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!
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss) was a very successful horror writer. She has made a name for herself by writing fascinating horror tales about ghosts and the spectral realm. Now, however, she has reached a very old age, suffers from dementia, and is living out the rest of her days in her mansion. She lives alone, but requires a live-in hospice nurse for her remaining time on this planet, which is not expected to be very long.
A young nurse named Lily (Ruth Wilson) takes the job. Iris made a career by writing chilling tales of the supernatural, but she is just a helpless old lady. However, once Lily moves in, she begins to experience strange things that she cannot explain. Lily begins to go mad, as the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred. Perhaps Lily is simply going crazy being cooped up alone in this house, with her imagination taking the concepts from Iris’ books and messing with her head. However, Lily starts to entertain the possibility that this house may be haunted, and that Iris’ chilling tales may have been based on her own experiences in this house.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
Ruth Wilson (+6pts)
The Narration (-8pts)
The Idea (+3pts)
The Execution of the Idea (-10pts)
Polly & The Ending (-5pts)
Pro: Ruth Wilson (+6pts)
I was familiar with Ruth Wilson after having watched Luther. This character is very different from her character in Luther, so I was looking forward to seeing Ruth Wilson in a different role. She also had the added challenge of getting a lot of screen time to herself. The old woman is in the house with her, sure, but the old author is essentially on bed-rest, so is out of the picture during the movie’s more intense moments.
I will be honest, I thought this movie had a lot of problems. I will get into those problems throughout this review, but Ruth Wilson was not one of them. I thought she did the best that could be done in this role. She added intensity and suspense to the movie, and did so with few other characters to play off of. I did not like the movie, but Ruth Wilson was one of its few strengths.
Con: The Narration (-8pts)
The narration in this movie drove me crazy. I liked Ruth Wilson as Lily, but as I mentioned before, there were not many other characters for Lily to interact with. This meant long durations with little to no dialogue, which had the potential to make the movie feel slow. I get the filmmakers’ dilemma, but their solution only made the problem worse. The filmmakers’ solution was to have Ruth Wilson — at least I think it was Ruth Wilson — deliver long pieces of narration.
Her voice was whispery, which was clearly meant to make it sound mysterious and ominous, but it started becoming progressively more annoying each time the narrator started speaking. Whenever, the filmmakers needed to transition between two scenes, they threw in another one of these narration sequences. The narration was poetic, but it was over-done and felt like a waste of screen time. Doing this so constantly made the movie feel really slow, and had me constantly checking the time. I get the dilemma that the filmmakers faced, but by delivering frequent, annoying, and irrelevant sections of meaningless narration, they made the problem much worse. It also makes me wonder if the filmmakers had a movie that was too short, so they injected these narrated sequences to drag out the film’s run-time.
Pro: The Idea (+3pts)
The filmmakers had an idea that could have made for a really suspenseful horror-thriller. The premise has its similarities to The Shining, in the sense that it is about someone in a haunted place, and takes to writing for one reason or another. This movie is also about someone who stays in the haunted place by themselves (for the most part), which ultimately drives them crazy. That is really the extent of the similarities between these two stories, as this movie goes in a very different direction. The differences here were that Iris actually became a successful author (as opposed to writing the same phrase over and over again), and Lily does not go around like a mad-woman trying to kill anyone. Nonetheless, it was a premise that easily could have made for a suspenseful, supernatural thrill-ride. If only the filmmakers did not drop the ball with it.
Con: The Execution of the Idea (-10pts)
Okay, so I do not think the filmmakers “dropped the ball” with this premise. Rather, I think they had the ball in their hands, threw it on the ground, and punted it off into the distance. It was very clear that the filmmakers had an idea, and wanted to slap a movie together as quickly as possible. They had their premise, had their ending, and everything in between was just random filler to use up the film’s run-time.
The movie had a premise that had potential, but the filmmakers either did not have the desire or the ability to capitalize on that premise. The result was a movie that felt like it went nowhere, and felt like nothing notable happened until the last few minutes of the story. It seemed to drag on, and on, and I was honestly looking at the time waiting for it to end. I was hoping it would get better, and was hoping that it would go somewhere, but it did not. It was just a poorly executed, dull, bland, movie that fell very short of its potential.
Pro: Mysterious (+3pts)
I thought this movie could have been done a lot better, but it was still mysterious. What was going on in the house? Was it haunted? Did something terrible happen within its walls?
It was unclear what was going on inside the house, but something dark was definitely at play, and Lily was trying to figure out what that was. This gave the story a veil of mystery. Granted, I think the mysterious aspect of the story was meant to mask the reality that the filmmakers did not know where they wanted to go with the story. Nonetheless, it worked, as it was mysterious. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie was executed so poorly that the mystery did not have much impact by the end of the story.
Con: Polly & The Ending (-5pts)
I liked the premise, but I did not like the story leading up to the ending, and I did not like the ending itself. With that being said, I am not entirely sure what caused me to dislike the ending. I am not sure if it was the ending itself, or if it was a result of my disinterest and frustration with the movie leading up to it, but I thought the ending of this movie was a bit confusing and unearned. The filmmakers tried to deliver a shocking, unorthodox ending, but they had not gotten me to care about the story, so the ending fell flat.
In writing this, and getting my thoughts out on this review, I am leaning more toward my issue being with my disinterest in the movie leading up to the ending. I suppose the filmmakers had an ending that could have worked really well, in the same way that they had a premise that could have worked really well. The issue was the entire movie that connected these two things. It was boring, felt like it dragged on, and resulted in an ending that I did not care about. The filmmakers tried to deliver a complex, thought-provoking ending, but I was not invested in it. They clearly had an ending in mind, and it may have been a decent one under different circumstances, but they had no idea how to get there.
Grade: D+ (65pts)
This movie was really a struggle for me to get through. The filmmakers had an idea that could have worked really well for a horror-thriller. Unfortunately, they did not seem to know where to go with this premise, so they dragged the movie out, and delivered a ton of boring, meaningless narrated sequences that seemed to bend time and space such that the movie felt hours longer than it really was. Fortunately, they had a strong lead actress, who did the best she could, but she was nowhere near enough to save this movie. The filmmakers even had what could have been a decent ending, but they had no idea how to get there, which made it fall flat. Long story short, this movie had potential. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seemed to have no idea what they were doing.
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
Movie Beasts (author) from MA on October 02, 2020:
Interesting, might have to give it a shot next time I'm struggling to find a new show to watch. Thanks!
Brandi Goodman from Holland, MI on October 02, 2020:
The first season was great, second good too, by the third it wasn't quite as interesting but still alright. I haven't finished the series though. It was a Showtime show. Had 5 seasons.
Movie Beasts (author) from MA on October 01, 2020:
Yeah, this one was pretty disappointing.
I have not seen The Affair though..is it any good?
Brandi Goodman from Holland, MI on October 01, 2020:
My boyfriend and I watched this movie a few months ago. I kept waiting for it to be scary but it never happened. It was definitely pretty boring overall, in my opinion. I watched it for Ruth Wilson who I watched in the show, The Affair.