Spiral (2020) – Spinning Right Round Baby

Released: 17th September
Seen: 20th September

Spiral Info

When it comes to queer characters as the leads in horror films, I have to admit I can’t come up with many. Nightmare on Elm Street 2 may have put all the gayness into the subtext but it was still there, genuinely groundbreaking for that time (and the subject of a fascinating documentary that I may have reviewed a while ago). Hellbent was a slasher film that made the bold choice to have all the victims and even the main villain be gay men in West Hollywood. Cursed had a gay supporting character, Scream 4 had one character who claimed they were gay (It might’ve been an attempt to not get stabbed, which didn’t work) and that’s where I run out of films (I know there’s more, damned if I can name them). They’re certainly never really pushed by any big companies or made mainstream, so for Shudder to make a horror movie about a gay couple and link the story explicitly to the gay experience is pretty awesome and the film is… good.

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The Rhythm Section Promo Image

The Rhythm Section (2020) – Out Of Sync

Released: 31st January
Seen: 30th August

The Rhythm Section Info

The revenge film is a very popular and versatile film to make with one of the simpler basic plots to work with. Start with a cruel act that ends in someone dead, give that dead person a loved one who is traumatised by the cruel act, that loved one trains themselves to fight in some way and then goes after the person who hurt them. This very basic structure has led to classics like the John Wick trilogy or most of Liam Neeson’s career since the Taken movies. When done right they can be exciting thrillers that make the audience sit on the edge of their seat in genuine terror, when done wrong you get films like Peppermint or today’s selection The Rhythm Section.

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The Beach House (2020) – An Extremely Psycho Beach Party

Released: 26th July
Seen: 14th August

The Beach House Info

There’s a certain setup in horror that can either work really well or backfire painfully. You’ve probably seen it in films like mother! and it’s certainly the backbone of The Beach House. The setup is that a couple are staying at a remote location all on their own until a stranger or two turn up and the nightmares begin. Either the new people are what brings on the horror (see The Strangers) or they’re part of the nightmare itself (again, mother!) or they’re not really related to the source of the horror but are the first ones to go through it… that last one describes what happens to the new people in The Beach House, and if they’re the warning of what’s to come then the main characters are in for a bad time.

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The Last Thing He Wanted (2020) – No One Wanted This

Released: 27th January
Seen: 5th May

The Last Thing He Wanted Info

So, while I’m still learning how to effectively write these reviews, I have slowly developed a system that works for me. After I do the first paragraph (usually designed to be just eye-catching enough that if you were to scroll through my main page that it might make you want to know more) I will then stop and think about how to describe the plot. I might have IMDB open to remind me of character and actor names but I can usually come up with a decent enough plot synopsis that doesn’t give away more than I need to in order to get you to know just what kind of movie I’m talking about. The plot synopsis is always a quick thing for me, I try to keep it short and sweet because if you want a proper plot synopsis then Wikipedia is in the next tab over. I add it for context and little more than that… this time? I’m tempted to skip it because the plot is so poorly constructed that even just adding it for context feels pointless but it’s my structure now so I feel obligated to try.

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Dangerous Lies (2020) – LIEEEEEEEES

Released: 30th April
Seen: 2nd May

About a year ago I did a review for a film called Secret Obsession which was basically Netflix picking up the scraps left over from a Lifetime all-you-can-eat-buffet and turning it into something meant to resemble a film. It wasn’t exactly good and you could kind of tell what network it was made for originally but I figured “Oh well, if Netflix does a Lifetime movie every now and then that could be entertaining. Sometimes those are campy enough for a laugh” and Netflix apparently heard me and decided to make an even blander wannabe lifetime movie… I’m so ready for 2020 to be over.

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Horse Girl (2020) – Coming In In All Directions

Released: 7th February
Seen: 9th April

Normally when I write these reviews I do an opening paragraph that is intended to set the scene. Either I talk about the original text that inspired the film or I’ll talk about a cinematic trend or, in one case, talk about paint drying to create a subversive joke that can lead into the bulk of the review. Partially this is for context and it’s also done so that if people are scrolling through my page, the opening paragraph might catch their eye and make them want to read more. So, how does someone write an interesting and appropriate opening paragraph for a movie like Horse Girl, a film about a woman who is slowly being overtaken by her serious mental illness that starts as simple little obsessions and culminates in dressing like a peach-ninja and having imaginary sex with the nerdy guy from Criminal Minds? I sat here and tried to think of such an opening and ended up not having any idea, so that’s why you got that tiny bit of information about how I write this… it’s the most interesting thing I could think of because I do not know how on earth I can begin to explore this one.

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Lost Girls (2020) – Found It

Released: 13th March
Seen: 7th April

Lost Girls Info

Between 1996 and 2010, it’s believed that around 16 women who were either sex workers or closely tied to the sex work industry were murdered by someone who is currently only known as the Long Island Serial Killer. The identity of the killer has never been found and the story of how this case became known was so interesting that in 2013 it was turned into the book Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker. The book rights were later optioned for a film that went through some cast changes and went from Amazon to Netflix before being released in March where it promptly got ignored because… I don’t know, we were busy anticipating the new season of the Boss Baby series. All I know is that I saw no discussion around this film whatsoever which is odd because it’s genuinely fascinating.

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Turnabout (2016) – It’s Fair Play

Released: 20th December 2016
Seen: 7th April

Some films are very complicated, with a large cast of wild and various characters who go on some convoluted quest and have to deal with some form of a serious antagonist who stands in their way and causes them a large amount of persistent trouble… then there are the films that feel like we’re just watching an hour in a couple of people’s lives. Sometimes you’re in the mood for something big and grand, sometimes you just need a little bit of character study and considering how we’re not allowed to be near actual people anymore, this seems like the right time to just enjoy a good little character piece since I am becoming that desperate for human contact.

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Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears

Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears (2020) – Sadly Not Great

Released: 27th February
Seen: 3rd March

Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears Poster Info

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries was an Australian drama series based on the novels by author Kerry Greenwood. It ran for 3 years, airing 32 episodes on the ABC and getting a spin-off, Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, in 2019. The show itself was a decent hit by Australian standards and got average reviews throughout its run. The series fans did what a lot of fans do when a series they love ends, begged for them to go again one more time and thus we have been blessed with Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears, a film that knows it needs to be more impressive than the TV series was but somehow fails to find its footing.

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Brahms: The Boy II (2020) – Brahms Dull-uh-bye!

Released: 20th February
Seen: 25th February

Brahms: The Boy 2 Info

So, most paints you buy at a hardware store are made up of four ingredients. The pigment is what gives it the colour and comes in several forms, such as organic and inorganic which work differently depending on where you’re using it and have different kinds of colour. There’s also extender pigments which include things like clay, silica, diatomaceous silica and zinc oxide to name a few. After pigments, there are binders which basically is what holds everything together (hence the term binder, it’s very self-explanatory in that way) and the binder is what gives pain it’s gloss retention, makes it washable and helps with fade resistance. There’s a lot of binder types, like latex and water and oil so that’s probably what gives them their names, I’m not a paint expert. After that there are solvents, basically the thing that makes paint into a liquid so it’s usable. Lastly, there are additives, things that change the viscosity of the paint or keeps it from separating. Now you know this, it might help you understand why it takes so very long for paint to dry. Hell, go out, buy a 5 dollar tin of paint (I suggest a nice hickory brown) and a large piece of wall and just paint a single line so the paint can drip down as it dries. Congratulations, I just offered you a cheaper and more exciting experience than Brahms: The Boy 2.

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