(But I Still Like Them)
Here’s a slightly different list from the last one which mostly consisted of movies I didn’t like or didn’t finish, either because they were just bad films, or I had no patience for them. This is a list of movies I actually like. They’re perfectly acceptable and watchable movies where I liked the characters, the plot, and it looks good, but I feel no great urge to watch these again because they were emotionally exhausting, too disturbing, or genuinely too scary, at least they were for me!
Stick with me here because there’s a story that goes along with this movie. Yeah, I do have really bad arachnophobia and have had it since I was a little girl. I was the kind of person who used to look for signs of spiders in any new space I walked into. (I have since calmed down about this over the years, though.) The way my memory works I can actually recount the incident that gave me this issue ( but we not gonna talk about that). I can talk about the event that happened to me when I was in college and before this movie was released. I know it happened in that order because after I came home from college was when I saw the trailer, and my Mom would tease me about being scared to watch it. She seemed to enjoy the movie a lot, thought it was pretty funny, and wanted to share this scary movie with me, but I’m one of those (stubborn muth*fck*s is what a friend once called me) who, once she makes it up in her head to NOT do something, I don’t do it!
I was in living in a very nice house one Summer vacation. I was working at the time, but I was also in the house alone because my roommates had all gone home, and I was sitting in my room, lights and TV on, when I saw a tiny little speck near my lamp. It was not a little speck, it was a tiny spider. Yep, I had a spider egg hatch in my bedroom.
To say that I freaked the f*ck out would be an understatement! I was a hot emotional mess for a week! Luckily, I had some of the world’s greatest friends who, once they understood what the hell I was jibbering about, helped me smoke bomb my bedroom (twice) and cleaned and moved all my belongings to another part of the house. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but I was at least able to relax long enough to fall into an exhausted sleep in my own bed after two days of emotional hell. Well, my friends didn’t mock me, kept their smiling to a minimum, and seemed happy to help a damsel in distress.
Mom knew about the spider incident and understood my attitude, but she always encouraged me to move past my fears because if I didn’t at least try they would always control me. (This is from the woman who apparently had some kind of phobia about boats and New York City! What was all that about?!) Eventually, I did agree to sit down and watch it with her, with a bunch of caveats and addendums, like leaving the room if I got too scared, squealing as much as I liked, and covering my eyes if necessary. I got through the first half okay, but covered my eyes and squealed a lot for the last thirty minutes. I didn’t leave the room though, so technically speaking, I did sit through it.
And you know what? It turned out not to be a bad movie although I have not watched it again in the twenty-plus years since then, and I have no plans to watch it again in the future. Personally, I consider sitting through that movie to be one of the bravest moments in all of cinematic history!
I was not particularly weirded out by the title or the synopsis of this movie. The thumbnail of the movie on Google looked intriguing. So I sat down to watch this with the idea that it would be your typical Lovecraftian pastiche of images culled from his works and got something I wasn’t at all expecting. I more or less understood the film’s plot, and what it was trying to do, but I didn’t expect bizarre nameless cults (although I should have) body horror images (I should have expected that too), and a kind of monster siege, working the night shift sort of film, where everyone dies horribly, except when they don’t stay dead.
It’s easy enough to describe the movie, but any description you give it won’t actually resemble the movie you will be watching, but I’m gonna give it a try. There’s a bunch of people stuck in a hospital on the night shift, only a few of whom are actually medical personnel. The rest are random townsfolk who are trapped in the hospital because some oddly dressed cultists besieged the town and were killing people, so the rest ran to the hospital. There are some weird medical experiments going on in the basement that involve the birth of an infernal creature from a young girl, the opening of Hellish portals, and lots of goo, blood, guts, and some tentacles.
That was as much as I understood, but that doesn’t mean the movie is ineffective. I’ve no great urge to watch it again because it was a genuinely disturbing film whose effect lingers long after it’s over, and I don’t have to watch it again because I clearly remember how uncomfortable I felt while looking at it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because there are movies that do this that I have re-watched, and if that is the kind of mood you’re looking for, then by all means, go for it, and tell me how it worked out for you.
