Spooktober Week 1: Nobody Spooks In The Woods Tonight

I might have too many movies and shows on my watch list this year. And it’s really hard to pick what to watch. But this past week, I prioritized sequels and movies that have been on my “want to watch” list for some time. The main genres of the week were “slasher” and “body horror”. I’ll probably change it up for all the subsequent weeks, but for now… Here come the spooks!

Is there anything better than a hot cup of tea in a spooky mug while watching unspeakable, blood curdling horrors?

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight II (2021): The first film wasn’t exactly a work of art, but it was campy horror fun that mocked the stereotypes of the genre. The sequel is nowhere near as fun. And the camp I was expecting didn’t appear until later on. It was only the final third of the film that gave me what I wanted and what I was expecting. The story probably would have been stronger as a short horror comedy love story between the two monsters, and nothing more.

3 out of 10 Messed Up Meteorites

Hostel (2005): I avoided this one for too long because I was worried it would be too intense for me. And then, the more I got into horror, the more I realized I could handle it. I was so tempted to watch this earlier in the summer, right before staying at a hostel for the first time. But the timing didn’t work out. Now it’s spooky season, and the timing is perfect! The only thing that made the insufferable bros trip part of the movie bearable was the promise of sickening horrors to come. But once this film really got going, oh boy was it brilliant. And of course, I always love scenes that take advantage of the fact that what you can’t see is scarier/more horrific than what you can see. That being said, the music in act 3 was the wrong choice.

8 out of 10 Fingers

Saw (2004): I was just telling my mom about how much I love this film the other day, so when I saw it appear on Netflix I had to give it a rewatch. The first time I “saw” it was on a laptop screen while I was doing other things, because I had heard it was intense and was worried I’d get scared. But since then, I’ve realized that I am a James Wan fan. And now that I know this is my kind of film, I’ve finally gotten the chance to watch it on a big tv screen. It’s great revisiting a film like this after you know what the twist ending is. Do I still love it after the rewatch? YES!

9 out of 10 Tape Cassettes

Saw IV (2007): With the exception of the first two films, I have watched the entire Saw franchise out of order. Although it’s probably not the smartest idea with some of the interconnected storylines, it means that I watched whatever came my way, rather than hunting it down. For this particular one, the goal of the game Rigg was playing was obvious, especially since it had already been done in Saw II (2005). But when you’re watching this kind of slasher/body horror film, you’re not exactly watching it for the plot.

6 out of 10 Autopsies

Saw V (2008): Saw IV, but further along in the plot. The main game of the 5 poor souls was great, although it was painfully obvious that teamwork was the solution. With all the twists and turns and behind-the-scenes add ons to the original film, I really admire the creativity of the writers who were able to weave everything together. But at the same time, the story is so over-the-top riduculous that it makes me wonder if Saw deserved this many sequels. But then again, it’s like that for every major horror franchise, so I’m not at all surprised.

5 out of 10 Crooked Cops

Saw: The Final Chapter (2010): Ah, another 3D gimmick film. Too bad I don’t have 3D glasses at home and can’t watch the blood at guts fly right at me. And boy, does this film have the look and feel of a 2010 3D horror spectacular. I was “lucky” enough to see some of the films of this era in theatres – and yes, they focused more on shocking visuals than plot. Apparently, acting skills took a backseat to the 3D effects in this sequel too. Cary Elwes doesn’t even deliver his best performance and he still carries the weight of the film on his shoulders. And yes, I am aware he is barely in the film.

5 out of 10 Effects so real they come right at you – like you can reach out and touch them

Hocus Pocus 2 (2022): I’m only slightly disappointed they didn’t wait until the 30th anniversary to release this film. But I certainly won’t complain that we finally got a sequel to this cult classic. Given that the original film gained more success in the home video market, I’m glad that this film did not get a high-budget, extravagant production value treatment. It still felt like something I could rent at the video store… Or get direct through streaming for you younger readers. Obviously, nothing could top the original, so I’m glad the sequel didn’t try. Without trying to improve upon anything, we got the same silly, spooky, soul-warming spectacular as we got in the first film. Only this time, we got more dialogue from Billy Butcherson. My only complaint is that I wasn’t a fan of how they handled Winnifred’s character development by the end of the film. It undermined her status as a phenomenal Disney Villain.

8 out of 10 Black Cats

Cropsey (2009): When I added this one to my list, I was under the impression that it was more of a horror documentary that focused on the urban legends surrounding Cropsey. However, this felt more like a true crime documentary while I was watching it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just not what I was expecting. I don’t typically go for true crime as I prefer fiction over reality when it comes to horror. I don’t regret watching this, I’m just not entirely certain it belongs in my Spooktober lineup.

4 out of 10 Urban Legends

The Bye Bye Man (2017): Sinister (2012) meets Oculus (2013) – but with more plot holes. I love a good mind bending horror film, but that’s not why this one ended up on my list. Sure, gaslighting is one of the few things in horror that makes me cringe, and I love questioning what’s real and what’s not, but there’s only one thing I love more. That’s right – movie monsters. But not just any monster. Doug Jones in a creepy costume. As a fan, it killed the willing suspension of disbelief when I could recognize both him and his mannerisms from underneath the costume, but he was still delightfully creepy.

7 out of 10 Spooky Puppers

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