Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: Witch-Hunt (2017)

Day 29 of my 31 Days of Halloween goes to another independent horror film: Witch-Hunt. This is a really interesting movie structured around a game, and at times, the movie itself feels like a game. When something sinister seems to be happening, the characters have to decide if one of them is really a witch. As a viewer, you’ll be playing along from home.

Witch-Hunt Poster

IMDB’s Description: “When five young women gather to play a witch-themed board game, they begin to suspect one of them may actually be a witch.”

I love the interesting structure used in this film. With each round of the game, we learn more about one of the players/characters. This is one movie that, upon finishing, I immediately felt like I needed to watch it again. Sure enough, there were lots of clues and subtle references to what might be going on that I had missed the first time. This movie really isn’t scary, but it’s psychologically interesting. You’ll definitely be wondering if you’re just caught up in the hysteria of witches or if magic really is afoot.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: Hell House LLC (2015)

For Day 28 of 31 Days of Halloween, I have selected Hell House LLC, one of the best independent horror movies I have ever seen! This mockumentary-style found-footage film really stands out from others in this genre. It’s tense and creepy but judicious with its use of jump scares. The people who made this film definitely understand that sometimes subtle things a bit out of place are just as unsettling as something jumping out at you.

Hell House LLC Poster

IMDB’s Description: “Five years after an unexplained malfunction causes the death of 15 tour-goers and staff on the opening night of a Halloween haunted house tour, a documentary crew travels back to the scene of the tragedy to find out what really happened.”

I don’t know about you, but I love haunted house attractions. They give you a true adrenaline rush even though you know deep down that everything will be okay. But as I visit haunted houses/theme parks/rides/etc I always wonder how long it would take for someone to recognize a genuine emergency. This film takes that fear and cranks it up to the next level. This movie about a group of people who are creating a haunted house attraction only to find that the fear is a little too real is one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a long time.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Serial killers are a fascinating bunch, but one is more iconic than most of the others: Hannibal Lecter. That’s why The Silence of the Lambs is my Day 27 pick for 31 Days of Halloween.

The Silence of the Lambs Poster

IMDB’s Description: “A young FBI cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.”

Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic psychologist, is no typical adversary. He’s practically an antihero and one of the most fascinating characters in the horror genre. This film is part horror and part mystery. It’s a true thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. It’s one of the longest movies to make my list, but it’s well worth the time to see Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jodi Foster in these iconic roles.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: The Sixth Sense (1999)

My Day 26 pick for 31 Days of Halloween is another ghost story: The Sixth Sense. This is the film that brought us the iconic line, “I see dead people.” There’s a lot of interesting psychology in this film, and it’s one of the best ghost stories out there.

The Sixth Sense Poster

IMDB’s Description: “A boy who communicates with spirits seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.”

This is another movie that’s worth watching just for the interesting ending. Still, this is a great psychologically-driven horror movie. It’s a bit disorienting at times as you try to piece everything together. There’s definitely a reason that this one has risen to iconic status, and I don’t want to give too much away just in case you haven’t seen it yet! This is perfect for those looking for something spooky but not terribly scary for Halloween.


Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: The Others (2001)

My Day 25 pick for 31 Days of Halloween is a unique ghost story that would be great for those who don’t typically love horror: The Others. It’s creepy without being truly scary, and it has a fantastic ending!

The Others Poster

IMDB’s Description: “A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted.”

This movie stars Nicole Kidman and is a fascinating ghost story. There’s so much about family and motherhood in this film, and Kidman does a great job at being the overbearing matriarch who still elicits sympathy. Like I mentioned earlier, this movie is worth watching just for the fantastic ending. It’s a really unique twist on the haunted house genre.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: Resident Evil (2002)

For Day 24 of 31 Days of Halloween, I have selected another movie based off of a video game: Resident Evil. As you may have noticed from this list, I don’t really find zombies very interesting. This is my one big exception!

Resident Evil Poster

IMDB’s Description: “A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.”

I am obsessed with this franchise. I own all 6 films, and I’ve seen them multiple times. While these are zombie movies, I find them interesting because the zombies are not the villains per se. Rather, the organization controlling the zombie apocalypse is the main antagonist. Also, these films are packed with nonstop action from start to finish, and Milla Jovovich is PERFECTION as the main character. If you’re more into action than atmospheric horror with jump scares, then I think you’ll love this one!

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: Silent Hill (2006)

I have never really been into video games, but I seem to really enjoy horror movies that are based off of them. One of the best is definitely Silent Hill, which is my pick for Day 23 of 31 Days of Halloween.

Silent Hill Poster

IMDB’s Description: “A woman, Rose, goes in search for her adopted daughter within the confines of a strange, desolate town called Silent Hill.”

This movie definitely wins the award for most interesting monsters. The creatures in Silent Hill are terrifying but fascinating in their construction. Also, I just love the backstory for this place and the explanations for why everything is the way that it is. Visually, this is one of the best horror movies. (My favorite scene is the one with the nurses). I just don’t care what the critics say – this is one of my favorite movies! I’ve seen it so many times and it just doesn’t get old.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: The Ring (2002)

For Day 22 of 31 Days of Halloween, I have picked The Ring because it was a formative part of my childhood. This movie came out when I was in grade school, and it was one of the first real horror movies I got to see. I loved it, and I loved that it didn’t scare me as much as it scared my friends.

The Ring Poster

IMDB’s Description: “A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone in a week of viewing it.”

Some personal backstory… I had a friend who was terrified of this movie. One day, she didn’t quite close her locker all the way, so after she left, I opened her locker and wrote “Seven Days” on the little whiteboard she kept inside. She was thoroughly terrorized, and that might actually have been the meanest thing I’ve done in my life.

But moving on to the movie, this is a really interesting one! Visually, it’s unsettling to watch the entirety of the montage on the mysterious videotape. But also, the story here is really great and you get to fully understand what has caused this malevolent force to have emerged in this way. Overall, it’s a really well-done concept and a very cool horror movie that isn’t very graphic, so it’s perfect for beginners!

Movie Review

31 Days of Horror: V/H/S (2012)

I think that anthology horror movies are underrated. While I love full-length tales that deliver a broader story, sometimes horror works best in the concept stages. Short horror vignettes can often deliver genuine scares, and that’s why I’ve picked V/H/S as my Day 21 pick for 31 Days of Halloween.

V/H/S Poster

IMDB’s Description: “When a group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for.”

As the characters in the movie play the VHS tape that they obtain, you get to see short horror films that are on the tape. While there is a larger narrative structure, to me the most interesting part of this movie is seeing the vignettes on the tape (each of which were written/directed by a different horror filmmaker). It’s so cool to see the different styles of short film.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: Mama (2013)

The role of motherhood in horror movies is an interest concept to unpack. Often, motherly characters are portrayed as paragons of virtue. Sometimes their love is undying. One interesting take on how maternal feelings can surpass the grave is the movie Mama, my Day 20 pick for 31 Days of Halloween.

Mama Poster

IMDB’s Description: “A young couple take in their two nieces only to suspect that a supernatural spirit named Mama has latched itself to their family.”

This is an interesting movie with an ending I really didn’t expect. There’s so much about the choice of motherhood and what that truly entails. It’s also hauntingly beautiful in parts due to its cinematography. Visually, this is a stunning movie, and it’s one that is more focused on telling a story than it is delivering scares.