Book Review: Suffer the Children (Spoiler Free)

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As promised, a novel of terror. Let me just start right off by letting you know, this read is not for the book worm who is tender of heart. This one had been on my radar for a while, so I was super pleased when it arrived in my (first ever!!) Nocturnal Readers box. The author, Craig DiLouie, is new to me. Here Mr. DiLouie tackles that ever taboo topic in horror of, “BAD STUFF HAPPENING TO CHILDREN.” So, if that’s a turn off for you, consider yourself warned! I’m not totally heartless or anything, by the way. I love kids. I’m a proud auntie! It’s hard to read about scary things happening to children, it raises the stakes. And it makes every wicked thing that more insidious, tugging on the heartstrings. Personally, I do better with my horror fiction involving kids if the foe is supernatural. I don’t take a great interest in the all too real, indisputable abuse of kids that happens in our world every day being used for a plot device. And I think that anyone who hurts a child can burn in hell. But trust me, the kid’s are not really the victims in this story. This blog is proof alone that I adore a good spooky tot in my scary movies, and this book is no different. Okay, now that all the disclaimers are out of the way, let’s chat about Suffer the Children.

I love reading apocalyptic fiction. And it tickles me when an author can put a new spin on the genre. A crisis has happened out of nowhere on a global level. ALL the children in the world suddenly fall over dead. Just DIE. No warning, no obvious illness, just done. We see a glimpse of this mysterious tragedy from multiple perspectives of parents living in a small suburb of Lansdowne Michigan. The young-lings bodies are barely in the ground when something miraculous happens. As quickly as they died, the kiddos come back! They’re not quite alive, but not silent corpses anymore either. In fact, they’re personalities and memories are intact. However, their reanimation comes at a cost. Let’s just say the little sweeties are hungry.

Are you tempted yet? Intrigued? I hope so. I devoured this dark, and disturbing tale. Enjoy!

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Book Review: This Savage Song (SPOILER FREE)

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I’m back again with some YA spookiness for you all.

CORSAI, CORSAI, TOOTH AND CLAW

SHADOWN AND BONE WILL EAT YOU RAW.

MALCHAI, MALCHAI, SHARP AND SLY, SMILE AND BITE AND DRINK YOU DRY.

SUNAI, SUNAI, EYES LIKE COAL. SING YOU A SONG AND STEAL YOUR SOUL.

MONSTERS, MONSTERS, BIG AND SMALL.

THEY’RE GONNA COME AND EAT YOU ALL.

-Victoria Schwab

This was my first ever Victoria Schwab book!! I’ve definitely been meaning to pick her up, but you know how it is. So many books, so little time. Anyway, I will absolutely be reading more from her. Our story follows two teens in a semi-dystopian/alternate version of our own world. Some time after the Vietnam War ended, things took a darker tone here in America (I assume it’s just America? I actually don’t know for sure…). Whenever a violet act is committed against another, a monster is born. As the playground rhyme above tells us, there are three different types of monster. There are the Corsai, the Malchai (my favorite!), and the very rare, Sunai. One of the young leads is a guy named August, who happens to be a Sunai. August lives with his adoptive human family, the Flynn’s. He looks like an ordinary person, but he’s actually more like an angel of death in disguise. August longs to be “normal” and shuns his existence.

Our other main character is Kate Harker. She’s no monster; but she wishes she was. Her father is a ruthless, cunning, and powerful man. He rules over half of V-City, selling costly protection from the monsters who would rather be feasting on the citizens. The other portion of the city is Flynn territory. August’s father leads a military militia fighting the monsters free of charge to help keep the people safe, and the darkness at bay. You can see how these two are clearly on opposing sides, right?

Both start as the new kids in high school on the Harker side of things. Kate is trying to prove that she can live up to her family name. Meaning to be feared, to be brutal, and ultimately, to win her dad’s admiration. No one knows August’s true identity, and that he is attending as a spy. He’ll be watching Kate, and gathering information for his faction. It isn’t long before things start to go off the rails, and both Kate and August are thrown into the fray.

