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Dark, grim, unsettling and intensely disturbing. The new Suspiria film manages to stand on its own while also paying respect to the original 1977 Dario Argento classic. For those who watched the original film, you know the story of Suspiria. This movie tells the story of Susie Bannion, an American girl who travels to Berlin to purse the dream of becoming a ballet dancer at a prestigious dancing company until she uncovers the dark secrets of the academy itself. Because deep within its walls, lies a mysterious coven full of witches looking for a female vessel to fill the void for their elderly leader Helena Markos in order to keep their race alive. As a huge admirer and fan of the original Dario Argento classic, the new Suspiria film takes things to a whole new level thanks to Luca Guadagnino's optimistic vision that injects new life in the film while trying to avoid making a fatal mistake. This movie is completely different to the original as both movies' styles are radically different at their executions. If the 1977 movie is full of vibrant colors with a mystery theme along with some clever and gruesome kills. Luca Guadagnino's film is more art house looking as he relies on bleak imagery that adds a deeply unnerving vibe from beginning to end. I have to admit that this new Suspiria film has a strong sense of complexity as its themes about motherhood are timeless and well explored. It does a fantastic job to keep its padding on different and good directions. If you look at this movie compared to the original, think of them as two different ideas. One is an artistic mainstream film, the other is like a presticious art gallery filled with gorgeous paintings from one of the most talented and well known artists across the globe that leaves you surprised all the way as you observe the paintings due to how the new Suspiria pays attention to detail from the depressing rainfall and writings outside the walls of the streets in front of the academy to the creaky interiors of the academy itself. What differentiates this the most is that the characters are fleshed out with more character development and screen time especially the main character Susie Bannion herself. The way our director handles his build up on slow crawling and creeping tension makes you feel unnerved especially with composer Thom Yorke's haunting soundtrack which deepens the mood. There are so many scenes that are grotesque, disturbing and terrifying which will leave an uncomfortable feeling inside your gut (The twisted and shocking scene where Olga's body gets contorted by Susie Bannion before being grappled by meat hooks by the academy's staff, the haunting and nightmarish dream sequences, little Susie's abuse at the hands of her mother by getting her hand burned with an iron, the unexpected death of a coven member, Sarah discovering a tomb of decaying bodies before coming back to life, the dance scenes which are filled with crafted tension and the disgusting finale where several of the dancers and witches are slain at the hands of a spirit before Susie reveals herself as the real Mater Suspiriorium) plus the antagonist Helena Markos is more cruel, nastier and more mean to the bone. Now the acting is brilliant, the performances of the cast deserve a standing ovation. From Dakota Johnson as the lead character Susie Bannion, Chloe Grace Moretz delivers a spectacular performance as Patricia Hingle, Mia Goth is great with her role as Sarah, Tilda Swinton is excellent as Madame Blanc and I enjoy the cameo of original Suspiria actress Jessica Harper as the ill fated wife of Patricia's psychiatrist Anke. Director Luca Guadagnino has done a fantastic job with his work on this film and he turned David Kajganich's screenplay into an excellent art house masterpiece that has a completely different approach to Dario Argento's original. He created his own vision that acts on its own while being able to stay true to respect and avoid imitating the original's ideas in the best way thanks to the use of outstanding camera work that makes you feel like you're going on a nightmarish, acid trip. Overall the new Suspiria film is a dark, brooding, unsettling, unnerving and disturbing film that will stay with you in a discomforting way which will plague you with nightmares from time to time. This film gets a 10/10.
