This Week In Horror – June 21


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The KreepWelcome back to my creepy lair, my trepidatious terror tots. This week in horror, my prickly picks are sure to freak out the freakiest of you. I offer, for your sinister summation, three frightfully dark ditties about kids who will do the damndest things for attention.

Sinister (Amazon Prime)

Scared the ever-lovin’ bejesus outta me. Sinister is a freaky horror spin helmed by two A-list actors Ethan Hawke (Training Day) and Juliet Rylance (Frances Ha), as well as an ominously wonderful supporting cast. And yes, without spoilers, the kids are especially weird. The film deeply disturbed me, and several of its scares were enough to make me want to stop watching altogether—you know, catch my breath, pour some more wine, and wipe the dreadful muck sweat from my furrowed brow. Sinister is the real deal, kids. It’s truly scary. So, if you haven’t watched it, do it, tonight. And certainly, keep your glass filled with whatever it is that chills you to the bone.

Director: Scott Derrickson
Screenplay: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, James Ransone

True-crime writer Ellison Oswald (Ethan Hawke) is in a slump; he hasn’t had a best seller in more than 10 years and is becoming increasingly desperate for a hit. So, when he discovers the existence of a snuff film showing the deaths of a family, he vows to solve the mystery. He moves his own family into the victims’ home and gets to work. However, when old film footage and other clues hint at the presence of a supernatural force, Ellison learns that living in the house may be fatal.



Sinister 2 (Netflix)

Okay, honestly, not at all as intense as the original Sinister. The plot does veer off into date night territory with a budding romance drifting about, but the horror hook never really leaves your skin—and I dug the few subplots tossed into the mix. They were a pleasant break while I still got to roam inside the sinister-sphere for a spell. Actually, the reason it kept my interest was the nifty identical twins and the leads were such a blast to watch. James Ransone (It: Chapter Two) returns from the original, and his character ex-Deputy so-and-so is a goofy breath of fresh air. He’s a bit Anthony Perkins-ish from Psycho with all the psycho cut out. Shannyn Sossamon (Rules of Attraction) is a brilliant exotic beauty, a real film talent, and quite enthralling to watch. Oh, and mister boogie pops in and out of shadows more than before, in a terribly dreadful Freddy Krueger kind of way.

Director: Ciarán Foy
Screenplay: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Cast: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Daniel Sloan

Hiding from her abusive, estranged husband, Courtney Collins lives in a rural house with her 9-year-old twins, Dylan and Zach. Young Dylan receives nightly visits from ghoulish kids who show him disturbing images of families being slaughtered. It’s all part of the grand plan of Bughuul, the evil spirit who recruits innocent children to murder their loved ones. The only hope for his intended new victims may be a former deputy who’s familiar with Bughuul’s fiendish work from the past.



Stephanie (Netflix)

My favorite of the bunch was Stephnie because Shree Crooks (American Horror Story) carries the lead like only a seasoned actor could. She’s also only 12-years-old, so, her performance was even more impressive. Her character, too, was perfectly darling in an oh-so-eerie Twilight Zone meets The Parent Trap sort of way. As this disturbing indie gem concentrates on her alone-time for almost half of the film—with no adults in the way of her rich fantasy life—she creates an uncomfortable atmosphere of angst. It was this choice that helps to elevate the plotline. For Stephanie is an intelligent take on the overly explored apocalyptic genre, one that seeps into your consciousness like sludge from an overflowing tub of darkness. And so, by the time your knee deep in it, it’s too late to turn the spigot off.

Director: Akiva Goldsman
Screenplay: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski
Cast: Shree Crooks, Frank Grillo, Anna Torv

A young girl is left alone in her house during a worldwide catastrophe and fearfully hides from a malevolent force that is stalking her. When her parents miraculously return, they try to settle back into normal life, but become increasingly concerned about something that has affected their daughter Stephanie.