The Convent (2000)
You probably don’t want to know how many times I’ve watched director Mike Mendez’s goofy little gorefest, and, truthfully I don’t want to tell you. But I will say that the number is staggering. “The Convent” is intentionally campy, and the humor is, at times, a little hit and miss, but good certainly outweighs the bad. The demonic nuns — drenched in black light, no less — combined with several quotable lines, make for an enjoyably silly experience worthy of the time and effort it will take to track it down. Just give it five minutes.
A Serbian Film (2010)
My initial viewing of director Srdjan Spasojevic’s insanely controversial shocker “A Serbian Film” was perhaps one of the most demanding cinematic experiences of my entire life. Without giving too much away, the film is about one man’s descent into madness and depravity as he attempts to support his family. The imagery is intense, and I can understand why it has enraged so many people. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, especially if you’re a parent. That’s what the breeders are saying, anyway. Be cautious.
Puzzling and occasionally frustrating, “Severance” director Christopher Smith’s engaging 2009 thriller will no doubt alienate those looking for straightforward, easy-to-digest horror entertainment. Numerous plot holes abound, making for a somewhat muddled narrative that requires a complete and total suspension of disbelief. Thoroughly enjoyable, though too confusing for its own good. Be sure to brush up on your Greek mythology before viewing. It’ll make a hell of a lot more sense in the long run if you do. If you like a challenge, dig in.
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Surprisingly, “Aeon Flux” director Karyn Kusama’s darkly humorous horror/comedy is, I think, one of the stronger American theatrical horror titles released in the past five years. No kidding! The dialogue is odd and whip-smart — thanks to “Juno” mastermind Diablo Cody — and the chills are plentiful. What’s even more impressive is that I didn’t want to violently throttle Megan Fox by the end of the picture. Amazing! The genre’s answer to “Mean Girls”, which, coincidentally, also co-stars the lovely Amanda Seyfried.
The Children (2008)
Movies that revolve around violent, blood-thirsty children are always a scream, mostly because it’s insanely enjoyable to watch normal, everyday parents and/or adults fend off scores of savage, pint-sized terrors. Tom Shankland’s brutal 2008 parental nightmare takes the unbalanced offspring premise and effectively turns it on its head, resulting in an immensely enjoyable, thoroughly creepy cinematic experience that sets a new standard for this sort of picture. “The Children” is spectacular in every sense of the word. Seek it out.
Satan’s Little Helper (2004)
Remember when I said these movies were in no particular order? Well, I lied. “Blue Sunshine” director Jeff Lieberman’s brutally underrated slasher is one of the best horror/comedies I’ve ever seen, and I’m always quick to recommend it to people who are looking for something a little different. Alexander Brickel is dynamite as a kid who befriends a serial killer dressed as his favorite video game character, a relationship that puts his family’s lives into grave danger. If you only watch one of these flicks, “Satan’s Little Helper” is the way to go.
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