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HORROR

Don’t knock twice (2016)

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Don't Knock Twice

A mother desperate to reconnect with her troubled daughter becomes embroiled in the urban legend of a demonic witch.

Genre : Horror
Country : UK

Cast :
Katee Sackhoff : Jess
Lucy Boynton : Chloe
Javier Botet : Ginger

Director :
Caradog W. James

My opinion on “Don’t knock twice”

“Once to wake her from her bed.
Twice to raise her from the dead.
If you knock her door, she still hears it.
Sooner or later she comes knockin’ for you.”

The movie “Don’t knock twice” should be a must watch for the mischiefs who like to play “Ding Dong Ditch”. Maybe this frightening legend will make them think twice the next time before they do that again. Nowadays, a horror film has to be fairly original to get noticed, because you can’t keep up with the number of releases. The “Ding Dong Ditch” trick is an interesting approach. And at the same time there’s the dramatic part about the shaky relationship between a mother and daughter. Apparently, the haunting witch doesn’t only scares those brats but she’s also good in patching up a bad mother-daughter relationship.

Don't Knock Twice

Youngsters and legends. Always trouble.

All hell breaks loose after Chloe (Lucy Boynton) receives a visit from her mother Jess (Katee Sackhoff) in the orphanage, where she was placed years ago. And this because of her mother’s persistent addiction which made her unable to care for her daughter. It’s not surprising that this confrontation goes terribly wrong, after which her daughter takes off with her boyfriend. They end up at the house of Mary Aminov, an old woman who commited suicide because she was fed up with the banging on her front door. And she planned to visit those who torment her again in the future, as an evil spirit. And what a surprise. The two carefree teenagers, who know the legend but don’t really believe in it, knock on the door. And before you know it, you’ll jump up when that ugly witch sneaks out of some dark corner, after which Chloe’s friend suddenly disappears. That would seem an appropriate time for Chloe to knock on her mother’s door (with no consequences). And this is the beginning of a joint venture to find a solution to get rid of the curse that rests on Chloe.

Don't Knock Twice

It’s scary and creepy for sure.

Even though this movie contains a bunch of horror clichés that have been used in several films already, I thought it was scary and creepy enough. There are parts that remind you of the innumerable films about a possessed house with creepy sounds, threatening shadows and dark corners. There’s the diabolical spirit that controls the lights in a corridor (the same way as in “Lights out“), makes blood appear in cups of soup and creates hallucinations. And the creature that came out of the shadows immediately reminded me of the nasty demon in “Mama“. No wonder, because it was the same person, Javier Botet, who gave shape to this lugubrious, frightening creature.

Don't Knock Twice

Still a surprising ending.

Some may think that the two completely different storylines used in this film, don’t really fit together. Personally, I thought it was a successful experiment. Bringing in an unsolved murder case, felt a bit too forced. And if that’s not enough, you’ll be surprised in the end. Don’t knock twice” effortlessly exceeds the average. It’s scarier and creepier than you would think. And the protagonists played in an excellent way. Maybe the emotional part was a bit exaggerated. But the fear they showed at certain moments, just seemed real. For Katee Sackhoff no problem, because she already had to go up against a supernatural phenomena in “Oculus“. And the unknown Lucy Boynton (whom I didn’t recognize from “Murder on the Orient Express“) produced quite some decibels while screaming. Well, this movie won’t win a prize for originality. But are planning a horror movie night? This’ll fit perfectly.

My rating 6/10
Links : IMDB

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HORROR

X | Official Trailer – A24

At a secluded farmhouse in Texas, a film crew arrives to shoot an adult film. Their hosts, a reclusive elderly couple, take a special interest in their young guests. As night falls the couple’s leering interest turns violent.

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Genre:

Drama, Horror, Mystery

Release Date:

March 18, 2022

Director:

Ti West

Cast:

Jenna Ortega, Mia Goth, Brittany Snow

Plot Summary:

At a secluded farmhouse in Texas, a film crew arrives to shoot an adult film. Their hosts, a reclusive elderly couple, take a special interest in their young guests. As night falls the couple’s leering interest turns violent.

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HORROR

Scream (2022) | Wes Craven Would Be Proud

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Scream has officially slashed its way into cinemas and brings with it a killer opening as Ghostface returns, serving up a self-deprecating meta buffet of a slasher sequel that relaunches with terrific terror and nostalgic scares which are bloody brutal. Scream has some big shoes to fill, the directors have to fill the shoes of horror icon Wes Craven, which they honourably do, and the screenwriters also have to honour the brilliance of Kevin Williamson and what he brought to this genre and his script for 1996’s Scream.

The fifth entry in the franchise is filled with references to the franchise’s past, movies of the past, present, sequels, remakes, and now Requel, which in itself is part reboot and part sequel. Scream also discusses topics, specifically horror films released throughout the 2000s to now as it’s very self-referential by using Halloween (2018) and Ghostbusters Afterlife, for example, showcasing that these franchises are making requels by setting the film in the same world, at a different time but adding new characters that are in ways related to the “Legacy” characters from the original. Scream knows that it’s a horror movie, and most importantly, it knows this fifth entry is no doubt a “legacy sequel”.

Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, a new killer has donned the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town’s deadly past. Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”), Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) and David Arquette (“Dewey Riley”) return to their iconic roles in Scream alongside Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Sonia Ammar.

