Thanks to Black Panther, there has been a real-world focus on how museums acquire indigenous artifacts and if they have a right to retain them. The art world may have been grappling with this question internally for years but now articles are appearing on my far-from-museum-centric timeline. It’s brought back to mind a great creature feature set in a museum – The Relic.
Chaos and mayhem descends on a Chicago museum when a fierce monster begins stalking it’s exhibits. What is this beast? Where did it come from? Does it have anything to do with a recent shipment the museum received from a pompous anthropologist who made direct contact with an indigenous tribe? Hmmm.
The Relic is a fun movie that in several ways follows the Jaws/terror at the beach formula. There is an important event that MUST go on even though people have been murdered. See, the 1st victims are expendable; obviously the creature isn’t interested in people with money. The wise, but low class policeman must be put in his place. It’s not long before the museum realizes that going on with the party is a mistake.
Behind the scenes, office politics are on overdrive. It’s fun watching haughty, pretentious people get their comeuppance.
There’s also a nice nod to Dracula: material acquired for museum research arrives on a ship that does not have a living crew. It deceptively suggests a familiar villain.
On the creature itself, how is this big, bulky thing able to stay hidden until it decides to party? The nature of the museum exhibit gives it a wonderful place to hide. What is it? There’s an explanation in the movie that boils down to a fascinating method of self-defense (or warfare, depending on your point of view).
Bottom line: Museum anthropologist need to be careful what they take from other cultures.
Tip: If someone on your job has been murdered in an unusual way, call in sick for the next couple of days.
Oliver and Alice Reed are married and determined to put the past (especially Oliver’s first wife, Irena) behind them. Their daughter Amy is a sweet girl who has problems making friends her own age. They are like any wholesome 40’s family complete with a manservant o’color. When Amy begins talking about an invisible friend named Irena, it’s a sign of trouble to come.
The movie posters are a lie. Yes, this movie is a sequel to Cat People (1942) but it’s not a horror movie. It picks up at least 5 or 6 years after the end of Cat People and follows the same characters. There’s no cat person in this movie. There’s barely a cat in this movie. This is a family drama that demonstrates how NOT to raise children.
Though he loves Alice, Oliver can’t shake the memory of Irena and her condition. Though Amy is Alice’s daughter, he is afraid that the girl’s behavior means that she is following in Irena’s delusional footsteps. The women in the movie recognize that Amy is acting like a normal child, but Oliver is obsessed with fixing her.
Amy befriends an elderly recluse who lives a few blocks over and showers her with grandmotherly affection. Turns out that the bitter nurse who takes care of the old lady is her daughter. Not only does the recluse refuse to recognize her (claims her “real” daughter died as a child), it’s clear that her doting on Amy is just another way to be cruel to her own flesh and blood.
You have two bad parents and two children longing for love and acceptance. Add anger, resentment and loneliness to the mix and you have the potential for danger.
If you are looking for someone to transform into a black panther**, you’re not going to find it here. In fact, it’s easy to imagine this was a totally unrelated script that had characters from Cat People grafted on to it.
*Perhaps consider seeing things from your child’s pov before the spanking?
*Don’t tell your kids fairy tales and then get pissed when they believe them.
The Crypt Keeper is throwing a monster bash – come on down! (It’s skeletons of fun.)
Gary met, fell in love with and married Samantha. In addition to being a loving husband, he’s signed up to be stepfather to young Lucas. Lucas doesn’t want a new daddy and does everything in his power to drive Gary away. It sounds like a typical family comedy – except Lucas is powered by Satan – his birth father.
With Gary and other forces vying to win Lucas’ affection (and soul), can this family be saved?
Little Evil is a horror comedy that is heavy on the comedy and “eh” on the horror. It feels like a bunch of friends got together over a weekend or two and had a really good time putting this movie together. Will the viewer have fun? This is mostly a parody of The Omen, so how much you enjoy this movie may depend on your memory of the 1976 classic.**
Samantha’s backstory is pretty interesting; I wish it was a bigger part of the movie. Besides ignoring most of the bad things her son does, she’s constantly encouraging Gary to try harder to “reach” Lucas. There’s not much else for this character to do.
