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31 Days of Horror 11: Dark Skies (2013) by Jamie

Haunted house movies! They’re a Halloween staple what with their ghostly object stacking, ghostly images appearing on CCTV footage and ghostly alien abductions. Yeah, you read that right. Alien abductions. Dark Skies is a haunted house movie where the force behind everything going on are aliens rather than ghosts. The main problem being that the aliens in this film do much the same bullshit that ghosts do in these movies.

In your average haunting movie you can explain away a ghost opening a fridge and throwing all the food on the floor or taking all the canned goods and stacking them as the typical actions of a mischievous spirit. It’s just a poltergeist fucking with people because that’s what poltergeists do. These silly pranks stretch credibility, however, when we are asked to believe that they are the work of beings who have travelled millions of light-years. Are they a race of highly advanced high-school pranksters? What’s going to happen next? Are they going to beam a bag of burning dog shit onto my front porch and ring the doorbell before flying away at the speed of light? Am I going to wake up with several hours of missing time and a wedgie?

And then, after doing these little pranks, the aliens begin to get nasty for no reason other than we’re later told by an expert that this is just how this shit always goes down. Yes, this movie has an expert. In normal haunted house movies it’s a priest, a demonologist or a paranormal investigator. In this movie, it’s another abductee in the form of J K Simmons and he’s here to do what every expert in these movies does. Show up near the end to explain what the force wants, what you might to to avoid your fate and just how small of a chance you have of avoiding it.

In all honesty, I know I’m making it seem as though I hated this movie but I didn’t really. It’s enjoyable enough, it’s just that I resent the film makers trying to make me think this isn’t just another stupid haunted house movie because aliens. It is. It follows the exact same structure as these movies do except where you’d normally have someone say poltergeist or demon, they say Grey. Still, the acting is a notch above your average haunted house movie and I have something of a soft spot for the Greys due to my years of watching the X-Files as a kid. It’s biggest problem is that it does seem to drag in places but if it happened to be on I’d say give it a watch or you could watch the superior ‘Alien Abduction: Incident at Lake County‘ but then I’d recommend that above many things. God I love that movie. Anyway, three pints out of five. Laterz.

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31 Days of Horror 6: The Bay (2012) by Jamie

In 1975, a film was released that made people afraid to go into the water. That movie was, of course Jaws and it is probably my favourite film of all time. Despite having watched it ever since I was a little kid, it has never made me particularly afraid of sharks or the ocean. Perhaps this due to so many repeated viewings having desensitised me or perhaps it’s due to living in England where the chances of being eaten by a shark are comparatively low. Still, I may have finally found my Jaws.

Don’t get me wrong. The Bay is not as good as Jaws but fuck me if it isn’t an effective horror movie. It manages to build tension through creative edits and managing to weave different characters story lines in an effective manner. Yes, this is a found footage movie but it might just be the best damn found footage movie. Trust me, I’m sick of them too but The Bay is different in that it manages to be somewhat original in it’s use of the format.

Rather than tell the story from one group of people’s point of view with one camera, it rather links together various different camera sources such as a budding reporter, an internet chat between a doctor and the CDC, a teenagers phone and many more to tell a cohesive story that gives you the sense of a town completely ravaged and breaking down. There is one scene where… Well, I won’t say except that it involves a n otherwise complete silence being interrupted by distant sounds that I found utterly chilling. It was incredible.

See, I’m not even gonna tell you the story since I think you should just watch it already. Seriously, it’s great. If I have one complaint it’s that the acting can be a little ropey at times, a symptom of found footage movies where people try and act realistic which never comes of a realistic. Still, I fully recommend this goddamn movie. Four pints out of five.

 




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