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Posted on April 25, 2017

Failure to Protect: Families in Shyamalan’s Split

Guest Post

By Lorenzo Servitje

What really scares me about M. Night Shyamalan’s Split (2016) is the opening: A father, his teenage daughter Claire (Haley Lu Richardson), and her two “friends” (we’ll get to this) Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) return to their car after his daughter’s birthday party. The girls climb into Claire’s father’s luxury car first, while he finishes putting left-overs in the trunk. The slightly wide-angle shot shifts to point-of-view.

The next scene unhurriedly reveals a stranger (James McAvoy) as he puts on a painter’s mask and, with callous efficiency, chloroforms Marcia and Claire, right before seeing Casey and subsequently rendering her unconscious as well.

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Posted on April 20, 2017

The Good Son and the Moral Breakdown of Childhood

Guest Post

By Kaitlyn Way

Children in horror fiction and film often challenge romantic perceptions of childhood as an idyllic and innocent phase of life. These representations of children frequently serve as either a warning against familial instability or as an indication of society’s collective fears and anxieties. With this in mind, Joseph’s Ruben’s 1993 psychological thriller The Good Son reacts to the “parental panic” of the late twentieth-century and to the widespread belief that American childhood was disintegrating.*

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Posted on April 14, 2017

Top 10 Horror Films to Watch on Easter

Gwen

My most awe inspiring encounters with nefarious rabbits include the first time I laid eyes on the massive black costume of “Bunny” while at a rave with Rabbit in the Moon and the first time that my innocent anticipating eyes consumed the film Watership Down (1978). While both of these are definitively scary (and potentially traumatizing), they do not encompass the spirit of Easter. If your family is anything like mine, nothing spells holidays like some old fashioned repression and subsequent bursts of aggression (or passive aggressiveness in our house).  For all of you who can appreciate laughing at inappropriate times and poking fun at established traditions, then this list is for you!

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Posted on April 12, 2017

Bokeh: Purposeless Beauty

Dawn

NR      92 mins.          Geoffrey Orthwein & Andrew Sullivan         USA                2017

Bokeh is a beautiful film, shot on location in a deserted Iceland. It’s worth watching solely for the landscape and the cinematography (by Joe Lindsay), yet there is more than that to Bokeh. Not least, it stars the talented Maika Monroe (The Guest [2014], It Follows [2014]) as well as Matt O’Leary, playing characters who respond in entirely different ways to the cataclysm that strikes them and without whose undeniable abilities the film would have fallen flat, left to depend only on its landscapes.

The film follows a young couple, Jenai and Riley, who are on a dream vacation (Riley’s dream) in Iceland. They wake up one day to find that everyone in the town, indeed seemingly everyone on the planet, is gone. The film is not about the event itself—there’s a flash in the sky and that’s it: the event is not dramatized and it’s not explained. Instead, the film is about what Jenai and Riley do once they’ve discovered that they are utterly alone and far from their home. The power is still on, the Internet is working, they have cell phone service. There are just no humans left besides themselves.

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Posted on April 7, 2017

Chopping Wood in The Witch and The Amityville Horror

Dawn

Robert Eggers’ The Witch (2015) is a horror film, to be sure, although most critics have tended not to treat it as a genre film, focusing on its impressive innovations in production, narrative, and cinematography.

Every time I’ve watched the film, though, I’ve been struck by the scenes of Ralph Ineson’s William, the Puritan patriarch, furiously chopping wood. He does so three times (that magic number) and each time he is more disturbed. These scenes stand out not only because lumber is pretty much the only thing the struggling family has in abundance but also because it strikingly evokes The Amityville Horror, both the 1979 original (Stuart Rosenberg) and the 2005 remake (Andrew Douglas).

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