How can I explain Harper's Island? Okay, think 'I know what you did last summer' on steroids!
Let's start with the backstory. Seven years ago a man named John Wakefield headed out on a murder spree on this little island, butchering, hanging, and killing several people. The tragedy still haunts the place, lingering in the air. To say that name is highly frowned upon, would be an understatement. Everyone wants to forget and move on. Some managed to do
so until an island native returns with his bride-to-be.
They are planning an epic and romantic week of fun, climaxing in their wedding. Henry, the groom, invites longtime friend, Abby Mills, for the week.
Abby, whose mother was murdered by John Wakefield, hasn't been on the island since that dreadful night. She left her father, boyfriend, and life and headed far away. Now, after all these years have passed, she has to once again tread those shores if she hopes on being there for her close friend as he heads into matrimony.
As the week moves along, people disappear. Some are quick to jump to conclusions, others are hoping there is a reasonable explanation. Is John Wakefield back, despite Abby's father (the Sherrif) having shot him years ago? Is it a copycat? Or something far more insidious? While denial is a tactic commonly used to deal with mysterious and unsettling situations, you can't deny that something is horribly wrong when bodies start turning up.
Do you enjoy a good 'whodunnit' story? Then you'll love this series! Every episode keeps you guessing as more people are killed and the mystery thickens as revelations are revealed. Who is doing this?
As a horror fan, I was impressed at the diversity of deaths. Gruesome. Gory. Messed-up. Excellent!
But don't get the wrong idea. It isn't gore for gore's sake. What makes this series addictive and unique is the backstory and the ongoing enigma of these deaths and the perpetrator.
And of course, it wouldn't be interesting at all if we weren't invested in the characters in some way or another. We instantly develop a kinship with Abby Mills (Elaine Cassidy). She's suffered a great deal, losing her mother, and finding the body herself at such a young, impressionable and innocent age. The relationship with her father (Jim Beaver) oozes tension and unresolved drama. Their complex family dynamic is intriguing, to say the least.
Then, adding more weight to Abby, is Jimmy (C. J. Thomason) her love interest before she upped and left after Wakefield's killing spree. He was left broken-hearted, wounded, and alone. Luckily, he's gotten over it and is thrilled to see his old flame.
We have the wedding party, offering the viewers the typical douche bag groomsmen and vapid bridesmaids, providing comical relief through debauchery and mischief. Though, sister to the bride, Shea Allen (Gina Holden) who I personally adore as an actress, offers us a character with depth: a protective mother, loving wife, and well-rounded individual.
Obviously there is a romance element, with the entire week dedicated to a wedding. But we find ourselves tangled up in the love of another couple.
As a fan of the outdoors and great scenery, I loved the setting. Filmed on Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada, set the mood perfectly. You could almost feel the branches rustling against your skin. Feel the wet waves rolling in. Smell the oaky scent. Feel the rustic, earthy, yet alluring vibe to the island. A wonderful soundtrack meshes well with the natural backdrop.
Bucket loads of shocks. Powerful twists. Most episodes end in cliffhangers. Casual drama unfolds within the terror.
If you enjoy horror, mystery, thrillers, dramas, then I suggest you watch this immediately. Download it, or if you have Amazon Prime, it's available on there. Either way, you'd be missing out if you didn't add this to your list!
Ever since the original vampire 'Nosferatu' graced our screens many years ago, actors, producers and studios have teamed up annually, to give us plenty of vampy action! From horrifying, action-filled, original, and more classics. So if you're into this particular kind of fiends, check out the list below.
1) '30 Days Of Night'. One of my personal favourites, starring Melissa George and Josh Hartnett, both of which are sensationally talented actors. In a small Alaskan town, a natural phenomenon occurs where there is actually 30 days of night. Most head to visit family friends during this time, or stay inside. Because roaming around in the dark can be dangerous. Especially when it's dark all day for thirty days. Oh and then there is the faction of blood-thirsty vampires! These vampires, in my opinion, are the scariest I have come across. The prosthetics, foreign language, and super strength. A great vamp flick, undeniably.