I realllllly liked this book, guys. Kate and August were both totally compelling characters to read with refreshing perspectives. The stakes felt higher than usual with these two kids. They’re both outcasts struggling to fit in, but not in the normal way you find in most YA horror books. Their problems are made even more unique by this hellish world they live in. I was really struck by the unique premise of this book, and I can’t really think of a plot device that comes close. If you can, tell me! I would love to read more stories like this. Needless to say, I look forward to the second half of this story arriving in June.

The Fisherman by John Langan

 

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Abe and Dan are coworkers and widowers trying to pass their empty days with fishing. Abe has been on his own a little longer, and is coping better and coming a bit more to terms with his grief. Dan is a few years younger and cannot come to grips with the tragic and abrupt lose of his wife and two little boys. Dan intends to take Abe with him to a fabled fishing spot. This is no ordinary location to while a way a day with a rod and reel. Here, the dearly departed are rumored to return…And if you’ve ever read a scary book, or seen a horror movie with a similar premise, you can probably already assume that the dead are better off left that way.
A large chunk (maybe even the majority, come to think of it) of the book takes place in the past. The same area in upstate New York, just around the turn of the last century. Here we learn the terrifying and supernatural truth of how the legend of this fishing hole came to be.

I absolutely loved this adult horror novel. This was my first time reading John Langan, but I doubt it will be my last. I am a history buff, so I was totally happy to be transported back in time. I love any horror tale, movie or book, set in the past. You know, before the internet, cell phones, and our cynical modern attitudes. Langan’s voice for the period felt authentic, and so did his present day narration by Abe. Even though I mentioned above that this book in a take on, “the dead belong dead” theme, it is thoroughly it’s own nice interpretation of that. And I could not predict the way the story would develop. I was excited to read this one. After all, there has been some hype surrounding it on the book and horror forums, but I am SO thrilled that it exceeded my expectations.

I’m not going to be so hyperbolic as to say it’s 100% perfect, but I’m happy to report there is nothing I would change. Now, excuse me while I go and try to get everyone I’ve ever met in my life to read this book so I can talk about it with them.

The Merciless 1 &2

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Image result for the merciless danielle vega

 

Hey kiddos! You like demonic possession? Religious paranoia? How about absolutely kick-ass book covers? Good, me too. I’d like to introduce you to The Merciless series by Danielle Vega.

Sofia Flores is the new girl in a tiny southern town. Sadly, this isn’t anything new since she moves around a lot. Her mom is the army. So now the two are settled here with Grandma after she suffered a stroke. Sofia finds herself torn between two “groups” of potential BFF’s. There’s Brooklyn, the punky rebel on one hand. And the super Christian cool girls lead by Riley on the other. Before she knows it, Sofia is sucked into a CREEPY-ASS plan to kidnap Brooklyn and exorcise her of the demon Riley is certain is possessing her. A violent, bloody plot of torture ensues.

This may have been the most graphic young adult novel I’ve ever read. And of course, I was LIVING for it. I knew right away that this was the start of a beautiful friendship between writer Danielle Vega and I. If my description has at all peaked your interest, go read the book right now. Then come back to read my spoilers for this story and the sequel.

 

**SPOILERS!**

This book may not be everyone’s brand of vodka. But it sure was mine. I don’t discriminate in my horror literature. Adult or YA, I just want a good, dark, evil, scary, or twisted read. I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure who to believe while I was enjoying this book. Riley and her cohorts do some TRULY weird and tortuous stuff to Brooklyn. But she/they feel justified in trying to save the girl’s soul and keep evil from the world! And it turns out, they were right!! Brooklyn does a masterful job of convincing Sofia (and us the reader) that these sweet girls are crazy. I’ll admit I went back and forth a couple of times trying to decide who was really right. But I ultimately thought Riley & crew were just caught up in religious fervor. Clearly, I was wrong. The book ends with all her friends dead, and Brooklyn telling Sofia she’s a demon too. Turns out Sofia did take a life once. She pushed a mean girl in front of train. Yeah, a train. That’s pretty messed up. Sofia does seem to regret her actions, but you can’t outrun the devil.

