It’s Halloween, surely a time for a movie fan like me to seek out traditional scary flicks: The Blair Witch Project, Poltergeist…
Only I’m not very brave. I have a long list of fears, and horror movies are on it. They frighten me so much, my coping strategy used to be that on the rare occasion I watched one, I’d immediately go and see another one to stop the nightmares from the first.
So if I’m too scared to go downstairs at night because of the Babadook (no way), a dose of The Woman in Black (forget it) would calm my fears. After all, they can’t both be real right?! Right?
Given the problems with this logic and my sensitive disposition, I just avoid horror. But I blog about movies now, so I thought I ought to gingerly dip a toe back into the world of toil and trouble…
The Ones Below
OK, it’s more of a psychological thriller than a horror, but the film’s title sounded reminiscent of the Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer classic What Lies Beneath.
Clémence Poésy is married to a nice man (Stephen Campbell Moore) – they’re both media/creative types and they have a gorgeous pet cat, a lovely flat and a baby on the way.
A new couple move in downstairs – only it’s the Governor from The Walking Dead (David Morrissey- shouty) and his blonde wife (Laura Birn), who is also expecting a baby. Despite the fact the two couples are clearly never going to get along, they have a dinner party.
An unfortunate combination of factors leads to tragedy, and really nasty middle class competition turns to revenge.
David Farr is the first time film director, from a script he wrote (he also penned the recent much-loved The Night Manager mini-series).
The Ones Below felt more like a one-off TV movie than a feature film, but the echoes of Polanski, the combination of Poésy’s emaciated, tomboyish appearance with Birn’s heady perfection, and the loopy music, give it a woozy, memorable vibe.
JUMP SCARES: Zero
NIGHTS HIDING UNDER THE COVERS: None, but my aversion to unfriendly dinner parties and The Walking Dead still stands.
Aaaargh what was I thinking?! David Robert Mitchell’s modern horror masterpiece already has me hiding under the covers.
An evil, unstoppable force takes on the guise of various gruesome-looking randoms (and half-dressed family members) and stalks people to death.
The ‘thing’ is passed around like a virus – you have to sleep with someone to infect them, but if it kills its victim it comes back down the chain to snuff you out.
A cast of relatively unknown actors help make it fresh and disorientating.
JUMP SCARES: One
NIGHTS HIDING UNDER THE COVERS: Two so far!
“It’s just one dinner and it’s over…” No no no it’s NEVER over. The past comes back to haunt thrusting tech professional Patrick Bateman when he moves to California with his wife Rebecca Hall.
An unrecognizable Joel Edgerton stars as Bateman’s old school
friend colleague, an unattractive misfit (“Gordo the Weirdo”) who wrecks havoc with his target’s marriage.
Edgerton wrote the screenplay and makes his directorial debut, and the result is impressive. Hall is great, her character’s reaction to Gordo veers so far from movie convention and the ending is wonderfully subtle.
JUMP SCARES: One but I really jumped!
NIGHTS HIDING UNDER THE COVERS: Nope, but when will people stop having uncomfortable, wholly avoidable dinner parties?