REVIEW: ‘It’ 2 lags behind first installment, but still worth a watch

The 1990 “It” mini-series adaptation took place over two nights and followed a group of characters in their youth, and as adults. The latest adaptation, spread over 2017 and 2019, takes a similar approach.

In both cases, the stories following the characters as kids was more compelling.

At the end of the 2017 movie, a group of friends in a small Maine town known as the Losers Club defeated the paranormal entity simply called “It” and made a promise to return to the northeast if the monster re-appeared. Well sure enough, 27 years later, It, taking the form of a clown, comes back to wreak havoc.

In response, Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), the only one who stayed in Maine, calls the Losers back from across the country to once again defeat It (Bill Skarsgard). Bill (James McAvoy), Beverly (Jessica Chastain), Richie (Bill Hader) and Ben (Jay Ryan) all return to meet with Mike, but have trouble remembering the events of the first movie. However, that begins to change when they start seeing the evil clown around town.

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REVIEW: The ‘Scary Stories’ here weren’t too frightening

This is one of those movies where I don’t really know who the audience was supposed to be. “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” carries a PG-13 rating and has some serious subject matter but there are times where it feels like it’s made for a younger audience.

The movie mainly follows three friends, Stella (Zoe Margaret Colletti), Auggie (Gabriel Rush) and Chuck (Austin Zajur), who meet another teen on Halloween named Ramon (Michael Garza). After pissing off some jocks with a prank, the four eventually find themselves at an old abandoned house and stumble upon a book.

Allegedly, there was once a woman who lived in the house and wrote scary stories which resulted in the deaths of youths in the community. That book just so happens to be found by Stella, who opens it and reads a few entries. It turns out to be a mistake, though, as new entries in the book begin to appear and lead to the disappearances of teens in the town.

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REVIEW: ‘Midsommar’ is as stylish as it is suspenseful

Whoa nelly does this one get wild.

Florence Pugh plays Dani in “Midsommar,” the second feature film from director Ari Aster who last year helmed the fantastic “Hereditary.” Dani is a college student who, in the first act, goes through a major tragedy in her life. The subsequent depression Dani goes through becomes a point of stress between her and her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor).

However, she gets an opportunity to get away for awhile by traveling abroad to Sweden to spend time at a rural town by way of an invitation from their friend Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren). Dani, Christian, along with their friends Josh (William Jackson Harper) and Mark (Will Poulter) decide to go with Pelle for the trip, both to study the culture and have some fun. While the town they go to seems to be just a calm place holding a midsummer festival, though, the lead characters soon learn about some rather disturbing rituals by the locals.

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REVIEW: Latest run in with ‘Annabelle’ doesn’t offer much new in horror

On the surface, the set up for the latest “Annabelle” implies something new. However, as time goes on, it turns into the same old story.

“Annabelle Comes Home,” the seventh movie in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, again follows the movie-version Warren family, who’re much more entertaining and compelling than their real life fraud counterparts. The movie opens with Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) driving home with the Annabelle doll in their, er, custody. After some freaky moments, the Warrens are able to get the cursed doll back to their artifacts room, where it’s secured in a holy case, and life seems to settle to normal.

As life goes on, the Warrens plan a business trip and leave their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) in the care of a babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Despite dealing with the paranormal regularly, the Warren’s home and neighborhood is pretty straightforward suburbia. However, Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) eventually comes over to hang out and has an interest in the Warren’s case files. Unfortunately, through a series of events, she lets loose the paranormal entities in the Warren’s artifacts room, including Annabelle.

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REVIEW: When ‘Child’s Play’ isn’t trying to be a remake, it’s at its best

If only this hadn’t been called “Child’s Play.”

This new “Child’s Play” basically takes the framework, such as the character names and the iconic doll, and throws the rest out. Instead of using the original concept, with a murderer transferring himself into a doll through voodoo, this new “Child’s Play” goes with an artificial intelligence route.

The movie follows Andy (Gabriel Bateman), a young pre-teen who lives with his mother Karen (Aubrey Plaza). Karen works at a mid-size retailer that sells the new Buddi Dolls, which are toys that can also connect digitally to other electronics, like an Alexa. Karen eventually ends up lucky enough to snag a Buddi doll (voiced by Mark Hamill) through a stroke of luck. However, during its creation, that certain doll unfortunately became defective. As a result, the doll becomes aggressive.

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REVIEW: ‘Pet Sematary’ has scares, but lacks solid storytelling

Another Stephen King adaptation has made its way to theaters, inviting audiences once again to the wonderful state of Maine.

“Pet Sematary” is the second adaptation of the King novel, the other releasing in 1989. This film, directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, shares some similarities as the film and novel, while also featuring a few differences. Jason Clarke plays the main character Louis here, a doctor and father in a family of four who are relocating from Boston to rural Maine.

The rest of the family consists of Rachel (Amy Seimetz), Ellie (Jete Laurence) and Gage (Hugo Lavoie). Upon arriving, the family settles in fairly well to their new rural community. The family, by introduction from their neighbor Jud (John Lithgow), do soon learn that their property includes an odd cemetery for pets, though. The land is proven even more eerie after the family cat is killed by a truck and Jud reveals there are some areas where, if buried, dead creatures can be brought back.

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REVIEW: ‘Us’ provides the thrills but is undercut by consistency issues

“Us,” definitely not to be confused with the drama show “This is Us,” is the latest picture from Writer/Director Jordan Peele.

The film tells the story of Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), who’s visiting a beach vacation home with her family, which includes her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and son Jason (Evan Alex).

While Adelaide is has some reservations about being in the area again because of some bad memories from her past, she tries to make the most of her vacation with her family. Things seem to be going OK until night falls and the family is confronted in their vacation home by a group of doppelgangers.

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REVIEW: While not as fresh as original, ‘Death Day 2’ will entertain

“Happy Death Day 2U,” a follow-up to a 2017 thriller, is the kind of sequel that seems to be in search of a reason to exist. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad to watch.

The movie picks up right where the first movie left off. Theresa (Jessica Rothe), who casually goes by Tree, put an end to a time-loop where she was living the same day over and over and in doing so, made several changes to improve her life.

However, she soon finds out that her issues aren’t completely over. In the first act she learns that her boyfriend’s roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) is actually one of three students working at her university’s science lab. There, the students have created a device that can cause disturbances in space and time. As a result, Tree, and this time her new friends, are put into a position of having to make fixes to the space time continuum, while also dealing with a murderer on the loose.

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REVIEW: ‘Escape Room’ is poorly structured

You’ve probably seen “Escape Room” before. Maybe not the actual movie, but a lot of the elements included should be familiar to anyone who’s watched their share of thrillers.

Following a group of six strangers, “Escape Room” has a premise based on the live action mystery game that’s been growing in popularity in recent years. The group includes a truck driver named Mike (Tyler Labine), a grocery store employee, Ben (Logan Miller), an escape room enthusiast, Danny (Nik Dodani), a military veteran, Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), a wealthy trader, Jason (Jay Ellis) and a college student, Zoey (Taylor Russell).

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10 Years of Horror: Looking back at 2015-2017

It’s the final day for the month of spook, Halloween has finally arrived.

As previously stated in the past few pieces I’ve written, I’m looking back at some of my favorite horror movies from the past 10 years, as I’ve been reviewing for about a decade. Here are the picks from 2015-2017.

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