A group of strangers are invited to a building that houses an escape room in hopes of winning $10,000. What they think might be an ordinary escape room turns out to be all too real and all too deadly.
Going into Escape Room, my expectations were pretty low, but by the time I left, I was pleasantly surprised. At first when the opening scene ended, I was a little apprehensive that it missed out on being R rated and bloodier. However, at the movie progressed, it wore its PG-13 rating really well and didn’t bring itself into territory where blood and gore wasn’t needed, this isn’t Saw or even Cube, despite having similarities to the latter. It may not reach the levels of those two films, but Escape Room manages to stand on its own two feet as its own thing. The film is actually a blast of a film with enough intensity that really drives the film. Each escape room is really well-designed as a set and the way the rooms work are pretty crazy. What adds to the fun is trying to figure out the clues along with the characters and hope that the characters you like make it out alive. As for the characters, I actually liked all of them except for two of the six. The cast themselves all did a fantastic job, especially Taylor Russell as (essentially the lead character) Zoey, Logan Miller as Ben, and Deborah Ann Woll as Amanda. Each of the six characters have their own backstory and are actually fleshed out better than I expected, and all of them are really well-established before they are killed. The reveal in the middle of the movie that reveals their connection felt legitimate and served the plot well, however, there were some elements involving the twist that felt a little farfetched.
There was one turn in the film that I really enjoyed even if I should have seen it coming, it felt like a nice surprise. It does bring emphasis on who the game maker is and that ultimately doesn’t really go anywhere or reveal anything that could have, so by the end of the movie I was expecting another shocker at the reveal of the game maker, but it didn’t reveal anything interesting. Speaking of the ending, we have an additional 7 minutes of movie left after what should have been where the movie ended. These extra 7 minutes felt extremely tacked on, stupid, cheesy, and unnecessary.
Escape Room might not end up being remembered by the end of the year, or even end up being one of the best horror films of the year, but damn this was a blast of a movie and a fun one to start the new year.
This is a brilliant film as well as a horror film that brings a huge amount of terror and drama together in such a perfect way. The movie has very little dialogue and highly relies on the senses and the mind to bring on the heart-pounding terror. The scary and intense scenes are so well-done that they had me holding my breath. You genuinely care about this family and want to see them survive. Emily Blunt and John Kraskinski are brilliant in their roles as the parents who will do anything to protect their children and each other.
Part sci-fi, part horror, part drama, this movie perfectly combines these elements and balances them out in a mind-bending, intense, and often emotional film. The visuals are amazing, the monsters are fantastic, the score is excellent, and the setting of the Shimmer is so well established and provides so much mystery of what it is and how it affects people. This is a very cerebral film that may not work for some, but truly is probably the most under-appreciated and almost forgotten horror film of the year.
3) The Strangers: Prey At Night
This sequel is a huge tonal change from the original slow-burn thriller. This one is first and foremost a slasher. The titular villains are more vicious than ever and you are just itching for them to get what’s coming to them. The film features many homages to classic horror films and even how its filmed has a great retro Carpenter-esque feel, and then you have the excellent soundtrack (the pool scene involving Total Eclipse of the Heart is one of the best horror scenes of the year). The cast does a fine job and you care for them, even if they could have used a little more development. By the end of the film I felt a huge rush of adrenaline released. Of all the horror films to come out this year, this one is easily the most fun and entertaining.
This remake pays an excellent tribute to the original film while telling it’s own story. This is definitely a slow-burn film that is sprinkled with haunting and twisted moments. In the big dance scene towards the end, it’s so intense and well-done, and the addition of how it intercuts during the chase scene of one character is great. This movie succeeds in keeping you wondering just what is going to happen next. The pay off in the final act as well as its twist is excellent. The epilogue scene however definitely could have been cut out, but it wasn’t exactly terrible either. Tilda Swinton is great playing three different characters, Mia Goth shines in a role that involves her character growing from a side character to one who’s more in the forefront. Unfortunately Dakota Johnson just didn’t have much to do in her lead role, she did fine with what she had, her physical performance was great, but she deserved a character with more persona and depth. That said, I consider this to be one of the best and more successful remakes ever made.
