A young woman is hired to house sit for a rich couple last minute and without really knowing them. During the house tour, she is told to not bother with the gated section of the basement. Soon after, the couple leaves, she makes herself comfortable. That is until her ex and his friend show up just before an assault happens on the house. Seemingly, there is something there that they want.
Simplicity has always been the best friend of the slasher movie. Nine times out of ten the best slasher movies aren’t convoluted or complex. Most times they’re just simple premises with simple motivations but a lot of subtext added throughout the narrative. “Halloween,” “Scream,” “Friday the 13th,” all benefited from being fairly simplicity and so does “You’re Next.” Adam Wingard’s horror thriller came like a wrecking ball back in 2011, sideswiping me and just blowing me out of my seat. Although now he’s headed for the bigger blockbusters, Wingard’s horror outings tend to channel John Carpenter with how they mesh sub-genres.
I’ll be honest, I have a soft spot for home invasion thrillers; most of the time they always entertain me, because I love how they can be twisted for various narratives by writers and or directors. It’s sad though when I was finished with “Masquerade” that I couldn’t get over how boring it was. This is a movie with a genuinely good idea that fails to derive much tension or suspense at every turn, and doesn’t make much of a case for caring about any of the characters. Even when it drops a big climax twist on us, I was generally indifferent toward the entire experience.
The visceral raw energy and violence of Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen’s “For the sake of Vicious” is bound to be compared to the masterpieces like “The Green Room” very soon. The set up at least conjures up memories of “Assault on Precinct 13” except in a smaller scale. In either case, it’s a classic white knuckle home invasion siege thriller that spares no one, even when it successfully builds on empathetic and fascinating protagonists.
A teenage girl goes to her family’s lake house with her father so he can tell her some important news. In the meantime, a group of violence convicts escapes and heads to the same lake house. The clash between the family and the convicts pushes Becky to take things in her own inexperienced hands.
Truthfully, “Bad Apples” isn’t a terrible movie even when you consider it’s a shameless rip off of “The Strangers.” It just obviously has a paper thin premise and not much else to do but pad the time. The movie is ninety minutes long and for twenty of those minutes it feels like a relationship drama set on Halloween starring Brea Grant and Graham Skipper as married couple Ella and Robert. She’s trying to adjust to her new house, he’s working his new job, and she’s trying to teach at a school run by an overly religious principal, oh the hilarity. Then it decides to dip in to the horror–eventually.
Director Bryan Bertino’s horror debut is a masterful thriller about the presence of pure evil and the relentlessness of it. Some of the best horror villains of all time are those without much conscience or logic, and the trio of killers that stalk a hapless pair of married people in “The Strangers” are almost horror incarnate. While “The Strangers” is based on the whole Manson Family murders, truthfully it pits its focus on how purely evil humanity can be. Even when obscured by masks, the trio of stalkers prominently featured is human down to the core, acting without much rhyme or reason.
I think that there is a very good movie hiding beneath the nonsense and absurdity that is Craig Anderson’s “Red Christmas.” I want to say that I appreciated it’s willingness to just certain taboos, but in the end I could never figure out if the film was an indictment on the pro choice movement, an indictment of the pro life movement, or maybe just an altogether mushy mélange of nonsense meant to dismiss both sides of the argument. I didn’t know and I really couldn’t care less, because “Red Christmas” has some very strong performances backing it up. It’s just sad that it’s a mean spirited, ugly, tedious, and altogether tonally confused home invasion horror film.