That’s 27 reviews, 5 weeks of daily posts, and over 100 pages of text written so far for Terror Spective – not too shabby. A special thank you to those who have been reading regularly. This is an ad-free, revenue-free, hobby kind of thing, so if nobody was checking it out, there really wouldn’t be any incentive to it at all. In the first month and with no promotional budget, there was nearly 200 visitors from 10 different countries, and I’m willing to bet that at least half weren’t sniffing around to see if there was anything worth hacking. I would really like to get into some horror television in the future – The Haunting of Hill House is burning a hole in my Netflix queue at the moment – but the movies keep me plenty occupied, and so, that’s where the focus will remain. There will very likely be a site redesign in the near future, some time after Halloween, which might take several days to complete, but that’s quite enough navel-gazing for now – here’s a quick recap of my review process. I look at premise, story, characters, pacing, visuals, acting, atmosphere, effects, musical score, and the presence and quality of what can just be called ‘horror elements’ – I don’t score each category individually, just weigh them all out against what the premise seems to need and crunch it all into a letter grade.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be reviewing the much-anticipated new Halloween movie, a stylish medieval horror film from the Basque region of Spain, and maybe a couple of older films for the hell of it. Also, I’ll be trying out a new feature this week – Under The Radar – highlighting an upcoming movie that looks promising but isn’t getting much attention.
Intruders – 2016 – Grade: B+
Available on Amazon Prime Video. Anna suffers from intense agoraphobia and has not ventured outside her sprawling home in ten years. In the meanwhile, she has been caring for her terminally ill brother, who finally succumbs to his pancreatic cancer. During his funeral, a group of career criminals break into the home, expecting it to be empty, only to find Anna, who had been too terrified to leave even then. They think their greatest problem is figuring out what to do with her, completely unaware of what she might be capable of doing to them. Full review here.
The Endless – 2018 – Grade: B
Available on Netflix. Brothers Justin and Aaron are scraping a meager Raman-eating existence as housecleaners after having escaped from a suicide cult ten years earlier. One day, they receive a tape in the mail from their old ‘religious affiliation’, inviting them back to visit. Although Justin wants nothing to do with this, Aaron is miserable in the impoverished workaday life they lead, and convinces his older bro to oblige him with a return to the camp. As Justin had feared, they might not be able to escape a second time. Full review here.
The Strangers: Prey at Night – 2018 – Grade: B-
Available on Amazon Prime Video. The long-awaited sequel to 2008’s The Strangers, a family of four intend on staying the night at a secluded mobile home campground. The film’s titular psychopaths intend that the family does not survive until morning. Full review here.
Delirium – 2018 – Grade: C+
Available on Netflix. Tom has spent the last twenty years in a mental institution, after witnessing and being implicated as an accomplice in his brother’s murderous deeds. Inheriting the estate of his wealthy late father, he’s released onto 30 days of house arrest, under the cruelly watchful eye of a parole officer. Unallowed to leave the premises for a month, he attempts to move on and build a life, but the sins of the past may not be so accommodating. Full review here.
Apostle – 2018 – Grade: C
Available on Netflix. The year is 1905 and a strung-out junkie is recruited by his estranged father to recover his beloved sister who has been kidnapped and is being ransomed by a sinister cult entrenched on a remote island. Plagued by withdrawl and haunted by a tragic past, he must keep himself together as he goes undercover as a new initiate to devise some means of rescuing her before it’s too late. Full review here.
We Go On – 2017 – Grade: C
Available on Shudder. Compulsive phobic Miles Grissom places an ad in the newspaper offering $30,000 to anyone who can offer him compelling evidence of an afterlife to assuage his crippling fear of death. It attracts a lot of attention, especially from his own mother, who moves back in with him perceiving him to be in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Together, they begin to sift through the numerous proposals he’s received, an endeavor that may lead to the ruin of them both. Full review here.
Pyewacket – 2018 – Grade: C
Available on Hulu. An angsty teenage girl, Leah, is extremely upset with her mother after she abruptly uproots their lives and moves them out to the boonies. After having her difficulties with the change trivialized and her life choices criticized, she is compelled to perform an occult ritual to curse her mother as retribution (damn, she ain’t one to piss off). As increasingly odd things begin to occur in their new home, she is filled with regret and must find a way to undo what she did, because demons don’t make takebacks easy. Full review here.
Malevolent – 2018 – Grade: C-
Available on Netflix. The year is 1986 and two American siblings have moved to Scotland – their late mother’s homeland – and are trying to make some cash with an elaborate paranormal investigation con job that promises to exorcise spirits from people’s homes. Problem is that the sister, Angela, is actually starting to see ghosts, throwing off her brother Jackson’s well-scripted routines. When an old woman, whose own son brutally murdered her three adopted daughters many years earlier, calls them out to her sprawling, decaying estate, Jackson sees big money in the opportunity, but Angela senses big trouble. Guess who’s right? Full review here.
Head – 2018 – Grade: F
Available on Amazon Prime Video. Five college students go on a camping trip, unknowingly choosing the location where a massacre of campers occurred years earlier. When they find their vehicles have been disabled, they’ll join up with an investigative reporter in an effort to keep their heads (most won’t). Full review here.