Movie Review

Movie Review: Witch Hunt (2017)

Well, it’s nearly mid-August, so my mind is already wandering towards Halloween! Summer is great, but my favorite season has always been Autumn – from the crisp air to the cardigans to the horror movies. So, as I’ve been gearing up for the upcoming changing of the seasons and trying to decide what my costume will be (all suggestions welcome!) I’ve been thinking a lot about horror movies. One that I saw recently on Amazon Prime that has really stuck with me is Witch Hunt, an independent film that just came out last year. You can watch this one FREE on Amazon Prime if you’re a member.

Image result for witch hunt movie

I’ll admit that when I first turned this one on, I was a bit hesitant about the acting in the beginning, but overall, I’m so glad that I stuck with it. It was so well-written and fresh for a horror movie. Let’s dissect some of the elements:

*Plot – The plot of this one was really interesting. Five young women gather for a birthday party and end up playing a nostalgic board game from their youth. But the board game, called “Witch Hunt,” may not be quite the innocent experience they remember. There are plenty of twists and turns here, as well as paranoia befitting of the Salem Witch Trials (of which there are several clever allusions).

*Characters – Viewers learn about the characters very gradually in this movie, and that is a big strength. It’s rare for a horror movie to be truly character-driven, but that’s what we have here. In this movie, there are so many psychological elements to unpack: female friendship, childhood trauma, religious fervor, sexuality, and more.

*Style – I adored the stylistic way that this movie unfolds. With each round of the game, we learn more about a specific character. It has a very unique but defined structure. I actually finished the movie and immediately wanted to watch it again because it was such a refreshing take on the genre.

*Scare Factor – For a horror movie, this one is extremely light on fright. There is very little gore or jump scares. Rather, this movie is propelled by its suspense and evocative atmosphere.

* Final Verdict – I loved this movie! I would definitely recommend it to those who like psychological or character-driven horror. And, since it’s not really scary, I think this would be a fun movie for anyone to watch for Halloween!

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

Movie Review

Movie Review: Hell House LLC

I mostly review books on this website, but I also really love horror movies. As I continue working on my own horror screenplay (details to come!) I’ve been watching all types of horror movies as inspiration and research. Recently, I stumbled upon one that I absolutely loved: Hell House LLC.

Hell House LLC Poster

This is a low-budget indie film that was just as effective, if not more so, than a lot of mainstream flicks with larger budgets. The premise is simple but fantastic and fresh. This is a mockumentary-style found-footage film about a film crew that is making a documentary about a tragedy that happened at a Halloween haunted house attraction a few years before. As they piece together what happened, they learn that something sinister might have been lurking in the house well before the  haunted house crew set up their theatrical props.

One of the things I loved about this movie is that there are very few jump scares. They are used judiciously and effectively, and the general ambiance of the film and the tension as the viewer is waiting to see what is going to happen next create a genuine feeling of dread. This film works because it has a fresh concept, builds tension well, and doesn’t rely on excessive slasher-like gore to create the feeling of horror. It’s just genuinely creepy and contains characters whose lives you really start to care about. There’s also an element of mystery pervading the storyline.

This film came out in 2015, and I just learned that they are working on a sequel. I’m so excited to see what is in store next!

Have you seen this one, or do you have a great indie film you want to share? Be sure to let me know in the comment section!

Book Review

Book Review: They Thirst 

I know that vampires aren’t really a big trend anymore, but I still really love them in my fiction. Recently, I read a really great vampire horror novel: They Thirst by Robert McCammon.

462658

I love that this book seems to blend classic vampire expectations with more modern ones. It was like the perfect blend of Stoker’s Dracula and King’s ‘Salem’s Lot. There is plenty of horror, suspense, and intrigue to be had in this novel, and I really think it will appeal to lovers of horrors, especially those with a soft spot for vampires.

Book Review

Last-Minute Gift Guide for Book Lovers

Happy Christmas Eve!! I hope everyone has wonderful holiday plans with family and friends, but if you’re still looking for a last minute gift for a book lover in your life, here’s a guide for an awesome book in several popular genres:

For the Mystery Lover: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

This re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes is a fantastic read that’s sure to appeal to fans of Holmes and all types of traditional mysteries.

For for History Lover: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

This book shows the devastating aftermath of World War II by following the lives of three widows who have been forever changed by the war.

For the Romance Lover: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

When ordinary Louisa Clarke becomes the caretaker of a paraplegic man, she discovers how stagnant her life has become and finally learns the power of true love.