2) 'Dracula 2000'. Moving on, we go back a few years to one of my first vampire movies. I can still watch this today and get the chills from the vampires. They are slimy, creepy and very strange. Gerard Butler plays the role of Dracula in this, and does a mighty job. In this movie, Abraham Van Helsing, who has a history with Count Dracula, discovers a group of antique thieves have broken into his storage and stolen a coffin in hopes that it holds great wealth. It is his responsibility to go and seek out his daughter as she is the first person Dracula will seek out if he becomes whole again. But will he make it in time?
3) 'Underworld'. An action-packed vampire movie revolving around a feud with werewolves. Kate Beckinsale stars, hacking, slashing and defending her kind. Less scary and more adrenaline-packed with epic fight scenes, and family-based storyline as two different breeds of monsters go head-to-head!
4) 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'. Some may argue that this is a cheesy, horrid movie. But it is one of my guilty pleasures. I love this movie. Kristy Swanson plays a young teenage girl who deals with boys and school during the day, and vampires by night. She comes from a long line of women who are endowed with supernatural strength to battle all forms of evil. It is a little campy and more funny than creepy, but that doesn't distract from it being a good watch. Then we can't forget, if it wasn't for this movie we wouldn't have been blessed with the incredible TV show starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. So we owe a lot to this movie!
5) 'Interview with a vampire'. Most will know this one, starring Brad Pitt & Tom Cruise. A vampire tells his epic life story. His loves, losses, betrayals, solidary existance that comes with being a creature of the night, and the relentless hunger that he cannot control. A great vampire flick and an instant classic in my eyes.
6)'The Lost Boys'. Come on, who hasn't seen this? Horror/vampire fan or not, it's an all-around great movie. Two young boys are relocated with their mother to a strange town. But it's about to get a hell of a lot stranger when the older boy becomes enthralled with a girl who happens to be in involved with a group of even stranger people. They can morph into bats, fly, and seem to be oddly strong. Oh, and they have fangs and drink blood. Another classic with a great soundtrack!
7) 'Blade'. Another action/horror movie starring Wesley Snipes. He obliterates hoards of bloodsuckers, while being one himself. Whopping stunts, comedy, and interesting storyline. This did well and went on for two more movies, even luring in Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel into the third one.
8) 'Fright Night'. Classic or remake, you can't go wrong. A guy tries to expose the existence of a vampire who has moved in next door. I love the original for the melodramatic effects and truly eerie vampires, along with that awesome soundtrack. Yet the remake, with Colin Farrell, has a different vibe. Farrell does an enviable job of playing the vampire next door. I'd personally watch both if you somehow haven't seen either.
9) 'Van Helsing'. Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale team up in this terrific vampire film. With the addition of werewolves and other creations. This is more action orientated, yet the vampires are still creepy. Dracula has a plan to take over the world in a rather impressive way. It is Van Helsing's responsibility to stop this plan, with his team of course.
10) 'Daybreakers'. It's 2019, a deadly plague has transformed almost everyone into vampires. With blood supplies low, and desperation increasing, the vampires need to find a way to yield more of that juicy plasma. Meanwhile, a researcher is in league with a group of 'good' vamps, in an attempt to save humankind. An intriguing concept for the future, pushing out the zombie infection as the plague that is apparently going to happen according to hundreds of movies. This explores what would happen if we fell victim to a disease that mutates us into bloodsuckers. Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining.
I know, I know, I am late to the party. 'True Blood' is an epic supernatural series that ran from 2008 - 2014, produced by HBO, that I recently binge-watched. And boy am I glad I did! This show is brilliant for so many reasons.
This show is set in a time where vampires don't just live in our nightmares but in our world. They are a part of society. They have officially come out....of the coffin.
Some are humane and just want to be treated with dignity and respect, which is known as 'mainstreaming', complete with drinking a blood-substitute drunk called Tru-Blood. While others are vicious creatures that want to take control and destroy humans.
We explore new rules, both in society and vampire abilities as well as weaknesses. Both are intriguing and unsettling. Vampires are fighting for equal rights, facing oppositions from a cult of vampire-haters known as the Church of the Sun. They are you typical bigoted, small-minded, hateful, dumb cult determined to exterminate all vampires.