I admit I didn’t love this movie nearly as much as others. I thought the pacing was too slow, and that it could have been shorter because some of it felt repetitive and dragging. But my biggest issue is that when the real in your face horror comes in in the final act, I was not sold by that at all. Sure some brutal and shocking stuff happens, but to me, it felt way too familiar and been done before. Everything in the final act felt too familiar and even done in the Paranormal Activity franchise. Now all of that is where my issues end. Everything prior to the final act was brilliant. Had this kept the same tone throughout the film instead of going balls to the wall horror, I would have loved it much more. The constant feeling of dread and intensity throughout the film and between the family was so tangible and perfect, and often felt like a punch in the gut. Toni Collette is just plain amazing and Oscar-worthy at the mother/wife of the family desperately trying to hold herself and her family together, and you see the anguish she’s trying to hold in and the desperation of trying not to appear crazy to her family when shit gets real. If there is any horror performance in years that deserves award recognition it is definitely Toni who owns this movie.
6) Hell Fest
This is a plain, simple, and fun slasher that hits all the right notes. I personally really liked the characters and had fun with them, I didn’t want any of them to die. The setting was excellent and well-used and made for some great intense scenes and well-executed jump scares. The killer was pretty basic and not the most original, the kills could have been gorier, and the transition to the final act felt so clearly rushed they killed off two characters in the most boring way at the same time in a clear attempt to cut to the chase. More than anything, the final scene wasn’t necessary and felt pretty tacked on. Still, it was great to see a fun slasher like this in the theater this year along with Strangers Prey At Night.
Jamie Lee Curtis is amazing in her return as Laurie in this reimagining of the series. She shows Laurie’s trauma very well makes you feel her pain, and she’s great in her bad ass moments. Her traumatic scenes could have been fleshed out more (despite my disbelief of her being this traumatized after just those short few minutes with Michael in the original). Michael has never been more menacing or terrifying and I loved it. My biggest issue lies in the script. There were too many undeveloped characters and some that were only used as plot devices. We also have a plot twist the felt out of place, and ending that felt underwhelming due to its ambiguity. I was also not a fan of the humor in it, it ruined a kill scene that should have been intense and scary but was ruined by just one comedic line. This film had flaws, but it definitely was a good and serviceable film to fans by giving us a new version with great callbacks to the original series, and good cat and mouse sequence with Laurie and Michael in the final act.
8) The Ritual
This lost in the woods horror movie perfectly uses the woods setting and the fear of the unknown to deliver and intense and suspenseful movie. It’s in the same vein of Blair Witch Project where less is more. When we get to the final act, we are given more physical horror, and that works well-enough. But it’s only when the movie shows our films’ villain that it becomes a letdown. If we had only seen bits of the monster at the end, that would have been fine, but to show the whole things was disappointing.
This revenge horror films takes its sweet time during the first hour to introduce us to our characters, and it is very testing of patience during this hour. However, the gorgeous but haunting cinematography and visuals seem to keep you gripped until the main revenge plot of the film begins. From there’s it’s a blood bath with a fantasically unhinged performance from Nicolas Cage. The whole films is a trippy and bloody fever dream you can’t look away from.
10) Bird Box
This film doesn’t have as much scares or intensity as A Quiet Place with its similar plot (instead sound this involves sight), and it definitely aims to be more of a drama with horror elements than an actual horror. That said, it’s still a good and occasionally intense movie with some crazy moments. Sandra Bullock is fantastic as the hard mother who is hell bent on saving her kids. What I admired about the movie is that we don’t get to see these monsters, instead we get the feel of what happens when they are around, and that’s just as chilling. The film alternates between the past and present, but it manages to come off as if we are watching two separate stories, which I thought was a nice little tactic.
How is it possible to screw up a Slender Man movie? This movie shows it’s possible. Completely boring, no effort involved whatsoever, a script that’s all over that place, no scares at all, un-engaging and boring and stupid characters, weak acting, cutting out all of the good and violent stuff from the trailer, plot holes galore, characters that are just left forgotten, cringeworthy teen drama. The only good thing I can say about this movie is that it did have some creepy imagery and Joey King delivered a decent enough performance. The Bye Bye Man is a better Slender Man movie than Slender Man.