The Babadook is one of the most well made and best Horror films ever made, this is an example on how you make a true Horror film while it is also easily compared to 2018's Hereditary. The Babadook tells the story of widow Amelia Vanek who is struggling with her husband's death after a terrible accident left her with more scars that are difficult to heal. Things couldn't get any worse when her son Samuel begins to display psychological episodes after reading a storybook about The Babadook that changes their lives forever when Amelia slowly gets terrorized by the creature itself other than her sanity slowly draining away as the pain latches on her. The first time I heard about this film was from a reviewer saying how scary it is. Turns out that critic was right. The Babadook is a different type of Horror movie, one that does not rely on jump scares to make it scary but focuses more on bleak imagery while also telling a thought provoking story. For those who are looking for a Horror film that is not mainstream but more of an art house, The Babadook is for you personally. It's understandable people don't like movies that uses a slow burn pace despite critics enjoying the film. This movie proves audiences wrong as long as the marketing is handled with care, it will work well which are one of the main issues with studios like A24's Horror films like The Witch, It Comes At Night or the aforementioned Hereditary that failed to capture audiences attention but has been raved by professional critics. When I said this film can be easily compared to Hereditary, I'm serious about it. The reason its because both films focus on the themes of grief and the pain of loss, whereas Hereditary suffered due to its cliche second half but saved by its nightmarish finale. The Babadook keeps you glued on the edge of your seat with its slow but intriguing execution that will catch the attention of everyone looking for a roller coaster ride. The Babadook is a trip to the deterioration of humans' psychological thoughts and their imagination, everything from its outstanding character development to the haunting settings. The Babadook is pure to perfection in terror that answers the questions on what makes a true Horror film work. Filmmaker Jennifer Kent handles the structure with patience while also trying to convince us the viewers to help our main characters as they struggle with their inner demons just as we feel for the pain they feel. I love how the visuals for the film imitate the characters' sanity as they descend into madness throughout the movie, take the Vanek's home which is filled with depressing colors that creates a moody ambiance deep inside their emotions and feelings. The symbolism sets the tone and pace to unexpected directions which you'll never see it coming. There are so many scenes that are packed to the brim with an unsettling feeling and scary moments (Sam displaying an episode in the car seeing the Babadook which the mom does not see at first, the coat rack at the police station with the Babadook's clothes sends a creepy shiver in my spine, the first time Amelia sees the Babadook across her neighbor's house, the terrifying nightmare sequence where the Babadook itself stalks Amelia with quick speed, the Babadook appearing on TV, the disturbing part where the Babadook book has pop up images of Amelia killing her son, dog and herself which foreshadows what will happen to her when she gets possessed, Amelia's possession from the creature, Amelia killing the dog and the terrifying finale where Sam fights her possessed mother as he gets chased by the Babadook in the house). The soundtrack is scary and the atmosphere is so unnerving to the core. Now the acting is great, the performances of the two lead stars are fantastic and for an indie Horror film it works so well. Director and Writer Jennifer Kent has done an impressive job with her work on this film, the way she handled the aesthetic visuals including the titular creature itself is a perfect blend for the movie while also telling a powerful story and I look forward for what she's gonna do next in the future. Overall The Babadook is a smart and terrifying Horror film that will stay with you and think twice about what's real and what's not real. This film gets an 11/10.
After a string of mishaps with the cash grab sequels that nearly placed the nail on the coffin in the Halloween franchise, the series is back to its roots after a long hiatus and the Shape has never been more terrifying than ever from his long absence when John Carpenter introduced him back in 1978, while also giving notes to other studios on how to make a proper follow up to one of the most memorable Horror movies of all time without damaging the things that made the original a big hit. Forty years after Michael Myers terrorized and killed five people in Haddonfield, The Shape has re-emerged from the shadows after a group of people who are making a documentary about the Haddonfield murders triggered his mind to finish what he started back in 1978. But he's not alone as his surviving victim, Laurie Strode, has waited for a long time to put him down for good and protect the people she loves. Having the chance to watch the original Halloween forty years ago (and becoming a fan in the process). I was very surprised with how the latest entry in the long running, successful Halloween franchise turned out. This newest sequel which fully ignores the early sequels captures the spirit of the original Halloween since Halloween H20. When you look back at the previous sequels from the early 80s up to 2001, you can tell that this new Halloween film goes back to the roots of what made the original John Carpenter classic a big hit. Gone are the connections between