ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT (Skye Borgman, 2017)

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Stranger danger! Stranger danger!! STRANGER DANGER!!!

Not a fan of the Instagram-ready reenactments, but the stranger than fiction real-life story was engaging, horrifying, and infuriating.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published January 23, 2019.)

THE BEGUILED (Sofia Coppola, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Superb performances, strong production values, a few terrifically-staged scenes, and, well, not much else really. If this weren’t an adaptation, the story probably would have worked better as a short film.

It actually had a bit of a Misery feel because all I saw were these horny and repressed girls fawning over a nice, good-looking man and then punishing him for not sleeping with every one of them. Sure, he could have used his good moral judgment, but they were literally throwing themselves at him. Why was it his fault? Was this supposed to be feminist in a Bad Blood way? Look what you made them do, Colin!!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published September 10, 2017.)

IT (Andy Muschietti, 2017)

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Complete fan service (like Abrams’ The Force Awakens). As a huge Constant Reader (aka Stephen Kingnatics), I was very satisfied with this adaptation (I’ll discuss specifics in my spoiler-filled notes).

If you’re expecting the usual scares (similar to Muschietti’s Mama), you’ll probably end up disappointed. If you really liked Stand by Me (or even Stranger Things), expect the same kind of engaging storytelling and fun nostalgia. If you have coulrophobia, don’t even bother watching.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published September 7, 2017.)

47 METERS DOWN (Johannes Roberts, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

It’s the kind of dumb and trashy fun flick meant to be seen on the big screen even if you’d feel a bit duped after watching (see: The Shallows).

I really loved that money shot involving a trio of sharks and a lighted flare (although I actually screamed during a Jaws rip-off scene). Ending was a bit of a cop-out.

Dear parents, please do not bring your young kids to watch this. There were a number of them in the screening earlier and when the cage started to plunge in the abyss, all of them just simultaneously started crying. Poor babies were probably scarred for life and would never even swim in a pool.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 27, 2017.)

ANNABELLE: CREATION (David F. Sandberg, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Worked very much like the first Conjuring movie with a bunch of young girls getting terrorized in a haunted house.

The first half was actually a good origin story with a few well-thought-out jump scenes (if you’re expecting the usual cheap scares, you’ll probably fall asleep during this part).

The second half was a bit of a disappointment, with the movie recognizing that it needed to up the fear quotient and bombarded the audience with standard horror movie cliches.

Created the right mood and atmosphere with some fine performances by the kids. The movie also successfully connected itself to the whole Conjuring-Annabelle-Valak universe.

Ooh, and the real Annabelle doll! Cool easter egg.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 24, 2017.)

ROUGH NIGHT (Lucia Aniello, 2017)

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Very Very Bad Things. Absolute trash (with a morally objectionable plot and resolution), but I really enjoyed it. The world needs more Kate McKinnons and Ilana Glazers.

“I can’t go to jail! I couldn’t even make it through the first episode of Orange Is the New Black!!” 🤣🤣🤣

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 13, 2017.)