Nathan's 31 Days of Halloween 2018

Updated on April 16, 2019
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Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his writings will help launch his careers.

Prologue

Halloween movies aren't limited to horror films, however, that does seem to be the popular go-to for the season. For my third annual 31 Days of Halloween marathon, I watched a variety of movies ranging from family to comedy to horrifying to thrilling. I actually got a lot done this month so sit back and enjoy the read!

Part 1: Family Fun and Teen Comedy

  1. Boo 2: Another Madea Halloween - Certainly better than the first, the sequel to the excruciatingly terrible Boo has some good humor and a lot of fun. The thing it has in common with the first, however, is its overlong Act I prologue that makes you tap your foot waiting for what you actually want to see.
  2. Casper: A Spirited Beginning - I remember loving this film as a kid. I was also too young then to notice the glaring inconsistencies that change the backstory from the first film entirely. This is proof that some prequels should not be made.
  3. Coco - Definitely one of Disney/Pixar's best. The film is a reminder and a lesson of what Halloween was always meant to be. People get caught up in the scares and the costumes and the candy that they forget it was actually meant to be a day of remembrance and celebration of those that have passed away.
  4. Hotel Transylvania 3 - The third entry in the family-fun franchise has a lot of humor and silly monster mayhem but it lost some of the heart that made the previous two so great.
  5. Once Bitten - This Jim Carrey comedy had some great moments, even a Grease-like dance-off. What it didn't have was much of a plot. It reminded me of Vampire's Kiss in a way, only with teen angst added in for comedic effect.
  6. Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies - This supernatural spin on Jane Austen's masterpiece tries far too hard to be the next Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The difference between the two is, Zombies turned out to be funny when it was supposed to be serious.
  7. A Series of Unfortunate Events - The movie version of the book series is only able to cover the first three entries and the ending, which was slightly disappointing, but it's hard to stuff 13 books into a 2 hour film. Jim Carrey was brilliant as Count Olaf and Sunny offered some much needed comedic relief. It's too bad they didn't make this a movie franchise. I would have loved to have seen Carrey in all those weird disguises.
  8. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Series - Starring Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf, the Netflix series breaks down each book over the span of two episodes each, making sure to cover almost every detail. As much as I loved Jim Carrey in the movie version, I have to applaud Neil's darker and more sinister interpretation. Good guys really know how to pull off creepy!