Michael and Laurie as siblings along with keeping the Shape an enigma to everyone's mind, that means having no clear purpose on Michael's motivations which is one of the highlights of the original Halloween. What returned instead are the team behind this masterpiece from old and new faces as a way of introducing new audiences while also giving the die hard fans a proper chance to revive this dying franchise after the abysmal Halloween Resurrection sank its purity to the drain in favor of money for the greedy producers. What made this new Halloween film special is that it was produced by Jason Blum along with original director and composer John Carpenter with the latter acting as consultant on the narrative for this film and its future follow ups. This is not some money grubbing sequel, the new Halloween movie expands the lore of the original while also retaining the best aspects of what made the first movie a success from the camera work to the spectacular score of previous director, consultant, producer and now composer John Carpenter. This movie does a job to keep you on edge as what the original did. While the first Halloween relied on atmosphere and very few kills, this new film relies on some of those elements while also throwing new ones into the mix and balancing them at the same time. This movie has a higher body count and more gore all the while, it keeps the suspense on track and paying respect to the John Carpenter classic. There are so many scenes that combines suspense and brutality in the best way (The edgy opening scene which sets the tone of the whole movie, the gas station attack, the intense sequence where the bus transporting Michael crashes before killing two innocent folks, Michael walking the streets of Haddonfield before entering a couple of houses, the terrifying closet scene where Michael kills a babysitter, the scary emergency light backyard death scene, Michael killing his new therapist who has gone mad after killing the sheriff, Michael regaining consciousness after getting hit by a police car and the finale where Michael and Laurie face off at Laurie's turf). It is true that the Halloween films have become nothing but a disappointment with the later on sequels beginning with Halloween 4 to 6 and Halloween Resurrection. Now, with the rights back to John Carpenter and teaming up with Jason Blum. The franchise has been glorified for all the right reasons thanks to newcomer David Gordon Green behind the cameras with help from fellow collaborator Danny McBride, this made me fill my hopes up for the future of the Halloween franchise now that it is riding on a cart without skidding off the rails. As for the performances, the cast has done an amazing job with their work on this film. It's good to see two of the original Halloween actors reprise their roles from the original 1978 film. Jamie Lee Curtis is the big star of this film, as we see her character Laurie Strode evolve from a scared teen in the original who manages to fight back against her attacker to a tough as nails woman in this film who has awaited for forty years for her attacker to come back and put Michael down herself while struggling with her traumatic past forty years ago. Having Nick Castle reprise his role as the Shape is fantastic while new comers like Jurassic World, Carrie (2013) and Ant-Man actress Judy Greer is great for the role of Laurie's daughter. Director David Gordon Green has done a fantastic job in reviving this dying franchise after so many disappointing sequels including an inferior but not bad remake made by Rob Zombie. I was so interested to see how he takes the risk in going to new directions on what genre he should work on after making Drama and Comedy films. Being a new face in the Horror genre is a tough job for most filmmakers, but for Mr. Gordon Green. He faces the risk and challenges it in the best way with help from John Carpenter, Jason Blum and Danny McBride, I look forward to see with what he will do next with the future of Halloween. Overall, this new Halloween film is the best in the series thanks to its well executed reviving methods, respect to its previous lore while also opening the doors for new audiences who are new to this franchise and also welcoming back previous die hard fans who know these films for forty years. This film gets a 10/10.
Politically thematic on its social commentaries, the latest entry in the long running Purge franchise is the best one yet since its two sequels, The Purge Anarchy and Election Year. The First Purge takes place years before the events of the 2013 original where the New Founding Fathers Of America has announced a new program that will raise the system of the economy for the United States and a new government. This program is called the "Purge" where all crime is legal for twelve hours and they start the first Purge test on Staten Island, New York. The low class citizens soon must defend themselves against the middle class wealthy ones in order to survive the very first Purge. I've watched all four Purge movies and with each film, the series gets bloodier and more violent as it goes on. Not only that, it also raised the stakes and the filmmakers behind these movies invents new ideas that brings fresh air for this long running political franchise. Whereas the 2013 original was a solid film that introduced the concept of the Purge but suffers from a number of setbacks, The two sequels surpassed the original by taking the viewers out on the streets as we see the violence and chaos through our very own eyes during the twelve hours purge night. This movie takes us back to where and how it all began as we see the government commence the very first Purge before it went through other parts of the US and it