This movie is pure garbage. The horror is terrible, the humor is terrible, the characters are terrible, the story is dumb as hell, and the creature is laughable and ridiculous. There was no point to this movie whatsoever. Most I can say about it is that Scout Taylor-Compton is at least sort of trying to work with the script and character.
3) Open House
Despite a solid performance from Dylan Minnette, this is another boring horror movie that goes nowhere and ultimately leaves us with nothing but a grim and tasteless ending that just doesn’t feel warranted. This is a terrible slow burn film where nothing happens during and no pay off at all in the end and we are left no answers to anything. Everything we just saw just feels pointless.
This watered down remake of the grim and brutal original French film feels like a dramatic Lifetime movie and even ends like a Lifetime movie. This film shows zero respect to the original. Rachel Nichols and Laura Harring however do a good job with their roles despite lacking the grit the actresses in the original had to express.
This a boring and laughable haunted house film with cheap jump scares and a propaganda anti-gun film. It doesn’t do NEARLY as much as it could have with the ghosts and the setting of the house, as good as the production design is. This hardly even feels like a horror movie, it’s just a drama with more talking than there is anything scary or suspenseful. This is just a dull movie with an uninteresting story and even more uninteresting characters. Even Helen Mirren feels like this movie is a chore to do.
6) Cloverfield Paradox
On a production standpoint, this movie isn’t bad and I admit I did like the final shot of the film. But the script is a huge and confusing mess where nothing makes any sense. It tires way too hard to be a new Event Horizon, and how it connects to the Cloverfield universe is terrible and way too forced and hokey. The trailer that premiered during the super bowl the night the film itself premiered looked like the film was going to be great with how it was edited together and would be things full circle. Instead we get an overstuffed mess.
7) Demon House
This could have had so much potential, and some elements of the film are creepy, but what this movie fails to do is make you believe that what you’re watching is real. How the movie was filmed just made everything look staged and fake. Maybe I’m not just not enough of a believer, but in the end this movie didn’t offer anything for me.
While I give the movie credit to try be ambitious and retro, the story was just boring with too much going on, and it just wasn’t funny. The characters didn’t do anything for me and felt really bland. The cast was fine and seemed dedicated, but for a movie that was supposed to be a cheesy comedy horror, it was just boring.
9) Ruin Me
Initially the movie had a solid concept and I enjoyed the first part of it, but once the mid-point twist came about it went downhill for me there. I was hoping for a fun slasher but it just became a different movie entirely that I didn’t want, and the final act twist was just the final nail in the coffin.
10) Unfriended: Dark Web
To its credit, this sequel is much darker and the characters are more likable, but this is also a sequel that was boring, and despite the characters being likable, they were also really boring and stupid. They also didn’t do nearly as much with the dark web as they could have, and the stuff they did do without felt way too over the top and unbelievable. I felt more terror and realism from similar movies like The Den and Ratter. It’s also worth mentioning that the ending I got was so stupid involving a countdown and a van. The other ending that was released in theaters sounded so much better.
Megan, an ex-cop dealing with a traumatic event that lead her to substance abuse, is granted a graveyard shift job at a morgue. She sees this as an opportunity to focus on herself and stay out of trouble. One night the brutalized body of a young woman is brought in. Megan then begins to experience horrific sightings and sounds. It turns out, the body of the woman is still possessed by a demon after a failed exorcism.
