Happy Halloween!

A couple of movies I caught recently streaming:

Censor

During the 1980s, Great Britain had a habit of censoring so-called “video nasties,” which were VHS copies of horror movies. In this story, Enid (Niamh Algar) is a government censor for such movies. As a child, Enid’s sister went missing while they were playing in the woods. Now an adult, Enid is faced with viewing a movie which has an opening scene eerily reminiscent of what she remembers happened to her and her sister all those years ago. She heads down a dark and dangerous path trying to uncover what happened to her sister, what the filmmakers know about it, and what she can do to set things right.

Censor is an entertaining picture that captured my attention — but left me wanting just a bit more at the ending. The movie is touted as horror, and as is so often trendy these days to directors of horror films (this one directed by Prano Baily-Bond), some of the ending is left to your imagination to fill in what is missing. It isn’t a lot that isn’t there — just a bit of missing resolve around our protagonist’s plight.

I’m also not sure if I would classify Censor as horror myself — while there are a few horrific things that happen, that alone does not make a story horror. Of course, filmmakers will then just say it’s “psychological horror” to justify the labeling. It seems anything these days can be psychological horror, and I suppose to that end, Censor is no exception. The movie is well made and performed, and is worth watching. Despite the trailer, don’t go in expecting a lot of scares.

The Night House

As the story opens, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is mourning the loss of her husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit), who has recently committed suicide. Now alone in the spacious lake house Owen designed and helped build for them, Beth begins to question her beliefs as strange occurrences begin to surround her. As she sorts through Owen’s things and digs deeper into her late husband’s life, she finds evidence she may not have known him so well after all. What secrets was he keeping and why? Why was he building a mirror image of their home across the lake? And is the supernatural force reaching out to her actually Owen, or something else entirely?

Another pandemic delayed movie, The Night House is now available digitally. A rather intriguing take on the traditional haunted house story, the film is wonderfully put together by director David Bruckner and his crew. If you’ve ever seen one of those optical illusion images that depict either a face or a vase depending on how you look at it, this movie takes that concept to frightening new levels as the story progresses. To say more would be to spoil the story’s many mysteries.

I enjoyed this movie very much. I intend to watch it again as it is so packed with details I’m sure I must have missed some of it. My one complaint though is the brightness of the movie. Or lack thereof. The film has many very dark scenes, and while I understand this is a trope of the horror genre, in some cases I was struggling to even make out the actor’s outline in some parts. Thankfully, this isn’t a constant, but is worth mentioning. Overall a great flick when you’re looking to get your spook on.

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