Years after the Ghostface killer first struck, teen Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) gets an ominous phone call, whilst home alone, from a stranger asking what her favourite scary movie is. Scream opening sequences are so iconic to the franchise and this new modern take doesn’t disappoint as Tara is attacked and stabbed multiple times by someone wearing the Ghostface outfit from the in-universe “Stab” franchise, based on the Westboro murders committed by Billy Loomis and Stu Macher. The opening is shockingly suspenseful and wholly entertaining. 

Paramount Pictures

The focus here is on a group of young people who certainly have seen enough “Stab” movies to know that the killer could be one of their own including Tara’s estranged sister, Samantha (Melissa Barrera) along with her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid), who returns to Woodsboro to be with her.

Paramount Pictures

In any sequel, you hope that the new cast doesn’t fall flat and ultimately works well with the returning cast. Take 2018’s Halloween for example with Jamie Lee Curtis returning brings a new generation of Strode women specifically Laurie’s daughter and granddaughter, showing the audience how well the newcomers mix with the legacy characters. Scream successfully achieves this as all characters are handled well, though the body count, unfortunately, rises as Ghostface has some new tricks up its sleeve.

In passing the torch to fresh blood, this fifth entry showcases that there are layers of meta to uncover, fresh scars, and wicked fun to be had. The highlights were Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, Jack Quaid. All work to drive the narrative along with the help of Sidney (Neve Campbell), Dewey (David Arquette), and Gale (Courteney Cox). The legacy characters truly provide the nostalgia and emotional connection, the filmmakers treat these iconic characters with the utmost respect.

Scream lives up to its slasher roots as Ghostface goes to town with the hapless victims like a butcher skewing his meat. Characters are sliced, stabbed, and ultimately gutted with glee. They’re brutal when happening but gory and glorious for some. However, some kills have impacts attached as many are heartbreaking and some you want Ghostface to go to town on. I was on the edge of my seat, as directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett who both previously directed Ready or Not, know how to build tension especially with Brian Tyler’s haunting and eerie score that truly intensifies the film.

Paramount pictures

Scream is about deconstructing the genre and pop culture of the day and aims at filmmaking with killing commentary that’ll make you scream with laughter, whilst still containing the known tropes of a slasher movie. Its squeal-inducing traps and false alarms are so well-earned.

Overall, I believe Wes Craven would be proud of this movie and what it does for fans of the slasher genre. It strikes a visual cord with its toxic fandom commentary and provides a phenomenal entry to the 21st century of modern horror. It’s entertaining with laughter and brutal deaths as Scream continues to reinvent itself and still manages to remain a consistent franchise 25 years later since it started it all.

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Classics

Reel Recommendations: Possession – One Restoration You Do Not Want To Miss

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One of my favorite elements in the horror genre is taking a contemporary story and somehow implementing the genre’s core elements. Take the film Cure (1997) directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa; the film is about a detective who is investigating a series of grizzly attacks by a serial killer. On the film’s surface, it is your simple crime-thriller ala David Fincher’s Se7en (1995) or his 2007, Zodiac. However, throughout the film, the viewer gets inside of the mind of his victims in a psychological battle between light and dark; understanding the killer’s motivations and way of attack. Enough talk about Cure (1997), that is for another time.

I hold this element of the genre close to my creative heart because the genre does not always need a monster or killer or the loose, the genre is about set-up, execution, and the atmosphere in which those two elements listed are contained. If you are looking for more horror films like that, that are not about unstable detectives, look no further than Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession.

This 40-year-old lost film has recently been gaining a cult following and the film distributor Metrograph has graced film fans with a restoration. My thoughts on that are listed below the review.

Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill @ Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981

Possession is a film about how division; division of two people who seem to be at odds and have fallen out of love for one another amidst the middle of the Berlin Wall, a division of communication between a couple and the affair that has brought them down as well as a division of body and state. Possession is about the breaking point between a couple as they’re in the very early stages of a divorce. They both have simply fallen out of love with one another and have started sleeping with other people, mainly Isabelle Adjani’s Anna. As Sam Neil’s Mark understands the situation unfolds, the more angry and sickly he becomes. There are points where he will look like he has not eaten in days and looks incredibly pale-skinned. There is a moment throughout the first 25 minutes where Neil is having a seizure in a cold sweat.

While Possession is a body horror in terms of visual effects, its a body horror from the performances given. We see both of the films leads reach sadistic and stomach-churning when it ocmes to range. The first half being dedicated to Sam Neil’s perspective of the situation and how he is treating himself during this change, where he goes from calm to physically abusive. Then as the story unfolds, Żuławski pays more attention to Adjani’s Anna, as an audiences we are opening the curtain to what she has been up to when the camera is not focused on her. The camera work works in one takes with very abrupt takes in its editing. Żuławski wants everything to feel like one fluid motion rather than have multiple takes for one single scene. The subway scene in particular roughly has about two-three takes and you do not evne notice because of how hypnotized you are to Adjani’s otherworldly performance. I am treading lightly on the plot due ot the genius of this film is to go in knowing nothing.

Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill @ Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981

Possession is one of those horror films that were lost in time but recently have been gaining a resurgence through word of mouth and many clamoring for a Criterion blu-ray release, and for good reason. Possession includes some of the best performances I have ever witnessed with direction that is unpredictable and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. If there is one restoration you should have eyes on it is this one.

Restoration Review

Possession not only is a wonderful film but is also one of the best restorations I have seen recently. Metrograph elevates the horror film and at times looks like it was made from the last decade. The stark blue color pallette shines due to how cold and emotionally distant the characters are. The sound design is wonderful, every whisper is heard and understood, every scream feels like a scare, every tension-building moment plays like gangbusters. This is one restoration you do not want to miss especially for cult-genre fans.

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