Book II

I owe every one an honest opinion, so I’m gonna give it to you straight up. I didn’t love this book as much as the first one. I truly liked it, but it didn’t keep me page turning like mad, which the original did. After some intense therapy, the grown-ups in her life convince Sofia the whole “demon” thing was just her way of coping with this traumatic event. Before you can blink, her mom is dead and Sofia is off to a conservative Catholic boarding school. There she meets some friends, and a new guy to crush on. She also starts hallucinating and slowly coming around to the fact that the whole ordeal was not fake, and Brooklyn not gone.

My favorite thing in this novel would have to be Gavin being a super creep. I didn’t see it coming. But damn. He lets the priest/principle flagellate him to atone for his sins, like on a regular basis. And that is just DARK. Then he goes after Sofia to save her. He’s not wrong, but he IS psychotic. I also like the bleak ending to the story. Sofia is now locked up in a metal health facility biding her time and embracing her demonic truth. I’m so happy Danielle Vega stuck to her guns as an author and pulled no punches. Demon stories should have a twisted ending. She’s got a reader in me for life.

 

 

As Above So Below- A glowing review

I had pretty high expectations for As Above So Below. The subject matter/plot is totally interesting to me, so I was going to be freakin’ upset if this movie let me down. Before you get your hopes up extremely high, I will admit this isn’t some “perfect” movie. We nerds love to nit-pick at things, including stuff we love. And I could do the same for this film, but dammit, I don’t want to. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie, and I hope you do (did?) too.  Maybe you were reluctant to watch this because you scoffed and decided it was just another in a long line of “Found-Footage” horror movies. I don’t blame you there, there have been some really gawd awful movies in that style, just rudely chucked out to us like so much shark chum. However, I don’t think this movie falls into that category. This isn’t just some hastily thrown together story, I didn’t feel at least. This one has a deliberate story line. Maybe you’ve heard the synopsis. A young archaeologist and her “team” go on an expedition to the catacombs under Paris to find…treasure. She’s specifically looking for something that was her father’s life’s work, and is now her own. Okay, fine, I’ll tell you. It’s the philosopher’s stone. We know from the trailer that they find themselves in some sort of hell where demons from their past are there to haunt them. But what you may not realize is that said archaeologist (“Scarlett”)  is a fairly rad character. She’s a little obsessed with her quest, but girlfriend has her reasons. I really liked her. She’s brilliant, persistent, again a tad obsessive, brave, pretty, and has neat looking jewelry. I respect all those things. This entire story has a bit of an action-adventure vibe ala Indiana Jones. The opening scene sets the tone for that. Her team is a fun little troupe. They include Benji, who is conveniently shooting a documentary of her quest, hence how we are watching the tale unfold. Then there is George a “friend” of hers who’s a pretty adventurous and smart cookie himself. Then we have the three French people. Papillon (just don’t call him a tour guide), Souxie, and Zed. Pap and his gang are experts on navigating the catacombs and agree to “guide” the rest in return for a share of the treasure said to be with the stone. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t hate any characters in this movie. I’m not saying that each one was amazing, but I wasn’t actively rooting for any one of them to die, which is unusual. But the deaths were generally pretty good. I want to talk spoilers for those of us who’ve watched it. So, you may want to bow out here if I’ve peaked your curiosity enough to see it for yourself. And I hope you do see it if you had doubts at first. None of my horror watching friends have disliked As Above So Below (AASB?? Good) Did I mention it has shades of “The Descent”?? Cause…it does. And who doesn’t like that movie??  Anyway, I think if nothing else, you will be pleasantly surprised that AASB has more substance than you may have thought at first. Now, the rest of us are going into the spoiler catacombs below….

 

 

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Now entering spoiler hell.