Part 2: Psychological Mystery and Thrillers

  1. The Box - Boasting a philosophical question for the ages, the film starts great but slips about midway, becoming overstuffed and overcomplicated. It's certainly thought-provoking and can have an impact on you if you can make it through the middle 25 minutes.
  2. The Butterfly Effect - If you could go back in time and fix a mistake, would you? The film theorizes what would happen if we had that ability, but at the same time it also shows the consequences. It's chilling and disturbing, a near-perfect depiction of what we wish we could do versus what happens if we actually did.
  3. A Cure for Wellness - The film started slow but gradually built up to some truly disturbing outcomes that will forever make me wary of "wellness centers". The ending still has me wondering what it means as it can be interpreted two different ways. I suppose, in a way, it's up to the viewer.
  4. The Final Cut - Can you imagine a future where we can get implants in our brains when we are born in order to record all of our memories? Can you imagine our loved ones looking at our lives after we're dead? The film is interesting and a little frightening in the sense that it could actually come true.
  5. The Gift - Intense, paranoia-inducing, and skin-crawling, the film proves that sometimes your past can come back to haunt you. This is perhaps one of the best thrillers of recent years with twists that never stop shocking.
  6. Gothika - They say doctors make the worst patients so you can imagine how bad of patients mental hospital doctors would be. Halle Berry and Robert Downey Jr give two of their best performances in a supernatural thriller that is shocking, disturbing, and thrilling. The only downfall of the film is that it was obvious who the villain was from the start.
  7. Hereafter - Clint Eastwood directs this brilliant film depicting the lives of several different people that intersect in powerful ways. Matt Damon was spectacular in his role as a (real) psychic and the story was powerful.
  8. Hide and Seek - Even though the film is a bit predictable, it still manages to keep your interest and deliver a few shocks along the way.
  9. In Darkness - Probably Natalie Dormer's best role, or at least a close tie with The Forest, the film keeps you on edge from start to finish, playing not only on your senses but also on your nerves.
  10. In Dreams - Robert Downey Jr strikes again, this time as a mysterious serial killer who is able to speak to a psychic through her dreams. The film can be a bit straining at times, mainly because Bening's screams are like nails on a chalkboard, but the story is intriguing and Downey more than makes up for Bening's acting issues.
  11. Insomnia - What's worse than knowing who a killer is and not being able to stop them? Knowing who a killer is, not being able to find the proof to stop them, the killer constantly calling and messing with your head all the while being unable to sleep because you're solving a case in Alaska's 65 days of uninterrupted daylight. Al Pacino and Robin Williams were a dynamic pair, bringing out both the good and the bad in their characters. Christopher Nolan masterfully directs, playing with our heads and hearts both.
  12. Lakeview Terrace - Samuel L. Jackson brings his intensity into the role of a semi-racist cop who doesn't like that his neighbors are an interracial couple. The film never slows down but builds up the tension until its satisfying ending.
  13. The Neon Demon - Sometimes films can be so badly marketed. The story was decent but nothing incredible. In fact, the only terrifying thing in this film is Jena Malone's necrophilia scene.
  14. The Night Listener - This is the film that warned everyone of the dangers of meeting people before the internet was even a thing. It's superbly written and acted, its deeply psychological plot keeping you guessing and on edge.
  15. The Number 23 - This is one film that benefited from an "unrated" version. It filled in a few gaps and helped the film flow better. The directing could have used some work but otherwise the film was near-perfect. The only downfall was that it was pretty easy to predict the ultimate outcome, however, the story was told in a professional way.
  16. One Hour Photo - Creepy, unnerving, and deeply disturbing, the film is psychologically testing in every way. The tension builds perfectly until the shocking finale.
  17. Phonebooth - What is humanity's biggest fear? Most would agree that it's the fear of the unknown. That's what makes this film so brilliant. We can't see the killer. We can only see what the main character can see. It's like Buried in a way, except the film takes place in a phonebooth instead of a coffin.
  18. Unsane - The psychology behind this film is brilliant, however, I felt that the dialogue was a major factor that hindered the film. The directing could have been better as well. The acting and main plot is what saved the film as a whole.