And vampires themselves, have their own laws and regulations, doled out by sheriffs of counties and states. Killing humans and other legions of the undead have consequences.
But vampires aren't the only creatures that make appearances. We see werewolves, shifters, gods, and more! Each season brings a terrifying and superb new threat to a small town in Louisana. In the end, despite their initial resistance, they realize vampires are the least of their concerns, especially when all hell breaks loose.
In this brave new world, we follow Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress with a rather peculiar ability. We grow attached to this blonde lady as she falls in love with a vampire and repeatedly throws herself in harm's way to protect him and the townspeople. She is loving, kind, open-minded, spiritual, and unbelievably brave.
Let's not forget passion! If nudity and sex scenes offend you, I'd give this a miss. Jason Stackhouse, Sookie's brother, is a player, flashing flesh while sexing women more often than showering. But he's not the only man who regularly exposes himself, or woman for that matter, love, romance, and naughtiness are this town's bread and butter. Sweating, panting, and bed-banging are the background music to the show. But it's not just sex for the sake of it, these scenes of lust are suited to each character and their relationship/s.
While I have never personally visited Louisana, I feel this show perfectly depicts the type of people that would inhabit a small southern town in the United States. You'd have the bigots, religious folk, genuinely kind people, crazy people, gossipers, normal citizens, hard workers, and on and on. This cast of quirky characters are extremely entertaining to watch and partly drive the show, they bring a sense of normality to break from the supernatural craziness.
But wait, this is a horror show, right? There'd better be gore! Well, you're in luck, there is. From pints of blood, cannibalism, graphic scenes of violence, and moments so gross you can't practically smell the stench of rot and decay, aided by remarkable acting.
There isn't a weak link in the entire cast. From do-gooder Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), man-whore Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten), passionate vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), hilarious chef Lafayette (Nelson Ellis), anger-fuelled Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), honourable bar owner Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell), complex good / bad vamp Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) and others, they bring commitment to each role, spellbinding us in their performances as their characters develop and darken.
Breath-taking. Shocking. Scary. Tense. Addictive. Rule-breaking. Unique. Genre-barrier-exploding.
For those who love gore, death, monsters, unconventional romances, hilarious yet annoying townsfolk, unbelievable twists, and turns, I'd heed you to get started on this amazing show. A Little tip, it's on Amazon Prime! Or you can purchase the DVDs or Blu-rays.
Whatever the case, get on it!
Have the past few horror movies you've seen not been that great? Are you in a bad horror movie slump? Wanna snap out of it? Then this list is the perfect way to do so. I guarantee that these movies will chill, frighten, and horrify you! From breathless tension, jump-out-of-your-seat moments, and scarring scenes of terror, this list has it all.
1) The Conjuring.
With Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, this movie revolves around strange goings on in an old house. While many horror movies have that same premise, this one stands out from the rest. Genuinely scary!
A young boy has a rather strange ability of dream-travelling. Sounds cool, it isn't. Not when he leaves his body vulnerable to possessions from various demons. Also, starring Patrick Wilson, alongside Rose Byrne, this is sheer terror in a film. Jumpy. Tense. Frightening.
An author prepares for his next novel, predicting another bestseller. His research takes him into darker places than he ever imagined, including tapes of family deaths in the attic of his new house. A house where many a murder took place. Truly unnerving and constantly unsettling.
4) Evil Things.
A group of young people head out to a cabin to celebrate a birthday. They expected laughs, alcohol, frolicking and good times. They didn't foresee being stalked by something beyond their comprehension. Low budget but terrific! This film challenges horror movies with Hollywood budgets as it achieves genuine thrills and chills.
5) Insidious 2.
I know, I know. Sequels don't seem to be popular with horror fans, personally I love them, if they are done for the right reasons and add to the story. This one does. The family are now suffering the consequences of the dream-travelling child and what they went through to get him back. Now the horror is a little closer to home. Again, sensationally sinister, but the part that will haunt your dreams about this movie, is the villain: mind-numbingly horrifying.
6) Lights Out.
