The Craft (1996)

The Craft
Director: Andrew Fleming
Writer: Peter Filardi, Andrew Fleming
Cast: Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich, Christine Taylor, Breckin Meyer, Nathaniel Marston, Cliff De Young, Assumpta Serna
Seen on: 10.7.2021

Content Note: ableism, (critical treatment of) racism

Plot:
Sarah (Robin Tunney) and her family just moved to a new town, and her first day at her new Catholic private school is an anxious thing. It seems to be going well, when football star Chris (Skeet Ulrich) flirts with her in her lunch break. But at the same time, she also catches the eye of Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Nancy (Fairuza Balk), and Rochelle (Rachel True) who practice witchcraft and are sure that Sarah is the fourth that they have been missing to cast the really powerful spells. At least, Bonnie is sure about it, while Nancy is more doubtful. Nevertheless, they approach Sarah – a decision that changes all of their lives.

The Craft is far from a good film, but it has garnered a bit of a cult following, which made me want to see it anyway. I’m not sure if I get the cult, but there is something about The Craft for sure.

The film poster showing Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Sarah (Robin Tunney) and Rochelle (Rachel True) walking through a thunderstorm with a lot of lightning.
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Things Heard & Seen (2021)

Things Heard & Seen
Director: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Writer: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Based on: Elizabeth Brundage’s novel All Things Cease to Appear
Cast: James Norton, Amanda Seyfried, Rhea Seehorn, Natalia Dyer, Ana Sophia Heger, Karen Allen, F. Murray Abraham, Alex Neustaedter, Jack Gore, James Urbaniak
Seen on: 6.7.2021

Content Note: domestic violence, abuse, eating disorder

Plot:
George (James Norton), Catherine (Amanda Seyfried) and their daughter Franny (Ana Sophia Heger) move from New York City to a small town where George was offered a teaching position at a small art college. Catherine, an artist herself, is reluctant about the move, but feels that she owes it to George to try. And Franny will probably enjoy living in a house with a garden. But after their arrival, Catherine gets the feeling that something is going on at their house, and with George.

Things Heard & Seen is a haunted house story in a double sense: it’s literally haunted by spirits, and figuratively haunted by the violence that occurs in it. This works surprisingly well together, though I didn’t like the ending all that much.

The film poster showing Catherine (Amanda Seyfried) superimposed over a house in the distance. Much smaller next to her face is George (James Norton) carrying their daughter Franny (Ana Sophia Heger).
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American Mary (2012)

American Mary
Director: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Writer: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Cast: Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, Tristan Risk, David Lovgren, Paula Lindberg, Clay St. Thomas, John Emmet Tracy, Twan Holliday, Nelson Wong, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Russ Foxx
Seen on: 4.7.2021

Content Note: rape, whoremisia

Plot:
Mary (Katharine Isabelle) is a promising medical student but she struggles to make her student loan payments. Hoping for some quick cash, she decides to apply for a job as a stripper in Billy’s (Antonio Cupo) club. Instead he asks her for an impromptu backroom surgery. At least the compensation is enough to keep Mary over water for a while. When Mary is contacted by Beatriss (Tristan Risk), one of Billy’s employees, for another kind of surgery, she isn’t willing to participate at first, but she can hardly afford to say no to the money Beatriss offers. Soon Mary is deeply involved in the body mod scene.

American Mary has been on my watchlist since about forever, and I finally got around to it, and I’m glad I did, even though I didn’t like everything about it.

The film poster showing Mary (Katharine Isabelle) surgery tools in hand, wearing a mask and an apron over a business outfit.

[SPOILERS]

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Freaky (2020)

Freaky
Director: Christopher Landon
Writer: Michael Kennedy, Christopher Landon
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Uriah Shelton, Emily Holder, Nicholas Stargel, Kelly Lamor Wilson, Mitchell Hoog, Dana Drori, Katie Finneran, Alan Ruck
Seen on: 24.6.2021

Content Note: attempted rape, sexual assault, dubious consent, bullying

Plot:
Millie (Kathryn Newton) is a normal kid in high school, not particularly popular and largely unnoticed by everyone but her best friends Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich). But her school is shook from the news that four teenagers were murdered, the homecoming dance canceled and Millie herself finds herself face to face with the killer – The Butcher (Vince Vaughn). When he tries to stab her, the two switch bodies – and Millie has to make sure to get her body back before The Butcher kills everyone she knows.

Since I very much liked the Happy Death Day (and its sequel) and I like body-swap stories, I was looking forward to this film (by the same director) very much. And I’m happy to say that Freaky absolutely fulfilled my hopes for it. I really had a blast with the film.