This movie was way better than I expected, and way better than it had any right to be. The opening scene of the movie took my surprise by just how intense and brutal it was. The opening alone made it better than any mainstream possession/exorcism film I’ve seen in years. When we first meet Megan, she’s established as a woman who is clearly troubled and feels the need to push people away at this point in her life. When we find out what happened, and how it’s affected her, it does a good job of tying that into the story and watching the character grow. What it does with Megan’s situation is that it nicely touches upon themes involving trauma, depression, and anxiety. Conveniently this also ties into the possession aspect of the story. Shay Mitchell does a great job of showing this struggle Megan is going through and we really root for her character, and that’s also thanks to Shay’s performance. The supporting cast is also fleshed out well-enough to where you get to know them and like them, they have importance to Megan and have enough depth to make them more than just disposable characters. The kills in this movie are pretty brutal and we have some pretty grotesque visuals for the movie to definitely earn its R rating unlike The Conjuring films that always feel PG-13. The morgue setting is very well-used and the movie features plenty of intense scenes that have a good build up. Unfortunately the only jump scares we have are the ones you can sense a mile away. But the intense sees in the film make up for that.
It’s also worth noting that the physical performance of the cadaver and the actress who plays her provide a huge helping hand in bring the intensity. There are plenty of “oh shit” moments involving Hannah’s body and all you’re thinking is “get the fuck out of there” or “I’d be shitting my pants right now”. One of the films’ other flaws are some of the plot holes involved. If Megan’s character was so at risk to react (or lack of reaction) in an anxiety-inducing situation, isn’t this something that would have been noted or noticed in her training? And one of the biggest ones involve the fact that Hannah’s body disappears from one morgue for three months and ends up being found and brought to another with no questions asked or news about the situation.
For what this film is, it is a very entertaining movie that gets the job done and brings intensity and likable characters and pretty strong performances. I honestly had less issues with this movie and the script than I did with the new Halloween. For an end of the year horror film that essentially came out of nowhere, it’s definitely worth watching.
Ready to celebrate the upcoming slasher season in blood red style? Slasher Studios latest feature, Dismembering Christmas, is the movie for you. It was supposed to be a holiday vacation they would never forget, not a holiday vacation they would never survive. When Mark and his friends go up to his fathers new vacation home for Christmas vacation, they were ready for a fun time. Out in the middle of nowhere, the house is cheerfully decorated for Christmas. But an unknown visitor is there, and one by one they are murdered. Its Christmas and not a creature is stirring except the killer in the house…
Order your copy on DVD or limited edition VHS today and score an 11×17 Dismembering Christmas FREE.
DVD Extras include:
Audio commentary with Actor/Director Austin Bosley
Audio commentary with Writer/Producer Kevin Sommerfield
Fly on the Set: Making Of Dismembering Christmas
Christmas is right around the corner and the slashing never stops here at Slasher Studios! From now until Sunday night at midnight, both Don’t Go to the Reunion and Dismembering Christmas on DVD for just $8 each or buy both films for just $15. This is the lowest price either film has ever been so don’t miss out on this killer deal. Supplies are limited!
A group of soldiers crash into a Nazi-occupied village where they discover the Nazis are performing sinister experiments on the people of the village.
Right from the get-go, Overlord is fast-paced and delivers thrills with an intense plane crash sequence. The whole sequence is intense and extremely well-filmed. From there, the intensity is very consistent, as is the cinematography. There is a long tracking tracking shot of a character running out of a building that looks brilliant. While this movie does feature a plot that has horror elements, the movie itself isn’t as full-blown horror as the trailers give off. Much of this movie is war and action based with horror playing a part in it. The zombies/mutants aren’t a huge presence or bring much carnage, but they are still integral to the story. This isn’t to say the movie itself doesn’t offer intensity, and it definitely offers plenty of great blood and gore.
There really isn’t one dull moment in the movie. The cast really helps boost the movie along and they all do an excellent job, most especially Wyatt Russell as the bad-ass corporal, and Mathilde Ollivier as the strong female character who helps the soldiers. For the most part the characters are likable, a couple of them start out annoying or unlikable but develop character arcs that redeem them. The lead character is way too nice for a character thrown into WWII and is opposed to the violent acts around him and it got annoying until the final act when he becomes more of a bad ass. There’s also a character who is a huge asshole that ends up redeeming himself. I’m definitely glad this ultimately didn’t become a Cloverfield-universe film because they would have to jump through really ridiculous hoops to connect it, probably more ridiculous than Cloverfield Paradox. Much of the movie comes off as the plot of a video game and often plays out like one, and that offers much of the entertainment.
