Missing (2023) – Found It

Released: 23rd February
Seen: 28th May

In 2018 a little film called Searching was released to an unsuspecting public. Now at the time we had a few films that used the “it’s happening on a computer screen” gimmick (also known as Screenlife) but none had used it quite as effectively as Searching did in order to tell a truly intense story of a kidnapping from the POV of a worried father trying to use technology in order to find his daughter. It was an undeniable hit, raking in about 75 million on a budget that was basically just a few go-pros and a pair of fairly well-known actors but with its creative presentation and twist-filled story, it managed to get enough attention that a franchise sprung forth. This is how we get the film Missing, a follow-up that proves that there is a lot more life left in this concept that can hopefully be explored.

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Knock At The Cabin (2023) – Choices

Released: 17th May
Seen: 23rd May

There is a trope in fiction known as “Bury Your Gays” which has become somewhat of a problem in certain pieces of media. The idea is depressingly simple, the idea being that there is a disproportionate number of gay characters dying, normally as a way to expand a straight character’s storyline. Now this doesn’t mean that you can never kill off a gay character, far from it. However, if you do, it should be at the same proportion as straight characters and, preferably, not be completely pointless. Knock at the Cabin is a case study in how to do this correctly while also indulging in more than a few of M Night Shyamalan’s worst tendencies as a writer/director.

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Scream 6 (2023) – Scream A Little Louder

Released: 9th March
Seen: 8th March

On June 6th Neve Campbell made an announcement that she was not going to appear in Scream 6 due to negotiations with Paramount falling through when they didn’t give her the money that she felt she was worth to the franchise. This was, quite frankly, insane to believe because Neve Campbell is the face of the Scream franchise, as important to it as phone calls and the concept of horror movie trivia so for Paramount to decide to just not give her what she is worth is abysmal on their part. It is my sincere hope that when Scream 7 comes around they actually give her what she deserves and then some because I don’t know how many films in this franchise they can make without the iconic Sidney Prescott… apparently, they can make at least one though because, despite this serious issue, Scream 6 is actually fantastic.

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The Pale Blue Eye (2022) – Meh-dgar Allen Poe

Released: 6th January
Seen: 8th January

The Pale Blue Eye Info

Last year I reviewed a little film called Raven’s Hollow which asked the question “What if Edgar Allen Poe tried to solve a murder that would feel right at home in an Edgar Allen Poe story?” and it was quite OK, it was a good movie that did pretty much what you would hope a film might do with that basis and that was about it. Indeed in general the best thing that can be said about it is that apparently, it might’ve started a mild trend of films where Edgar Allen Poe has to deal with the messed up shit that is found in Edgar Allen Poe stories, which could be a fun genre to play in and while The Pale Blue Eye is certainly trying to do something interesting with the idea, it doesn’t quite do it right.

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The Outfit (2022) – See My Vest

Released: 18th August
Seen: 16th November

The Outfit Info

There really is nothing quite like a gangster film, it’s such a fascinating underground world that can often lead to a story full of intrigue, backstabbing and murder if done right. Of course, the problem is that there have been so many truly great films in this genre that it’s hard to do something to stand out. You could go the Guy Ritchie route with something like The Gentlemen and make a big broad comedy full of fast quipping characters, a ton of extravagant action scenes and just blow the budget on going all out or you could take the route The Outfit takes and be a little quieter, calculated and generally intriguing.

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Smile (2022) – It’s Smile Time!

Released: 29th September
Seen: 16th November

2022 is turning out to be a fantastic year for horror, every month just seems to have another great horror flick for fans of the genre to enjoy. Not only has Horror as a genre been doing great, but the kind of horror that’s striking it big is so varied. Films like Terrifier 2, Barbarian, Scream, Hellraiser, Bodies Bodies Bodies, Nope and X are just a handful of horror titles that’ve come out this year and turned this into one of those years that horror fans will mark as a turning point for the genre. Smile is just another film to throw on the pile that we will point to in years to come when proclaiming 2022 to be one of the best years for horror in quite a long time.

Also, time to issue a content warning, this film deals heavily with ideas of suicide and mental illness and those will need to be discussed so consider this your trigger warning.

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Grimcutty (2022) – Meme To Death

Released: 10th October
Seen: 2nd November

Grimcutty Info

One of the wild things about horror films is how quickly they can jump on something new and find the terror in it, take the mundane and make it into the malicious. Recent years have shown a lot of ways this can be done, from something as simple as an app being turned into an instrument of foretold death in Countdown to a pair of jeans turning into sentient killers in Slaxx and even if the films aren’t great, they can at least be interesting on some level… and then there’s Grimcutty, a film that takes the concept of a killer meme and turns it into boring sludge that isn’t interesting even if you squint.

Oh, and trigger warning for discussions of suicide because that’s a major theme of this film and it’s impossible not to talk about it on some level.

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Hellraiser (2022) – Raises Hell

Released: 8th October
Seen: 9th October

Hellraiser Image

The Hellraiser franchise is one of the weirder major entries in the horror genre. Built around the idea of mixing sexuality and torture long before the phrase ‘torture porn’ was created as a pejorative for the more extreme kinds of horror, Hellraiser was always a series that sat just on the edge of the mainstream. You certainly knew about it thanks to the iconic image of Pinhead but it’s such a wild set of movies that even some horror fans might have issues with it (and also it kind of infamously started sucking around the 4th-5th movie, depending on which fan you ask). It’s also been the major horror franchise that’s avoided being rebooted longer than pretty much everything else… until now. It also is on the shortlist of “80s horror reboots that don’t suck”, a prestigious list if ever there was one.

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Nope (2022) – Maybe

Released: 11th August
Seen: 14th August

Nope Info

In 2017 Jordan Peele staked his claim as a modern horror master with his directorial debut Get Out. To this day that film is one of the best films that this reviewer has had the pleasure of watching. It was terrifying and had something important to say and did it flawlessly. It’s a go-to example of a perfect film and very little has beaten it. It’s the kind of film that makes you excited to see what a director does next, and sure enough, when Peele dropped Us onto an unsuspecting public it was proof that he had something special. 

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