Sunday, June 30, 2019

Oh...I see what you did there

Hidey-ho, party people and welcome to another WTFHM!

So, this week, the movie on the table is what I define as a “Oh...okay” kind of movie.

What does I mean by that? Well, one of the most wonderful things about seeing a movie without any previous context to go on is sometimes a pretty great thing happens. As someone who has seen almost every plot device under the sun, I can confidently say that actually completely getting me with a surprise ending is fairly difficult. With very few exceptions, I usually figure it out anywhere from the very beginning to midway through depending on the writing.

Hey! I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, really! It comes with having watched SO many movies and read SO many mysteries and suspense and horror. I mean...Shakespeare was right when he said there is nothing new under the sun.

All of that being said, this week’s movie managed to get me. A feat that I do not take lightly. Needless to say, this review contains a MAJOR spoiler alert. If you don’t want to know, don’t get mad at me for telling you. You’ve been warned.


The Hidden starring True Blood Boo, Alexander Skarsgard, Andrea Riseborough, and Emily Alyn Lind.

The story begins with little Zoe(Lind) waking up from a nightmare of the “Breathers” coming to get her. You see, little Zoe lives in an underground bunker with her mother Claire(Riseborough) and her father Ray(Skarsgard). Something pretty bad has happened that’s driven the family underground for a little less than a year’s time.

Now, Zoe, who has had this bad dream won’t go back to sleep. Claire takes her to see Ray, who’s guarding the entrance to the shelter. Ray reassures Zoe by telling her that they were safe and the lid to their shelter was chained and locked tight. He even lets her climb up to make sure the locks hold.

So, here is where we learn that the three of them live by four very important rules.

1. Never be loud

2. Never lose control

3. Never open the door

4. Never talk about “The Breathers”

Okay, so, Zoe’s reassured that the locks are tight and Ray goes about fixing her worn out shoes. When she asks why they just don’t go barefoot, he tells her because they’re not animals and she should always remember that...which is important for later.

So, they check off the days (day 301) and go through their normal routine. Claire and Zoe discuss what they’re having to eat (she says beans, Zoe says peaches, Ray says they vote, it’s a big old can of peaches). While Zoe tries to open the can, Ray works their homemade well to get water. Everything’s okay until…

Zoe discovers the can of peaches is empty. Ray and Claire look through their shelves and find that twelve cans have large holes in them from something gnawing through them. Claire deduces a rat, Zoe thinks it’s a monster, AND realizes there’s no frickin’ peaches. She panics.

Ray tells her that the rat probably got in through a vent, but it’s too small for a Breather, so there’s nothing to worry about. In the meantime, Ray and Claire have to find out where the rat is so that it doesn’t eat the remaining food.

Stay with me, now, we’re going somewhere with all this seemingly mundane stuff.

Okay, so, some more seemingly meaningless things happen. They eat the little bit of food they have, Zoe throws a fit and Ray whips out some patented child hypnosis to chill her out, Claire lets Zoe see what’s above them through a homemade periscope, more reassurance, et cetera and so forth. From all this, we also learn that Ray and Claire have made a pact. To protect Zoe at all costs.

So, with the first act all set up, we enter the beginning of their problems. They end up seeing the rat on the shelf where the food is. Ray goes after it, misses. Claire picks up the slack and kills it, but not before they’ve knocked over a bunch of stuff, including the lantern they keep on their nice wooden see where I’m going with this.

And so they have a fire to deal with. Ray and Claire manage to put the fire out, but Zoe notices that all the fire has create a ton of smoke that goes right up through the vent the rat got into and to the surface. She starts to freak and Ray calms her by telling her the smoke will almost certainly be gone before any Breather sees it.

Only Claire realizes that where there is smoke, there is ash and ash rises and settles on things...surface things...that could be found and tracked back to them.

Ray and Claire make the executive decision to go above ground and get the ashes. They remind Zoe of Rule Number Three (Never open the door) and make their way outside.

Left alone, Zoe panics and paces. She finally decides to look through the periscope and she sees something moving in the trees behind her parents. Zoe freaks out and opens the hatch to warn them and she does so by running and screaming through the night like:

She finds them and their fine. What Zoe saw was actually a pack of deer running...away from something.

Claire puts it together and they run back to the shelter and lock the door tight just as the “Breathers” come after them. Claire, Zoe, and Ray manage to maintain Rule Number one until Zoe drops her doll...which makes noise. This makes the “Breathers” start to break in. The three of them make a run for it and set a whole shelf on fire to block the door from their intruders.

