Focus on Horror Comedy

Happy death day- released 13th October 2017

A unique horror spin on Groundhog day( with specific mention of Bill Murray), Happy Death Day takes it’s viewers on a fast paced journey to reconnecting with one’s authentic self. Impactful cinematography, punchy dialogue and a career defining performance from Jessica Rothe makes this a great watch. College student Tree relives the same day only to be murdered at the end of it. As this continues she decides to solve her own murder before the day is done. A Blumhouse production directed by Christopher Landon (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) who wanted to set up a wish fulfilment situation as Tree is manipulating the day she gets over and over by doing all the things people fantasise about.

Happy Death Day provides laughs while also dealing with serious subject matter. A hilarious montage of Tree going through all the possible suspects is the best part of this viewing experience , bringing a series of funny shots where she gets murdered in different ways all the while discovering things about each suspect and having fun with her situation. Slow motion and tilting camera sequences add to the creep factor of the horror scenes in conjunction with the masks and eerie, warped soundtrack. Every line of dialogue elevates the plot, representing the relationships between the characters.

A film that depicts the weight of the main character’s experience through her wide eyed expressions, that can create a sense of dread with a lighted match falling in slow motion, the low point being Tree’s annoying ringtone. Happy Death Day lands on it’s feet , taking viewers on a fun, thrilling ride through October the 18th.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Freaky- Released 13th November 2020

Now on to a Christopher Landon film I like less. Freaky delves into some interesting subject matter: what would happen if a teenage girl switched bodies with a serial killer. Despite some great acting from one of the leads, the other actors fall flat as the audience are fed yet another serving of over the top gory slasher flick. Described by Landon as a mashup of Freaky Friday and Friday the 13th he decided to really go for it with the over the top comedic gore similar to what you would see in Evil Dead. He wanted to focus on the repercussions of a shy, naïve teenager swapping bodies with a killing machine, allowing the killer to become a wolf in sheep’s clothing .

While Kathryn Newton completely owned the role of serial killer trapped in the body of a teenage girl I was expecting better things from Vince Vaughn. Jack Black set the bar high in his Jumanji performance expertly representing the mannerisms of a teenage girl, however I felt Vaughn didn’t deliver on the same level. Nothing too interesting cinematography wise that I haven’t seen in any other slasher ever made. Adding gore just for the sake of it also doesn’t provide any substance or added explanation to the story. That said the subject matter was novel proving that Landon and Blumhouse are continuing to push the boundaries of the modern horror film.

A film I would watch just for Newton’s chilling performance, dealing with some interesting themes, yet nothing else out of the ordinary to see here.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Scare package- released 18th june 2020

A clever anthology that puts a comic spin on classic horror tropes with a few well told stories, using a nostalgic video store setting as a base for differentiating between it’s iconic genres. Despite it’s smart dialogue, well used musical numbers ,engaging cinematography and exploration of meta, the over the top gore stopped this from being my favourite anthology . An interview with Zoe Graham who stars in the final segment, discusses how woman are presented in the horror genre and the stereotypes usually associated with these characters, her character in the film representing this.

All of the dialogue is clever, having a point to make about the horror tropes that exist in cinema today, while also throwing in some Game of Thrones references for good measure. The subject matter is interesting with characters finding themselves in a myriad of situations. What would happen if your job was staging horror scenes and you were complaining about it to your PT ? or if a snack from the grocery store could cause some alteration to your appearance?

It laughs at itself as a meta film one of the characters saying at the beginning ” I just don’t know about the meta stuff . I mean a movie talking about a movie within a movie, it’s just confusing” All the music is applied well to each of the stories and scenes adding some depth to these. The cinematography introduces characters well , the close up shots of the video store owner and objects in his car as he is driving, provides a well executed character introduction.

The combination of costumes and colours of the hotel room in the slumber party story create a picturesque setting. Storytelling through security camera footage in the last story is a unique way to engage the audience and provide them with information that some of the characters don’t yet know. Although in some segments the gore was tastefully done with a comic lens, the final segment uses too much. Less gore would lift the film significantly.

My pick for your next Halloween watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This year I will continue with monthly film discussion segments in addition to focusing on individual directors and their portfolio of work.

Stay tuned for my next film discussion coming in April

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