Part 3: Aliens, Ghosts, Ghouls, Demons, and the Supernatural

  1. Constantine: City of Demons - Matt Ryan continues to prove that he was born to be John Constantine, slayer of demons and exiler of evil. This adult animated film is a true horror with an ending that's actually quite heartbreaking.
  2. Don't Knock Twice - Katee Sackhoff returns to the horror genre, this time giving us an interesting and chilling film. The acting was a bit off at times but the story was undoubtedly better than most horrors out there today.
  3. A Haunting in Connecticut - Unimpressive, slow, and mostly boring, the film may be based on a true story but, if that's what really happened, it would have been better as a short.
  4. A Haunting in Connecticut: Ghosts of Georgia - This is an example of a sequel being better than the first. While this one still leaned toward the unimpressive side, the acting and story was much better.
  5. The Haunting - While the effects varied from good to bad, the story kept me intrigued and the characters kept me invested. The downside of the film was that it could be a bit unnecessarily and unintentionally comedic.
  6. The Haunting of Hill House - The series took a different approach to the Hill House story. The characters are significantly different from the 1999 film but the story is built better. The problem is that 10 episodes was far too many to tell this story. It was drawn out and a bit boring at times. I was only surprised once. It was a decent mystery series, but not a great horror series.
  7. Insidious: The Last Key - Another great Insidious film has made its way to our screens. This one was strong except for the fact that we didn't really get to see or find out much about the Key Demon. We saw the effects it had on people, but we never really saw what all it was capable of. I mean, the thing had five keys and we only saw it use two of them. What do the other three do?
  8. Maggie - Arnold Schwarzenegger gives one powerful performance as a dad desperately trying to save his daughter from turning into a zombie. The film lacks suspense but it does deliver a ton of emotion as it focuses more on what it means to truly lose someone you care about.
  9. Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - The story is interesting and keeps to its book pretty well. It's certainly far better than its TV series counterpart.
  10. Paranormal Activity - The first film is creepy, builds its tension very well, and the ending is a fantastic jump-scare done right.
  11. Paranormal Activity 2 - The most disappointing and useless sequel in the Paranormal films, part 2 literally has nothing happening until the last ten minutes.
  12. Paranormal Activity 3 - Possibly the best entry in the series, part 3 returns to its roots (literally), ups the tension and horror, and ends the film in a wonderfully frightening way.
  13. Paranormal Activity 4 - Finally, we've moved away from the camcorder and to a webcam. I liked that change, honestly. There were still handheld camera moments but not as prevalent as the other films. This may not be the best entry per se but it is my favorite entry. I loved how realistic the teens were. They weren't wooden in their acting. Their characters and the situations they find themselves in felt real. The ending was the most frightening part, revealing that there's more to the series than just one demon.
  14. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - The second most useless entry in the series, not much happens in this one until, once again, the last ten minutes in which, apparently, demons can now open portals? Okay, now the series is reaching.
  15. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension - Once again, we attempt to move away from camcorders and we are now using the XBOX cam! It was a pretty cool idea and was interesting to see. The series finally comes to a close and in a frightening way, as it was always intended. This whole dimension thing though is just throwing me off. Since when do demons travel through portals and dimensions? The Spirit World and Hell are not dimensions. They are places just like Earth is, just on a spiritual plane. You could say the demon crossed over or entered our plane of existence but they don't use portals.
  16. Patient Zero - I liked the approach this film took on the "outbreak" plot and that there were different mutations of infection, etc. What I didn't like was the score. It was so out of place, I wondered if it was actually composed or stolen from a Syfy channel movie. The acting could be a bit iffy from some of the cast. Aside from that, I enjoyed it.
  17. Signs - This is, by far, one of my favorite alien films. Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix were a splendid combination and Shyamalan's directing gave it an eerie spookiness. The only issue with it is the ending, where the aliens inexplicably run away. We never find out why. Maybe that's the truly scary part.
  18. Silent Hill - While I've never played any of the games, I've always enjoyed this film adaptation. It's legitimately scary and true to the horror genre. It drags a bit about 3/4 of the way through but it's otherwise an outstanding film.
  19. Silent Hill: Revelation - Here we go with the horrible sequels again. This one time jumps a few years and Silent Hill calls once again. Since Sharon/Heather/Alessa didn't learn anything the first time, we go back to the cursed town only to discover everything's gotten dumber.
  20. Sinister - Truly terrifying, the film doesn't have to show a ton of gore to get you on edge. The brilliant directing and acting does that for you. This is one of my favorite horror films ever.
  21. Sinister 2 - Oy vey, here we go again with yet another bad sequel. The film contradicts the first a few times over and is more silly than scary.
  22. Slender Man - This was no where near what the critics were saying. I actually mostly enjoyed the film. It had a decent plot and kept me wondering what would happen next. The main gripe I have is that, about midway through, it seems that the writers just started making up the most far-fetched possibilities instead of sticking with the formula they started with which was actually succeeding.
  23. Stay Alive - No matter how cheesy and badly acted this film is, I still enjoy it, mostly for its plot and Sophia Bush. Frankie Muniz wasn't too bad either. I almost wish there had been a sequel, but knowing the horror genre, it probably would have been awful. One is just fine with me.

