Ma (2019)

Octavia Spencer stars in this new horror from Blumhouse Productions. I have to admit this one was very different from other horrors that I’ve seen. We all know that horrors love to create a quick background to delve into this setting and new characters (or old ones). ‘Ma’ definitely did this, although this part was the majority of the film, rather than the first ten minutes. What actually happens in the trailer doesn’t happen until the last twenty minutes of the film. What the whole film actually entails is a story of five teenagers and their sudden new friendship with Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer) – a kind woman who has brought them alcohol. Or so they thought…

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Octavia Spencer sings as the best actor of the film. To be honest, the others aren’t great, but it doesn’t take much away from the film, you just have to ignore those awkward moments. Regardless, Sue Ann is such an interesting character. ‘Ma’ really explores in detail why she feels the urge to be the way she is, and in some ways you feel sorry for her, really feel pity towards her. It spends a lot of time building this character for the audience.

As a horror it definitely has jump scares, there were a few moments that got me jumping out my seat (although I’m an easier scare). The horror element is more creepy, as you don’t know what is going to happen. You’re just waiting for this character to explode as she stalks, tracks and follows the young teenagers. Additionally, the film does come to an abrupt ending. It’s all very sudden when everything starts to kick off and it is really exciting in a horror sense of a film. But then it’s over, where it could have told so much more afterwards.

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‘Ma’ was an enjoyable (as they can get for a horror) film. It was interesting to understand what had happened to this main protagonist and discover what she is going to do, what she is planning. The camera angles are intense throughout the whole film, with a lot of extreme close-ups. It is an intriguing film, different to other horrors. I might watch it again in the far future, but don’t think I’ll be jumping to this one time and time again.


The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Another of the Conjuring Universe films, this time ‘The Conjuring 2’. Again, by the same director, the film follows a very similar pattern and direction to the original movie. We follow another tale from the paranormal experts, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren, while travelling to a different family with some sort of supernatural occurrence. This time we are set in 1977, in London, England, in the Hodgson Residence. This tale talks of one of the daughters of the Hodgson family, Janet (Madison Wolfe), where she starts sleep-walking and noticing things move: it becomes only the start of something that has taken place inside her.

The Conjuring 2 - Janet and Lorraine

Set in London and the accents are a bit odd in this film. I don’t know if I was just overthinking it, but for some reason some sounded a bit fake and initially it got a bit annoying. Nevertheless, you get used to it once the film really starts to kick in. And the film does kick in quite quickly, once the scene is set and the strange occurrences start to happen, you quickly become engulfed into this creepy plot line once again. However, I have to admit, this second film is no way near as good as the first. The first set a good story for the evil spirit, where this one seemed quite weak and to be honest didn’t seem to have much explanation at all! Regardless, it still was able to create the intense creepy feel like the first does with some jump scares throughout.

I really quite enjoyed the story with the Warren’s in this film. There are many scenes where I was more on edge with the story of Ed and Lorraine, particularly with Lorraine, rather than with the Hodgson’s. It seemed a lot more revolved around them, and I did like that. This connection was all linked in with ‘The Nun’. I also enjoyed the brilliance of the camera angles, the lighting and the sound, which of course had a great response from the first film and was well executed into this film too. They cleverly do create a horror.

The Conjuring 2 - Possession

Overall, ‘The Conjuring 2’ is a good horror film, not as good as the first, but still good, nonetheless. I felt the story of the spirit should have been better executed and some of the acting a little less shaky. Additionally, the appearance and disappearance of the fourth child, Johnny, seemed very odd. I didn’t even know he was part of the Hodgson family until over an hour into the film where things had massively escalated. I did like the back story of the Hodgson family, it felt real to recognise. Moreover, Ed and Lorraine are a great couple of ghost/demon-hunters to watch on screen, with their own essence of family and torment threaded into the story of the Hodgson’s.

The Conjuring (2013)

The first of the Conjuring Universe films. The first that explores the stories of Ed and Lorraine Warren, bringing them to life. Ed and Lorraine Warren, the paranormal experts: the demonologist and clairvoyant. This particular film follows the tale of a family, parents and their five daughters, who move into a new house. One thing after another, unusual and unexplained occurrences start to happen. The clocks stop at 3:07, the youngest meets a friend no one else can see, and even the dog has a refusal to enter the house.


Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren travel America as paranormal experts, wanting to help any of those who declare something supernatural could be haunting their house. From creaky floorboards that are easily explained to the worst situation they’ve ever had to delve into: the case of the Perron family. Roger (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn (Lili Taylor) Perron and their five daughters, try to bring a happy, homely feel to their new country farmhouse. But Christine (Joey King) keeps thinking something is grabbing her leg, Andrea (Shanley Caswell) keeps complaining of a rotten smell in the house, and Cindy (Mackenzie Foy) keeps sleep-walking to the same area: the start of something unholy is woken in their new house.

