It Comes at Night

It Comes at Night. It’s great! Movies like this remind you of what a simple, almost primal pleasure it is just to watch how light fills and moves through a dark place. I also like that it doesn’t bother with answers about the general state of the world, and doesn’t waste time with half-hearted attempts. People seek and accept what’s practical, and move on. Backstory is irrelevant to a degree. The red door in the house – like a church, perhaps? I’ve really come to love this survival-cabin subgenre. Other recent ones that are worth a look: 10 Cloverfield Lane, Into the Forest, Z for Zachariah. What else?

Robert Eggers, Director of ‘The Witch,’ on the Horror Right in Front of Us | | Observer

“Because modern horror is usually this masochistic titillation bullshit, a lot of people in interviews will tell me [The Witch] is not a horror film, it’s a psychological suspense thriller with supernatural elements,” he said, putting on a tone of faux-snobbery. “And I’m like, ‘O.K., that’s cool.’ But then fucking Edgar Allan Poe isn’t horror, either. “What’s important to me about horror stories,” he continued, “is to look at what’s actually horrifying about humanity, instead of shining a flashlight on it and running away giggling.”

Robert Eggers, Director of ‘The Witch,’ on the Horror Right in Front of Us | | Observer

Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk. It’s a western and a horror film. I shouldn’t have to sell it more than that, but I’ll add that it has a script that just blew my mind. So funny, so sharp. There’s some thematic richness, too, in how these characters (all pretty well-drawn) manage what they face together (some, uh, seriously horrific stuff – fair warning). So pleasantly surprised with this movie. I need a rewatch!

The Babadook

The Babadook. I, uh, wasn’t too anxious to go to bed after watching this. If I were a child actor, I wouldn’t have survive it psychologically intact. Awesome movie, though, and like many horror flicks, has a lot of material ripe for interpretation. Some lovely foreshadowing – a children’s author, “Mom is very lucky to have you, isn’t she?”, hands on throats, etc. I like the editing, particularly the transitions from night to day, how they often use timelapse or a just a shift in lighting. It keeps the momentum up. Love the sound design (insectoid sound effects were an inspired choice) and those cool blue-grey palettes. Interesting to see TV and the movies as both comfort/entertainment (for the elderly neighbor) and a nudge over the edge. We could see the babadook as repressed memories/guilt/sadness/anger over the husband that fester and spoil as they – and she – are increasingly isolated from work, hobbies, family, community. The refuge where you flee becomes a trap. Eventually, we have to make some sort of peace with our inner torment. Acknowledge it just enough, with proper fear, no more, and move on as best we can, knowing we’ll need to tend to it again later. Another good movie about the fallout after a father’s death: A Letter to Momo.

The Night of the Hunter

The Night of the Hunter. So strange and so cool. This is the most German Expressionist film made by an American I’ve ever seen. I love the shifting between naturalistic location shoots and the strange, surreal sets in dramatically lit interiors and highly staged outdoors scenes later. Strange biblical dialogue and a few main characters you never quite become easy with. Some things aren’t right in this neighborhood. Perfect horror.