Thursday, October 18, 2018

10 Horror Movies Directed by Woman I Recently Watched

Here are some of the great indie horror films I have watched this year that were directed by women and serve as a reminder to studios that women are just as capable of directing horror films as men. 

Prevenge (2017)
Dir- Alice Lowe

A pregnant woman reeling from the death of her lover is compelled to commit murders by her unborn child who goads her into seeking revenge for her daddy's death. As if being a single mom wasn't already tough enough in this wicked black comedy by Alice Lowe who wrote, directed and stars in this movie while she was seven months pregnant.

The Devils Doorway (2018)
Dir- Aislinn Clarke

Irish director Aislinn Clarke's film "The Devil's Doorway" uses a Magdalene Laundry as the backdrop for this found footage movie that focuses on a pair of priests who are sent to investigate a reported miracle. Once inside the Laundry, the priests are met with hostility from the Mother Superior and appalled by the conditions the young women are subjected to in their custody. The real terror emerges when the younger priest begins to hear voices of children in a place that has no children and witnesses some unexplained events.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
Dir- Ana Lily Amirpour

Described as a vampire western, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is pretty unconventional for a vampire movie as Director Ana Lily Amirpour blends a beautiful tale of female empowerment in a society where women have no freedom and are often victimized. Iranian-American actress Sheila Vand plays the unnamed vampire quite impressively despite little dialogue, her fearless spirit and desire to seek some justice show that even though she is a predator she has some humanity left in her as she punishes those who hurt women.

American Mary (2012)
Dir- Jen and Sylvia Soska

A medical student who finds herself in financial distress take a job in a strip club where she uses her surgical skills to perform surgeries that are unethical and possibly illegal. Her reputation soon draws more clients and even more extreme procedures like body modification. Her attempt to get back into the normal world of a medical residency is hampered when she is drugged and raped by a former teacher, and she then decides to use her skills to seek revenge.

Tales of Halloween (2015) [Grim Grinning Ghost Segment]
Dir- Axelle Carolyn

A woman leaves her mothers home after heating a ghost story to find her journey home filled with strange occurrences. She suspects she is being followed and it may be the ghostly figure from her mother's story.

XX (2017)
Dir- Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin, and Karyn Kusama

Four stories are presented in this anthology horror film directed by four women; the directors include Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin, and Karyn Kusama. The stories include a man with a mysterious box who leaves a mother curious about its contents. A married woman planning a birthday party for her daughter finds her husband has an unfortunate event. Four friends on a desert trip find mysterious cave drawings that then result in the appearance of an evil creature. The final story is about a mother whose teenage son is about to learn a dark secret about himself.

Raw (2016)
Dir- Julia Ducournau

A veterinarian student who is a vegetarian develops a strange hunger for raw meat when she is forced to consume meat during a hazing incident. From there she develops a craving for raw flesh that soon has her seeking out more exotic fare to include human flesh.

The Invitation (2015)
Dir- Karyn Kusama

A man takes his girlfriend to meet his ex-wife after being invited over to a dinner party. Once there he is reminded of some personal tragedies that occurred and finds even more unsettling information that makes him suspicious of the intentions of his ex-wife

Revenge (2017)
Dir- Coralie Fargeat 

Jen (Matilda Lutz) is spending a romantic weekend with her wealthy boyfriend until two of his friends show up for an unannounced hunting trip. Jen is creeped out by their leering glances and when she refuses the advances of one of the friends her world is abruptly shaken as she is assaulted sexually and left for dead after her boyfriend shows his true colors of indifference toward her. Her will to survive pushes her to seek out her justice as she uses her skills and wits to survive in the punishing heat of the desert that she is left alone to die.

Southbound (2015) [Siren Segment]
Dir- Roxanne Benjamin

A trio of female musicians find themselves stranded in the desert after their tire goes flat, a friendly couple offers to assist and invites them into their home. Once inside they are served a meal that the vegetarian in their group declines. She then sees her friends disappear with the couple involved in some possible cult behavior.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

14 Days to Halloween- 2005 The Descent

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is 2005 horror movie "The Descent" starring Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, Nora-Jane Noone and directed by Neil Marshall.

The Descent (2005)
Dir- Neil Marshall

Six women go cave exploring and find their journey beneath stalled when a cave-in traps them. Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) has suffered a personal tragedy that has her sanity and well being called into question and the stress of the events tests the women as Juno (Natalie Mendoza) presses them to move on knowing they are trapped. The trouble worsens when they learn that not only are they in an unexplored cave but there may something else to fear. Neil Marshall wrote and directed this intense and tension-filled thriller that terrified its audience with its claustrophobic setting and dynamic mostly female cast. The film received wide critical acclaim and was praised for the mostly-female cast as well the claustrophobic setting and creature design that made the film one of the scariest movies of the decade. The Descent is considered one of the best horror movies of the 21st century and one of the best British horror films ever made.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

15 Days to Halloween- 2004 Shaun of the Dead

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is 2004 horror movie comedy "Shaun of the Dead" starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy David and directed by Edgar Wright.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Dir- Edgar Wright

Shaun is a happy go lucky bloke with few worries and not much responsibility. Along with his best pal Ed, the two live in a flat outside of London and don’t concern themselves too much with life outside of video games and beer. Shaun’s girlfriend wants Shaun to show more ambition, and the opportunity arises as their town is overrun by zombies. With the crisis at had, Shaun takes charges and heads out to defend his friends and family at the local pub. Shaun of the Dead was well received for its balance of terror and satire, making it one of the best zombie movies in recent years.

