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!
Francesco (Riccardo Scamarcio) is taking Emma (Mía Maestro) and her daughter Sofia (Giulia Patrignani) to meet his mother, Teresa (Mariella Lo Sardo). Francesco is taking Emma and Sofia so that he can tell his mother that he and Emma are getting married. However, since they are not yet married, Emma and Francesco cannot sleep in the same bed—or even the same room—during their stay. Fortunately, Teresa still lives in the large estate that Francesco once grew up in, so there is no shortage of spare bedrooms for both Emma and Sofia.
Upon arriving to the estate, Emma is stunned by the size of the house. It would be more accurate to call it a mansion, and under other circumstances, it seemed like it would be the perfect place to relax on a vacation. However, for Emma, there will not be much relaxation during her visit. She has to meet Francesco's mother for the first time, and knowing that she is an old-fashioned woman, Emma is somewhat nervous. Unfortunately, those nerves would quickly turn into fear and paranoia, as weird things begin happening around the mansion. Emma feels that her daughter is the target of something sinister, and she suspects Francesco's mother.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
The Mystery (+4pts)
The Cast (+3pts)
The Climax (+3pts)
The Horror (-5pts)
Pro: The Mystery (+4pts)
The mystery of what was going on in this house was at least somewhat interesting, and it was pretty darn creepy. Mariella Lo Sardo played Teresa in such a way that I really could not tell if she was up to something horrible, or if she was genuinely caring for Sofia, with her methods just seeming creepy from the outside. Either way, what she was doing was creepy, and while there was not a whole lot of excitement in the rising action of this movie, Mariella Lo Sardo was an enigma that made it feel like craziness was always just around the corner. She was captivating whenever she was on screen, and she had me wondering what was going on in the house. Say what you want about the rest of the movie, and I will get into what I liked about the rest of the cast later, but Mariella Lo Sardo as Teresa was creepy in the most compelling way, and she had me as invested in this story as her performance alone could have made me.
Con: Slow (-6pts)
While there were plenty of creepy moments in this movie, that was all there really was for long stretches of the movie. There were not many scares, and the mystery was never very suspenseful. It was just a somewhat interesting mystery, with some creepy moments scattered here and there. These moments were not exciting, they were not suspenseful, they were not scary. They were just creepy.
This made the movie feel pretty uneventful and pretty boring for long sections of the movie, which made the movie feel really slow and really long, even though it was barely an hour and a half long. It was an okay premise, and the creepiness worked to an extent, but having little to no excitement until the movie's climax made this movie somewhat of a struggle to get through. It would have been fine if the mystery was compelling enough to compensate for this. However, while the mystery was somewhat interesting, it was not enough to maintain my interest through these uneventful stretches.
Pro: The Cast (+3pts)
When I say "the rest of the cast" I really am just referring to the main characters, cause while there were other characters lingering around, they did not really contribute much to the story. This movie was filmed in Italian, and dubbed in English—so you do not have to read subtitles the whole time—but I stopped noticing the discrepancy between the vocals and the actors' lips pretty quickly. That was because of how well the main cast did with their performances. Mía Maestro played Emma, the primary protagonist, and I thought she did a great job capturing the weight of what the character was going through.
Emma cared about her daughter, and that was really the extent of it, but she was desperate to keep her away from the evil inside the house, and it made her an easy character to get behind. Then there was Riccardo Scamarcio in the role of Francesco, who played the role in a way that made me unsure of which side he was on, which made his character pretty interesting. Finally there was Giulia Patrignani as Sofia, who did not deliver a ground-breaking performance, but she did about as well as you would expect from a child-actor in a horror movie. I thought this movie was barely tolerable, due to the slow, uneventful plot, but the main cast did the best they could with what they were given, and they were definitely part of what made the movie tolerable.
Con: Typical (-4pts)
From the plot to the character development and then to the horror, there was really nothing special about this movie. There were a few half-way decent jump scares, but there was little more than that in terms of horror. The characters were all pretty one-dimensional, with the mysterious ones only being mysterious until we knew what their one-dimensional stories were. Then there was the plot, which did not have any interesting twists or turns. It was just a typical horror movie plot, with typical characters, and typical jump scares, which made for a pretty unremarkable horror movie.
Pro: The Climax (+3pts)
I thought most of what led up to the climax of this movie was boring, but then the climax came. The climax of this movie was the exciting, horror movie that I was waiting for. To be honest, the slow nature of the rest of the movie made the excitement in the climax feel even more intense, because I had grown accustomed to seeing these characters dealing with everything at a slow pace. The climax had an evil entity coming at the protagonist with everything it had, and it made for a suspenseful finish to this movie. I wished there was a lot more of this type of excitement scattered throughout the movie to keep me engaged, but that was not the case. It was really all crammed into the climax, but regardless of what I thought about the rest of the movie, I thought that climax was a strong one.
Con: The Horror (-5pts)
I already touched on this so I will keep this point brief. It was a bummer, because I go into every movie hoping to like it, but this was a horror movie with almost no horror. The filmmakers threw some decent horror excitement in the climax, but the rest of the movie felt lacking in that regard. There was plenty of creepiness and mysteriousness, but there little horror. This, mixed with a typical horror movie plot, made for a pretty boring movie that was lacking the scares that it desperately needed.
Grade: C- (70pts)
October 31st is right around the corner, so I went into this movie hoping for a good horror movie to help get me in the Halloween spirit, but this movie was not it. It was a forgettable, generic horror movie, that all the ingredients of a horror movie, but none of the substance. There was nothing resembling horror until the climax of the movie, and while the climax was somewhat exciting, it was too little too late. The movie was mostly uneventful and lacked the scares that horror fans will be hoping for. The cast was decent, and there was plenty of creepiness and mysteriousness, but these things were not enough to make me enjoy the movie. It was a disappointingly typical horror movie, with a predictable plot, no scares, and one-dimensional characters. It was not quite bad, but there are plenty of better horror movies out there.
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