For the Fantasy Lover: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

In this book, a truly magical circus becomes the stage for a competition to see which magician has learned to be the very best, but even the players don’t know what’s really at stake.

For the Science Fiction Lover: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Video games and reality collide in this coming-of-age book about a virtual reality scavenger hunt with real-world implications for its players.

For the Horror Lover: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Is nature or nurture to blame in this tale about the aftermath of a school shooting and the mother who has to come to grips with what her son has done.

For the Contemporary Fiction Lover: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

When their inheritance is threatened, the Plumb siblings must come to terms with their financial and personal mistakes and decide how to change their own fate.

For the Nonfiction Lover: In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides

This book chronicles human strength and resiliency while exploring the aftermath of the sinking of the USS Jeannette.

I hope this list can help you pick a gift for a loved one or even inspire you to pick something up for yourself. Have a very Merry Christmas!

-XO

Tiffany

Book Review

Book Review: The Girl With All the Gifts 

It’s nearly autumn! That means we’re getting closer and closer to Halloween: my second favorite holiday. I’ve already decorated my apartment and purchased both of my Halloween costumes! Since I’m already in the holiday spirit, I’ve decided to review a horror novel for this week. So, today we’ll be discussing The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey.

17235026

As far as horror goes, this one is more suspenseful than scary. It deals with the aftermath of an apocalyptic event that has caused much of earth’s population to either die or become zombies. There are still some humans left, and they are desperately researching the zombies, trying to learn more and find a way to immunize against this plague. As a disclaimer, I really hate zombies and typically don’t find them interesting, but I wanted to challenge myself to read this book and I’m very glad I did. I won’t go into too much detail about the origins of these particular zombies, but I will say that I found the explanation to be a really interesting take on the zombie genre.

Overall, this is a study on what it truly means to be human. There are two types of zombies here: the mindless ones who destroy without thought and the hungry ones who can speak and learn and rationalize who and what they are. I found this to be much more interesting than the traditional type of zombie. Of course, as the human characters are thrown into the mix, the label of monster becomes relative. Who is the true monster here? What defines a person? These are concepts brought up in this novel that are very interesting to ponder.

I would definitely recommend this book to horror fans who don’t need a ton of action or gore to stay interested. This one is definitely more character focused, so it might appeal to non-horror fans as well. It was a slower paced book, but it still felt like a fast read because I was so engrossed in this world. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I’d definitely be happy to pick up another.

Book Review

Book Review: The Ruins

Every once in a while, I get on a kick where I just want to read and watch horror movies. There’s something exciting about being  scared sometimes, especially when you know you’re really safe on your couch. One horror novel that I really enjoyed recently was The Ruins by Scott B. Smith.

21726

The general plot of this book is that a group of travelers who are exploring the Mexican jungle find themselves at the mercy of some very dangerous ancient plants. I don’t want to give too much else away about the plot in order to avoid spoilers, but I definitely enjoyed trying to figure out exactly what was going on.

I can’t say that any of the characters really stood out to me. This one is definitely more focused on plot than character, but it was still a really exciting read, and it moved very quickly. The atmosphere is consistently creepy and the plot is not as predictable as many horror novels. I also really loved the setting of the Mexican jungle. It was exotic and much different than a lot of horror novel settings which rely heavily on cliches.

I haven’t read any other books by Scott B. Smith, but I’d definitely love to read another one to see if it is just as good as this one. Also, for those who may have seen the movie based on this book, I can assure you that the book is MUCH better!

Book Review

Book Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Title: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Author: Lionel Shriver

80660

Quick Takeaway: This is a fascinating read that explores the issues of nature vs. nurture using the subject matter of a mother who never wanted children and her deeply troubled child.

Who Should Read This? I would absolutely recommend this book to lovers of psychology because of the “nature vs. nurture” theme. It is also very dark, so I would also recommend it to anyone looking for character-driven horror.

Review: This is a brilliant book about the nature of evil. Are people born evil? Is evil a learned behavior? I don’t want to go into the details about the plot of the book because I don’t want to give anything away, but this is the type of book that is character-driven while still including a lot of plot and suspense elements. Eva is an absolutely fascinating character. I found that I could relate a lot to her, but it would not at all surprise me if others find her to be very unlikable. I have never been particularly interested in having children, and this is a major theme in the book. Are there some people who should never be parents? Are some children just born bad?  As a character study, I found the character of the mother Eva to be far more interesting than the character study of the son Kevin, but the bits that focused on him were also very well-written and intriguing.

Final Thoughts: This is a great book about human nature and the nature of darkness. This book is not for the faint of heart, but it is sure to be a great conversation starter for a book club.