Sunday, November 11, 2018

OVERLORD by Julius Avery

The Plot:On the eve of D-Day, a squad of Americans soldiers arrive at a small French village in order to destroy the Nazi communication center that exists on the local church tower, but what they find on the subterranean corridors of the church it’s much more dangerous.

The Movie:This is one of those movies that the less you know about it the better, but it’s been sold as a horror movie, so we all know what we’ll get. It begins like a war movie of the 40s, creating suspense between the Nazis and our heroes, but midway through the action it changes to a full-blown horror movie. Imagine how you’ll react if you didn’t know about that? 
Director Julius Avery is competent in both genres and, in my view, it works better as a war movie. In fact, it reminded me of those old American war movies about almost suicidal missions, but with a bloody violent twist. 
As for the horror part, some things are quite disturbing, but not really scary. There are no chills, but we do care for the fate of our heroes. I confess I was expecting a true monster climax at the end, but that’s note the case. But the movie left me with a sense of dread that was hard to shake off, like what I felt with Lucio Fulci’s best movies.

My Rate: 7 (from 1 to 10)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

THE ENDLESS by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

The Plot:Two brothers who, ten years ago escaped from an UFO death cult, return to the place where they were raised to face the truth behind it.

The Movie:Well, I guess that by now the readers of my blog already know I’m not a big fan of slow movies. This one is part of those slow and long (do they really needed almost two hours to tell the story?) movies, that kind of drags along the way to end in less than 10 minutes of climax (I know, some people climax in less time, but that’s out of context, sorry).
I haven’t seen Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead previous movie, SPRING, but I believe their movie would benefit from a better editing. The story is intriguing, and the influence of H. P. Lovecraft is evident. What kept me awake was the fact that I was really curious about what was going on and the subject of religious cults always got my attention. Call me crazy, but I detected some homoerotic tension between the characters of Justin (the older brother) and Hal (who may be the cult leader).
The two directors are, among other things, the main actors of the movie and they are all right. Tate Ellington as Hal and Callier Hernandez as Anna are convincing in their roles and the rest of the cast isn’t bad.
I enjoyed the strangeness of the movie, but I believe it could have been much better, in fact the material deserved better.

My Rate: 5 (from 1 to 10)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

HALLOWEEN by David Gordon Green

The Plot: 40 years after the happenings of the first movie, Michael Myers escapes from the psychiatric hospital where he’s confined and returns to Haddonfield. This time, Laurie Strode, the only survivor of the first movie, is ready for him and she’s up for revenge.

The Movie: The 1978 original by John Carpenter is one of my favorite movies of all times and none of the sequels or remakes came close to its excellency. This time around, director David Gordon Green decided to ignore all the other movies of the series and picks up the story 40 years later, with an older traumatized Laurie Strode struggling to live without fear and trying to protect her daughter and granddaughter. The result isn’t bad, but it should have been better. 
The beginning at the hospital is a strong one (it’s a pity the trailer shows too much about it) and the last 10 minutes are really good, but the rest is dull, with Michael on a killing spree and no suspense at all. There’s only other scene that is worthy of our attention, the one with the bus off the road and the kid looking for his father.
The homage to the original is clear, from the “dirty” cinematography to a balcony scene that take us back to the end of the original, but in an inverse way. Unfortunately, the new teenagers are very stupid (are all teenagers like these?) and the new characters are uninteresting; even Dr. Sartan, who has a predictable personal agenda. As for the crimes, do we need all that gore? I don’t have anything against it, but the movie isn’t better because of it. We didn’t have much blood on the original, but we were glued to our seats; the original was and is an excellent example that less is better and a fabulous course in simplicity. Sometimes, this movie reminded me of the first sequel, where Michael goes on a killing spree through the neighborhood until he arrives at the hospital to where Laurie was taken; for me, that sequel was better than this new movie.
The best thing about this new movie is Jamie Lee Curtis. She’s great as a kick-ass Laurie and her personality outshines everything that happens on the movie. There’s talk about a sequel and since it’s a box-office hit that won’t surprise me, but in fact we don’t need it.
In conclusion, this isn’t bad and is entertaining enough, but I wish it was shorter and more intense.

My Rate: 5 (from 1 to 10)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

HELL FEST by Gregory Plotkin

The Plot: On a horror-themed amusement park, a serial killer, disguised as one of the employees, targets a group of friends as his next victims. 