Stemming from a short film, comes a feature length movie of perfect horror. Sticks to all the rules, yet doesn't get boring or predictable for one second. A young girl helps her brother battle a supernatural being that's been plaguing him. Many jumps. Many scares. All woven through an intriguing story.
7) 30 Days of Night.
Vampires have never scared me, until this movie. Darkness consumes an Alaskan town for a month, leaving it vulnerable to attacks from unnatural beings. The fear factor of this movie is the vampires. Disturbing fiends. Foreign language. Blood-thirsty. Smart. Strong. They are the beasts that monsters have nightmares about. Melissa George and Josh Hartnett star.
8) Paranormal Activity.
A home invasion by a ghost. Sounds overdone, right? Wrong! This movie actually offers goosebump-moments in abundance. Tip, if you are one of those annoying movie watchers that can't pry their phone or tablets from their hands, even during a movie, maybe forgo this one, or leave technology at the door. This is only terrifying if you pay attention. The horror is in the subtly and realism.
9) Don't Breathe.
While scariness is slight, there is a wealth of tension practically throughout the whole movie. Never have I watched such an excellently tense movie. A threesome of youngsters break into a house, hearing the owner is blind and therefore weak and disadvantaged to a burglary, should he wake up. They didn't take into account that this man isn't your typical blind person. Tense. Tense. Tense. You have to watch this!
10) The Visit.
Do some old people creep you out? They will after this movie. Two kids reconnect with their grandparents only to discover these aren't your ordinary Gramps and Grams. Something is seriously wrong with these senior citizens. Steady pace stitched with bizarreness and creepiness, that leads to a superb yet horrifying ending.
What originally started as a short film - a rather chilling, impressive one - has now become a full-length movie. I had high hopes for this feature as I really enjoyed the short. And the movie didn't disappoint.
In short, Rebecca must uncover the horror behind her younger brother's terrifying encounters with an unnerving and creepy being. This forces Rebecca to relive some disturbing and upsetting childhood memories of her own.
With a complex family situation, we delve into the mystery of a creature that can only attack in the dark. Shine a flashlight on them, or turn on a light, and they disappear. But the second that source of light goes out, it will get you!
Teresa Palmer (Rebecca) takes the lead with some terrific acting, portraying a truly sympathetic and empathetic older sister torn between protecting her younger brother and saving her mother. Despite her obvious beauty, this girl can act. Too often, movies only care about the appearance of their performers. If they look the part, that's all that matters, disregarding the importance convincing performances have on the story. Palmer shattered this genre convention by giving us a sensational portrayal of Rebecca that didn't relent for a second. Her commitment to the role was obvious. She guided us through the story with frightening grace.
Gabriel Bateman (Martin) didn't do bad either, hacking through the plot with a vulnerability that made us nervous and emotionally attached to the young boy. Putting a child against such scariness, I feel, makes the horror all the more unsettling. He's a boy, what can he do? How can he defend himself? Then you can't help but be compassionate towards him, given his difficult home life.
And of course, we can't leave out the mother, Sophie (Maria Bello) who a few will recognize from 'Demonic' and 'Coyote Ugly'. Her acting chops are superb, exposing us to a shaken, anxious woman struggling to cope with her life. Yet despite her inner and outer demons, her maternal instincts are admirable and give the story teeth. There was nothing but realism in her interpretation of a suffering mother, subtle yet explosive.
As for the director and writer, David F. Sandberg, known for some brilliantly spooky short films, this movie was his feature debut. I strongly believe - and hope - we'll be seeing a lot more from him soon.
David respected the genre, and the audience, by avoiding monotonous and irritating genres cliches. He made this monster, along with the rules of horror, and exploited that in unique and compelling ways.
Everything, from the cinematography, soundtrack, effects, costume, script, and pace, all hit the mark. Overall, 'Lights Out' is a cleverly crafted, passionately produced, perfectly rendered horror movie that ticks all the boxes. I highly recommend you watch it. It's currently available to rent from Redbox from $1.50!
New to Redbox! This is a must-see movie. No question. You'll love it!
Tense? Tense doesn't even begin to describe this movie. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the most unsettling, disturbing, and unnerving movie I've ever seen. And I've watched a lot!
