Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July holiday. I sure did. After a week with the buddies, I spent a couple days doing absolutely nothing aside from watching movies and taking naps, much in thanks to the blessing and curse that is the Amazon Fire Stick. I checked out a few popular picks, as well as some relatively under-the-radar movies that pleasantly surprised me. Been on a bit of a horror/thriller kick lately, so if you’re a weirdo who’s into blood and death, read on for some good suggestions.
For more, check out my first installment: Soze’s Movie Reviews: Volume I
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
While perusing for a good horror movie to watch, I stumbled upon this story of two coroners doing an autopsy gone wrong. As someone who has also cut open dead people in a room full of human corpses, I can relate. Immediately, we are introduced to a dimly lit, grimy basement morgue, a prototypical setting for a horror movie. The father and son team of coroners cut open the remains of perfectly preserved dead woman (kinda cute for a dead girl, no-necro) to find her cause of death. Instead of a routine cut-and-dry case, they discover a myriad of strange abnormalities in her anatomy, piecing together the puzzle of her demise. Their discoveries are initially weird and progress into horrifying. It’s a cool story. It’s tense. Creepy. Everything you could want from a horror film, with a mildly compelling backstory and solid acting to make you actually care about the characters instead of hoping they die a gruesome death. While it does fall into a trap of conventional horror cliches, its a damn good movie and a must-watch for fans of the genre, or anyone bringing a girl over for a Netflix and chill session in hopes their muse cuddles up real close to them for comfort.
In need of some comic relief to remove the imagery of a deathly morgue from my mind, I decided to check out Trainwreck, which came recommended to me and sported good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Ironically, after Trainwreck I needed to watch another movie to ease the mental damage of Amy Schumer’s cringe-worthy “comedy” from my brain. This movie was so bad that I had to write a full review on how horrible it is: Read my review here.
You’re Next (2013)
An enjoyable, fun, horror bloodbath that doesn’t take itself too seriously. A well-off family meets at the parent’s remote mansion for a dinner party. The mom, dad, their children, and their children’s significant others gather for a night of unexpected terror as the home becomes the target of of masked murderers intent of killing everyone inside of the house. You’re Next perfectly balances horror with comedy as the exchanges of animosity between the siblings are downright hilarious (the douchey older brother steals the show). I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder at horror movie deaths (the sprinter clothesline scene is GOAT), and that’s the strength of the movie. As the movie progresses, an unlikely hero arises and the plot twist is damn near perfect, even if morbid. With entertaining action, charismatic actors, a solid twist, and an impeccably comedic script, You’re Next is simply fun.
The Guest (2014)
From the director who brought us You’re Next, The Guest is another highly-rated installment into Adam Wingard’s filmography. A polite, yet sinister ex-military dude sells himself as a well-meaning vet in need of a place to stay. The family takes him in, and at first, he’s everyone’s best friend – he can B.S. and drink beers with the dad, comfort the grieving mother, teach the dweeby son self-defense, and provides a friend for edgy daughter. But as the story unfolds, the protagonist’s seemingly well-meaning character reveals more and more of a dark side. Definitely has a Ryan Gosling in Drive vibe. It shares some of the goofiness of You’re Next, and it’s a fun ride, but some of the action scenes are laughably unrealistic. But what saves The Guest from being a generic and predictable action movie are the soundtrack and the cinematography, which work together to provide the film with an eerie electro-Halloween vibe. The plot doesn’t have any truly unexpected twists, but the movie’s tense pacing and haunted-house aura definitely leave you itching to see what happens next.
Snowpiercer is a sci-fi thriller that takes a stroll off the beaten track. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the only remaining humans on earth are stuck on a train to stay alive (just bear with me here), Snowpiercer is a dark story of low-class people staging a revolution against the greedy elite. It’s refreshing and captivating to watch a sci-fi movie where the director shows you a strange world, but doesn’t explain it, leaving you guessing and picking up the pieces along the ride. Chris Evans gives a solid performance at the lead but Tilda Swinton steals the show – her “you are a shoe” monologue in the beginning of the movie is brilliant. With twists and turns throughout, the Chris Evans-lead uprising is full of gore, surprises, and genuine suspense. While not only an entertaining movie, Snowpiercer is thematically rich, exploring the subjects of capitalism, greed, social hierarchies, and biological ecosystem. Similar to Children of Men, this movie succeeds as a post-apocalyptic thriller carried by the gritty atmosphere and story, rather than simply the setting.
The Green Inferno (2015)
Eli Roth brings us his adaptation of Cannibal Holocaust in his 2015 bloodbath, The Green Inferno. In the exposition, Roth mocks millennials and social-justice activists, and this is why Inferno received such poor reviews. The Green Inferno isn’t merely a horror movie, it’s a hilarious satire on millennial culture. Nevertheless, a team of student-activists intent of saving the rainforest embark on their tragic journey, despite musician Sky Ferreira’s sensible character warning the main girl, “activism is fucking gay”. The students travel to the Amazonian jungle in their noble mission only to learn that the guy who is the leader of the activist group doesn’t give a flying fuck about saving the rainforest and put the students in jeopardy for a publicity stunt (Lol). So, instead of saving the rainforest, their plane home crashes in the jungle, where a tribe of indigenous people who they sought to protect decide that the group of college kids would make for a tasty dinner. Aside from about 20 minutes of the movie, there isn’t a whole lot of gore or terror, but instead, The Green Inferno follows the group’s haphazard journey to escape their captors before being dismembered and eaten. While many horror movies have an element of comedy, the thing that many reviewers missed is that The Green Inferno isn’t a horror movie – it’s a comedy with some horror. And I laughed out loud at this movie more than I have in a long time.