The Movie: I know, we have dozens of horror movies with psychopaths and I’m sure there will be dozens more in the future. So, it’s very difficult to bring something new to this horror subgenre. Thankfully, director Gregory Plotkin knows what he is doing and gives us an enjoyable horror ride.
At the beginning, when we are introduced to a group of stupid horny teenagers, I thought this was going to be terrible and I wished the killer would slaughter them sooner than later. But, when we are taken to the amusement park, things become more interesting; I still didn’t care for the characters, but I loved the set design. I’m sure I would think twice before visiting a park like that, where fake and real deaths can be found in each corner and where no one will care for yours screams, it’s all part of the show. The set makes this movie and there are some really scary places inside the park.
The cast is what we expect for this kind of movies, they aren’t great, but they aren’t bad. The killer is a silent one, with no jokes and I appreciated that. For a movie that follows the genre rules, there are two nice touches; don’t be afraid, I won’t reveal them. One has to do with the “final girl” and the other is the sweet dark note that ends the movie.
By the way, when will we have a “final boy” instead of a “final girl”?

My Rate: 6 (from 1 to 10)

Monday, October 8, 2018

THELMA by Joachim Trier

The Plot: When Thelma, a girl with strong religious parents, starts developing feelings for a female friend she also starts to have strange seizures. While trying to know what’s wrong with her, she discovers that she also had seizures during her childhood and a dark truth starts to emerge.

The Movie: On one of the many posters designed for this movie, there’s a line, wrote by a critic of the Indiewire, that truly summarizes it: “CARRIE as directed by Ingmar Bergman.”
It’s true, the story moves slowly (sometimes too slow for my taste) and has a cold, almost clinical, atmosphere that reminded me of Ingmar Bergman’s cinema. On the other hand, the girl has psychokinetic powers like Carrie did. But director Joachim Trier is more interested on the relationship between Thelma and her father than on her supernatural powers. Religion is shown as a repressive thing responsible for what happens to Thelma and her father believes that was she has is an evil thing and only praying could save her soul.
Don’t expect gore or big special effects; the “horror” scenes are filmed in a poetic way, that gives the movie a dream quality that distinguishes it from other genre movies and don’t expect big explanations for what’s happening. The best thing are the scenes between Thelma (a winning Eili Haborand) and her father.
This is a slow pace trip, but at the end this Norwegian film rewards your patience in a quiet way.

My Rate: 6 (from 1 to 10)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

GHOSTLAND – by Pascal Laugier

The Plot:Pauline and her two teenage daughters, Beth and Vera, move to their late aunt’s old house and once there are attacked by a couple of psychopaths. Years later, Beth, now a famous writer living in the city, receives a phone call from Vera where she asks her to return to the old house to help her.

The Movie:Pascal Laugier, the director of the unforgettable MARTYRS, returns to good form with this intense GHOSTLAND. It begins in a violent mode, in the middle there are a few surprises and ends in a suspenseful and even more violent mode. But all this violence works because Laugier invests in his characters and take us on their dark trip, keeping us on the edge of our seats for the entire ride.
There’s no doubt Laugier saw THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and plenty of haunted houses movies. In fact, the house of this movie is a strong character, with plenty of atmosphere and a dark personality. If, like me, dolls give you the chills, be prepared, because those have an important role in the movie. There’s also references to H. P. Lovecraft, but his spirit isn’t felt in the movie.
The last 30 minutes are pure hysterical horror and it’s easy to understand why the movie won the Grand Prize, the Audience Award and the Syfy Jury Prize at this year’s Gérardmer Film Festival.
For all this to work you need a good cast and Laugier was lucky in getting Emilia Jones and, specially, Taylor Hickson as the teenager daughters, plus Crystal Reed and Anastasia Philiips as both as adults. As her mother, Mylène Farmer also delivers a terrific performance. The bad couple are insanely played by Kevin Power and Rob Archer.
This one isn’t for the faint of heart! It’s a horror adult movie, without big special effects and jump scares, but with plenty of atmosphere, the right pace, interesting characters and no funny lines. It took me back to the horror movies of the 70s and I loved the trip! 
This movie is also known as INCIDENT IN A GHOSTLAND.

My Rate: 8 (from 1 to 10)

Monday, September 24, 2018


The Plot: After losing his parents, the young Lewis goes to live with his uncle Jonathan in his strange mansion. Soon he discovers that the uncle is a warlock and that his friend Florence is a witch; there’s also a clock hidden somewhere in the walls of the house.