 

 

 

 

 

So I love all the groovy, groovy stuff about magic, occultism, alchemy, Nicolas Flamel, and the philosopher’s stone. I will admit to not being an expert on any of those things, but I have a major interest in them and find them fascinating. I promise the part about liking the philosopher’s stone is not ONLY due to Harry Potter. I also think it’s great subject matter for a movie, it hasn’t been done to death for starters. Also, I am not militantly anti-remake, but I am always jazzed to see something “original” if you will that is not a remake. I liked the whole romance between Scarlett and George. It wasn’t too cheesy, it just fit well without being too forced. How about the Death Eaters who live in hell?? Those guys were something else, no? One even had a little ornate chair to sit in. Granted, it doesn’t look super ergo, but I guess this means Satan does take care of his employees to an extent. Or, how about those stone creatures? I wish there was more of them. I loved when Scarlett got violent with one too. Actually, that whole part of her being a bad ass to return the stone was fun. As I said before, I could knit-pick AASB. Analyze each choice the character made. But I don’t want to, because I had a really had a good time watching this movie. And having fun and enjoying the ride is  more important than scrutinizing details for me. Maybe I wasn’t always that way, but I am now, dammit. Anyway, I also need someone else to think the choir and the singing little church group down there was horrifying. Nay, traumatizing. That has to be real, right? Cults of people down there singing and praising in full body makeup and what not? I do believe in freedom of religion, so I think they should have at it if that is what works for them. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t freaky to the non-believers. The tension during the scene with them singing and Benjii being stuck and having a panic attack on top of Mount Femur was a high point for me. I really thought he was goner right there and then. Speaking of which, I was really surprised that we had three survivors at the end of this thing. Nice that the lil couple of lovebirds made it. And Zed too! I didn’t see Zed making it out. So to that I say, you go Zed. Way to be. You proved some of us wrong with how well you can survive a day trip to hell. Now go be a father already.

More books for horror fans…

Here are some books I’ve read recently that my fellow horror fans may dig.

Doctor Sleep-Stephen King

All hail the King. This little gem is a sequel to “The Shining.” Now we get to catch up on what the devil Danny Torrance has been up to since childhood. It wasn’t exactly happily ever after upon leaving the Overlook hotel. Dan, as he’s now known, finds himself coming to the aid of a young girl named Abra who “shines” as well. Abra and all the other children with the shine are in danger from a nasty evil cult called the True Knot. These cultists look innocent, harmless, and non threatening. Just boring “RV-ers” you pass at truck stops and campgrounds all over America. When in actuality they sustain themselves by kidnapping  psychically gifted kids and slowly torturing them in order to “drink” in the psychic, magical steam they let off upon dying. I don’t like to spoil books, so just trust me when I say this one did not disappoint me. If you’ve read the Shining you will obviously get more out of this story since it is the sequel. Duh. 😉

Mr. Mercedes-Stephen King

Why stop at one Uncle Stevie book? For those who don’t know, King is one of my favorite authors. When I was in 8th grade, we had to pick a person we considered to be our hero to make a report on. This was to be someone from pop culture or history who we didn’t know but that we greatly admired. I was the only kid to pick an author, and it was you-know-who. The love is still strong to this day! Anyway, Mr. Mercedes was a fun little departure. I tweeted the author himself upon completion that these were some of my favorite characters of his that I’ve met. Our hero is newly retired detective Bill Hodges who remains haunted by a case he never closed. A crazy bastard in a stolen Mercedes plowed into a line of people waiting to get into a job fair at the height of the recession. Said weirdo then sends Hodges a letter basically taunting him and encouraging the man to take his own life. Only Hodges uses this opening as a chance to solve the case once and for all. Along the way he picks up a rad rag-tag little team to help him. Oh, and we also get very intimately (and chillingly)  acquainted with the killer, “Mr. Mercedes” himself, Brady Hartsfield. I encourage you all to continue you King education and give this one a read!

Seed, The Bird Eater, and The Shuddering- Ania Ahlborn

I love this lady. She spins a good horror yarn, my friends. I already talked about one of her books, The Neighbors, in a previous post. All three of these books were total page turners for me. Ania has made me a loyal fan and life-long reader for certain. Seed is about a man running from a childhood filled with horror, only to find that as an adult he is far from safe from this evil he thought he escaped. In fact, the damn thing was just waiting. Trust me when I say, shit gets really creepy… The Bird Eater is about a guy named Aaron. He is another fellow who thought he was escaping childhood trauma to once again have it revisit him and making him question his own sanity in the process. Maybe you could think of it as a haunted house novel of sorts. But it is really much more than that. These two books may sound similar, but really each is quite unique. I am really cautious to give away too many plot details since neither book is particularly long.  The Shuddering may be my favorite. The scenario is the classic “cabin the woods” vibe, only Anhlborn puts her own twist on it with the terrible monsters she pits our “heroes” against, painting a great visual in my mind of these savage and blood thirsty creatures. It made me glad I don’t live in a place where it snows…