Monday, October 15, 2018

16 Days to Halloween- 2003 A Tale of Two Sisters

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 2003 Korean psychologial horror movie "A Tale of Two Sisters" starring Im Soo-jung, Mon Geun-young, Yum Jung-ah, Kim Kap-soo and directed by Kim Jee-woon.

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Dir- Kim Jee-woon

A young Korean girl comes home after spending time in a mental institution. She is at odds with her new stepmother and turns to her younger sister for support when events in their house begin to get strange with visions of her deceased mother and other ghostly figures. These disturbing events call into question her sanity as well as revealing dark moment in her family's history. A Tale of Two Sisters was based on local Korean fairy tales and has been adapted into movies before yet this version became the top box office hit in Korea and was widely praised by critics around the world. The film was remade in the US and released in 2009 as The Uninvited but was widely panned as an inferior remake.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

17 Days to Halloween- 2002 28 Days Later

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is 2002 apocalyptic horror movie "28 Days Later" starring CillianMurphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston and directed by Danny Boyle.

28 Days Later (2002)
Dir- Danny Boyle

A coma patient wakes up to find that the city has been overrun by a virus that results in crazed behavior. After being chased by infected groups, he then finds some survivors as they try to make their way toward a sanctuary. Danny Boyle directed this film, and its success helped fuel the resurgence of zombie films. 28 Days Later stood out from previous zombie movies by introducing the kinetic fast moving zombie making the threat even scarier. 28 Days Later would perform very well in the box office worldwide and would win praise from critics for its great execution and an outstanding cast.

18 Days to Halloween- 2001 Session 9

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is 2001 psychologcal horror movie "Session 9" starring David, Caruso, Pete Mullan, Josh Lucas, Paul Guilfoyle and directed by Brad Anderson.

Session 9 (2001)
Dir- Brad Anderson

A hazmat team is charged with cleaning an abandoned sanitarium. During the week-long job, one of the crew finds a collection of audio tapes that reveal some truly disturbing events. Directed by Brad Anderson, Session 9 was shot in a portion of an abandoned State Asylum adding to the authentic atmosphere.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Non-Paranormal Found Footage Movies

Found footage movies have enjoyed great popularity in the past 20 years since the release of The Blair Witch Project, here is a collection of found footage movies that don't involve the paranormal, the Devil or the supernatural.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Like the spaghetti westerns of the sixties, Italian cannibal films were the rage in the seventies. Like many of those westerns, these films had similar plots as well as the same tragic conclusions. A group of white explorers would enter the dense jungle of the Amazon rainforests and meet up with seemingly friendly cannibals who were only looking to have these guests as their next meal. With the many films made one wonders why no one noticed the very similar techniques and stories. We see women gang-raped, and men getting their testicles cut off or having their skulls opened up for a dessert of fresh brain. Everyone seemed to be a potential meal for each other. Cannibal Holocaust is considered by many to be the most graphically intense and brutal film ever made even when compared to its grotesque contemporaries. 

The Last Broadcast (1998)

A documentary filmmaker named David Leigh details the mysterious deaths of the hosts of cable access show titled Fact of Fiction. Steven Avkast and Locus Wheeler were amateur investigators who hosted a cable access show and running out of ideas turned into the urban legend of the Jersey Devil to invigorate their ratings and bring in new viewers. They plan to do a live broadcast on location in the Jersey Pine Barrons and stream it on the internet so the audience can witness their reactions and boost their popularity. A few days later Avkast and Wheeler are found dead, and the mystery of who was responsible may be on the video footage that was located by the police.

My Little Eye (2002)

Five adults agree to spend six months together in an isolated mansion with cameras capturing their every moment as part of a reality series. What motivates each contestant is a one million dollar prize yet as the sixth-month mark approaches tensions begin to develop between the group when a mysterious package arrives with a gun and the appearance of a stranger who claims he does not know anything about the contest. My Little Eye was inspired by the reality series Big Brother and plays out similarly yet the contestants are not aware of the sinister intent of the specific audience that is watching them.

