Hell House LLC (7/10)

Some douche-bagel friends from NYC set up a haunted house in an abandoned hotel in small-town Abaddon, New York. Unknown to the city slickers, the hotel was the site of various murders and suicides, and they go cluelessly poking around in the dark interiors of the haunted building, blythly recording their misadventures to the aid of the soon-to-be forensic investigations of their tragic but inevitable deaths. There’s also a wrap-around story about a documentary crew trying to get to the bottom of the happenings.

So, this movie is a star of the developing sub-genre of the haunted haunted house. It’s… competent. Not much else to say, really. No boobs, which would have helped (duh).

UPDATE: Upon re-watching while paying more attention, I bumped this up a couple points. It did have some pretty good moments. Still could have used some boobs though.

The Good Neighbor (8/10)

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A couple of teenage douchebags decide to conduct an “experiment” on their cranky old neighbor (perfectly portrayed by James Caan) by outfitting his house with surveillance cameras and electronic gizmos designed to make him believe he is being haunted. Unfortunately, he’s already haunted by his past, and things absolutely do not go as planned.

This is definitely a “the less you know, the better” type of movie, so I’m not going to give any more detail on the plot. Suffice it to say, this is more of a multi-layered drama than a horror movie, and it is very successful in what it sets out to achieve. Highly recommended. And James Caan is freakin’ excellent.

RWD (8/10)

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Two doofuses (doofi?) with a YouTube ghost-hunting show go to investigate a family’s haunted house out in the woods, but they got the date wrong and the family is out of town. So, instead, they wander around the woods and find an old silo with a creepy underground complex below it. They investigate the complex and decide to make their latest episode about it instead of the haunted house. While wandering, weird things begin to happen, they catch glimpses of people that look surprisingly familiar, and then some sort of weird sparkly stuff comes out of a laptop monitor and sends them… back…

This was an interesting take on the usual found footage ghost-hunter shows that are ubiquitous right now, mixing in some mind-bending sci-fi concepts that I shouldn’t talk about too much for fear of spoiling the fun. The actors are also rather amusing in their doofusness (doofosity?), and the tonal shift late in the movie from deadly silliness to deadly seriousness is handled quite well. Definitely worth a watch.

An American Ghost Story [aka Revenant] (6/10)

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An under-employed writer (in other words, a writer), girlfriend in tow, moves into a house where a man slaughtered his family and then killed himself. The author hopes to meet the house-ghosts and write a book about it.

The ghosts show up, are very friendly, tell him everything he needs, he writes the book and makes millions of dollars, and marries his reasonably attractive girlfriend. The End.

Haha, not really! Actually, the ghosts rearrange the furniture and attack the reasonably attractive girlfriend with the kitchen cabinets, so she moves out, leaving our sad writer all alone in the ghost-house. After that, he starts wandering around the house, talking to disembodied voices of kids, and playing with stuffed animals.

So, this is a very simple, super-low-budget, single-location movie without a lot of action or special effects, at least until the end. It does establish a good story and spooky atmosphere, and pays off pretty well at the end with some simple, but well-done, practical effects. And, for once, it’s not found footage, which is a nice plus. No boobage, reasonably attractive or otherwise. Overall, pretty slow for most of the run, but not a bad watch.

Infernal (7/10)

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A couple have a kid who is weird and can’t stop brushing her hair. Is she autistic, or the devil? Spoiler alert: It’s that second thing.

So this is basically a found-footage hipster version of The Omen. While not the most original idea, or even slightly original, it does a pretty good job of being creepy and actually works, for the most part. They really needed to cut back on the cricket sounds in the background though, really freakin’ annoying. No boobs but still worth a look.