Gary is okay. Bland, but okay. It’s everyone around him that puts the zing into his life. Thankfully, he joins a stepdad support group which contains some colorful characters. They are the ones that help him cope and will be there when it’s time for the ultimate showdown with evil.
Al, Gary’s coworker and fellow stepdad, is the one who introduces him to the group. Al is played by Bridget Everett and reminds me of a younger, less mature version of Dan Conner. Some articles reference Al as queer (butch lesbian, gender fluid, or a transman) and make a big deal about the character being fully accepted and respected by their male, (presumably) CIS gender peer group.
Except for a bit early on where Gary is trying to figure out which side of the “step” binary Al falls into, gender/orientation really isn’t brought up again. Is this revolutionary? Not to me but your mileage may vary.
If you are looking for a horror movie, look somewhere else. If you want a chuckle or two, Little Evil works.
*Before marrying the woman of your dreams, consider developing a relationship with your future step-demon.
*Take Your Demon-possessed Spawn To Work Day would be awesome.
*Satan is My Co-Parent is a book that would fly off of parenting/self-help shelves.
**I saw the 2006 remake of The Omen. Other than it’s release date – 06/06/06 – I can’t remember a thing about it.
In this horror anthology, children take shelter in what they think is an abandoned house to escape a rainstorm. They’ve inadvertently invaded the home of a grandmotherly woman who is happy for the company. After one of the boys boasts about not being afraid of anything, she offers to tell them six horror stories and promises they will all be scared by the end of the night.
Darna Zaroori Hai has a Tales From the Crypt feel. Even when the story has a twist that you can see coming, it’s still enjoyable.
Before the opening credits there is a bonus story that help sets the creepy yet comedic tone. Satish demands that his mother give him money so that he can see a late showing horror movie. Despite her warnings, he cuts through a cemetery to get to the theater. Anyone else would understand that walking through graves on a moonless night is bad enough; however, it’s also Friday the 13th.
Satish makes it to the movies and rushes the concession stand. “Hey quickly – give me the fried snacks!” After a night of laughing at the screen, something is waiting for him on his return home…
The other tales include: a professor who sees a ghost, a motorist looking for help lands on the doorstep of a weird couple, a family contending with an unwelcome guest, a film director writing his first horror movie, a man who wakes up in prison and doesn’t know why, and the wrap around.
Tip: Calling spirits to you is easier than getting rid of them.
Seven twenty-somethings decide to have one last wild adventure by spending the night in a haunted hotel. The plan is to investigate an infamous room and pull pranks on each other in the darkened hallways.
After a brief intro to the characters, the story gets them quickly to the hotel. Even though the building is the site of numerous deaths, the group takes no precautions. The hotel purposely draws them in. After a few creepy incidents, they find the room and an evil spirit bent on their destruction.
Horror Story is an action-packed, haunted house flick with deaths a plenty. However, it’s not a very graphic flick. The frights comes from the building and releasing of tense moments.
Grab a bowl of popcorn and settle back for some fun.
Tip: Don’t follow your friends to the haunted hotel; go home.
At a reunion, five friends decide to go to Bhangarh, a haunted fort. The place has such a bad reputation that visitors are required by law to leave by sundown. They return home and bring a curse back with them.
Trip to Bhangarh is neither a horror movie nor a thriller. Whoever categorized it as such on Netflix and IMBD is trolling horror fans.
This is a lackluster, Scooby-Dooish mystery/comedy. The musical numbers are fun but that’s it. The “strange” events that happen after the trip to suggest a curse are stupid. (Oh no, the sexy guy’s girlfriend broke up with him – what evil is this?!)
I stuck with the movie through the end and wish I could get that time back. When the evil doer is unmasked and explanations start flowing, sympathy for most of the main characters evaporates.
Tip: Avoid this movie. Marvel at the video for Slow Motion.
A group of friends go on a hiking trip and discover that the physical challenges are the least of their worries.
6-5=2 is the Hindi remake of a similarly titled Kannada film. The story draws inspiration from The Blair Witch Project.
