There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
2020 Netflix Halloween Countdown
As crazy as it is to believe, it is already October 2020—it has been a bizarre year, for sure. For the past three years, I have been spending October watching and reviewing some of the spooky, scary, gory, chilling, and horror-themed movies on Netflix. With each review, I will include a table that ranks these movies from best to worst. This year will be my fourth year doing this, and I plan on publishing a new review each day. Some will be from movies that I have reviewed before, but there will be some new movies on here is well. So if you are looking to get in the Halloween spirit by watching some Halloween-style movies, then these articles are for you!
Claire (Brianne Moncrief) and Ryan (PJ McCabe) are married and expecting a baby, but their marriage is struggling. In the hopes of repairing their marriage, they decide to move to get a fresh start in a new home. They find a nice home, but the landlord (Neville Archambault) leaves a lot to be desired. He drives a sketchy white van, hardly speaks, smells terrible, wears dirty clothes, and stares at Claire a little too awkwardly. Claire gets a very bad vibe from their interaction with Gerald (the landlord), but Ryan reassures her that everything is fine and that they will not have to deal with Gerald very often, aside from the occasional maintenance job.
Little do they realize, Gerald has bought about a dozen hidden security cameras and he has installed them throughout the house. He has them in their bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, pool, and various other places in and around the home. As Ryan and Claire attempt to get a fresh start, they have no idea that Gerald is watching their every move and listening to their every word. To make things worse, Gerald has his own key to the home and is able to enter at anytime without their knowledge. Ryan and Claire hope to rebuild their marriage, but Gerald clearly has another plan for the young couple.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
The Landlord (+8pts)
The Owner's Closet (+5pts)
The End (+4pts)
Pro: The Landlord (+8pts)
Neville Archambault was great in this role. This movie had a premise that I think will hit a little too close to home for a lot of people. Have you ever thought your landlord was a bit creepy? Have you ever been even a little concerned that your landlord may be entering your apartment or home, while you are out? Neville Archambault personified the creepy landlord from your nightmares. The way this guy stared blankly, the way he carried himself, and the way he hardly ever said a word made this character truly disturbing. This actor was able to personify creepiness to a fascinating degree.
This movie had some major issues, but Neville Archambault was impressively perfect in this role. I think I was really only able to keep watching because of my intrigue over how creepy he was able to make this character. The look in his eyes, and the intensity in his facial expression will be the things you remember most about this film. This character felt so unpredictable, crazy, and creepy. Say what you will about the movie as a whole, but I think this actor deserves some real credit here. This film was bad, but Neville Archambault was able to keep my interest for the entirety of the film, as he delivered a very captivating and creepy performance.
Con: Focus (-10pts)
This movie's biggest issue was its focus. This was unfortunate, because it had the potential to be a game changer in the horror genre. With a very modern kind of psychological fear, this story had all the makings of an instant classic. That was, until the filmmakers decided to focus on the main character's marital issues.
Claire and Ryan were married, expecting a baby, and moving into a new home. They just so happened to have picked a home in which Gerald was the landlord. This could have been an even creepier and even more psychologically terrifying movie than it was, but the great premise got relatively little focus. Most of this film was spent watching Ryan and Claire living in their struggling marriage, which was something that no one wanted to see when choosing to watch this movie. This was a real shame, because I thought the premise for this film had a ton of potential, and I think there is a huge demographic for it, but unfortunately the filmmakers lost sight of what worked about this movie.
Pro: The Owner's Closet (+5pts)
When Gerald (the landlord) was showing Ryan and Claire around the home, they came across a door that Gerald referred to as the "owner's closet" and the group moved on from that spot without any further questions. Immediately, I knew that it would end up playing a more significant role in the movie. Then the filmmakers did a fantastic job of teasing what was behind that door. We saw Gerald going in and out with supplies, and we saw Ryan trying to break into it, but the filmmakers did not reveal what the owner's closet's purpose actually was until very late in the story. I think most of the entertainment in this movie came from Gerald and the "owner's closet". I think most people will have similar ideas regarding what was behind the door, but I think it will still end up being a satisfying reveal to most viewers.
Con: Boring (-10pts)
I kind of touched on this already, but I thought the filmmakers focused way too heavily on the health of Ryan and Claire's marriage. We saw Ryan working late, getting frustrated with Claire's behavior, snapping at her over meaningless tasks, and more. This was probably two thirds of the film. It was very boring and will leave most audiences begging for something exciting to happen and regretting their decision to watch this movie in the first place.
The filmmakers had an intriguing premise (creepy landlord spies on and terrorizes a couple who is in the middle of an already struggling marriage). For whatever reason, the filmmakers of this horror-thriller decided to focus heavily on the marriage and very little on the horror and the thrilling aspects of the story. Unfortunately, the marriage story-line did not have enough to keep me invested, and it made the plot feel extremely stretched out and shallow. I could sit here and try to analyze why these character's marriage story-line was so boring, but I will not. All you need to know is that this story-line was boring, you will not care about it, and it takes up most of the movie's run-time.
Pro: The End (+4pts)
As boring as this film was, it really picked up in the last twenty minutes or so. This was when the landlord was very close to being discovered, so he became very desperate. I will not give any more of it away, but know that I thought this was a very satisfying ending. This is what the majority of the movie should have been from the beginning.
There was no need to waste the viewer's time with a boring relationship story-line. All we wanted from this movie was for the filmmakers to bring on the creepiness and the intensity. The filmmakers struggled to find that for most of the movie, but the last twenty minutes were absolutely gripping. It was the intensity that the viewers had been deprived of for too long in this movie. 13 Cameras was mostly a disappointment, but I thought the last twenty minutes were really captivating and intense.
Con: Ryan (-6pts)
I hated this character so much, and I think I hated him for two main reasons. The first reason was that he was an incredibly unlikable character. Throughout the movie, Claire was kind and understanding, while Ryan was secretive and continuously betrayed her. He clearly took her for granted, and treated her really poorly, and I think most viewers will hate Ryan for that reason. While Claire was innocent, Ryan was incredibly guilty.
I really could not stand this character. He lied to Claire constantly, and half the movie was spent watching Ryan trying to cover his tracks (when audiences will definitely not want to see it happen). In the end, the filmmakers tried to make Ryan redeem himself, but he was such an awful and unlikable character that I do not think any viewers will be accepting of that. The other reason that I did not like Ryan was because pf how much of this movie was spent watching him (an unlikable character). Too much of this story was shown from Ryan's perspective, and I do not think many audiences will be able to relate with him. It was a lot of screen-time that was spent trying to develop a character no one would care about, wasting screen-time that could have been spent on horror.
Grade: D+ (66pts)
13 Cameras was definitely a horror premise for a modern audience. Neville Archambault played a super creepy landlord, and was able to personify that in a truly disturbing way. This actor is absolutely captivating to watch in the role. Unfortunately, the filmmakers focused little on him. Instead of a psychological horror or thriller, we got a movie all about Ryan and Claire's marriage.
This story-line simply did not have enough to maintain my interest in it, so by focusing so heavily on their marriage, the whole plot felt extremely stretched out and uninteresting. Luckily, the last twenty minutes of this film were excellent. The last twenty minutes showed the film that audiences will have wanted to see since the beginning. I was honestly shocked to see that the filmmakers were actually capable of giving the audience such a great ending. This film had promise, and the ending was proof of that, but the filmmakers ended up delivering a disappointment. There were some great things about this movie, but they were not nearly enough to save this movie from all of its problems.
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