people exploring new things, but when a horror movie feels like an R.E. class or a drug-induced hallucination, then I feel you've hit ridiculous levels.
That's just my opinion.
Frankly, I've been incredibly disappointed with horror movies this year. 2017 was a much better horror movie year with It and Happy Death Day. Clear goals, clear villains, and I didn't need to watch an explanation video afterward. I also didn't have the desire to walk out of these movies. I was thoroughly invested and never bored or confused. I'm not sure what these directors are going for with these crazy movies but I hope they either find better ways to explain the crazy, overly complicated storylines throughout the movie or they just go back to scaring people.