The film does something very smart. It opens with a journalist interviewing Raja, the lone survivor.The young man is traumatized and is handled very gently by the newscaster. The journalist explains that they found the video camera used on the trip and asks Raja’s permission to share the footage with the world. Like a crime program on the ID channel, it gives the “found” video more of a documentary type of feel.
Once the movie switches over to the footage, I almost turned it off. The men of the group are annoying when they “prank” each other. Imagine waking up one morning, peaking out from under the covers and finding a butt/anus hovering over you. Yeah. Once they start the journey in earnest, there’s no time for crude jokes.
After a long day of trekking through the forest, the group is tired and decides to set up camp for the night. Two guys go to gather firewood and come across a tree that is full of human skulls and voodoo dolls. What do they do next?
1) run back to the group and insist they camp somewhere else
2) grab a skull and take it with them
3) cancel the remainder of the trip and start walking back down the trail
4) pull out a phone and see if they can find info about the tree on the Internet
Did you pick 2? You are correct – they bring it back to the group and explain where they got it. No one freaks out about the tree full of skulls.
After this, nothing goes right for our friends. The group gets lost, their provisions get burned up and a malevolent force closes in on them.
Tip: Don’t disturb human remains.
Five teenage friends download Mr. Bedevil, a personal assistant app. This sassy, creepier version of Siri is actually a portal for a supernatural entity that takes issue with people who over-indulge in social media. Mr. Bedevil knows all of their childhood fears and jumpscares them to death.
Even though the teens have different fears (clowns, ugly teddy bears, grandma, etc), the deaths feel a bit repetitive. The victim is always alone in a place that has little in the way of light, there’s some teasing (a noise, a shadow) and them bam! I would have liked more scenes with the spirit haunting them in daylight.
No, you can’t just delete the app from your phone. Destroying your phone won’t work either. The movie offers several ideas for the why behind the evil app. I would have liked to seen this fleshed out a little more.
It’s a decent enough teen-scream flick. This is a nice appetizer before your main horror flick.
Tip: Stop downloading strange apps; you’re going to get a virus.
Three Americans visiting Japan decide to find an ancient temple with a troubling history. Almost everyone they encounter tells them not to go. Guess what? They find it and trouble.
Our trio consists of Kate (the beautiful), James (the jealous, yet unfaithful) and Christopher (the troubled). Kate and James are a couple. She and Christopher have been plutonic friends since kindergarten. James and Christopher are meeting for the first time. While the men are passive-aggressively challenging each other, Kate smiles her way through.
Take this relationship drama and drop it in a dark forrest with a haunted temple and you get a thimbleful of potential and a bucket of disappointment.
The movie uses a familiar narrative frame: a person is being interviewed by police about the events of the past few days because something bad has happened. The survivor/suspect has bandages all over their face – which one of our three main characters can it be? I won’t spoil it, but the answer isn’t too hard to figure out.
For every attempt at misdirection, there”s a huge clue pointing squarely at the culprit.
The story is lacking in a few other ways. For example, Kate’s is supposed to be visiting various temples for a class/research but she doesn’t act like it. She shows up with no plan, no list of temples to visit and no Japanese language basics. How do they find out about the temple? By flipping through a book at a random store.
Once the action gets into full swing at the temple (if takes our friends a while to get there), we are suddenly presented with several supernatural baddies. We are on the cusp of excitement! Then, despite an unexpected turn of events, the ending falls flat.
How to explain the ending without giving it away…
Imagine watching a show featuring an inexperienced magician. He’s earnest and easy on the eyes, so you overlook the extra card falling out of his sleeve. You smile politely when he accidentally drops the wand. For the last trick, all he has to do is pull a rabbit out of a hat. You can tell something is wrong; he’s hesitating.
Suddenly, a fire alarm goes off and everyone starts running. On your way out the door, you look around and realize the magician is still on the stage. He is smiling, relieved. The hat has toppled over and no rabbit is inside.
This is what Temple is like – a magic act that substitutes an abrupt ending for a real finale.
Tip: Night time in the woods is not a good time to have a heart to heart with your boyfriend.