Dark Places- Gillian Flynn

God knows I loved Gone Girl.  We all did, right? I think I may have liked this one by Flynn even more. Libby Day was the sole survivor of a “Santanic Massacre” at the hands of her own brother that resulted in her whole family being murdered. Years later she’s a pretty screwed up adult who is running out of money. So when a group of true crime enthusiasts (the “Kill Club”) offer to pay her  to uncover what really happened that night, she goes for it. You see, not every one is convinced her brother Ben was actually was the killer. But digging in the past makes Libby confront the demons and secrets she never really faced until now. As the name implies, Libby has to go into some shady places. Both of the novels I’ve read by Flynn really blew me away. She really brings her characters to life in a way I don’t think all authors are able to do. Libby herself was really fantastic. I found myself getting super attached to this seemingly “unlikable” person and really rooting for her. The novel also touches upon all those cases of “Satanic Panic” murders carried out by young people, this is a topic I find really interesting so I dug that.

Anyway, please go read any or all of these books. All would be preferable. 🙂

Aftershock

As the name in implies, this movie does have an earthquake and the titular aftershocks to follow. However, mother nature’s wrath is only part of the problem here. The scarier shit is carried out by people who decide to throw out all traces of humanity when the going gets rough and the world around them (literally) crumbles. Eli Roth produced, stars in, and even gets a writing credit in this film. It was directed by Nicolas Lopez who also wrote the script along with Guillermo Amoedo. I happen to be an Eli Roth fan. He seems to be one of those polarizing figures in the horror world that everyone either loves or hates. I’ve heard the arguments pro and con so please spare me if you don’t like him 😉 I am having a tricky time writing about this without any spoilers. So let me just get this out of the way. If the premise I provided above is enough to peak your interest, then watch this movie, come on back and join the conversation. The rest of the class is reading ahead.

**Spoilers below**

Movie poster with very telling tagline!

Movie poster with a very telling tagline!

Things I liked:

– The acting. The acting was pretty darn good. I personally feel that Eli Roth and Andrea Osvart were the stand out performers. But they both had some of the richer material to work with. Andrea’s character of Monica turns out to be the final girl, which wasn’t too much of shock since she presented herself as mature and levelheaded trying to keep her party-rockin’ sister under control. Well, she will be the final girl if she survived that foreboding tsunami in the last frame of the film. But she still gets a sticker for final girl status. Shes’s a tough chick. I’d put money on her getting out alive.

– Eli Roth is the only American lead in the cast! I like that they didn’t try to shoe-horn Americans in the roles that clearly weren’t meant for them. Large chunks of dialogue aren’t in English, and no there aren’t subtitles. This is a joint Chilean and USA film! Deal with it! :p

– Ariel’s severed hand and the unintentional game of soccer it becomes involved in. Actually, I was really impressed with the effects in general. That includes when Eli’s character of Gringo becomes a melted, gooey, molten mess.

– A fine use of the Axe as a weapon. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. First we get the redemption of Pollo taking an axe to a rapist. Then Monica getting her revenge in honor of her sister. Gotta love vengeance kills, right?

Stuff I’m not sure I liked:

-I guess the first thing would have to be the rape-y bit. I feel on principle I need to state I’m not really cool with it. It’s not super graphic, nor very long. It’s not a deal breaker for me to have rape in a movie, as long as the rapist gets what is coming to them. Cause then you get to cheer at their demise.