It’s a pretty ridiculous plot and doesn’t go too in depth with the experiment or explore it too much, but this is still one wild and entertaining action-horror film.
In this remake of the 1977 cult classic, a young aspiring dancer attends a dance academy where sinister events are occurring behind closed doors.
Dario Argento’s classic is known for its amazing score, cinematography, and great gore, Luca Guadagnino’s remake takes elements of the original story and tells its own tale, and it succeeds. This remake relies entirely on slow-burn suspense and minimal gore (at least to me it was minimal) to keep the viewer engaged. For a horror films that’s two and half hours, I was never bored. There are moments sprinkled out, along with the score, that keep you hooked on trying to see what happens next. Sure there are moments involving the psychologist that I thought were dwelled on too much, and yeah it does come into play in one plot-point, but it wasn’t an aspect I cared much about. There are also some background events that brought in involving a terrorist group that didn’t feel necessary for me either. The dance sequences are fantastic and so well-choreographed, Dakota Johnson nails all of this, as do the supporting cast. The witches in this film are pretty damn evil and they make you feel uneasy. All of the slow-burn suspense builds up to one hell of a great and intense final act with a great twist I didn’t see coming, and one hell of a great blood bath sequence. Gudagnino’s direction is solid and is very reminiscent to how things were captured in his previous film Call Me By Your Name, and the score here doesn’t reach the level of the original film, but for this version of the film it works.
My only issues come from a not terrible, but kind of unnecessary Epilogue sequence, and there are some details that aren’t entirely laid out or some things not made entirely clear. Maybe this is intentional and will saved for the sequel? Who knows. And while Dakota Johnson did a serviceable job with what she had, her character Suzy is pretty bland and boring throughout a majority of the film. I was hoping she was would have been able to express a stronger performance in this film so she can eventually shed her Fifty Shades image and the talented actress she actually is. As mentioned though, she does master the physical performance of her role. Tilda Swinton is great as Madame Blanc as well as the male psychologist. And while Mia Goth starts with not much to do, her character builds into an extremely interesting characters and offers the stronger performance after Swinton.
This is definitely one of the best remakes ever made in my opinion, I didn’t absolutely love it, but I do find it a pretty great film and paid great respect to the original film while providing it’s own version.
PS, there is an end credit scene, very brief, but could ultimately be important.
Forty years after the traumatizing events on Halloween 1978, Laurie Strode has become a recluse who has been arming and preparing herself for the day Michael Myers returns to Haddonfield. As a result of this preparation, she caused a strain in her relationship with her daughter, who in turn tries to keep her own daughter away from Laurie. But as Laurie predicted, Michael escapes from custody and returns to his hometown to bring back terror to Haddonfield, but Laurie is ready.
Completely re-writing the events of the original series, and taking the series in a new direction, this sequel succeeds in giving us a new take of Laurie and her life. Like Halloween H20, we see Laurie traumatized after the events, but this is shown in a different way. She still has a taking for alcohol, but this time she’s not in hiding, she’s hidden, but only to prepare herself for Michael’s return, and boy is she prepared. Her house is armed in almost every way imaginable. One of the most interesting things of this sequel is the family dynamics between the Strode ladies. The best scenes are the ones involving the women and their relationship with one another. I genuinely wish we had a lot more of this than what we got. Instead we are given some very lame side plots, one involving a documentary crew wanting to get inside the mind of Michael and Laurie and the events of that night. This plot is so pointless and really only serves a mean for Michael to get his mask back, and this could have been done in a much better way. Had this whole portion of the story been scrapped and more time focused on Laurie, her preparation and the relationship with her family prior to Michael showing up, it would have been a much stronger story. Needless to say, the documentary crew were pointless characters. We are also thrown into the high school drama of Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson, more pointless material and more characters we don’t need. There is an initial trio of Allyson, her best friend Vicky, and Vicky’s boyfriend Dave that I enjoyed. They were a trio of fun-loving friends. I wanted more of just these three characters, instead we are given Allyson’s boyfriend and the ultimate drama between them and a Halloween dance, and then we Allyson’s boyfriend random best friend. Apart from Allyson, her group of friends are so underdeveloped that they also only serve as body count characters. This is a shame because, like I mentioned, I liked the initial scene with Allyson, Vicky, Dave. I definitely wanted more of Vicky, there’s a scene of her baby-sitting and her interaction with the kid is great. Had the dance aspect been scrapped and just focused on her and her friends’ relationship and them being there for Allyson during her family drama, could have made them much stronger characters. Then there is Allyson herself, Andi Matichak does a decent enough job here as Allyson with the very little material she has. Andi and Jamie share some great scenes together, but when she’s not with Jamie, her character is just so boring and she doesn’t have anything to do besides cry, scream, and run, apart from one moment towards the end of the movie. There’s also a random plot point involving Michael’s new doctor that feels really odd to have in the movie and is really only used as a tool to get to the final act, other than that it was pointless. We also get random points of humor, some of it works, but most of it was just so cringeworthy and ruined some of the mood.
