• Deliver Us from Evil (2014)

    Deliver Us from Evil is a conventional supernatural horror film that still manages to convince with very good acting performances, moody atmosphere and sinister locations. The plot revolves around former soldiers and their entourage who are behaving erratically after coming home from Iraq. A dedicated special investigator who neglects his family and an unconventional priest with a sinister past join their forces to fight the evil that the soldiers have brought home from abroad.

    This movie oozes with atmosphere from start to finish. The diversified locations have been chosen with care. The light techniques blend in very well. The two lead characters might not be particularly sympathetic but they are certainly intriguing and have depth as well as development. The opening thirty minutes show the gloomy downsides of the difficult job of a special investigator and almost remind of a documentary. The different plot lines are brought together during the movie's gradually intensifying rising action that can be seen as the film's highlight. The climax happening at the special investigator's own home quickly develops into an intense falling action as the priest and the special investigator have to make enormous sacrifices to fight an unpredictable enemy with supernatural powers. Only the film's conclusion is shallow and predictable like many similar horror movies. The fact that the movie keeps on insisting that it's based upon facts is also ridiculous regarding the supernatural horror topic.

    In the end, Deliver Us from Evil might not be particularly creative or credible but it's an atmospheric supernatural horror movie with intense scenes, interesting plot lines and profound characters. Genre fans should definitely know this film and even those who usually dislike horror movies might like this one due to its investigative elements and family drama components. Deliver Us from Evil is unjustifiably underrated and one of the better atmospheric horror movies in recent memory.

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  • House on Willow Street (2016)

    From a House on Willow Street is a supernatural horror movie that oozes with atmosphere but comes around with a very exchangeable plot that has been used over and over again in similar ways in the horror movie genre. The film revolves around four young friends who decide to kidnap the heiress of a diamond distributor to demand a hefty ransom. The quartet takes six weeks to plan everything and manages to kidnap the young woman without any problems. However, things start to get a sinister turn when the criminals realize that their victim is in terrible shape and looks as if she had been rescued from her family mansion rather than kidnapped. After a while, strange incidents start to occur in the abandoned factory where the group is hiding as static hinders communications, electricty malfunctions and the kidnappers start to see dead people who were once dear to them. Things definitely spiral out of control when the kidnappers are unable to reach the daughter's parents and realize that neither media nor cops seem to be informed about the case. The four friends must find out the grisly secret that the kidnapped daughter is hiding in order to survive a night when the hunters have become the hunted.

    This movie convinces on several levels. It has a gloomy, grisly and mysterious atmosphere from start to finish. The locations such as a sinister mansion and an abandoned factory have been perfectly chosen. There are a few scary scenes that work quite efficiently thanks to decent light techniques and a moody soundtrack.

    On the negative side, the plot is predictable from start to finish which takes away much of the potential tension. The acting performances are only average at best. It doesn't help that the different characters are lacking depth and development.

    Despite its flaws, From a House on Willow Street should appeal to fans of atmospheric horror movies. It's not a particularly creative film but still entertaining from start to finish. Since it's providing a few scary scenes without being overtly complicated, this movie might be a good choice for a Halloween party with some friends.

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  • Feardotcom (2002)

    Feardotcom might not be a masterpiece by any means with its weird supernatural plot, at times cheap special effects and wooden actors and actresses but it certainly doesn't deserve the loath and ridicule it has received upon release. The story revolves around a dynamic police officer and a clever researcher who investigate a series of strange deaths that have occurred after the victims visited a website depicting voyeuristic torture murder. It turns out that the website is haunted by one of its victims who is seeking for vengeance. The police officer and the researcher attempt to find out more about the victim's case to stop the haunting and arrest the serial killer behind the website to put an end to the violence.

    The movie's main flaw is that its generous budget of forty million dollars hasn't been used very efficiently. The special effects are average at best, the actors and actresses are at times misplaced and the director failed to make a dynamic, fluid and emotional movie out of the script. It isn't hard to understand why this film became a box office bomb.

    However, the movie isn't without its merits. The atmosphere is gloomy from start to finish. The dirty locations blend in perfectly. The lighting techniques and sound effects are employed with care. The idea to show the dark side of the internet back in the early years of the millennium wasn't completely new as it had been portrayed in Pulse, Ringu and Videodrome before but said intention was nevertheless already ahead of its time.