The film poster showing The Butchter in Millie's body (Kathryn Newton), holding a chainsaw over his shoulder, and Millie in The Butcher's body (Vince Vaughn), pressing a cell phone to her chest.
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Cyst (2020)

Cyst
Director: Tyler Russell
Writer: Tyler Russell, Andy Silverman
Cast: Eva Habermann, George Hardy, Greg Sestero, Jason Douglas, Gene Jones, Darren Ewing, Torren Davis, Terri Merritt Bennett, Keturah Branch, Francesca Santoro
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Plot:
Patricia (Eva Habermann) has been working as a nurse for Dr Guy (George Hardy) for a while now and she has seen her fair share of things. Dr. Guy’s foremost area of expertise are cysts and he has been working on a machine for the treatment that he hopes to patent. But the last time he tried, Patricia paid the price for it, so when she hears that the people from the patent office are coming again to see the machine, she is outraged. Not even she could have predicted the actual effect of the machine, though.

Cyst leans into its schlocky B-movie nature and that is fun, but maybe not for a full-length feature. It was okay, overall, but not quite as fun as I expected it to be.

The film poster showing the drawing of a back in a hospital gown. The back is covered in pustules and there is a gap in the middle with an eye peeking out.
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Son (2021)

Son
Director: Ivan Kavanagh
Writer: Ivan Kavanagh
Cast: Andi Matichak, Emile Hirsch, Luke David Blumm, Cranston Johnson, Blaine Maye
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Plot:
Laura (Andi Matichak) is the single mom of David (Luke David Blumm) and the two have built a good life with each other. But David doesn’t know that Laura is hiding from her past. But said past catches up with them one night when Laura finds intruders in David’s room. Police office Paul (Emile Hirsch) tries to talk her down. Shortly after though, David contracts a mysterious illness and nobody knows what’s wrong with him. Now Laura has to decide what she is willing to do and to face about her own past to make sure that he is okay.

Son is a well-made film with great performances that is at times a little too predictable. But definitely enjoyable.

The film poster showing Laura (Andi Matichak) cradling her son David (Luke David Blumm) who has blood trickling from his mouth.
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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Director: Michael Chaves
Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Based on: a case from Ed and Lorraine Warren
Sequel to: The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, John Noble, Eugenie Bondurant, Shannon Kook
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Content Note: homomisia

Plot:
Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are supposed to accompany an exorcism of a little boy, David (Julian Hilliard). But as they work on him, things start going very wrong, Lorraine gets odd visions and finally David’s brother-in-law Arne (Ruairi O’Connor) asks the spirit to leave David alone and possess himself instead. Things calm down after that, but Arne’s troubles only just begin.

I have to admit that I expected a little more of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, but it isn’t quite as good as the first two films – especially regarding Ed and Lorraine.

The film poster showing a close-up of Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson). Theres a shaft of light shaped like a cross on Lorraine's face.
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A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

A Quiet Place Part II
Director: John Krasinski
Writer: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski
Sequel to: A Quiet Place
Cast: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy,Djimon Hounsou, Scoot McNairy, John Krasinski
Seen on: 19.6.2021
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Plot:
Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and the baby are all that is left of the Abbott family. With their home destroyed and a newly-discovered weapon against the creatures, they dare venture out to where they saw a signal fire. But the world is a dangerous place, and the creatures aren’t their only problem.

A Quiet Place Part II manages to keep the quality of the first film, although the first film did have a couple of advantages that made it stand out more than this one. But overall, it’s a really satisfying sequel.

The film poster showing Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) carrying a box and some bags, entering an abandoned factory area from the forest.
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Host (2020)

Host
Director: Rob Savage
Writer: Gemma Hurley, Rob Savage, Jed Shepherd
Cast: Haley Bishop, Jemma Moore, Emma Louise Webb, Radina Drandova, Caroline Ward, Edward Linard, Seylan Baxter
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 19.6.2021
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Plot:
Haley (Haley Bishop) has asked her friends Emma (Emma Louise Webb), Caroline (Caroline Ward), Jemma (Jemma Moore), Radina (Radina Drandova) and Teddy (Edward Linard) to join her in a zoom seance led by Seylan (Seylan Baxter). Not all of them are taking it seriously, but then strange things start happening.

It was probably inevitable that the Corona pandemic would produce some kind of homebrewed zoom horror. But what definitely couldn’t be expected is that it is a freaking fantastic and absolutely terrifying homebrewed zoom horror. And yet, here Host is, everything you could hope for.

The film poster showing Haley's (Haley Bishop) eyes brimming with tears at the top and Emma (Emma Louise Webb) hiding under a bedsheet at the bottom.
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The Stylist (2020)

The Stylist
Director: Jill Gevargizian
Writer: Jill Gevargizian, Eric Havens, Eric Stolze
Cast: Najarra Townsend, Brea Grant, Davis DeRock, Sarah McGuire, Jennifer Seward, Millie Milan, Kimberly Igla, Laura Kirk, Chelsea Brown, Bety Le, Kelsey Nicholes
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 19.6.2021
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Plot:
Claire (Najarra Townsend) is a shy stylist who has the habit of scalping some of her clients so she can feel like she lives a different life for a while. When one of her long-term clients, Olivia (Brea Grant) insists that Claire does her hair for her wedding, Claire grows increasingly more drawn to Olivia and her life. But she still tries to leave her murdering days behind.

The Stylist is an aesthetically very pleasing film that suffers from some lengths around the middle that kept me from really loving it.

The film poster showing the drawing of a wig on a mannequin head, blood running from the hairline.
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