2018 Moviefest Week 3

The third quarter of this year’s moviefest included a trip to the theater to see Halloween 2018 on opening weekend. I might be warming up to this movie theater thing now that my minimum standard is a reclining seat in the XD theater with a full buffet of snacks in the lobby.

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I officially gave this movie a skull rating range. Cheating? Perhaps. But eight of us piled into the theater on a Saturday afternoon and as we debriefed over dinner, our reviews ranged from 2½ skulls to 4½ skulls so that’s my rating for now. Let’s say that Halloween delivers on its slasher roots, though more in the spirit of Zombie’s Halloween than the 1978 version. And with some comedic elements that I thoroughly enjoyed. Hopefully all of that gets you off your butt and to the theater to see this movie on your terms while it’s still Halloween season, and you can make up your own mind. I will post a review after Halloween.

A new Netflix original started off this week’s moviefest. Apostle stars Dan Stephens, a British actor known for his work in Downton Abbey and reason enough to watch this film. Stephens plays the brother of a woman kidnapped by a religious cult living on an isolated island in the early 20th century. This is a film that relies not on monsters or ghosts to build fear, but on the brutality that human beings inflict on each other in the name of religion, power, or revenge. Be prepared for some medieval torture that is disturbing at times, and a dialogue that is occasionally difficult to understand with the heavy British accents. I thought this film ran a little too long, but stay for an ending that you probably won’t see coming.

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Google a list of the most terrifying horror films and you will find The Babadook. I had started this film in years past but never sat down to watch the entire thing until now. There is a lot of high-pitched screaming and while it gives the movie its character, it can be hard on the ears. This movie definitely has my vote for the creepiest kid in cinema. Haley Joel Osment executed a brilliant performance of dead people sightings in The Sixth Sense, but Noah Wiseman’s terror in The Babadook is palpable. His screams accelerate his mother’s descent into her own madness and give you the sense that this really is a cursed family. The Babadook lives up to its hype and deserves a spot in your yearly moviefest, just don’t watch it when you’re in the mood for a quiet, slow burn.

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 Got kids? Ever said to yourself “I’d kill my kid if he did . . .”? Then Mom and Dad might be for you. In zombie apocalypse fashion, meaning plenty of blood and guts, a strange virus causes parents to track down and take out their kids. Not other peoples’ kids, just their own. Nicholas Cage dons his best psycho persona for this film that is so full of ridiculous gore you forget it’s about kids. This is a relatively short movie with an opening scene that is pretty intense – if you’re still watching after that, stick it out to the end.

The remaining films this week are recommended repeats, starting with Trick ‘r Treat. If the original Halloween from 1978 defines the season, then Trick ‘r Treat stands at its right hand. A brilliant anthology of four intertwining tales that occur on Halloween night, Trick ‘r Treat always puts me in the Halloween mood. Not that I ever need to be put in the Halloween mood. Watch the R rating, there is nudity and language here along with the requisite blood and guts.

 The Mine (aka Abandoned Mine) is a movie filmed in my home state of Utah that takes place on Halloween. Two boxes checked, it is a fun if not cliché tale of a high school Halloween dare. Spend the night in a graveyard, a haunted house, or in this case, an abandoned mine. Is the mine really haunted or is it a prank to scare their friends? Ethan is a hoot and lends a comedic tone to this film that isn’t the most awesome horror movie, but entertaining enough.

Conjuring 2, The Bye Bye Man, and Ouija round out the reruns and bring on the home stretch. Which is upon us since this update is really, really late. Happy Halloween if I don’t see you before then…