– Gringo: you were dying under a damn cinder block, coughing up blood and clearly those thugs were not planning to help you out and let you go. Bravely, you told the two girls to hide and hence be not raped while Pollo and Monica went for help, that was your damn idea when you heard the bad dudes coming! And then you break and tell the thugs were the two girls are hiding so that they can get raped?! Dick move. I guess that was the “point” that even likable and usually good people can turn into savages. But honestly, I think that whole scene was a little weird. I mean, why would the thugs think that the girls were still around at all to the point of interrogating Gringo?? Wouldn’t they just assume that the girls/others went for help since Gringo is stuck under a chunk of cement?? It doesn’t even make sense to think they were still around. If something happens to your friend, you go for help. As far as the thugs know that means there would be three girls and one chubby man hiding nearby? I just feel that the whole set up was basically a vehicle for Gringo to crack under pressure and then turn into a crispy critter.

– I really liked Ariel and it was a bummer to see him plummet to his death! Still, it was actually more upsetting to see that hobo run off with the purse that had his hand in it. Ouch. Low blow.

– There is no doubt we could sit here and debate all about the “message” of this movie which pretty much states that humans are evil and will turn on each other before helping someone else. <–And yes, there are time in the movie when people are good and helpful. But the tagline of the movie is, “The only thing more terrifying than Mother nature is human nature.” I personally chose to just let the filmmakers tell the story and present their viewpoint. I don’t really like to debate philosophical matters. But if that’s your thing then I’m sure you will have lots to talk about with your like minded people.

Grade: B+. It was good! I’m glad that I watched it! There were things about it that made it better than the average movie. 

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh: Every time a bell rings….

Thank you netflix for putting indie horror films out there at easy access for the masses. I had heard a little buzz about this movie, so I was excited to get a chance to watch it. When it was over, I pondered it all for a minute and then decided I liked it. Just like, not love. Upon doing a little research I realized it was director/writer Rodrigo Gudino’s first full-length film! This made me appreciate and LIKE it even more. Now, Gudino is no lazy horror filmmaker. He is actually the president and founding editor of the iconic horror magazine, Rue Morgue. The fact that this guy really seems to know and understand our little horror community made me feel like I was in good hands. Kinda like, “I’m not only the president-I’m also a member!”

The movie is a nice slow burn with plenty of atmosphere. No shaky camera found footage (which I often like, but I know many don’t), and a nice haunted feel. Which makes sense as it’s a ghost story….or is it? The story centers around Leon, an antiques dealer. He has this bad-ass style going on, I dug it enough. Leon estranged himself from his mother and now must go back to his childhood home where she still lived and settle her affairs. His mother (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave, no less!) actually narrates the opening and provides a little back story about their drifting apart and how Leon never fully dealt with his father’s suicide. Leon also seems to have some other issues involving a failed marriage/relationship. As Leon journeys through the house he starts to feel his mother’s ghost is still around and trying to communicate…especially by messing with angel statues. That would freak me out.

The Leigh house is sort of my dream home. It’s packed with religious icons, those angel statues, dolls, antiques, artifacts, creepy cross-stitch hangings….I mean, where do I sign?? I also really liked how we never “see” any other characters in person besides Leon. It just gave me this sense of loneliness. Everything is just subtle and I found myself trying to figure out what was going on, what would be happening next, etc. It had a nice original touch. And for a first full length film, I enjoyed it.  I want to give this one a grade, but I have one **SPOILER** I am dying to talk about cause it was my FAVORITE part of the film. So, let me wrap this up.

Grade: B <– Above average!! 🙂 Looking forward to more from Gudino!

 

Rosalind would have liked this little lady/fellow. I'm not sure what it is.

Rosalind would have liked this little lady/fellow. I’m not sure what it is.

 

 

**SPOILER**

My favorite part of the movie? Um, the freakin cult of Angel worship!!!! I haven’t gotten to review many cult movies here, but I am totally fascinated by cults. So when Leon finds that crazy home VHS tape depicting all the old people at a church ceremony with the significantly younger preacher ranting and raving to his congregation?! I was seriously digging that. AND then we see the church is actually IN the damn house???!! Pretty rad. I also like the weirdo twin dudes. Very effective.  I wouldn’t say the movie ties together in a perfect package at the end. But I did like the “twist” ending and the general subtle nature of the movie.