Well, given that the breathers are still breaking through the barrier and everything is on fire, things look pretty bleak for the family. Then Zoe remembers the vent that the rat came through and they run to climb out that way. Mom gets through, Zoe gets through, but it’s too small for Ray.

Ray, realizing that he’s going to be trapped in the basement tells Claire to remember to protect Zoe and faces his doom. The Breathers break in and through the smoke, all we hear is screaming, bones breaking, so forth and so on.

Zoe flips the freak out, but her mother manages to get her to focus on the fact that the Breathers will be after them next and they run. They run until they make it to the road (that we see in an earlier flashback - I forgot to mention, there are a lot of flashbacks. Mostly of them trying to escape town before it was quarantined off because of a virus).

So, they make it to the road and a giant net is cast over them from a helicopter. Unable to get free, Claire and Zoe are trapped as the Breathers surround them…’s where the cabin starts to lose pressure.

It’s revealed that the “Breathers” aren’t zombie undead monsters at all, but rather, they are military men with gas masks that kind of make their eyes glow and make a weird breathing noise. Hence the name "Breathers".

Confused? Wait, it gets better.

So, they surround Claire and Zoe and one of them takes Zoe’s blood to “test” her for the virus. When it becomes apparent that she has it, Claire (who’s been a sea of calm throughout this entire ordeal) flips the freak out...and very quickly, we realize what’s really going on.

Claire turns into a scary, bloodthirsty, maniac. Think “The Crazies” kind of infected undead monster. As she’s getting out of the net and laying waste to people, Ray shows up all crazy zombified and starts slicing and dicing the military men too.

When it’s all done and over with, Zoe starts freaking out and then she becomes a monster as well. She attacks Claire, but Claire manages to calm her down and the virus subsides.

When the smoke clears, we find that Ray has been killed during all the fighting and Claire and Zoe have to run and hide from the men.

All right. Now. Claire and Zoe are living underground. They run into a little boy that used to be their neighbor and he leads them to more of the infected where they all live happily ever after.

So, yeah, this is a pretty great movie. Big, old Jewel for this one.

And the big, big Spoiler?? This is a Duffer Brothers joint.

I know you know who the Duffer Brothers are, but in case you’ve been living in a cave for the past five years, they are the guys responsible for everybody’s favorite Stephen King tribute tv show Stranger Things. So, yeah. Of course this is a good movie.

All right, so next week is Death House and it's billed as being the "expendables" of horror movies. I am all a twitter. See you next time! O~ *

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Putting the "Fun" back in Funeral

Hidey-ho, everybody and welcome to another edition of WTFHM! Now, as you might’ve noticed, I’ve been gone for a while. Went on a little vaca. Got a little sun, etc, etc. Well, to be honest, it was only part vaca. I was visiting a very good friend and fellow author Roxanne Rue – who, by the way, has a new series of very steamy novels – the “Like a Demon” series. I’m aware that if you’re reading this, then in all likelihood, you’re probably going “Ew. Boys and girls kissing. Gross! Bring on the scary already!”

Well, first of all, it’s not boys kissing girls. It’s Demons kissing girls…and boys…and other demons. And it’s demons! Dude. Tell me demons aren’t a little scary.

Anyway, do yourself a favor and check her stuff out. Book one is out now and Book two will be out in July!

Okay, so enough shameless plugging. On with the show:

Hereditary starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Ann Dowd, Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro.


Once upon a time in Utah, there was a miniature artist named Annie (Collette). You know, a person that creates tiny versions of things – houses, people, and so on and so forth. Annie has a husband, Steve (Byrne) and her two kids Peter (Wolff) and Charlie (Shapiro). At the beginning of this story, the family is dealing with the death of Annie’s mom.

From there, we’re kind of taken through Annie’s way of dealing with her mother’s death and how that relates to the mental illness in her family. On top of that, she is worried about her daughter Charlie, who (and this is an assumption) has some kind of mental deficiency that they never really speak of. What we do know is that she suffers from a severe nut allergy...which will be pretty important information later.

All right, so Annie’s son Peter wants to go to a party. Annie tells him to take his kid sister because she needs to engage in more social activities. Peter doesn’t want to because, well, who really wants to take their little sister to a party with them. He relents under pressure from his mom, however and takes Charlie to the party.

