GET YOUR GHOST ON!
What’s your favorite sub genre of horror? If it is the paranormal, you are in luck this
week! I’ve been busy watching several of the new ghost films including Insidious 3, The Gallows and Unfriended. All three of these movies were produced by Jason Blum and had theatrical releases this year. The Gallows and Unfriended were both geared toward the teen audience but had R ratings. Insidious 3 was geared toward all ages with a PG 13 rating.
Unfriended was surprisingly good. I had heard nothing good about this movie prior to watching it. The plot follows six teenagers and the consequences of their actions after posting an extremely embarrassing video of a classmate online. The young girl, Laura Barns, was a former friend of one of the six teens. After the video was posted, she shot herself in the head in front of her peers. The six kids responsible for the cruel act move on but a year later they are attacked online by someone claiming to be Laura Barns. The entire film takes place in one night over Skype. The friends are on a group call when a 7th person shows up. This profile has no photo and the kids are unable to hang up on this person. At the same time one of the kids begins receiving Facebook messages from the dead girl.
One of the reasons I really liked this movie is that I have long been fascinated by the idea of the dead contacting the living via Facebook. The idea sends chills down my spine. What if someone you knew was dead started messaging you on Facebook? The thing about Facebook is it could be anyone, including a random hacker. However, if they knew things about you that a stranger couldn’t — well that is a horse of a different color. I think anyone could relate to this film as long as they understand social media. If you spend a lot of time online, have ever been a teenager, have lost someone you knew well, or trusted even one person with your secrets, pictures or videos this movie will make your skin crawl! One tip — this is not a movie you can look away from for even one second without missing something.
I was looking forward to The Gallows although once again I had heard nothing positive. Unfortunately, this film was a total fail. I was disappointed and to some degree saddened by it. I loved the trailers with Nirvana cover and references to a few 80s horror movies. I was convinced I would get a creepy ghost story that would scare me with it’s atmosphere and storyline. Instead I got a boring, flat, badly acted mess. The film follows four kids trapped inside of their high school the night before the big play. The play is the same one that a student was accidentally killed during his performance 20 years prior. One by one, the kids are murdered while trying to escape the killer whom they believe to be the ghost of the long dead student.
The Gallows had multiple problems with the first being lighting. A good portion of the film was shot in the dark using night vision. This was a found footage film so not only was there shaky cam but adding the darkness to that made it virtually impossible to tell what was going on at times. I am all for atmosphere but not when it impedes the viewer’s ability to see what is going on. I didn’t like any of the characters nor did I care about their fate. The motivation for at least three of them sneaking around the school the night before the play was flimsy at best and made zero sense.
It is unfortunate The Gallows turned out so poorly because the story was there and with better actors and better lighting it would been generic but entertaining. Do not pay to see this movie! Lighting your money on fire would be a better idea!
Insidious 3 was written as a prequel to Insidious: Chapter 1. In this film, we follow 17-year-old Quinn, who lost her mother to cancer several years prior. She believes she has been communicating with her mom and goes to see a medium enter Lin Shaye’s character, Elise. In this film we get both the young girl’s story and the back story on how Elise got her start in the paranormal. We also get some personal background on Elise. As it turns out Quinn has not been in contact with her mom but instead a malevolent spirit of someone that used to live in the same apartment building as Quinn. Elise warns her that when you talk to the dead all of them can hear you. Of course her advice is ignored and eventually Quinn becomes her first case.
Insidious Chapter 3 had a bigger budget than Unfriended and The Gallows. It also had a better cast of quality, experienced actors. However, what it lacked was a good script. Even good actors cannot turn crap into quality. They did the best with what they had. The story itself was disjointed and predictable. The character’s decisions and reactions to situations often didn’t make much sense. This can be watched as a stand alone film for those who haven’t seen Chapters 1 and 2. This film is watchable but adds nothing to the existing storylines of the first two movies. (Ed Note: I live in constant fear that this franchise will get another movie thus forcing me to watch them. I watch enough bad horror as it is. So much that I’ve almost forgotten what good horror is like!)
There is no nudity in any of these movies. There is violence and murder but little gore.
LITTLE MISS HORROR NERD’S RATINGS:
Unfriended … 4 out of 5
The Gallows … 2 out of 5
Insidious Chapter 3 … 2 1/2 out of 5