The Movie: The idea of a juvenile horror movie directed by gore master Eli Roth is a very strange one and I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much. Yes, it’s juvenile, but it works! Roth builds some suspense and the toys scene is scarier than anything that happens in THE NUN.
It’s true, I don’t like Jake Black, but he has chemistry with the great Cate Blanchet and their dialogues are funny in an almost naïve way. As the kid, Owen Vaccaro is sweetly weird without being irritating and Kyle MacLachlan looks like he’s loving his character.
The movie has a very inspired production design and plenty of imagination to keep us really entertained and glued to our chairs. Its humor isn’t for everyone’s taste, but it works in the context of the action and don’t be fooled, this may be for children, but it’s dark and I’m sure the smaller ones will probably be scared... That’s a good thing, right?

My Rate: 7 (from 1 to 10)

Monday, September 17, 2018


Movie producers want to scare us on the last weeks of Summer, giving us three different reasons to be afraid. Unfortunately, none of the three fulfils its task. That doesn’t mean the movies are bad, in fact they’re entertaining, but they failed to scare me… okay, THE NUN gave me a couple of shivers. The three movies are actually on the US top ten box-office list.

THE MEG by Jon Turteltaub
Let’s begin with THE MEG. A gigantic prehistoric shark gets loose of its water “prison” and starts eating everything that comes is way; what he doesn’t count is on the heroic manly Jason Statham.
Of course, this is no JAWS, but director Jon Turteltaub don’t take things seriously and even manages to create some suspense. The best sequence is the one on the crowded colorful beach; we can hardly wait to see what the shark will do to all those loudly swimmers.
As for Statham, I guess it’s one of those actors that you like, or you don’t. I don’t. His emotions rival with the ones of the shark, but somehow it works here, and the rest of the cast isn’t a threat for any of the two.
This won’t keep you out of the water, but it’s lots of fun.
My Rate: 6 (de 1 a 10)

THE NUN by Corin Hardy
An evil nun is nothing new and this one has already haunted, more successfully, THE CONJURING 2. She did it so well, that the creators of the franchise decide to give her her own movie. But the result isn’t up to the standards of the previous movie. In fact, the story is very poor, and we still don’t know how it all began.
The sets reminded me of the old Hammer movies, a nice touch, and there’s plenty of nun action to keep us entertained. The story follows a Father and a Sister who have to go to an old Romanian convent to see if it still is on God’s grace… they find an evil nun and a wicked force.
Director Corin Hardy, who gave us the excellent THE HALLOW, struggles to keep us interested and the addition of a cute and funny male character doesn’t help. The humor doesn’t work, there’s no suspense, but there’s too much special effects. The figure of the nun is creepy and there’s a couple of chills, but she deserved a better movie. 
As for the cast, Damián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga (curiously, she’s the daughter of Vera Farmiga, the Lorraine Warren of the CONJURING movies) and Jonas Bloquet deserved better material. 
My Rate: 4 (de 1 a 10)

THE PREDATOR by Shane Black
The last PREDATOR movie, PREDATORS, was an interesting return to the series and it worked. I wish I could say the same thing about this new chapter of the franchise, but I can’t.
This time a “good” predator come to Earth to help us against its race, but of course we don’t know it and the government is only interested in getting the alien weapons. The good guys are a bunch of looney ex-soldiers, a kickass science teacher and a super intelligent kid. 
For this kind of movie to work it needs characters for us to care about, otherwise we lose interest. The only guy whose fate I cared about was the bad one played by Sterling K. Brown, I just wanted to see him in the hands of the predator.
Director Shane Black keeps the story moving with plenty of explosions and jokes, some funny others not so. The end is stupid and opens the door to more movies, but at least it’s not boring,
My Rate: 4 (de 1 a 10)

Thursday, August 30, 2018


The 12th Edition of MOTELx, the Lisbon International Horror Film Festival, begins on the 4th of September and it’ll run until the 9th. As usual, it takes place mainly at Cinema São Jorge.

This year, for some obscure reason, the opening night is for invitations only and that made many of MOTELx and horror fans feel angry. Like me, year after year, we’ve been there, giving our support and love to the Festival. This attitude from the organization feels like they don’t have much respect for us, fans. 

It seems they were kind of forced by the Portuguese movie distributor to show THE NUN by invitation only; but it was a terrible decision and I wish they had chosen another movie for the opening night, one that anyone could see by buying a ticket.

Anyway, as usual, here is my gallery with posters from practically all the movies that’ll be shown in this year’s edition.

For more information and for the full programme, visit MOTELx,