A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)

The 2010 remake of the classic horror starring the infamous villain Freddy Krueger. Everybody knows his scarred, burnt face, his clawed fingers, his perverse nightmare stalkings on children. This remake brought him back to life haunting new victims in their dreams. Unfortunately, this film 100% supports the phrase ‘the remakes are never as good as the originals’…

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 Freddy Krueger
The whole film felt so random, there wasn’t a single back story and as the audience you’re suddenly thrown into this new place with new characters having no understanding of anything. Yes, I’ve seen the original, but this film must stand alone too. I didn’t really know the characters whatsoever, so didn’t care about them. Characters were dropping left right and centre, and there was no desired horror for the audience because there was no build up to create any emotions of fear. Furthermore, this film falls into the casting issue of high school teens. I never understand why actors and actresses are chosen to play characters that are ten years younger than them – there are some exceptions – but ‘Twilight’ star Kellan Lutz and ‘Arrow’ actress Katie Cassidy as teenagers in high school eroded away at any realness the film could potentially hold. Finally, the acting wasn’t great. The only reason I feel people hire older people to play younger characters is because “the acting is better”, but that wasn’t even the case in this film. The acting was quite weak and I just felt disinterested in all the characters on screen, which is an issue when fear needs to erupt into the audience.
Nevertheless, the film did get better from the beginning. It’s still not amazing, but the new interest is to discover that the children targeted have a hidden, suppressed memory from their childhood. This becomes a source of intrigue for the audience. The back story of why Freddy Krueger is one perverse and haunting which does stimulate a different type of horror. His story when he was alive is more horrifying than him coming back to seek revenge. The jump scares were a bit of a miss, but when the mystery turns to solving who Freddy Krueger was, the movie is more interesting.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 Claws
As a horror, the 2010 remake of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ was a flop. He’s not that scary haunting and killing and it’s seems quite bad effects on his face which annoyed me. The build-ups necessary for a horror to deliver needs to create some sort of fear for the characters on screen, this was only executed with one of the characters by the end. The reveal of his back story, which took a very long time to get to, had a lot of potential in its horror, which is why it got a lot better throughout the film. But everything before seemed in some sort of wasteland of unknown killing with no real reason. With a disgusting villain such as Freddy Krueger, this film could have done a lot more to execute horror.

It (2017)

The 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s book and a film from 1990. ‘It’ is the creepy clown film; the one clown film that everyone knows about; the clown and the red balloon. Set in the summer of 1989, children have started disappearing in the town of Derry. One group of friends band together with one commonality, they are all the victims of a bully. ‘It’ isn’t just about the horrors of a clown, there are a lot of villains in this film – parents and bullies. These villains seem to be more powerful to execute horror in the film than the actual clown in my opinion.

The film is very character driven; driven by what the characters are going to do lead by one boy’s drive to find his missing brother. I have to admit some characters do seem to have an irrelevance in the film, they’re there but there isn’t really any reason to why they are there. Maybe it’s just to make up the numbers. Anyway, this young group take it upon themselves to defeat the ugliness creeping round in the sewers while multiple children are still being taken and fears are exposed in front of their eyes.

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The main three, Bill (Jaeden Martell), Beverly (Sophia Lillis) and Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), are great characters. You definitely feel the emotions of these characters and predominantly they hold a lot of the horror as you fear for their lives. Bill’s missing brother plotline is heart-breaking, to the point where his speeches and desperate need to find little Georgie was heart-wrenching, nearly bringing me to tears. Beverly is an interesting character – where the children are all supposed to be 13, she definitely does seem years older, and I’m really not sure whether that was incidental or on purpose. When Beverly goes home you discover her home life is one tragic and soul-destroying, where you just pray she’ll find safety and solace. Finally, Ben is a character most victimised by the bullies of the school, where they result in extreme violence against the poor boy and you really feel his fear bursting through the screen.

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‘It’ is an incredibly long film – it feels longer than it actually is. There are moments of horror, but because it is solely revolved around the characters, there are a lot of gaps where the clown is neither present nor lingering, so the horror tends to drift away at these moments. I also thought the jump scares would be scarier than they actually were. When it came down to it, I do believe the other villains of the film were scarier than Pennywise the clown – maybe that’s because they are real and could be true in society, compared to a clown that opens it mouth up into a thousand teeth or morphs into different beings. It is a good film and obviously has kept its legendary name throughout literature history, it probably will still be the best well-known clown film. Nevertheless, it wasn’t as good as I thought it’s been hyped up to be. I thought more tension would echo throughout the film constantly rather than being so blocked. The horror wasn’t as up there as I would have presumed. Nonetheless, I don’t think I would like Pennywise knocking around my town any time soon.

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.

THE CONJURING

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.

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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?