does a fine job in exploring it. What makes these movies great are the social and political themes as each film explores the differences between Middle and Low class US citizens plus it also explores the themes of racism in a naturalistic yet grounded way especially the rich and poor people. Because this franchise explores the dark side of America while sending a very logical message at the same time. Just like the previous films, we see the chaotic moments happen on Purge night (people getting robbed, dangerous gangs roaming the streets, psychopaths and junkies wrecking havoc etc..) and it is done in a very scary yet thrilling way. The characters are nearly as believable as the ones from the previous two films, the violence has escalated in a whole new level to satisfy gore hounds. There are so many scenes that are packed with suspense and well crafted tension (The creepy opening scene, one of the characters getting a cut from a junkie, the first Purge kill, the brutal party attack, Dmitri fighting off his attackers, the thrilling smoke grenade scene where Dmitri and his gang kill Ku Klux Klan folks on purge night, the suspenceful drone attack, the exploding stuffed bears in the alley and the action packed plus brutal finale where Dmitri saves his ex girlfriend and her brother along with a few people against a group of fully trained Purgers in the building). The criminals are all creepy in their own right and the settings are fantastic. Now the acting is great, the performances of the main leads are great and believable as their characters. Marisa Tomei is fantastic in her role as Dr. May Updale and she is a great addition to the cast and the role suits her. This time, the filmmaker behind the camera is Director Gerard McMurray with previous director James DeMonaco penning the script and they handled this prequel with meticulous care as we get another fantastic entry in this long running socially, political franchise that brings it full circle for the fans. Overall, The First Purge is another incredible entry in The Purge films that delivers a political message while being true to the spirit of its predecessors in the overall execution. This movie gets a 10/10.
The Witch is a smart, brooding and eerie Horror film that does a fantastic job in creating suspense in every way that makes it one of the scariest Horror films A24 has ever done. In my opinion, it is more frightening than their most recent film Hereditary. This film tells the story of a family who've been banished from the plantation town after a difference in opinion surrounding The New Testament and are forced to live in a farm located near the woods. Soon, strange events started to happen within the family as they point the fingers at their eldest daughter Thomasin. But unbeknownst to them, a dark force lurks in the woods as Thomasin knows the truth more than them while the family slowly reached to a point of deterioration. I have to admit, when I said that this film is way better than Hereditary, I really meant it. The Witch is one of the scariest and most effective Horror movies ever made that takes the Horror genre in new heights and directions. It really beats Hereditary out of the water for many reasons, Whereas Hereditary tried to keep itself on track with a dull but good opening until by the second half it suffered from cliches and lack of compelling vision but is saved in the finale due to its nightmarish moments that can cause sleepless nights and is like an acid trip to hell. The Witch is different and pure to perfection from start to finish. As filmmaker Robert Eggers does an amazing job with paying attention to detail in a very skillful fashion which creates a dark, unsettling mood from one scene to the next. This is a Horror film that does not rely on jump scares or cliches as The Witch avoids the major mistakes of Hereditary. Instead, its slow burn takes time to craft the tension filled with haunting music and bleak imagery along with its standard run time while focusing on good mystery build up. I love how The Witch does a fine job with its cinematography as we get to see gorgeous shots of the woods that normally gave the film a haunting vibe as well while balancing the brooding mood thanks to the creepy soundtrack. There are so many scenes that are terrifying yet unsettling while balancing disturbing gore effects (The terrifying Peek-A-Boo scene where the baby is kidnapped and killed by the witch, Caleb's abduction and encounter with the witch in the woods, the suspenceful sequence where Caleb, Jonah and Mercy are seemingly possessed before Caleb dies and the frightening finale where Thomasin's dad is killed by Black Philip and Thomasin's mom gets killed by her own daughter in self defense before becoming a witch herself). The titular villain is horrifying, the dialogue is well written and the periodic 16th century setting is so stunning. Now the acting is great, while the other performances of the casts are believable and well acted. Its Anya Taylor Joy who steals the spotlight the most as she delivers a very believable and intriguing performance as the eldest daughter Thomasin plus she is so gorgeous and beautiful at the same time. Director and Writer Robert Eggers has done a fantastic job with his work on his first feature film and he is a director to be on a look out for future Horror films as he knows how to craft suspense and create atmosphere from its ambitious setting while also telling a thought provoking story. Overall, The Witch is a dark and frightening Horror film that manages to terrify and scare the living day lights out of anyone thanks to its sublime execution and bleak imagery plus unsettling moments which lingers in your head until its over. This film gets a 10/10.