With Halloween right around the corner my thoughts are drifting to ways I can get into the holiday and get scared. One of the best ways for that to happen is curling up with a security blanket in a pitch-black room and watching scary movies. Here’s a list of movies that left this adrenaline junky, horror movie fan, jumpy.
#10 – The 9th Gate
Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) is a rare book dealer and has been hired to hunt down the three remaining copies of The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows written in the seventeenth-century. It is believed that these books are adaptations of an even older book written by the Devil himself, which contains the guidelines for the ritualistic summoning of him.
The movie contains a few jump-scares, but overall isn’t all that horrifying while you are watching it. The plot is so masterfully controlled that once you get sucked in the layers to the story will continue to mess with you after the movie has ended. You never know, the mysterious young woman who aids Dean Corso might have been the Devil the whole time.
#9 – Black Death
Set in 1348 England during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague, a young monk, Osmund (Eddie Redmayne), is given the task of guiding a regional bishop’s envoy to a nearby village. Along the way their journey is beset with harrowing pitfalls and find themselves bound and caged after finding a village that contain reports of people being brought back to life. They are faced with the choice for freedom if they renounce God and death if they do not.
The movie contains enough similarities to a zombie movie for me to group it in that subgenera and to suggest giving it a try this Halloween instead of some of the old classics. After all a plague takes of a populace, yet forces of evil kept people alive. It’s a dark, cabalistic, pit that spews the spread of carrion and pestilence.
#8 – Cry Wolf
This follows the story of Owen Matthews after he arrives at Westlake Preparatory Academy. On his second day at the school, Owen and his friends strike up a discussion about the police finding a girl’s body, Becky, after it was dragged through the woods by a wolf. The group creates a fake e-mail telling everyone about a serial killer who goes from campus to campus killing students. Speak of the Devil and he shall appear, once the e-mail was sent out the group gets plagued by the myth they created coming true and are hunted by the Wolf.
The plot plays with the themes of bullying and the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. It’s one of your basic slasher murder mysteries that leaves you guessing which one of the students is the mastermind behind the whole prank.
#7 – The Collector
Arkin is an ex-convict who has gone straight and become a handyman and has made a connection to the Chase family whose home he is currently working on. Arkin’s wife is in debt to a loan shark and the time to pay up is that night at midnight. In order to save his own family he plans a heist at the Chase home. After Arkin breaks in he hears a large masked figure enter and lock the door, trapping him inside. It quickly becomes apparent that the house has been transformed into a disturbing fun house filled with tortuously deadly traps.
The film is filled with blood and gore to the point where even my strong stomach was turning. It is not a flick for the faint of heart or the easily queasy. If you are a fan of the Saw movies then you will see close resemblances in this film. After all it was originally intended to be a prequel to that franchise.
#6 – Knock
A family of Shamans guards a cursed mask from generation to generation, but the latest in the lineage becomes involved in passion and murder by the medium of the mask. Jeong-hwa (Seo Woo) is an art student and unaware of her family’s Shaman lineage when she comes across an old sketching of the cursed mask and decides to recreate the mask for her exhibit assignment. The effects of the cures begin to manifest when every midnight a powerful knocking commences next door.
This film beautifully balances the scary and multiple themes used in paranormal horror with traditional lore. One of the best points in the plot is that you never really know when it will end. It leaves you thinking that the events have been all wrapped up and a happy ending is inevitable. Or is it?
#5 – Bestseller
This is a thriller centered on writer Hee-Soo (Eom Jeong-Hwa) who moves to a secluded lake house in a rural mountain area after becoming involved in a plagiarism scandal. The scandal has broken Hee-Soo’s spirit for writing, possibly her mind, and caused a rift to form in her marriage. Her husband stays behind in the city and her young daughter makes the move with Hee-Soo. The little girl makes an imaginary friend who tells horrifying stories that she relays to her mother. The new book created out of those stories is discovered to have been published 10 years ago. To prove her innocence and get down to the root of the mystery surrounding this house, Hee-Soo must return.
It’s a paranormal, murder mystery on the surface, but underlying it all is a 6th Sense type psychological dilemma. Does Hee-Soo’s ghost really exist? How is it possible for the books to be word for word the same? Is Hee-Soo being possessed? What really happened to the daughter? Is any of this even reality?
#4 – The Awakening
England, 1921, Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall) is the expert on supernatural hoaxes and works with the police to expose and debunk phenomena. She is called upon to investigate the sightings of a ghost and subsequent death of a student at an all boys’ boarding school. It appears that Forence has done what she does best and debunked the events as pranks played by the boys. That is until she is pulled into a pond located on the school grounds by an unexplained hand. After she is rescued, Florence begins to see and hear more and more unexplained things, leaving you to wonder about her mental stability.
The psychological aspects of the movie are what get you. The main character starts off as a skeptic, which most of the audience would be in the same boat, who appears to wrap up the mystery in a neat little bow. Then much like Knock, the film doesn’t end at happily ever after. When Florence’s mind goes haywire so do the audience’s and you leave questioning the reality of supernatural phenomena.
#3 – Muoi: The Legend of the Portrait
A South Korean writer, Yun-hee, is under extreme pressure by her editor to produce something of interest for her next book. Her last one was a semi-autobiographical tale concerning her friends and slandered one immensely. This friend, Seo-Yeon, was an easy target after all she had been living in Vietnam for years. Yun-hee is contacted by Seo-Yeon to come and explore the folklore about a local Vietnamese girl named Muoi and her cursed portrait. Is Seo-Yeon seeking revenge on Yun-hee? Is Muoi still after those who wronged her?
A film layered with jump-scares and nail biting suspense that never quits. If you are anything like me and have a strong fascination in the supernatural then this movie will mess with you. It left me wondering how long lasting curses and a scorned woman’s vengeance can last.
#2 – The Unseeable
Set in 1934 Siam, the story involves a young pregnant woman named Nualjan who is in search for her missing husband. She comes to stay in the spooky rural mansion of a widow, Runjuan. The overgrown property is managed by a stern caretaker and inhabited by a number of people. A young woman, Choy, who looks after Nualjin, possibly for sinister reasons; a little girl who has a habit of vanishing and repapering to play a game; an old woman who is hunting for her taken child; and a man who is seen from a distance at the back of the property digging a hole.
The plot draws the audience into the mystery along with Nualjan. There has to be a reason for all these people to stay on the property. There must be a reason why her husband disappears near there. The reasons must be surrounding why the beautiful widow remains a shut in and collects the misfits who live on her property. The film feels like it’s trying to juggle to much unit the ending which will wrap it all up in a bundle of adrenaline.
#1 – Mirrors
An ex-cop, who went off the force because he shot and killed someone, takes on a new job as night security of the old and abandoned Mayflower department store. The building had been gutted by a fire, but not left unoccupied. Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) is thrown head first into danger when the evil force trapped inside the Mayflower start targeting him using mirrors as a gateway.
I have a giant mirror in my bedroom and it was covered up with a sheet for the night after watching this movie. I was taking no chances in leaving a portal for the demon from the Mayflower sneaking into my room and ripping my jaw open the same way in did Ben’s sister.
21 year old who does everything under the sun and will never stop.
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