Part 4: Slashers and Attacks

  1. 31 - Rob Zombie never ceases to disgust, astonish, and entertain me all at the same time. The plot was actually well-written and thought out. It's one of those horrors that makes you lock your doors and look over your shoulders because it very well could happen, if it hasn't already.
  2. American Psycho 2 - I realize everyone has to start somewhere but poor Mila. This was just plain awful from beginning to end. The acting, the narration, the plot...none of it worked. Stick to Bale's Psycho and forget about the sequel.
  3. The Breed - What happens when an island full of government experiment dogs turn on humans? Well, apparently anything. The dogs can jump through windows, predict where everyone's going, and kind-of hijack a plane. That must have been some experiment! Michelle Rodriguez was the film's saving grace but not by much.
  4. Halloween (2018) - Quite possibly the best sequel of the long-running slasher series, 2018's Halloween has a ton of call-backs to the original, a few predictable moments, a few shocks, and one really weird twist.
  5. Hellraiser - Disturbing, horrifying, and quite literally out-of-this-world, the film brought horror to a whole new level that hasn't been matched since.
  6. Hellraiser II: Hellbound - The only sequel that lives up to the original, part 2 tries its best to recreate the formula that made the first so shocking, and, for the most part, succeeds.
  7. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth - More of the same, the film doesn't exactly flop but it doesn't shock like the first two did.
  8. Hellraiser: Bloodline - At least this entry attempted to change things up. It had a good idea but it wasn't executed well. Between the writing and the acting, the movie falls considerably short of the original.
  9. Hellraiser: Inferno - One of my favorite entries, the film has a sudden twist at the end that puts your life into perspective.
  10. Hellraiser: Hellseeker - I liked the direction the film's plot was trying to go, but the writing left me unsatisfied as did the directing.
  11. Hellraiser: Deader - I wonder if this film tried to be a callback to part 3 or if it was more of a wink-and-a-nod type deal. Either way, it felt like no one was really trying anymore.
  12. Hellraiser: Hellworld - This entry was a disaster from the start. Number one, Pinhead and the Cenobites never leave any survivors except for the one girl that managed to beat him. So who made a game based on the Cenobites? The better question: why? It's the same principle as the Ouija board: you don't know who or what you're summoning when you play with stuff like that.
  13. Hellraiser: Revelations - We got a new Pinhead with this installment and he does not have the creep factor that Doug Bradley had. Revelations was bad from start to finish, the acting being the most atrocious of all the wrongs.
  14. Hellraiser: Judgment - The newest entry in the franchise had a good approach and one shock of an ending, but the crew tried to go for more of a gross-out factor than a horror factor which took away from the film overall.
  15. The Hills Have Eyes - The original film was pretty unnerving for its day. The only real issue I had with it was its lack of a resolution.
  16. The Hills Have Eyes II - Through flashbacks, we see the outcome of part 1, but the rest of the film is a big dud with no thrills or shocks to be had.
  17. The Hills Have Eyes - Some remakes are horrible, but this is one time that I actually think the remake was better than the original. It goes more in-depth as to who these cannibals are and gives the audience a resolution.
  18. The Hills Have Eyes 2 - The unnecessary sequel to the remake finds an Army unit on a search-and-rescue mission in the dreaded hills. The cannibals come back for more. You'd think primitive beings living in mines would be no match against an Army battalion. Maybe they would have been, had this particular group not been a bunch of rookies still in training. Literally nothing in this film makes sense, even the ending.
  19. The Hitcher (remake) - There's only one line and two scenes in the film that truly stuck with me. Everything else is forgettable. Sophia Bush and Sean Bean were about the only good parts of the film.
  20. I Spit on Your Grave (original) - Brutal, unsettling, and wildly controversial, the original is still one of the most disturbing horror films ever made. Sadly, this kind of thing happens everywhere. The women just don't always get their revenge like this one did.
  21. I Spit on Your Grave (remake) - The remake didn't have any of the intensity that the original had, nor did it make you feel bad for anyone. That's not a good thing.
  22. I Spit on Your Grave 2 - From the acting to the writing to the directing, the film was plain awful from beginning to end. What is it with remakes getting rid of emotional content?
  23. I Spit on Your Grave 3: Vengeance is Mine - This was the only good film in the remake series, focusing more on the PTSD effects than on the attack or revenge.
  24. Jeepers Creepers - Probably the best modern creature feature, this supernatural slasher still has me on the edge of my seat even though I know exactly what's going to happen. Justin Long was fantastic in the film and the writing was spot-on.
  25. Jeepers Creepers 2 - The sequel to the brilliant original was a couple steps down, settling more for ridiculous jumpscares than legitimate plot.
  26. Jeepers Creepers 3 - The third entry takes place between parts one and two, promising to explain what The Creeper is and how it can be destroyed but never fully fulfilling that promise. The final seconds takes place in the present, making me hope for a part 4.
  27. The Strangers - Apparently based on a true story, the film succeeds in horror and unnerving moments but focuses far too much on the targeted couple's marital discord than the actual events.
  28. The Strangers: Prey at Night - The long-awaited sequel to the original jumps right into the disturbing events but has a cop out ending that pretty much ruins any chance of a third.

Epilogue

This was a pretty successful marathon year. Most of these films were average but I did have more good than bad thankfully. How did your Halloween marathon go? Let me know what you watched this year and don't forget to check out my marathon articles for 2017 and 2016. Below is a complete list of this year's titles along with my ratings for each one.