I did enjoy this film. I thought it was cleverly directed, particularly with the sound and camera angles, which are always essential in horror movies. There is a lot of clever work with lighting too, where darkness engulfs the screen to only leave the audience in suspense. The film had a repetition of intense emotions throughout the whole two hours. But amongst this was just an ordinary story told of two families. Things, obviously, continue to escalate and the horror only builds in jump scares and unnatural occurrences. I did find myself shouting at the screen to not go down to the creepy cellar that is boarded up – but do they ever listen?

The Conjuring - Lorraine

Overall, it had an intriguing plot line and one to definitely get lost into. Even to just try and discover and understand this house’s past to piece together it’s unnatural history. I did think it was going to be scarier than it was, don’t get me wrong, I was tense and worried in many parts, but I think I was more scared for something to happen which never did… It’s a good horror movie and definitely intrigues me to watch the second Conjuring film. But happily, don’t think I’ll be scared from this film afterwards, if that’s what you’re looking for. However, don’t think I will be playing ‘Hide and Clap’ any time soon. With an intriguing plot and some excellent acting, ‘The Conjuring’ is a good horror to make you jump and wait for the next creepy thing to happen.

Halloween (1978)

John Carpenter’s classic 70s horror starring Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut. It’s extremely clever when a film of this age can still generate a good horror. With technology nowadays, it seems like it would put these old horrors to shame, but sometimes nothing can be beaten than some well designed lighting, dramatic noise and a creepy camera to spook the audience. This is something ‘Halloween’ did amazingly well! Making this horror movie a classic to keep up with the times. There were a lot of restricted views, lighting dimmed where the audience are plunged into darkness unsure of what we are seeing. The play on sound is classic, quietness to screeching, harsh noises, you just know he’s lurking somewhere, but where? Finally, the camera angles are clever as they tilt and creep around as we see from the stalker’s perspective, which gives an uncomfortable feel in itself, or as we see from the eyes of the victim as we fear for the lives on the screen in our place.

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So if you don’t know the story, it’s a story about Michael Myers. An infamous psychopath who has broken from a mental hospital free just in time for Halloween where he travels back to his small home town and his “haunted” house, as the neighbours call it. The haunting definitely begins when he chooses a new victim, school girl Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis). The film is extremely fast pace, there is no time wasting getting to know these characters, because we learn as the eerie lurking and stalking begins. He appears and disappears, wearing that horrible mask that makes him almost faceless. We learn that Laurie is an innocent school girl, just working hard to get herself through school. We learn more about the psychopath through his doctor (Donald Pleasence) hunting him down.

There is a reason the film is of an older age, actually an 18. There are inappropriate scenes, and deaths, sorry yes someone does die… Although, I can’t say the death scenes are that great, but move beyond that because the unknowing where this stalker is is enough to create the horror of the film.

We watch from different perspectives, the killer himself, the doctors view hysterical his patient is now roaming free but unable to be found, and finally from Laurie, the young girl with a horrible target on her back. Intrigued?

Bird Box (2018)

I couldn’t resist not watching this film for a long time. I saw the trailer and I was intrigued, absorbed into this odd concept. To be honest, the first thing I did think was that it seems very similar to ‘A Quiet Place’, that instead of noise attracting these creatures, it’s sight. But after watching, it is quite a different concept to that. True, sight does attract the madness and the “end of the world”, however it’s not that simple, because as the watcher you never fully see what they do, it’s personalised to that human being, making them want to commit suicide. That’s the concept of this film: if you look when the wind blows and darkness comes with, you’re worst nightmare will be presented and the only option available is to die. So stay blindfolded.


Now I can’t comment on whether it is similar to the novel of the same name by Josh Malerman, because I haven’t read it, although I’ve heard they follow well. As a film, I thought ‘Bird Box’ was brilliant! I was hooked from the beginning, absorbed into this life never being able to see, taking on a whole new perspective. The whole film has an eerie and intriguing feel to it; you are constantly asking questions, but things only become clearer slowly throughout. You have suspicions, but you’re not entirely sure, you can’t guess it all with confidence. Personally, I didn’t think it was thrilling all the way through, however it had its moments of unnerving and unsettling tension, where something could happen, but you don’t really trust everyone to know who is the untrusted. There is quite a bit of drama-related scenes, which I did enjoy because it built up the film well.

