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!
A family of five is going on vacation, and they find a really nice house available to rent for the summer. They get to the house and find that it is located in the middle of nowhere. The house is a good drive from anything and everything, but it is well kept, spacious, and even has a decent swimming pool. It would be a great house to relax in for the summer, if it was not for the landlord.
The landlord (Neville Archambault) is creepy and has installed cameras throughout the house. No matter what room they are in, or what they are doing, the landlord is watching. As bad as being spied on may be, the landlord’s perversion is far more disturbing than just “watching” his victims. The vacationing family suspects nothing, and by the time they do, it may be too late to get out safely.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
Neville Archambault (+8pts)
Too Gross (-4pts)
The Premise (+3pts)
The Pacing (-10pts)
13 Cameras (+3pts)
Dumb Decisions (-3pts)
Pro: Neville Archambault (+8pts)
He was the best part about 13 Cameras, and he was the best part about this movie as well. However, to be clear, he is the best part in the most disturbing sort of way. This role needed to be disturbing. That is kind of the whole point of these movies, and this guy absolutely nailed it.
From the way the character breathes, to his incredibly disturbing stare, this character is creepy before he even does anything. Then the landlord does the creepiest things you could imagine someone like him doing. The premise is a disturbing one, as is the character, but the movie would not work without a convincing actor in the role. I know the actor is not solely responsible for what made this character work, as the director and costume designer played significant roles as well, but Neville Archambault was as hard to watch as he was hard to look away from. The filmmakers needed a disturbing character, and Neville Archambault made it happen in the most chilling, disturbing, and oddly captivating way.
Con: Too Gross (-4pts)
I understood what this movie was trying to do. They wanted the landlord to come across as disturbingly creepy and gross as possible. It was hard to know which part of the character was more disturbing, his appearance or his actions. Okay, his actions were definitely worse because they hurt others, but the filmmakers definitely made the character look the part!
So far, this may not sound like an issue. The filmmakers did what they were trying to do, but I thought there were a few scenes or moments where I thought the filmmakers took it too far. My best example of this was what the landlord did with his tongue. This was certainly disturbing, and that was definitely what the filmmakers were going for, but it was both distracting and hard to take seriously. They went for disturbing, but went so far that it was both comical and hard to look at. This just makes me think the filmmakers got a little carried away with it.
Pro: The Premise (+3pts)
This movie’s premise was certainly effective. It is a chilling, disturbing concept that plays into people’s fears and paranoia. The thought of being spied on in a hotel, motel, Airbnb, apartment, or even a house, is something that most people have thought of at some point. For most this is just a brief feeling, but some people have legit fears regarding this exact situation. This movie really leans into that idea in the most disturbing way. The idea of someone watching you in your most private moments, and the idea that the person watching you has a key to the place you are staying in — so can go through your belongings while you sleep and can even potentially harm you — is a disturbing idea. If only the filmmakers capitalized on the strong premise more effectively.
Con: The Pacing (-10pts)
The filmmakers had their idea, but they seemed to struggle with the pacing of the story. How much do they focus on the family being spied on? How much do they focus on the landlord? The filmmakers struggled to find a balance here, and they struggled to find interesting things for these characters to be doing.
The landlord stuff was always interesting, because it was always compelling to see what disturbing thing he was up to. The family, however, was boring. I just did not care about the relationships between these characters. The filmmakers did not develop them, but kept giving them screen-time even though there was nothing for them to do in the house. These characters were just relaxing around the house, which meant that they were never up to anything interesting, which made for a pretty boring movie. The movie had a solid premise, but by keeping the protagonists cooped up in the house with nothing to do, and by spending so much screen-time focused on them, the movie ended up feeling really slow.
Pro: 13 Cameras (+3pts)
I was surprised at this, but I really enjoyed how the filmmakers tied this movie to 13 Cameras. I really do not want to give away how they did this, but they way that they tied the two movies together really raised the stakes for this movie. It made everything that was happening, leading up to the climax, feel more important. This movie very much stands on its own, but it’s tie-in to the previous movie definitely makes this one better.
14 Cameras ties-in to the 13 Cameras, no doubt, but you do not even need to have seen the last movie for the tie-in to improve this movie for you. It added an extra layer to this story, which made the plot and the ending a lot easier to get invested in. Rather than just have a story about a family trying to get away from a creepy landlord, tying these two movies together in this way made the landlord feel more dangerous, more sadistic, and really got me invested in wanting to see this creep get the justice that was hopefully coming to him. However, did he actually end up getting that justice? You will need to see the movie to find out.
Con: Dumb Decisions (-3pts)
There were a few dumb moments in this movie. These were dumb moments that I have seen in plenty of movies in the past, which only made them more obvious here. One example is when a protagonist gets the antagonist down, then tries to run away without trying to finish the antagonist off. Another example is when a couple of protagonists got rags stuffed into their mouths while being tied up, and they did not even seem to attempt to get the rags out. These were just a couple of examples, but there were definitely other noticeable ones. It just seemed like the writers needed their protagonists to make these poor decisions in order for the plot to proceed, which is something that always bothers me when watching a movie.
Grade: C- (72pts)
I thought 13 Cameras had a premise that had a lot of potential, but I thought the filmmakers dropped the ball with it. Then, when I saw that there was a sequel, I was hopefully optimistic. I knew this premise had the potential to make for a great horror movie, so I was looking forward to seeing if the filmmakers could pull it off with 14 Cameras. I liked this movie quite a bit better than the last one, but I still do not think they achieved the full potential of this premise.
The premise is a very creepy one, that plays into the fear of being watched by a perverted, dangerous person. Neville Archambault played the landlord (the creeper), and he has done a fantastic job playing this part. Between the stare, the breathing, and the look, this guy has made this a truly disturbing character. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seemed to struggle with the pacing of the story. They kept their protagonists cooped up in the house with nothing to do, and a lot of screen-time was spent watching them do nothing. I get that this is exactly what the antagonist would be experiencing, but it can end up being boring to the viewer. The premise has potential, and this movie was certainly better than the last, but this movie still fell short of what it could have been.
Train to Busan
In the Tall Grass
The Babysitter: Killer Queen
Hold the Dark
Would You Rather
The Open House
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House