    In the end, you will enjoy Feardotcom if you are looking for a very atmospheric supernatural thriller with some grisly violence. The movie is stylish, gruesome and entertaining. If you are however looking for high-quality special effects, a clever plot and gifted acting performances, then this movie and genre simply aren't your cup of tea.

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  • Verotika (2019)

    You should ask yourself three questions before watching Glenn Danzig's Verotika. First of all, do you like gothic horror stories? Secondly, are you fascinated by slasher flicks with guts and gore? Thirdly and lastly, do you appreciate softcore pornography? If your answers to all these questions are affirmative, then you could possibly like this movie despite its obvious weaknesses. If only some of your answers are affirmative, then you might not appreciate it but perhaps still find some elements intriguing. If all your answers are negative, then you would loathe the film and should avoid it altogether.

    To those who haven't heard about this film yet, Verotika is based upon a line of comic books published by musician, producer, singer and songwriter Glenn Danzig who has always had a weakness for the aforementioned genres. The movie tells three unrelated tales of about thirty minutes that are briefly introduced by a host. ''The Albino Spider of Dajette'' tells the story of a prostitute who is haunted by a murderous monster wreaking havoc around her whenever she falls asleep. ''Change of Face'' is the tale of a mysterious stripper who murders people to collect their faces. ''Drukija, Contessa of Blood'' introduces the viewers to a gruesome countess who kidnaps virgin women and bathes in their blood to achieve eternal youth and sexual arousal.

    On the positive side, the three tales have a constantly sinister atmosphere. The locations such as dark back alleys, dirty strip clubs and cold dungeons have been perfectly chosen. The lighting techniques are employed fittingly. The ideas behind the tales are obviously also quite gruesome. Up next, the different tales offer lots of guts and gore. Each tale gets progressively more brutal in that regard. The first tale features a few murder scenes, the second tale shows numerous disfigured victims and the last tale includes multiple splatter effects. Lastly, all movies include softcore pornography elements. The first tale starts with a prostitute seducing a client. The second tale takes place in a strip club and follows the antagonist's everyday life. The third tale shows how aroused the antagonist and her servant feel about blood.

    This movie obviously also includes some major flaws that have been pointed out in numerous reviews. The acting performances are shallow and wooden as they are often delivered without conviction and creativity. The stories are extremely simple and become less imaginative as the film progresses. The camera work is static and almost every scene ends with unnecessary prolonged fade-outs.

    In the end, Verotika isn't a masterpiece. It's not an excellent movie either. It's not even a very good film. But it's a good horror film with gothic atmosphere, slasher elements and hints at soft pornography. Personally, I think such a movie is more interesting than overlong pretentious horror films like Midsommar that people tend to analyze, discuss and interpret to death. Verotika might be shallow and clumsy but it's entertaining and unpretentious. Glenn Danzig wanted to create this movie exactly like he did without any compromises and made one of his biggest dreams come true. In this regard, the comparisons to Tommy Wiseau's The Room are perfectly accurate. Anyone is obviously entitled to dislike such movies. Criticizing the artists behind them however is a different thing. It's certainly admirable and even inspiring when artists make their wildest dreams come true despite many challenges and even hardships. When was the last time you took a big risk to make an ambitious dream come true?

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  • Jigsaw (2017)

    Jigsaw is the reboot and eight entry in the franchise after a seven-year break. While the grisly atmosphere is still present and some of the traps are intriguing, this is easily the worst movie of the franchise due to a poor story and weak characters. This film is only recommended to die-hard fans of the franchise. The story revolves around five strangers facing a series of traps in an abandoned farm while the local police tries to figure out who might be behind those events since the murderous mastermind behind similar crimes died ten years earlier.

    On the positive side, the dynamic opening sequence grabs the viewers right from the start. The location of an abandoned farm offers some fresh new ideas. The trap in the silo is the highlight of the film.

    On the negative side, the characters are particularly shallow. None of the victims has any charisma and they are all absolutely exchangeable. The investigating detective who is randomly blaming people around him to collaborate with the Jigsaw killer is ridiculously stereotypical and perhaps the worst character ever involved in the franchise. The lazy twist at the end of the movie is weak and will leave audiences emotionless.

    If you are a fan of the franchise and find this movie for a few bucks, you can purchase it to complete your collection. However, this film is neither worth to be watched at your local cinema nor to be bought at full price. This average psychological thriller is by far the weakest entry in the franchise and the next movie Spiral needs to do a lot better to redeem it. If you are new to the franchise, make sure to discover it chronologically.

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