Thursday, October 31, 2013

What to Watch: Halloween 2013 Edition

Here are some movies that may help you have a scary Halloween.

Streaming (Netflix): V/H/S and V/H/S/2
These indie, found-footage horror anthologies are uneven but fun. They both consist of frame stories where someone finds and watches video recordings made by people who unwittingly found themselves within horrific situations. There are monsters, aliens, cults and other horror standbys. They feel very low budget but polished, and the effects and creatures are effectively presented. The sequel received better reviews but both have great moments joined with less successful ones. Some of the stars and makers reunited for recent indie slasher You're Next

Streaming (Netflix): Silent House
Elizabeth Olsen stars in this indie remake of Uraguayan horror film La Cusa Muda. She plays a girl terrorized by something mysterious in her family's vacation home. Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Rope, the directors designed the film to appear as a single, very long take (they actually edited together several, still impressive 12-15 minutes takes). SH received mediocre reviews due to a sense of tedium and an unsatisfying third act, but may be worth a look for its great atmosphere and Olsen's performance.

Streaming (Amazon Instant, Netflix): Paranormal Activity 3 and 4
This is the first year since 2009 that audiences can't go to theaters for PA's found-footage scares. To get your fix, you can take a look back the series' attempt to change up the formula (3) and the tired entry that many consider the series' low point (4). Lucky for fans, there are two PA films expected in 2014. The demon leaves the suburbs for a Hispanic community in PA: The Marked Ones, which was delayed to January. PA5 will likely return to the original, increasingly complicated storyline.

Streaming (Amazon Instant, Netflix): Scream 1, 2 and 3
Except for the recent fourth installment, Wes Craven's classic, self-aware slasher series is available for streaming. The first two are clever, fairly thrilling, and often credited with revitalizing Hollywood's once-declining interest in horror. The third reminded many of the routine slashers that the series mocks.

On DVD: The Conjuring
This story of paranormal investigators assisting a tormented family was a surprise hit. The marketing and hype really exaggerated its scares, but the creepy mood and suspenseful pacing made it a refreshing alternative to the bloody and gory slashers that have recently dominated the genre.

In Theaters: Carrie
Like the sequel The Rage: Carrie 2 and the 2002 made-for-tv film, the latest adaptation of the popular Stephen King novel is largely considered inferior and unnecessary when compared to the Brian De Palma's 1976 attempt. That being said, it sounds like Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore give decent performances as the tormented telepathic teen and her terrible mother. It's the month's only horror release due to the delay of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

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