At the party, Peter is hanging out with his friends and leaves Charlie to her own devices at the party. Everything is relatively okay until Charlie gets hold of a cake that has nuts in it. Charlie goes into anaphylaxis and Peter freaks out.

Peter immediately gets her into the car and starts driving like a bat out of hell for the hospital. During the ride, Charlie sticks her head out of the window in an effort to get air just as Peter swerves the car to avoid a dead deer on the road. The car comes a little too close to a big telephone pole and…

Yeah. Yeah. That happens.

We’re taken into this moment when Peter is just sitting in shock in the car, too afraid to move and too afraid to look in the back seat. His stunned reaction is palpable.

Peter, still in shock, drives home, parks the car in his parent’s driveway and goes to his room where he waits in his bed for his mother to find the body of his sister the next morning...her head still on the highway.

Okay, so, here we are with an already grief stricken family now having to deal with the loss of one of their children. Annie’s relationship with Steve becomes strained and she starts acting really cold towards Peter, which, if we’re being honest, I wouldn’t say I personally condoned...but I kind of understood the logic.

In the meantime, Peter is being plagued with visions of Charlie and other strange creepy reflections and such.

Annie goes to group therapy and there she meets a woman by the name of Joan (Dowd). Among all the other problems she’s having while she’s mourning, she confides in Joan about how she used to sleepwalk in times of stress and one time she woke up with her and Peter covered in paint thinner and a lit match in her hands.

Joan tells her that she should try doing a seance to talk to Charlie and that might make her feel better. Annie decides, hey, that’ll be a great idea and convinces Steve and Peter to help her perform the seance. It doesn’t go very well.

After everything goes all poltergeist and Annie is briefly possessed by Charlie, Annie decides that the ghost of her child is now malevolent. Annie takes Charlie’s sketchbook and goes over to Joan’s for answers. 

Joan isn’t home, but Annie notices the welcome mat that looks a lot like the one that her mother used to craft. She goes back home and finds a box of her mother’s things which is full of photos of her and her mom and bunch of other women doing really witchy things. She also finds some information on a demon named Paimon. As you can imagine, Annie’s a little freaked out. But wait! There’s more!

She does a little more snooping and finds her mother’s headless body in the attic.


Okay, so Annie flips out. As would anyone.

Meanwhile, Peter’s body is taken over while he’s at school. Well...taken over and abused. He ends up with a broken nose and is sent home from school.

Annie in the meantime tells Steve what she found. She shows him her mother’s body and tells her that according to the “Have you heard the good word from Paimon” reading material that Joan has, they needed to burn Charlie’s book to stop all the haunting.

Steve thinks she’s crazy and accuses her of desecrating her mother’s grave and such. So, Annie takes Charlie’s sketch book and throws it into the their fireplace and…

No more Steve.

So, Peter, who was asleep through all this, wakes up to find his mother is trying to kill him. She chases him through the house and into the attic where they find a whole demon ritual going on with Joann and all of gramma’s buddies.

Yeah. So. Believe it or not THIS is about the time when things get weird.

Under the spell of the ritual, Annie ends up levitating to the top of the room and gets beheaded with piano wire.

Freaked, Peter tries to escape by jumping out of the window. You’d think he was dead, but nah. A light enters him and wakes up. He, then, ends up in the family treehouse where the bodies of his mother, grandmother and sister are all posed so that they’re kneeling before an altar in front a big congregation of demon worshippers. They pull Peter in and crown him the new incarnation of the demon Paimon.

What was the point? Well, there were a lot of points to this movie as it deals with death and guilt and mental illness and demon worship, but I think a good friend of mine put it best by describing this flick as kind of like a Lars Von Trier/Cronenberg kind of movie in that the horror is kind of incidental. The true scary in this kind of movie comes from the depth of the story. In other words, this is the kind of horror movie that doesn’t really scare you - like a slasher movie or your atypical ghost story might, but instead, you end up being left with big, dirty footprints on your soul.

Does it get a jewel? Yeah, I’ll give it a jewel. I did like it, I thought it was particularly well done considering the fact that the story could have easily have been convoluted and confusion to the point of nonsense. I would have liked the story to lean more on the side of finding out what the heck Paimon is and what it might mean for the world to have a human/demon walking around the earth, but, my guess is that this was not the point of Hereditary. As stated before, the horror is merely incidental.

Okay, so next week's movie is The Hidden...which sounds like a movie I've seen before, but Alexander Skarsgard is in it and I've seen very few things outside of True Blood with him in it, so we're working under the assumption that I haven't seen it. See you next week!