Insidious 2: No Darth Maul demon but that’s okay

You may have read my review of Insidious Part 1 wherein I unabashedly share how much I love that movie. Not surprisingly, I had huge expectations for Chapter 2. Though it didn’t make my heart sing like its predecessor, the sequel was fantastic. James Wan and Leigh Whannel obviously took a lot of pride and care in crafting another excellent horror movie for us fans.

The film starts off immediately after the first chapter ends. Meaning all the actors/character we know and love are back. Impressively, the two little boys look exactly the same as they did in the first go around. Obviously, time was of the essence in making this movie. We all know I was happy to see the familiar faces especially Barbara Hershey (I’m thinking of being her when I grow up.) Sorry if you haven’t seen this first one yet, but the trailers make it obvious that the spirit realm isn’t done with the Lambert family. In fact, when dad Josh (Patrick Wilson) returned from “the further” to rescue son Dalton (Ty Simpkins), he brought SOMETHING eviiiiiil back with him. That’s the basic plot.  Please consider yourself  **SPOILER** warned from this point on. And what the hell is wrong with you if you haven’t seen these movies yet? Get on it! :p

Let me run down the stuff I loved about this one. I like doing this in bullet points for those of us with short attention spans: 

  • The humor. We know these beloved film makers always throw us some comic relief. Well done comic relief in horror is something of an art all on it’s own. The comedy is delivered in the form of the returning characters of Specs and Tucker. I guess you’d call them paranormal investigators/technicians to the endearing clairvoyant Elise.  These two guys have awesome chemistry together and were seriously my second favorite part of this movie.
  • My first favorite part: There is one little scare that was so subtle it made this little horror nerd want to weep. Okay here it is- when Renai Lambert is on the phone and is nonchalantly walking from room to room. Our director set it up perfectly. There is a spectral creepy ghost lady just sitting there. No fanfare, no music, no indication, nothing. Just BOOM there she is sitting calmly out of focus in the background. This was not the only phenomenal scare, but it was my personal favorite. I get all jazzed just thinking about it. *sigh* 
  • The corpses under the sheets in the Crane house. Such a brilliant use of not over-showing the creepiness to the audience. Often what your imagination fills in is even worse. However, the mold is a good indication of what was happening under there. Oh, and the rotted hands. Nasty.
  • The way the two films flowed together so perfectly. It really was Chapters 1&2. I loved how Josh basically time travels back into the first movie to a very familiar scene where the front door and alarm was mysteriously going off. Well, now we know what that was all about.
  • The very end. I liked that the crack team of Elise, Specs and Tucker are still out helping people. This was a classy set up for further movies. We’ve been told James Wan won’t be involved. I strongly hope that whoever picks of the torch for more movies treats this franchise and it’s audience with respect. A high bar has been raised!
  • I could probably go on about this movie. But I think y’all get the drift. I liked it.

Okay, I had one big gripe with the movie. Really, this is the only thing that irked me.

  • The character of the mother of Parker Crane. She’s referred to as Mother Mortis at one point. Let’s just call her Ma. Turns out it was Ma drifting around the Lambert family compound misplacing the baby and whispering creepily. Ma has that distinctive look of a James Wan character, which I like. However, I feel like they really cranked up her performance to borderline melodrama. Everything from her exaggerated appearance, to her voice and mannerisms is really not subtle. Now, I’ve told myself that she probably “seemed” that way because it was through the filter of her damaged son Parker’s memories. I also think they decided to keep her on the cartoon-y side because the emotional, verbal, and physical abuse she’s inflicting on little Parker/”Marilyn” is fucking disturbing. I’m not a parent (nor planning to be one) but it’s hard for many people to watch any sort of violence towards kids. It’s important to the story as a whole in this case to show the relationship between Ma and Parker. Maybe they decided that by taking Ma in such a flamboyant direction it would keep us away from Precious style parental abuse. What we end up is more Mommy Dearest. I guess I’ll take it.

Well, that’s it! I hope you guys liked Chapter 2 as much as I did. I got some feedback to grade/rate movies. Until I figure out a system I like more, I’m going to go with the standard A+ through F system.

Insidous 2 Grade: A

 

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