I watched a few horror movies recently. Rather than write long, drawn-out reviews of them, I’m giving you more bang for your buck and presenting a short review of each film.
Open Grave: The movie starts out well, with Sharlto Copley awakening in a gigantic pit of corpses, crawling out, and finding a group of people who, like him, suffer from amnesia. The early interactions are fraught, interesting, and multilayered. And then, somewhat predictably, it all comes apart in the second half when they start to discover the truth of their situation. The plot becomes contrived and the film drags in the last half-hour, destroying the first ten minutes’ promise. Everything else was decent, so it gets 3 out of 5 stars.
The Invitation: A man and his girlfriend go to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife, who divorced him two years ago in the wake of the accidental death of their young son. Killing a child can be a very cheap way to create pathos, particularly in film, but The Invitation pulls it off through excellent performances and good writing. I would have liked a little more set-up with the invitation itself and some establishment of the relationships between the characters, but overall I really quite liked it. The always-awesome John Carroll Lynch as the perfectly-named Pruitt rounds out a great cast. 4 out of 5 stars.
Hush: It’s survival horror, featuring a deaf woman contending with a sadistic home intruder. If you like that sort of thing you’ll love this movie. I don’t. Hush had no plot, no depth, no reason to keep you interested if you don’t identify with the protagonist. At no point do you learn why the antagonist does what he does, which doesn’t improve the film. Truly random violence in the real world is extremely rare; predators attack people for specific reasons, even if it’s just opportunity. But this is a movie, and movies should have things like plots and character motivations. Instead, you get a lot of blood, a lot of pain and savagery. 2.5 out of 5 stars.