REVIEW: ‘Satanic Panic’ is fun but scares are limited

With the closure of movie theaters because of the coronavirus pandemic, I’m taking a look back at movies from 2019.

When I first heard about this title, I had hoped the film would be about the Satanic Panic phenomenon of the 80s that dominated pop culture.

That’s not the case with this flick, but it’s still an alright watch.

Hayley Griffith plays Samantha in this 2019 horror comedy, a young woman just starting out her delivery job for a local pizzeria. With a lot of deliveries taking place in the rain to homes not interested in tipping, though, her first day isn’t going great.

However, she gets an opportunity for a bigger tip when she delivers to a very wealthy neighborhood. The only problem is the neighborhood group she delivers to just happens to be a Satan-worshiping cult that decide to use her as a sacrifice. To survive, she has to team up with the daughter of the cult leader, Judi (Ruby Modine), who’s also become a target.

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REVIEW: Few things work in ‘The Hunt’

You better like buzzwords and dog whistles if you’re seeing this movie, because there sure are a lot of them.

“The Hunt” follows a group of characters who wake up one day in a clear field, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. When they eventually come together around a large crate, they find the box is full of firearms. Moments after finding the guns, the group is fired upon and several of them are killed.

The survivors, all seeming to have similar political leanings, learn that they are being hunted and must try to survive. The one with the most success in surviving the situation is Crystal (Betty Gilpin), who seems to have some combat experience.

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REVIEW: Moss, special effects boost ‘Invisible Man’

No Dark Universe, no problem.

After the shared cinematic universe idea for Universal’s famous movie monsters crashed, plans were reworked to have more independent, individual films. The first one up is “The Invisible Man,” written and directed by Leigh Whannell. The movie stars Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia, a woman who just left her abusive boyfriend.

Cecilia is shaken from the relationship and is left with anxiety, fearing that her ex, Adrian, (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) will come after her. However, she soon learns that Adrian has supposedly committed suicide. Just as she begins trying to rebuild her life, though, Cecilia begins to feel stalked and terrorized by an unseen force, which she believes is Adrian.

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REVIEW: ‘Gretel & Hansel’ burned by poor story, character execution

It’s so disappointing when a movie is close to winning you over and doesn’t.

The most recent example is “Gretel & Hansel.”

The film is inspired by the classic dark fairy tale, although this one takes liberties. As the story goes, the two young protagonists Gretel (Sophia Lillis) and Hansel (Samuel Leakey) are forced to venture out into the woods on their own and fend for themselves.

As one would expect, they stumble upon a welcoming structure with plenty of food and a kind woman (Alice Krige) willing to share. However, there’s of course something more nefarious going on.

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REVIEW: ‘The Turning’ never turns into a good movie

Oh January, you have such a way with horror movies.

“The Turning” is one of the latest scary pictures to get released in the first month of the year, with the type of quality one would expect. It stars Mackenzie Davis as Kate, a young teacher who’s hired to be a tutor for a little, wealthy girl who lives with her brother and their caretaker at a large estate. Since the death of their parents, the girl Flora (Brooklynn Prince) and brother Miles (Finn Wolfhard) don’t get out much.

Despite their social skills being poor, especially with Miles, Kate decides to stick with the job and tries to have a positive impact. However, her teaching Flora and attempts to extend an olive branch to the rebellious Miles are made difficult from an apparent paranormal entity in the mansion.

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Best of the Decade: Horror

This is a series called “Best of the Decade.” It’s a list including 10 movies that I found to be the best in a specific genre from 2010-2019.

If I had to describe the direction horror took in the past decade, I’d say it was revolutionary. There has been a lot of creative horror and thriller films from the last 10 years, and it doesn’t look to stop any time soon. Here were my favorites.

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REVIEW: ‘Parasite’ is a twisted, terrific film

“Parasite” is a heartwarming story about a close-knit family of four, who just happen to start a con on another family.

A South Korean film, “Parasite” follows the story of a family including the father Kim Ki-Taek (Song Kang-ho), wife Kim Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin), their son Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) and daughter Kim Ki-jeong (Park So-dam). The family lives in a small, below ground level apartment and get by with low paying jobs.

Through a reference by one of his friends, though, Kim Ki-woo stumbles upon a tutoring job for a very wealthy family. Relying on quick thinking and street smarts, Kim Ki-woo ends up forcing out other staff who work for the wealthy family, the Parks, and gets jobs for his three other family members. Their con work gets off to a good start and the family becomes more comfortable, but as the movie wears on, a shocking discovery is made.

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REVIEW: To its detriment, ‘Black Christmas’ is more concerned with themes than thrills

I wasn’t expecting any other movie this year to give “After” a run for its money as the worst film to be set on a college campus in 2019, but here we are.

This is the second time “Black Christmas” has been remade, with the other coming out in 2006 and the original having been released in the 1970s.

In this film, the main characters are college students and members of a sorority. The leads include Riley (Imogen Poots), Kris (Aleyse Shannon), Marty (Lily Donoghue) and Jesse (Brittany O’Grady). The four are preparing for the Christmas holiday, but Riley is struggling with her life after having been raped by a fraternity member. Making matters worse is the fact that her story wasn’t believed by law enforcement.

Riley’s Christmas season only goes downhill more, when she begins noticing disappearances on campus. Eventually, her and her friends learn that the female students on campus are being killed and they become the next target. As they try to survive, they also unravel what’s really going on and the truth has a connection to the school’s founding.

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REVIEW: ‘Doctor Sleep’ won’t put one to sleep, but is forgettable like a dream

Stephen King’s universe really needs an equivalent to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

“Doctor Sleep” begins roughly a few months after the events of “The Shining.” Dan Torrance is still being somewhat haunted by the Overlook Hotel, but eventually manages to get things under control in that regard thanks to his Shining power. Unfortunately, though, his life takes bad turns and he later ends up becoming homeless and addicted to alcohol.

Dan (Ewan McGregor) does come across another man, Billy (Cliff Curtis) in the northeast, though, who helps him get back on his feet by bringing him into rehab and assisting him in getting an apartment. However, while he seems to be settling in and even using his power for some good, trouble rears its head with a new threat. That threat is a group of people who not only stay alive, but keep their youth, by killing individuals with Shining powers and breathing in their life force.

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REVIEW: ‘The Lighthouse’ is a captivating film creation

While “The Lighthouse” is simply centered on two men and a maritime structure, it also happens to be one of the best films of the year.

Director Robert Eggers returns with “Lighthouse,” his follow up to his feature debut, 2015’s “The Witch,” which earned a lot of acclaim. This time around, his latest movie follows Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson), two lighthouse workers who’re tasked with operating an Atlantic coast facility for about a month.

The experienced worker, Thomas, takes the night shifts and operates the tower to guide ships, while Ephraim is given mostly maintenance work. The labor is tough but appears fairly routinely. However, strange occurrences start taking place and Ephraim begins questioning what’s real and what’s not.

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