The House That Jack Built (2019) – Get Me A Wrecking Ball

Released: 7th March
Seen: 14th August

I do not think there is a more controversial director working today than Lars Von Trier. His films have an extraordinary ability to divide an audience in 10 minutes. You either love his work or hate it and there is no real room for anything between those. He is one of the few true auteur filmmakers who also helped invent an entire movement in cinema known as Dogme 95, which I highly recommend looking up because it is kind of insane and will go a long way into explaining why Von Trier’s films are the way that they are. Now I’ve always been iffy on Lars, enough that I have just kind of avoided his work. I saw Antichrist years ago, a film that I consider one of the great comedies of all time (provided you watch it directly after you watch Irreversible) and I’ve seen clips of Melancholia but I have had no real desire to watch any more of Lars’ movies… and then I decided to be a reviewer and he put out a film that I would need to watch and talk about, so I’m not exactly in a great mood right now but mostly I just need a nap.

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Long Weekend (1978) – If You Go Down To The Woods Today… Don’t

On this blog, I tend to stick to current releases, specifically things that came out the same year I wrote them since this entire blog came to be out of a need for me to try and see every film when it came out. This has meant that films from last year that I missed don’t get talked about and I haven’t done any classic films. Basically, it’s been nothing but new films, old editorials and Drag Race reviews and two of those things aren’t being done anymore SO from now on I’m going to try and do one review of an older film a week. Maybe it’ll be something you’ve heard of, maybe you’ll have no idea what the hell I’m talking about (a common response) but I’m trying something here so let’s see how it goes. To start with let’s go back to 1978 and talk about a classic bit of Australian cinema, Long Weekend.

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Crawl (2019) – You Can Call Me Al-ligator

Released: 11th July
Seen: 30th July

One great thing about Horror is it has many subgenres and every subgenre has its standout movie. Slashers have Halloween, Zombies have the George Romero trilogy of Night/Dawn/Day of the Living Dead and Found Footage has The Blair Witch Project. There’s a pantheon of iconic movies in each subgenre that help confirm horror as one of the most diverse and fascinating genres of film. The movie we’re going to talk about today, Crawl, fits into the subgenre known as Natural Horror which has given us classics like Jaws, The Birds and Cujo. It might be a little early to make this kind of call, but I would be willing to say that Crawl might be up there with those movies as an example of a great natural horror movie.

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Annabelle Comes Home (2019) – No Dolls Allowed

Released: 26th June
Seen: 3rd July

The Conjuring universe never seems to know when to stop trying to grow. With seven movies out since 2013, the low budget horror series has become a staple of horror cinema and really resurrected the haunted house genre. It’s been stumbling a bit lately though, with last years The Nun making a lot of money but getting savaged critically (I was mostly OK with the film, but I was also really early into my critical phase) and thisyears The Curse Of La Llorona which not only did badly with critics but it’s the lowest earning film in the franchise. Sure, it still made over $100million on a budget of $9million but that movie is a sign that maybe this style of horror might not be working as well… it’s certainly getting to the point where we’re beginning to see the cracks in this franchise thanks to the repetition, which leads us nicely to Annabelle Comes Home.

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Child’s Play (2019) – This IS The End, Friend

Released: 20th June
Seen: 20th June

In 1988, a horror icon was born. Poking fun at the popularity of Cabbage Patch Dolls, Child’s Play showed us what would happen if one of those cherubic collectable toys ended up being possessed by a vicious serial killer who needed to put his soul into the body of a young child. The film was a box office success, pulling in around $44 million worldwide on a budget of only $9million. It spawned four theatrically released sequels and two VOD releases with the most recent one, Cult of Chucky, getting released two years ago. There’s also a TV series coming out on Syfy next year that’s currently being called Chucky and will bring back the legendary serial killing doll. It’s a series that has a loyal fan base who have followed the series from day one and it’s easily in my top 5 favourite horror franchises. I enjoy the series so much that I have even defended the much-maligned Seed of Chucky, which I still feel is an underrated gem that just happened to come out at the exact wrong time. Basically, the franchise is pretty much perfect as it is and doesn’t need a remake… but thanks to some fun legalese where the Child’s Play name isn’t owned by the creators of the franchise (because intellectual property law is fun and not at all pointlessly convoluted), MGM didn’t need to get permission to reboot the franchise that’s still alive and kicking and so now here we are with Child’s Play (2019)… because remakes of classic 80’s slashers never go horribly wrong, except for every single time they remake a classic 80’s slasher.

