Review: Cast Lulu Wilson in a prequel to critically lambasted horror film and you might get a decent horror. That statement might sound silly, but if you look closely, there’s something virtuous to deduce that a ‘bad horror’ isn’t the end. Annabelle: Creation, an origin story to John Leonetti’s Conjuring spin-off, Annabelle (2014), along with Ouija: Origin of Evil—also casting Wilson, has proven that horror franchise might still have a second chance if done properly.
Creation goes further before the titular demonic doll came into The Warrens’ possession, even further before the haunting of The Forms. The title itself has pre-explained what this horror is about: the genesis on how a ‘seemingly lovable’ child-friendly (which I myself doubt) doll turns into an evil carrier. Question is: would knowing how things will turn out make this film scary-less or, say, obsolete?
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Review: What The Doll 2 excels in is the fact that it could, at some points, drive a guilt-ridden drama into a full-frontal horror with chance of bloodfest. It had the ingredients right and, at some specific points, had the moment in crafting an atmospheric psycho-horror that plays out with grief and lonesome before drowning into an endless ambition to scare the hell out of people.
This sequel reconstructs the predecessor’s formula—a possessed doll, a small family, and a havoc—into a less original, yet more stable built. It retains only one connection to The Doll (2016) in terms of mother-child bond, which is exploited as the foundation of this new breed. That ‘broken’ bond is what brings horror into the table and, literally, what brings the otherworldly force into the doll. Continue reading The Doll 2 (2017): Clumsy horror with a chance of bloodfest
Review: Rizal Mantovani & Jose Purnomo’s sleeper hit Jelangkung (2001) was an integral part of Indonesian film resurrection. This harrowing story—about ancient ritual of summoning spirit using wooden avatar called ‘jelangkung’—was highly phenomenal that it spawned two sequels and cleared the path for other Indonesian ghouls to silver screen.
Sixteen years later, the winning team, Mantovani & Purnomo, is reunited with their winning formula into making a reboot titled Jailangkung. While their 2001 hit is a lo-fi production, this one is completely the opposite. With new target audiences, Jailangkung repackages itself with younger and fresher look; but, was it worth the scare? Continue reading Jailangkung (2017): Embodiment of style-over-substance horror
Review: Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door) uses his penchant to horror to create sharky open-water terror with a premise similar to Jaume Collett-Serra’s last summer cheap thrills The Shallows—involving deeper shallow-beach, more beautiful girls, and more sharks. Set in an exotic Mexican shore, 47 Meters Down sends Mandy Moore and Claire Holt straight to the hungry sharks in, as the title might suggest, 47 meters below the sea surface.
In 47 Meters Down, Kate (Holt), who has just found out that her sister, Lisa (Moore), ditched by her long-time boyfriend before their Mexican getaway, is at full earnestness to orchestrate an unforgettable vacation for her broken sister. Invited by two locals to cage-diving in shark-infested water, the more YOLO-induced Kate successfully persuades the more reluctant Lisa. What seems to be a larger-than-life excitement suddenly becomes a life-threatening moment for the girls when the crane falls, sending them into the bed of the ocean, with only limited oxygen to survive. Continue reading 47 Meters Down (2017) – Review
Review: Intriguing how Alien: Covenant opens with a birth, a genesis, in a majestic all-white background contrasts with the franchise’ primal return to its origin. That birth accompanied by Wagner’s Entry of The Gods Into Valhalla is designed to bridge over two worlds – the stark, horror space of Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) and the odd, philosophy-heavy world of Prometheus (2012) – and continue the cycle. Of gods and men, of gods and monsters, this bleak covenant is more a continuation than a return.
For the flight of Covenant, Mr. Scott amalgamates small dose of Alien’s infernal, frigid space horror with larger dose of Prometheus’ dialogue-laden, existentialism wisdom unevenly, but perfectly, to ignite nostalgia, while at the same time, connect dots. Continue reading Alien: Covenant (2017) – Review
Review: Danur, a book by singer, Risa Sarasvati (former Homogenic), about her psychic experience, is actually a sympathetic friendship tale about a girl and her ghost friends. I’ve listened to her album since 2010 and watched Sarasvati’s live performance where she told ghost stories about her songs; therefore, I knew how sympathetic the story is, despite being cliché-laden and light. It is never a horror story, yet, a story about companionship through and through, with some ghosts inside.
However, Awi Suryadi’s Danur, despite adapting Sarasvati’s book, takes a completely different route in presenting the story. Under Awi’s direction, Danur becomes a straight Insidious-esque horror story with major elements from the book stay intact. In fact, it’s a PG-friendly horror, which estranges it from the essence of Risa’s story. Continue reading Danur (2017): Different route from Sarasvati’s Danur