31 Days of Horror: “Ouija” (2014) Review

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When her friend Debbie (Shelley Hennig) dies in what appears to be a suicide, Laine (Olivia Cooke) thinks there’s more to her death and it may involve the Ouija board that was in her house. Laine then enlists the help of her boyfriend Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), her sister Sarah (Ana Cato), her friend Isabelle (Bianca A. Santos), and Debbie’s boyfriend Pete (Douglas Smith). The friends decide to use the same Oujia board the home where Debbie died. When they think they’ve made contact with Debbie, they feel they can finally put things to rest. However, something dark and sinister has broke through and they must figure out how to stop it.

Ouija is made from the much hated company known as Platinum Dunes, and it is a PG-13 horror film. This alone makes the horror community already hate it. However, this viewer found the film very entertaining film. It takes a simple idea as a Ouija board that’s been used in several supernatural films and throws into a very well-executed script. It does feature a few horror cliches such as people suddenly appearing, doors slamming, and even the cliche of the parents conveniently going out of town right when things are about to go down. However, the overall story is interesting and features a pretty decent, although not totally surprising twist. One thing I always give Platinum Dunes credit for is their excellent use of setting, filming style, and atmosphere. All of which shows up here. Many of the settings the characters find themselves help boost the the spook/creep factor, as does the cinematography and set design. The film isn’t scary, but it does a great job of providing just enough a creep factor to put the viewer in the right mind-set. And it does have seem genuine creepy moments, especially in the final act. The young cast also does very well with their roles, we believe them as a young group of kids, and they come off as pretty realistic. Olivia Cooke in particular who is known from the popular series Bates Motel shows that she can definitely pull of the role of the main girl. We really believe her as a girl wanting to know the truth and eventually wanting to save her friends. Definitely one actress to keep an eye on. One thing that particularly makes the film enjoyable is an excellent cameo made by an actress very well known in the horror genre.

Ouija may be made by a company with a bad rep in the horror community, and it’s PG-13, featuring some horror cliches. But it is a very entertaining film with a fun story, a great cast, excellent and creepy atmosphere/settings, and some genuinely spooky moments. Easily the most enjoyable PG-13 horror film since Insidious.

–Cody Landman

3

“The Campground: Varsin’s Vengeance” Camps Out New IGG Campaign

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The Studios 605 guys are at it again! They’ve started a campaign for their slasher sequel “The Campground: Varsin’s Vengeance” which features Marla Van Lanen from Slasher Studios’ very own “Don’t Go to the Reunion” & “Dismembering Christmas.” Check out the press release and indiegogo page below and pitch in a few bones if you can!

Press Release:
Attention Studio 605 fans! The guys behind The Woods Within, The Campground and Friday the 13th: The Curse of Jason are at it again this time raising funds for their anticipated slasher sequel “The Campground: Varsin’s Vengeance”!

Funds are currently being raised on Indiegogo and include a number of awesome rewards ranging from Getting killed on camera with full extra acting IMDb credits, Becoming a producer, to even name characters. They have a small goal of $3,000 to make his film happen and need you to help them make it.

You can visit the Indiegogo page and watch Director Roman Jossart’s pitch video and check out the casting announcements. Studio 605 ask if you can not donate to share the campaign and help make this film the film it deserves to be.

To become a backer:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/roman-jossart-s-the-campground-varsin-s-vengeance

31 Days of Horror: “See No Evil 2″ (2014) Review

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Following the events of the first film, the sequel takes place shortly afterwards. We meet Amy (Danielle Harris), a young woman just finishing up her shift as the local morgue. When news arrives that the corpse of killer Jacob Goodnight (Glenn “Kane” Jacobs) is about to arrive, Amy cancels her birthday plans to help her co-workers Seth (Kaj-Erik Eriksen) and Holden (Michael Eklund) with the body. To Amy’s surprise, her friends show up unexpectedly to celebrate her birthday. The group features the feisty Tamara (Katharine Isabelle), her whipped boyfriend Carter (Lee Majdoub), the bubbly Kayla (Chelan Simmons), and Amy’s brother Will (Greyston Holt). It’s not too long before Jacob Goodnight rises from his slab and is out to crash the party and the group must find a way out of the enclosed morgue to survive.