Complete List with Ratings

  1. 31 - 3.5 out of 4
  2. American Psycho 2 - Death by Exile (0/4)
  3. Boo 2: Another Madea Halloween - 2.5 out of 4
  4. The Box - 2.5 out of 4
  5. The Breed - 1.5 out of 4
  6. The Butterfly Effect - 3 out of 4
  7. Casper: A Spirited Beginning - 2 out of 4
  8. Coco - 4 out of 4
  9. Constantine: City of Demons - 4 out of 4
  10. A Cure for Wellness - 3.5 out of 4
  11. Don't Knock Twice - 3 out of 4
  12. The Final Cut - 3.5 out of 4
  13. The Gift (Bateman) - 3.5 out of 4
  14. Gothika - 4 out of 4
  15. Halloween 2018 - 3.5 out of 4
  16. A Haunting in Connecticut - 1 out of 4
  17. A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia - 2.5 out of 4
  18. The Haunting - 3 out of 4
  19. The Haunting of Hill House - 2.8 out of 4
  20. Hellraiser - 4 out of 4
  21. Hellraiser II: Hellbound - 3 out of 4
  22. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth - 2.5 out of 4
  23. Hellraiser: Bloodline - 2.5 out of 4
  24. Hellraiser: Inferno - 3 out of 4
  25. Hellraiser: Hellseeker - 2.5 out of 4
  26. Hellraiser: Deader - 2 out of 4
  27. Hellraiser: Hellworld - 1.5 out of 4
  28. Hellraiser: Revelations - 1.5 out of 4
  29. Hellraiser: Judgment - 2.5 out of 4
  30. Hereafter - 3.5 out of 4
  31. Hide and Seek - 2.5 out of 4
  32. The Hills Have Eyes - 2.5 out of 4
  33. The Hills Have Eyes II - 2 out of 4
  34. The Hills Have Eyes - 3 out of 4
  35. The Hills Have Eyes 2 - 1 out of 4
  36. The Hitcher - 1.5 out of 4
  37. Hotel Transylvania 3 - 2.5 out of 4
  38. I Spit on Your Grave - 3 out of 4
  39. I Spit on Your Grave - 1 out of 4
  40. I Spit on Your Grave 2 - Death by Exile (0/4)
  41. I Spit on Your Grave 3: Vengeance is Mine - 3 out of 4
  42. In Darkness - 3.5 out of 4
  43. In Dreams - 3 out of 4
  44. Insidious: The Last Key - 3.5 out of 4
  45. Insomnia - 4 out of 4
  46. Jeepers Creepers - 3.5 out of 4
  47. Jeepers Creepers 2 - 2 out of 4
  48. Jeepers Creepers 3 - 2.5 out of 4
  49. Lakeview Terrace - 4 out of 4
  50. Maggie - 3 out of 4
  51. Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - 3 out of 4
  52. The Neon Demon - 2 out of 4
  53. The Night Listener - 4 out of 4
  54. The Number 23 - 3 out of 4
  55. Once Bitten - 2.5 out of 4
  56. One Hour Photo - 4 out of 4
  57. Paranormal Activity - 3 out of 4
  58. Paranormal Activity 2 - 1.5 out of 4
  59. Paranormal Activity 3 - 3.5 out of 4
  60. Paranormal Activity 4 - 3.5 out of 4
  61. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - 1.5 out of 4
  62. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension - 3 out of 4
  63. Patient Zero - 2.8 out of 4.
  64. Phonebooth - 3 out of 4
  65. Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies - 2.5 out of 4
  66. A Series of Unfortunate Events - 3 out of 4
  67. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Series - 4 out of 4
  68. Signs - 3.5 out of 4
  69. Silent Hill - 3.5 out of 4
  70. Silent Hill: Revelation - 1.5 out of 4
  71. Sinister - 4 out of 4
  72. Sinister 2 - 2 out of 4
  73. Slender Man - 2.8 out of 4
  74. Stay Alive - 2.5 out of 4
  75. The Strangers - 2 out of 4
  76. The Strangers: Prey at NIght - 3 out of 4
  77. Unsane - 2.5 out of 4

© 2018 Nathan Jasper

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