It is relentless. The tension never stops, and the story just keeps unfolding and taking bizarre twists.
My mouth was pretty much always agape throughout the movie, shocked beyond belief. Then there was my chest aching, as I kept holding my breath, afraid for the young intruders.
I applaud the writers Fede Alvarez & Rodo Sayagues, for creating such a unique, original movie. There aren't many movies to compare this too. I hope that changes. I hope this movie starts a trend of truly breathless and constantly tense films.
I heard and read a lot about this movie before finally biting the bullet and renting it. But when a huge hype has been made, there is always that niggling fear that it will never match up. 'Don't Breathe' not only met my expectations but far exceeded them. I haven't stopped talking about this movie since, spreading it around the horror world like a viral infection.
In short, you have three thieves working their last job. They each have various motivations, but two of the three really want out. They discover a house in which plenty of cash is stashed away. The owner is an old man, what harm could he possibly do? They sneak in, steal the money, and sneak out. Easy. They have done it many times before. But, unbeknownst to them, this job will have many unexpected surprises.
Hats off to the actors. Honestly, there wasn't a weak link in the entire cast.
You have the young girl whose reasons for stealing are selfless, Rocky (Jane Levy). This girl is one tough b*tch. Her home life isn't desirable. You can understand why she has resorted to crime.
There is the nice guy, Alex (Dylan Minnette). I personally liked how Alex considered the consequences of each crime. He advised they never bring guns as that goes from burglary to armed robbery, lengthening their potential criminal sentence. Rocky and Alex see eye-to-eye.
But there has to be a character who causes conflict, right? Besides the old man, that would be Money (Daniel Zovatto). He's the typical jerk, who cares about money, shocker. He is the reason things go from bad to worse. He lights the fire that starts the chaos.
Then, of course, we have the old man (Stephen Lang). What a superb performance. I had conflicting thoughts about this character. One side of me hated him. Another side found myself rationalizing his actions and view of the world, given his experiences. He was a complex and terrifying character.
Overall, I couldn't have asked for more from a movie. It had everything. It left me with an aching chest, trembling hands, but an urge to watch it again. I will be purchasing a DVD of this movie without a doubt, this has to go in my permanent collection.
If I haven't got you itching to see it by now, all I can say is this. Tense. Intriguing. Unforgettable. Unusual. Shocking. One-of-a-kind. WATCH IT!
Netflix hits the mark yet again with one of their original movies!
Most horrors of this era are focused on fast, fake thrills. Kill scenes strung together by mundane scenes. They lack a buildup or great characterisations. This movie respected the story and the characters.
In short, a psychiatrist attempts to recover from a violent attack by a former patient, by diving back into the world of psychiatry. But there is so much more to the story, some of which I didn't see coming at all!
I loved how the movie really gives the viewer an inside look at the world of psychiatry through the eyes of our protagonist Dr. Jane Mathis (Vinessa Shaw). How the mind works has always been a fascination of mine. Most horror movies that touch on this subject matter, rush through the details of patient progress and get to the action and horror. This film offered a deeper look into the mind and the process of how one is guided when aspiring to overcome trauma.
With a steady pace that slowly fills with tension and suspense, it exceeded my expectations. There is always that fear, that you put effort into a movie with a gradual progression rather than kill-scene-kill-scene, that the ending won't be worth it. Well, don't waste your time worrying about that with this film. I vividly recall my mouth opening at the first twist, then at the second twist, I was flabbergasted.
Also, props to the filmography department, there were some beautiful shots tying the film together. Also, you have to respect a movie that doesn't deafen us with an abundance of loud sound effects to coincide with the 'jumpy' bits. This movie is cleverer than that. It relies on making us at first unsettled, and our own anxiety thickens as we have been programmed to expect something to happen when everything is quiet, especially at night. Sometimes something happens, other times it doesn't. We as an observer pick this up fast. This is partly what keeps us on edge throughout.