While I was a fan of the original film, I didn’t find it anything great, but still fairly fun. I was shocked that it actually snagged a sequel. And it was ultimately an enjoyable one. It wasn’t miles better than the first, but still entertaining and slightly better. The film takes place in an excellent setting, many places to run, but plenty of places to get lost. Especially in the dark. Kane is badder than ever in his return as Jacob Goodnight. Showing no mercy for our characters. Scream Queen Danielle Harris is solid as always as our leading lady. She’s a friendly girl with edge who will do whatever it takes to get her friends and herself out alive. Also notable is other Scream Queen Katharine Isabelle. She plays the rule of Tamara with a perfect amount of feistiness and provides laughs with her over-the-top character moments. The rest of the cast does a decent job with their roles. As opposed the first film, the characters themselves range from tolerable to likable, and it helps that they are diverse and have their own personalities. The kills, while sometimes brutal, aren’t nearly as fun or creative as the ones in the original film, but it doesn’t bring the film down. What also scores the film points is the shock factor for a certain moment that occurs towards the end of the movie.

Overall, See No Evil 2 isn’t a perfect slasher film, but it is a fun sequel that features a nice cast with likable enough characters, and a decent body count. But what really stands out the most is the setting and following the characters throughout it. Keeping the audience on edge, not knowing what lies around every corner or in any room they find themselves.

–Cody Landman

2.5

31 Days of Horror: “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” (2014) Review

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Many years after the killings in small town by a killer known as “The Phantom” resulted in the making of the 1976 film The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Texarkana is once again plagued by murders. Every Halloween, the town has a drive in screening of the original film depicting their own town. On this particular night, Jami (Addison Timlin) and her boyfriend Corey (Spencer Treat Clark) decide to bail on the film and go elsewhere. When they are attacked by an assailant dressed as The Phantom, Jami starts to suspect that history is about to repeat itself, and the new Phantom has certain plans for Jami and her small town.

It is difficult to say whether this version of The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a reboot or a sequel. But whatever it is, it works. The original film had its creepy moments, but this film has a lot more going for it. For starters, this definitely has more of a slasher film feel to it than the original. We are given a very creepy killer, plenty of great and spooky night time scenes with him, plenty of chase scenes, and excellent and bloody kills. Not to mention it is VERY well-filmed with a great atmosphere and nice splicing between this and the original film. It also keeps you guessing as to what exactly is going on. Our leading lady played by Addison Timlin, while definitely isn’t legendary as far as a Final Girl, but she’s likable enough for us to root for her. And she has very sweet scenes with her grandmother, played by Veronica Cartwright. The acting isn’t bad, but it’s not anything great either. Timlin does well with the lead role, and easily does give the best and only note-worthy performance of the film. The concept itself is very interesting in how it is trying to bring new life the original film, and bring in a new generation. However, the concept does have a few problems. It bares a very strong resemblance to Scream 4 in trying to re-create the events of a real story/film in the film’s world. In fact, there’s a few things that can be compared to with Scream in regards to this film. The twist is another one of its weak spots. When it’s revealed, it’s not so much shocking as it is that you don’t see much point to it.

Despite the film’s borrowing of ideas and strong resemblances to Scream/Scream 4 and the awkward twist, this reboot/sequel is ultimately a fun slasher film. Let’s face it, there haven’t been many good ones. So if you look for particular aspects in a slasher film like a creepy killer, chase scenes, a decent body count, and bloody kills, with a likable lead, you may just enjoy this. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, which makes it all the more fun.

–Cody Landman

3

31 Days of Horror: Movies to Watch For Halloween

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As a horror fan I thought I would take some time to come up with a list of a few films that I would highly recommend for this time of year. Some mainstream classics, indie cult hits, and some unknown gems are in the mix for everyone. Here is my list of some of the horror films I would recommend to you.

Halloween
Ginger Snaps
Don’t Go To The Reunion
American Mary
The Exorcist
The Fog
The Thing
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Cabin Fever
Friday the 13th
Black Christmas
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Scream
Evil Dead
Slaughter High
Terror Train
Prom Night
Laid To Rest
Would You Rather
John Dies At The End
All Cheerleaders Die
Happy Birthday to Me
The Loved Ones
Wolf Creek
Hell Night
Rest Stop
Wrong Turn
The Slumber Party Massacre
Donnie Darko
Halloween 2007
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003
Idle Hands
The Craft
I Know What You Did Last Summer
The Faculty
Halloween 2 (1981)
Halloween H20

Well there you have it a list of some of my personal favorite Halloween Horror treats. Now if you are looking for films for a family audience here is a small list of a few classics.

Hocus Pocus
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Halloweentown
Casper
Hocus Pocus
Monster House
Scooby Doo
Gremlins
Paranorman

Well there you go everyone hope this list has helped you in deciding what to watch this October!

–Ross Wilcock