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  • Ju-on: The Grudge

    Ju-on: The Grudge

    ★★★★½

    Lightning in a bottle. There's a lot here that shouldn't work. Ju-on: The Grudge doesn't really have a story, outside of the gradually unfolding explanation as to what happened to Kayako in order to turn her house into a gateway to Hell. The budget is barebones, which forces a number of stylistic choices and casting decisions that should have just strangled the film from birth. And for a movie in which (by my count) 15 people die, there's very little…

  • The City of the Dead

    The City of the Dead

    ★★★½

    Not the most lurid witch-burning to start a film, but this is a more deliberate affair than all that. The City of the Dead (aka Horror Hotel, woof) is a proper Englishman's scare, even if it's set in New England and even if John Moxey is an Argentinian chap. This doesn't preclude the good old salacious bits to be found in a movie about witches, but these are served at the proper times later in the film. Harrumph.

    Christopher Lee…

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  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★★★

    The grief artist, Ari Aster.

    A director's second feature starts to give us clues about who they really are. Expanding from one point to two starts to give us an idea of where they might be headed and enables comparisons, as far as those are productive, to start occurring. While we lack the sense of trajectory that a third point on the plot would provide, certain things begin to be apparent with Midsommar. Aster is keenly interested in the suffering…

  • The Perfection

    The Perfection

    ½

    Aimed squarely at rubes. In this sense it's the perfect Netflix film. A cheap director, bargain basement script, and C-list actors all keep the budget down. Throw in enough horror elements to get that crowd interested, because horror makes money. Add in a lesbian encounter so that you can lead the socially conscious crowd by the nose, but make sure to show the sex scene for the prurient interest of the less conscious crowd. Don't forget to set part of…