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The Dead Don’t Die (2019) – Zombie Or Not Zombie

Released: 24th October (General Release)
Seen: 17th June (Sydney Film Festival)

It’s been said before, I shall say it again, there is no element of pop culture that has been used more often than the Zombie. Maybe Jesus has been used more often, but not by much. Everything nowadays has a zombie element to it. One of the most popular TV series right now is a Zombie show, every 4th game released has a zombie mode in it, you can buy zombie-shaped slippers for crying out loud. Zombies are everywhere nowadays and they’ve been done in so many ways that a truly original take on them is almost impossible to find. The last real original Zombie movie I saw was one called Anna and the Apocalypse; I never got around to reviewing that film but it was a Christmas Zombie Musical Comedy set in England and it’s every bit as glorious as that combination sounds. I bring that film up because it’s a great example of what happens when you have several film ideas (a Christmas film, a zombie film and a high school musical comedy) and make them work together. The Dead Don’t Die however is what happens when you have several film ideas, smash them together violently, hold them together with Scotch tape and present it as a complete work. Weirdly, it kind of works… kind of.

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The Perfection (2019) – It Played Me Like A Fiddle

Released: 24th May
Seen: 11th June

The genre of Horror comes with many subgenres, a lot of flavours that keep it interesting. The genre itself is so extraordinary and wild that it can go from the mental destruction caused by a Psychological horror to the elaborate gore of a slasher, to the homemade hell of Found Footage. Every subgenre has its own little quirks and tricks, its own landmark films and dedicated fan base. Heck, even fans of the horror genre have subgenres they love and ones they loathe. I, for example, am a big fan of the fun cheesy slashers but I always get irritated by found footage films. So, what sub-genre would I put a movie like The Perfection into? Is “HOLY SHIT” a subgenre? Because I believe I want to make it a subgenre.

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Brightburn (2019) – Look, Up In The Sky!

Released: 23rd May
Seen:22nd May (Advance Screening)

Later this year we’re going to be getting an animated TV series focussed around the What If comic series. A very simple setup, the series would ask questions like “What if Iron Man had been a traitor?” or “What if Sgt. Fury had fought World War II in outer space?” It’s a fascinating idea that allows for some potentially funny and potentially silly results. It’s also an idea that would allow Superheroes to appear in something other than a big bombastic action film. It’s with this in mind that I walked into Brightburn with a general sense of excitement because the promotional trailers told me right away that this was going to be answering a “What If…?” question that I didn’t even know that I wanted the answer to… What if Damien from The Omen turned out to be Superman?

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I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu (2019) – This Reminds Me Of Something… Something Awful

Released: 23rd April
Seen: 29th April

I Spit On Your Grave Deja Vu Info.png

In 1978, the film I Spit On Your Grave was unleashed onto an unsuspecting public. Directed by first time director Meir Zarchi, the film was soon branded as one of the most shocking pieces of exploitation cinema to ever be released. While I Spit On Your Grave might not be the first film in the exploitation subgenre known as the Rape-Revenge film, it’s certainly the most infamous due to its brutality and the rawness of the lead performance. It’s not a great film by any means but it does earn its place in history as a piece of exploitation cinema, the likes of which we had never seen before. It was even remade in 2010 with a proper budget and filming equipment… and then Meir Zarchi decided he wanted to pick up a camera again and, since nobody tackled him to the ground while screaming ‘NO!’ loudly as they could, we ended up being saddled with I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu. Buckle up, this is going to hurt.

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The Curse Of The Weeping Woman (2019) – Big Ghosts Don’t Cry

Released: 18th April
Seen: 19th April

The Curse Of The Weeping Woman.png

The Conjuring universe is one of the strangest cinematic universes that we’ve had in recent years. While other cinematic universes, like the one that Marvel has basically defined over the last decade, will have several standalone films that build up to a major event picture, the Conjuring Universe does things a little differently. It has the main central series which follows Ed and Lorraine Warren in their paranormal haunts (while never actually addressing the legitimate criticism that the Warren’s are basically doing an elaborate carnival act and preying on people’s fears) and then they put a creepy monster of some kind in those Conjuring movies and that monster will spin off into its own origin movie. Those origin movies tend to be painful to watch, with Annabelle being a snoozefest with no logic and even less thought put into it that basically relied on the movie Annabelle: Creation to salvage the concept while The Nun was basically average if I was being kind and if I were to re-review that film today I’d probably put it at 2.5/5 instead of a 3/5 but hey, that’s the fun thing about seeing every movie you can. The more you see the more you look back and have different opinions on different films. I have a distinct feeling though that when I look back on this film I’m going to still think it was basically a waste of time while also being a horrific waste of potential.

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