‘Bird Box’ is designed by jumping back and forth, you start in the present, as main characters run to the river and start rowing. Then you jump back five years, when the unexplained suicides first started happening, when the end of the world arrived. Then back to the river, we are unsure why they are rowing, where they are going, but it’s the survival of three, and the desperation in a post-apocalyptic world. This jumping between tenses is well done and creates that need for answers even more.

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Alike to ‘A Quiet Place’, horror is built even more because of the involvement of pregnancy and eventually children. There’s a constant worry for our main protagonist, Malorie (Sandra Bullock), as she is heavily pregnant when this first kicks off. Then the children are brilliant, they act as normal children would, confused in this new state of a world. I have to mention all the other actors too, because they were phenomenal. Sandra Bullock is fabulous, obviously. As my cousins stated, it’s like she brings some sort of comfort to the screen. John Malkovich is of course brilliant as usual, his character portrayed as pessimistic and angry at everything. Again, Trevante Rhodes was brilliant in his portrayal as the loving help in hand to one angry pregnant lady. The only issue I would say was the arrival of Tom Hollander, even though his character was unnerving yet had a sense of forgiveness, did a terrible American accent, if that was what it was supposed to be.

I was absorbed into ‘Bird Box’ from the start. Hooked into wanting to know more and find out everything. It was a great film, thrilling and mysterious, drama-filled and desperate for all characters. Give it a watch, aren’t you a little intrigued to what a bird box has to do with it anyway?

Psycho (1960)

This has probably got to be one of the classic Hollywood horrors of its era. Probably one of Hitchcock’s most famous films, one where he is pushing the limits of Hollywood in the 60s. Now-a-days it still stands as a great film, cleverly done, well executed and interesting with a murder mystery. However, I probably wouldn’t say it’s fully classed as a horror, as it is more mystery, although it’s traditionally horror and it will stay as that.

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The film is full of mystery and intrigue from the beginning. Marion’s (Janet Leigh) life becomes one of suspicion and temptation when she takes $40,000 and flees with it. On a rainy night, she ends up in the Bates Motel with owner Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). After unfortunate events, the Bates Motel becomes more popular than it has for years, bringing in unwanted attention.

The actors and characters are brilliant. Norman Bates is a very interesting character. Even though I thought I knew what happened in the film, I was constantly doubting the characters’ truths. Yes, this was the first time I’d watched it, shamefully because as a graduated film student, this should have been watched years ago… I would definitely recommend others to watch it if you haven’t! I was drawn into the whole film, unable to take my eyes off the screen.

Janet Leigh Screaming in Psycho Shower Scene

‘Psycho’ gets creepy very suddenly. There is quite a long build up, but I think it was effective in creating characters and intrigue, so didn’t feel wasteful. The sound is brilliant. It jumps from very dramatic music, to silence, which is very effective. There were definite moments that were creepy and chilling. Tension built up and I was worried for the characters on screen. It’s a very clever, brilliance of a plot based on the novel by Robert Bloch. Besides, this is the film that generated the iconic shower scene.

Incident in a Ghostland (2018)

This horror is an 18 and for reasons that are all a bit too clear. I would not recommend anyone who is below this age to watch it. I don’t think I was prepared for what we were going to watch, I feel too young to watch this film and I’m definitely over 18. This is not a film to enjoy, which is ok as it is a horror, but it’s a tragic horrible plot line which is heart-breaking and devastating. Although as a film created it is done extremely well to make you feel this way and make you tense up and feel every emotion and agony of the characters.

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A family of a single mother (Mylène Farmer) and her two daughters, Vera (Taylor Hickson) and Beth (Emilia Jones) move into their deceased aunt’s house. When they get there, they discover the house is not what they expected. That night they discover the worst nights of their lives, two people break in and the family are scarred with a rapist and an abuser entering their new homes. Growing up, Beth (now played by Crystal Reed from ‘Teen Wolf’) is haunted by the memories, however has learnt to still have a life with them haunting her, her sister (older played by Anastasia Phillips) although, is quite the opposite.

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The actresses were phenomenal, I think that was a reason I found it so hard-hitting. You felt every emotion of the characters. It is definitely a horror well executed. There is a common theme of creepy dolls which just hold their own strand of horror. But also there are many jumpy scenes and you’re watching with your heart breaking at what has happened to these poor girls. Additionally, the make-up and music are extremely well done in creating the similar feel of the film.

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‘Ghostland’ takes you on a psychological thriller. Because the plot is so disturbing it is hard to watch, it’s definitely not an easy-watch. Not going to lie to you it had me crying my eyes out, it’s really quite horrible. I would 100% say that I couldn’t watch it again, it is psychologically cleverly done, although it’s a bit too horrible to put myself through that again…