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31 Days of Halloween Week 3 reviewed

Letterboxd list of films watched

The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018)

Week three of Halloween month kicks off with this mean-spirited, neon-drenched throwback slasher with serious Carpenter influences (that main theme is almost a note-for-note ripoff of The Fog) that uses its simplicity to its advantage. Likeable characters, an unsettling foggy trailer park, some gnarly violence and some much-needed comeuppance for the masked assailants make this one of the better slashers of recent years.

The Frighteners (1996)

Pure manic horror-comedy fun, with Jackson and his cast firing on all cylinders. Jeffrey Combs gets all the love for his unhinged performance, but Michael J Fox brings all his physical comedy prowess and an emotional centre to the film - definitely an underrated performance from him. The film does run a little long, but the breakneck rollercoaster pacing keeps things moving. The early CGI, while rudimentary, doesn’t detract, with Jackson using clever camerawork and editing to smooth the process.

A Quiet Place (2018)

The beautifully realised world and deep emotional core help overlook some of the leaps in logic of the story. Excellent performances, particularly Emily Blunt and the alternately grinding and plaintive score by Marco Beltrami helps paint the colours of this slice of rural apocalyptica.

Scarecrows (1988)

Think Cliffhanger (high-tech thieves do a heist and flee in a plane), but replace Stallone with undead murderous scarecrows. Repetitive, intermittent fun, this action-horror hybrid is enlivened by some of the creepiest scarecrows put to film.

Poltergeist III (1988)

Not a patch on Hooper and Spielberg’s original classic, this third instalment has no reason to exist, but Gary Sherman takes the brief (Poltergeist in a high rise building it's - what was with the high-rise movies of 1988?) and turns it into a carnival funhouse of (literally) mirrors. His in-camera gags are a wonder to behold here, even if the family centre of the previous two films is missed greatly.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

I actually prefer this to the 2003 remake, as it essentially does exactly the same thing but in a grimier, more mean-spirited and less stylised fashion. The chainsaw fodder / young hot people felt a bit more realistic here, and there is a heavy pall of doom hanging over the entire film. Not a classic by any means, but a nice surprise, especially given I had zero interest in this when it was released in 2006.

You’re Next (2011)

A welcome and long overdue rewatch of Adam Wingard's home invasion slasher, this movie still rips with its almost miraculous blend of mean slasher tropes and comedy. There is a real dark heart beating beneath the fun. Plus, Sharni Vinson should have the career that Samara Weaving has, as she is both loveable and completely badass.

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