Now, as far as what this has all been built up to, Laurie and Michael’s big encounter. What we got was fine, the whole cat and mouse sequence is intense, but I feel like they could have gone so much further than they did. The fight shown in the trailer is not present at all (apparently this was in the original ending that they cut). And I honestly feel a real fight would have made a much stronger final act. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great and badass moments that involve all 3 Strode women, but again, this all could have been so much better. Judy Greer does a fine job as Laurie’s daughter Karen and knocks it out of the park in the scenes with Jamie and Andi. But as mentioned, I wanted a lot more of her than we got. Jame Lee Curtis owns this movie, she brings so much pain, paranoia, and strength to the role. There are several moments where you feel so bad for Laurie and you see how much she tries to hold it together, Jamie hardcore delivers this. And her kill mode in the final act is great. Finally we have Michael Myers, he is ultra brutal in this film and still terrifying. Michael’s portrayal by James Jude Courtney and the original Shape, Nick Castle, nail Michael’s mannerisms and physical movements perfectly and it’s great seeing him roam around town seeking prey. Another one of the film’s strengths lies in the great callbacks to not only the original film, but the original series in general, some are obvious, and some are more subtle depending on how many times you’ve watched the original series. While I didn’t find this entry as chilling or intense as the original, it is very well-done in terms of how it was made. The camera work is great as is the sound and lighting.
I know it may seem like I had a lot more negative things to say, but really it all amounts to the fact that we have random plot points that weren’t necessary, characters that range from pointless to underdeveloped, some cringe-worthy and not very funny humor, and a slightly underwhelming final act. Again, had this movie been much more focused on Laurie’s preparation, her trauma, and the dynamics between her and family, this would have worked for a much stronger story. But for ever weak spot, it does have its strengths on a technical scale, the acting, and Michael Myers himself and watching him stalk Haddonfield. If you’re a hardcore fan of the series, I can’t imagine you won’t enjoy this film. Despite its flaws, it’s a very worthy sequel and does justice to Laurie that Resurrection pissed on in 2002.
We are thrilled to announce that our latest horror film, IRRATIONAL FEAR, has been chosen as an official selection at two upcoming killer film festivals. This Sunday, October 7th, IRRATIONAL FEAR will be closing night screening at the NEPA Horror Film Festival and on Saturday, October 13th the film will be screening at the Northeast Wisconsin Horror Festival with select members of the cast & crew in attendance. In addition to these two killer screenings, the Irrational Fear crew will also be appearing at Crypticon – Minneapolis with a vendor table selling all sorts of gory goodies.
Big thanks to NEPA Horror Film Festival and Northeast Wisconsin Horror Festival for the screenings!
If you can’t attend, don’t worry! You can still pick up your very own copy below on either DVD or limited edition blu-ray while supplies last.
LOTS KILLER BONUS FEATURES!
Cast & Crew Commentary
Cast & Crew Interviews
What’s Your Fear? Featurette
Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: The Making of Irrational Fear
Indie Horror Trailers
Hand numbered, limited edition (out of 200) – Blu-Ray Only