'Little Evil' is a seldom gut-bustingly funny horror-comedy which winks at Richard Donner's demon-seed masterpiece 'The Omen' (with the Tubular-Bells-esque, apocalyptic score heralding the Antichrist's dominion over Earth) but it bungles the burlesque execution. Eli Craig (of 'Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil') is a Kapellmeister at an idyllic surface over the arterial-spray terror. At one point, Craig flagrantly regurgitates the smash-cut structure of Edgar Wright. Lucas (Owen Atlas) is a doppelganger for Damien as well but Craig doesn't spoof diacritical scenes (other than the birthday soiree carnage with a self-immolating clown). As the office nuisance Al, Bridget Everett is truly excruciating. In a florid Hawaiian shirt and with an androgynous attitude about the step-parent role, Everett is assaultively unfunny to real estate agent Gary Bloom (Adam Scott) and the viewer's ear canals with the surfer tautology of "man". Ultimately though, 'Little Evil' is uprooted by a one-joke conceit in which all of Lucas' goat-puppet ventriloquism and other diablerie are faintly ratiocinated by a deadpan Scott. However, it is undeniably uproarious when Scott postulates that hair gel is why Lucas is frozen during his wedding day tornado. Sadly, much of the raillery about Satanism is monomaniacal to the mean-spirited, misogynistic extent where Gary's ravishing wife, Samantha (Evangeline Lilly), is a blathering ignoramus (a conversation about Lucas' conception at a cult ceremony with "warm red pain").
'Stephen King's It' is a ghoulishly unshackled update of the Maine author's coulorophobia book and it is superlative in every facet to the 1990 television miniseries which is now pitifully antiquated and meretricious in hindsight other than Tim Curry's baritone performance. By antedating the film from 1950's milieu to the 80's, the peripheral set decoration is chockfull of 'Gremlins' posters and a facetiously arcane reference to the "Molly Ringwald" of the group. It's catnip for the yuppie generation who were reared on Street Fighter arcade games and New Kids on the Block cassettes. Although scribes Chase Palmer, (defunct director) Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman are steeped in coming-of-age King staples (the mulleted bullies, the cluelessly clodhopper parents who vicariously haunt their children via Munchausen-syndrome-by-proxy, molestation, etc.), it is more of a neoclassical and old-fashioned nod than an assortment of hoary clichés. Usually the integration of special effects into Pennywise's (Bill Skarsgård) rakish appearances would be an eyesore but instead they annex a Stygian quality to his gangly movements such as when he is a contortionist out of the Well House fridge or when his jaw unhinges into serrated fangs. Luckily, the unanimously excellent Losers' Club isn't entirely expository about the Easter explosion and the delitescent backstory to the Pennywise's 27-year gap in his cannibalistic frenzy. However, the summer-vacationers cleaning up a sink bloodbath is lackluster to the magical-realism. As a presentational exhibition, each of Skarsgård's spooky happenings is a stinger than can be jaunty (a three-door choice of either Very Scary or Not Scary At All), a cheeky background nuance (a stentorian librarian lingering behind the focal point) or frightfully subliminal like a children's show which serenades Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) to slice his father's throat with a box-cutter.
'Jeepers Creepers 3' is a giddily capricious guilty pleasure which hybridizes the creature rules of Stephen King's 'It' (the 23-year cycle of the Creeper's (Jonathan Breck) edacious frenzy) for an extravaganza of Southern Antebellum atmosphere and ax-wielding jolts. Like stuntman Kane Hodder's forays as Jason Voorhees, Breck transfuses the Creeper with Thyestean mystique. While prowling around his prey in a hay-hauling truck, his eyes dilate and his nostrils snarl and later, he is sneeringly disgruntled about a gunshot on his Hesperian hat. He also whistles after an Olympic stance for his javelin throw. While it is an invidious interquel between the 2001 and 2003 pictures, the tie-in finale in which the basketball team is incunabular, is actually a reticular callback to the excruciating second chapter. Because it is not bankrolled from a major studio, a few CGI elements are poorly embellished such as the ball contraptions from the Creeper's crenellated van and the bullet ricochets off of its impregnable exterior. Victor Salva tints the flick with oppressively nerve-racking atmosphere (Gaylen Brandon (Meg Foster) soliloquizes with her deceased son on a breathtakingly pink-filtered sunrise horizon) and stereo-quaking frights with the Creeper in silhouette atop his vehicle or extemporaneously perching in front of dirt bikers (the most sadistic, rabbit-slaying member, Kirk Mathers' (Ryan Moore) comeuppance via a booby-trapped seat is thankfully not procrastinated). While it isn't strictly a cockamamie spoof of the slasher subgenre, Salva reflexively lampoons it with the campy in-jokes such as the car's-ignition-won't-start chestnut and then it is collated with a gag about a noisy cell phone. The origins of the winged gargoyle are only a minuscule tease around a disembodied hand on a farm property and its trance that informs the holder of the Creeper's weakness.
'Gerald's Game' is a ravenously sinister reaping of interiorized horror and Mike Flanagan trickles it with cautionary black humor (such as when the Viagra side effect is cardiac arrest and Jessie Burlingame (Carla Gugino) is still manacled akimbo to the bed posts and the front door is ajar). In the resurgence of Stephen King on other mediums, a few of his more obscure novellas are being transmogrified and among is the psychosexual eroticism of 'Gerald's Game' in which Sam Cooke's dulcet ballad reverberates over an overhead credit sequence of Bruce Greenwood interlards a pair of handcuffs into his suitcase for a getaway weekend with his voluptuous wife. If ever there was an ineluctable creature who be a carnal treat for all genders, it would be Gugino who permeates iliac sensuality from her every fiber. When lawyer Gerald (Greenwood) is caressing her thigh on the ride, she is vaguely tentative which is shorthand for the alienation between the duo. From the moment Jessie gourmandizes a stray canine (with a 'Cujo' reference inbound), the seeds of Chekhov's gun are germinated for a rabid appearance from him later on and once he repasts on Gerald's forearm, it is a short-fuse tinderbox until Jessie is his next entree. Flanagan isn't only a gorehound director (although a wrist slitting with glass shards is unconscionably gag-reflex-inducing) and he actually rhapsodizes the viewers with the dehydrated, tour-de-force hallucinations of Jessie in which a figment Gerald animadverts her dearth of maternal instincts and philosophize on the profound subject of "who exactly did I marry?". In the flashback segments to Jessie's prey childhood, Henry Thomas is indelibly creepy as Jessie's lecherous father who gerrymanders her paterfamilias fetish when they're watching a solar eclipse. On the downside, the subplot about the "Man Made of Moonlight" nudges towards a Kafkaesque reverie that the film never properly earns.