Did I mention it's genuinely creepy? If you are wanting a heavy serving of blood and guts, you'll be disappointed. This film serves us a generous dose of creepiness instead, without constantly falling on guts hanging out or heads being chopped off. However, there are some bloody moments, but they were essential to the visceral shock the audience needed to empathize with Dr Mathis and truly understand her struggles. When most people experience trauma, they don't have to go back into a career that revolves around dealing with trauma patients. And while at first she tackles easier cases, her guilt eventually leads her back into more serious cases. Could they drudge up memories? Could they hinder her progress? Watch and see!
All in all, a steady pace, chills, intrigue, and a mind-blowing twist within a twist, make this movie well worth watching. Add it to your Netflix list ASAP!
Have you missed any of these horror gems on Netflix? If you have, I suggest you get watching!
1. The Den
3. House of Wax
4. Queen of the Damned
6. The Uninvited
8. The Amytville Horror (2005)
9. Would You Rather
What are you waiting for? If you've missed any, add them to your Netflix list ASAP!
Don't get prematurely depressed about the Christmas season ending, as you have a lot to look forward to in 2017! For example, these gems coming to our Netflix accounts in January!
The Shining - January 1st
It Follows - January 13th
Bates Motel (Season 4) - January 21st
Sharknado 4 - January 27th
Ripper Street (Season 4) - January 28th
Antibirth - January 30th
Some horrors you may or may not have been aware of. That have already arrived!
- From Dusk Till Dawn (Season 3)
- House of Wax
- The Devil Dolls
- The Good Neighbor
So, what takes your fancy? A dash of werewolf? A sprinkle of witch? A peppering of suspense? A dollop of horror? A drizzle of chaos? A glazing or originality? Whatever takes your liking, this show is guaranteed to please.
From creator John Logan comes this refreshing, riveting, and addictive show: 'Penny dreadful'. Horror fans, bow before this man, he has brought you a truly incredible series!
We are in Victorian London, which is fascinating enough from a historical point-of-view, but then comes the turmoil. We have a man who discovers a monster lurks within him, which he struggles to control. Then, we have a prim and proper young lady with a rather interesting past, who has caught the eye of a truly evil being, who will not rest until she is his. Add this with a Doctor we all know very well - Dr Frankenstein - and his creation. Or is it creations? Oh, and let's not forget Mr Dorian Gray himself, who has supernatural abilities and many-a-fetish that needs to be fed.
So, have I piqued your intrigue yet? No? Well then try this on for size. The setting is not only alluring but realistic. We can truly imagine how it would have been to live in the 1890's in London. The vast difference in that part of history - when all said and done, isn't that far in the past - is unbelievable. From how they passed the time, the popular jobs, society, technology, politics, law enforcement, homes, traveling, and how people conduct themselves. We see everything, from rich to poor, sane to crazy, and weak to strong.
The characters themselves are just as important as the storylines unfolding with a perfectly controlled, steady pace.
Eva Green portrays a tormented Vanessa Ives with elegance tinged with the constant knowledge that something is seriously wrong with her. I seriously enjoyed watching Ms Ives, from her social gatherings to the supernatural threats she faces. I hope to see a lot more of Eva Green landing roles in the horrorverse.
Josh Hartnett (Halloween H20, 30 Days of Night) is no stranger to horror. However, this role is more than the leading man in a horror flick, this role is a challenging one to take on. But no surprise, he tackles it with remarkable skill. A werewolf is one thing, roar! But, the man who is dealing with it is another entirely. He stresses how bad living with the darkness truly is. Not to mention, he is an American living in Britain, with family seeking him out, wanting him back.
Those are just two of the brilliant characters within the show. The acting, as a whole, is practically flawless. Every actor has taken their role seriously and while keeping the spirit of the myth alive, have also brought their own twist to it. Which is just as important as keeping the memory of that being alive in my eyes.
Thus far, we have superb acting, captivating storylines, and a detailed and enticing set. As usual, the visual effects and makeup team have clearly worked hard to portray scenes of brutality, as well as bring creatures and monsters to life!
All in all, this show is perfect in every way. It is currently on Netflix, and I highly suggest you hop on over and get started. Episode after episode, you are glued to the screen, amidst a spell if you will. Be sure to comment on this blog if you plan on watching it, or have already started to watch it.
Bestselling horror author, marketer, blogger, reviewer, business owner, freelance writer.