Imma wait over here!
I generally like the works of Alex Garland, someone I didn’t pay any special attention to when his career began with The Beach in 2000. I didn’t even watch The Beach. I dismissed it. But then he came out with 28 Days later and I perked up. There was a new cinematic voice in Horror, and I’ve been present for most of his movies since, like Sunshine, Dredd, and Ex Machina. I sat through most of those without issue, and they were all very good, but in 2018 Garland released Annihilation, based on the book by another of my favorite artists, Jeff Vendermeer. When I heard about the movie I decided to read the three-book series, and I enjoyed them, for the most part.
The movie combines all three books of the series into one long story with yet another Lovecraftian theme. A section of the US has been taken over by something called The Shimmer. Elena’s husband went into The Shimmer, which warps biology, and he disappeared. Except he also came back, alone. Intrigued, she and a team of 4 other women go into The Shimmer to explore its purpose, with each woman having her own agenda. Elena wants to find out what happened to her husband. Each of the women find some thing they weren’t expecting which has a profound effect on the rest of their lives.
There are some genuinely panstshittingly frightening moments in this film, like when Elena and her team are attacked by a mutated bear that screams with the voices of the people it’s killed, but beyond that the movie is just weird, and sad, and yeah, there’s that word again, disturbing. It’s not a bad film. I actually like the film. It’s also not particularly hard to watch because it contains some genuine moments of true beauty. But it is another movie where the mood and flavor of it linger long after it’s over, and I have not been in the headspace to be able to watch it.
I will likely watch this again at some point in the future, because it is an effective, thoughtful, and terrifying film, but not yet.
Honestly, this is a great survival horror film, and if you like those types of films you should by all means watch this, but be prepared to feel as if you’ve been emotionally defenestrated in the aftermath. This movie is exhausting on a physical level, too. I just felt wrung out after watching this.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy the movie is based on the true story of a man (DiCaprio) who was left for dead in the wilderness by his business partner, (Tom Hardy) who, after killing DiCaprio’s son, went back to the nearest town and made the claim on his half of their business dealings, only to have his partner stumble out of the wilderness several weeks later.
For some reason the most distressing movies for me seem to involve bear attacks, although I do not think I have any kind of bear phobia. DiCaprio’s character braves the worst excesses of trying to survive an environment that is inimical to human life, like snow, freezing water, wild animals, lack of food, and angry Indigenous people, just to enact vengeance on his partner.
This movie just slaps the shit out of you emotionally. Well, it did that for me, but your mileage may vary depending on how much energy reserves you possess. This is another excellent film with great acting, cinematography, and a very compelling story that I will probably never watch again. Or if I do, I’m going to need to rest up, eat my vitamins, and do my breathing first.
Oh man was this movie hard to watch, and not because of the monsters. I don’t actually have claustrophobia but this movie might give it to you if you don’t. It’s a harrowing film. I was exhausted and saddened after watching it. The most devastating moment isn’t the deaths at the beginning of the film but something that happens midway through it that completely upends the relationships between the rest of the characters.
A team of women friends decide to go caving in a previously unexplored system after the death of the main character’s husband and child in a driving accident the previous year. The team are attacked by a race of terrifying cannibalistic mutants and taken out one by one until there’s only one of them left. There’s plenty of blood and gore, but that’s not what upset me the most, and no spoilers, but it’s about the characters, comes completely out of left field, changes everyone’s dynamic, and therefore their chances of survival.
It’s a very effective film. I don’t often mind when films do the unexpected or throw something at me out of the blue, especially when it’s as well done as it was here. I didn’t choose these movies because I disliked them. I chose them because I liked them. Some of them are great films, but were so emotionally draining I simply don’t have the emotional bandwidth to put myself through them again anytime soon.