The Last Horror Movie (2003)

A wedding video cameraman and his assistant use their video equipment to videotape murders they commit. They record their victims from start to finish and seem to focus on people who rent the very tape they are making as it is left in a video store. He then speaks to the viewer and questions their reasons for wanting to watch a movie like this. The Last Horror Movie certainly presents the audience with a thought-provoking question, if you knew you were watching a real tape with murder would you keep watching. 

Alone With Her (2006)

A tech-savvy stalker installs some cameras in the apartment of a woman he wishes to pursue. He then watches her so that he can approach her and use the information he observed to seduce her. Although the movie does employ a few techniques that make it less a found footage movie, Alone With Her does make the viewer feel unsettled by the having you the audience witness his creepy activities. Casting Colin Hanks would go against the usual style of having unknown actors to make the film seem more amateurish. In an age where we pretty much surrender our privacy Alone With Her is a terrifying reminder of just how far technology can enable stalkers to pursue their victims much easier.

Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) 

This pseudo crime documentary details the events surrounding a fictional serial killer who operated in the New York town of Poughkeepsie in the 1990's. It begins when police raid a house and find hundreds of videotapes inside, it is revealed that the tapes document untold numbers of abductions and murders committed by an unknown assailant all cataloged and numbered in order. The serial killer never allows himself to be seen unless he is disguised and in many of the tapes he tortures his victims physically, emotionally and psychologically. Police and crime experts appear in numerous interviews trying to profile the killer and look for patterns that could aid in his capture. The serial killer is given a name, but not much else is learned about him due to the random nature of the crimes that he appears to plan in a deliberate attempt to confuse authorities.

Cloverfield (2008)

A monster attack on New York City is seen through the shaky video camera of a group of friends who flee the city and face threats from the creature as it tears through the city. Matt Reeves directs this found footage film that made excellent use of viral marketing to play up the fear as we see the events unfold before seeing the creature entirely.

Home Movie (2008)

A series of home movies document the descent into darkness for the Poe family and what happened to them at the hands of their children. What starts as the perfect family in a remote upstate New York home takes a shocking turn as the children are shown to be hiding something from their parents. The children are deeply disturbed, and the further along the movie goes the audience witnesses the acts of cruelty and horrible events that leave the parents terrified and looking for help. Home Movie has a much more disturbing and realistic feel than most other found footage movies as this one seems so genuine and foreboding given the outcome of the family’s tragic fate. Easily one of the most disturbing films in recent years and one of the best made found footage films

Evil Things (2009)

A group of friends from New York City that went on a weekend trip disappeared with no evidence left to explain what happened. A video is found later that shows the group traveling to the house and noticing a van that is following them. After arriving at the remote home, they find a videotape that confirms someone is observing them and recording their activities. Evil Things is a low budget found footage movie that seems to borrow from some more famous films. 

The Bay (2012)

A leaked tape reveals an interview with a reporter speaking out on the coverup behind the events of a tragic July 4th in a Chesapeake Bay town that resulted in many deaths. A series of videos show the events from some people including some oceanographers, a young doctor and a reporter who is on what seems to be a puff piece story covering the holiday festivities. A deadly outbreak is shown throughout the day, and the cause may be related to the local water treatment plant and a mutant breed of parasites. The Bay is a compelling eco-horror film that employs found footage in an efficient manner that builds on the tension of the cast while creating a chilling atmosphere for the survivors. Director Barry Levinson made the movie to help bring attention to the issue facing the Chesapeake Bay, and they do so in a way that might show what a real eco-disaster might look like and how it may be played out.

Chronicle (2012)

A teenage student begins to video the events of his life to include his mother dying of cancer and his alcoholic father. At a party, he and a few friends go into the woods and find a mysterious object that makes their nosebleed as the camera cuts off. When the camera comes back, the three teens are shown with the power to move objects and the ability to fly. The powers begin to make one of the boys more hostile as the camera captures some of the darker moments as he lashes out more and potentially harming others. Chronicle is very different from most other found footage films and seems more like a superhero origin story with the boys learning how to use their powers and the dangers they pose. 

The Den (2013)

A young student working on her graduate degree decides to use a webcam to chat with strangers to see what kind of people she can meet. It gets worse when another stranger is shown killing the obsessed fan and now targeting her, her family and friends for reasons that are not clear to her. The Den is a found footage movie that shows some of the dangers of social media and the world of the dark web.

The Sacrament (2013)

The real-life tragedy of the Jonestown massacre would be the inspiration for the 2013 film by director Ti West. In that film, a man travels to find his sister and bring her home from the cult she has joined. The hospitable treatment will soon give way to far sinister things when he is unwilling to join their ranks.

Europa Report (2013)

This found footage movie details the events of a doomed mission to one of Jupiter’s moons. Despite losing contact with Earth and some incidents, the crew continues the mission only to find that something mysterious may be under the ice. Europa Report was released on video on demand to good reviews, the claustrophobic feel of a spaceship adds the tension significantly as the crew faces an unknown threat with no help from Earth. A great slow-burn thriller that has gained an audience in recent years.