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Because no one should watch these films alone!

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Ghost stories today aren’t what they used to be, and as much as I enjoy gore and over-the-top carnage, there’s something to be said for a quietly effective thriller. The Uninvited is not only a great little mystery that stands the test of time, it is notably the first serious ghost film in Hollywood history. A pair of London siblings Roderick and Pamela Fitzgerald (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey), enjoying a holiday in Cornwall, stumble on a gorgeous old house overlooking the sea. To their surprise the house (name of Windward) is empty and available via a short sale by Commander Beech (Donald Crisp), a taciturn neighbor who holds the title. Beech also has charge of his orphaned granddaughter Stella (Gail Russell), and she and Roderick quickly form a flirtation. Beech is having none of it, however, as he is determined to keep his granddaughter away from Windward and warns the Fitzgeralds off. We discover Stella’s mother died on the property under suspicious circumstances when Stella was three. Beech is not revealing everything he knows. The Fitzgeralds ignore the village rumors about spooks, until they start hearing a woman sighing and crying at night. Stella is mysteriously drawn to the home and insists she feels the comfort of her mother’s presence. It soon becomes apparent she is also threatened by a more sinister spook. Casting is adequate although in the character of Stella – who is half the age of her suitor Roderick – we are given a cringe-worthy damsel-in-distress child-bride. This…

The second Netflix Original from India (after the ambitious and thrilling Sacred Games), Ghoul is an effective short story given the perfect amount of runtime via a three-part installment. The series is set in a dystopian near future, where army loyalist Nida Rahim (Radhika Apt) is about to complete her special training. Nida is in a perpetual loving but passionate disagreement with her academic father Shahnawaz (S. M. Zaheer), who rebukes her for siding with the terrorist-besieged, fascist state. Despite her love for him, she eventually turns him as a political dissident where he is remanded to a “sanitation” center, and authorities promise he will return unharmed. A month later Nida is deployed to a secret detention center as managed by Colonel Dacunha (Manav Kaul) and his tough-as-nails Major Das (Ratnabali Bhattacharjee). The site is in a state of anticipatory tension as they receive custody of public enemy number one, terrorist Ali Saeed (Mahesh Balraj). While being tortured during interrogation, Saeed whispers family secrets to Nida that he would have no way of knowing. Soon, violence erupts and Nida begins to suspect that Saeed is not wholly human. As the alcoholic Dacunha fumbles in his leadership and more soldiers and detainees are killed, the group eventually understands that the alien presence can hide in the form of any of them. Nida also begins to understand the sinister methods of the regime, and fears her father may be dead. Ghoul reads far more like a sci-fi than a supernatural thriller, and its…

A winter night fraternity hazing goes awry, finding young Alana (Jamie Lee Curtis) unwittingly party to initiate Kenny’s nervous breakdown (Derek MacKinnon). Flash forward a year later and Alana is still dating her jerk of a boyfriend Mo (Timothy Webber ), who appears a halfway man only when compared to his colossal douchebag best friend Doc (Hart Bochner). Mo tricks Alana into boarding a destination train rager party staged by the prank-happy Doc, and the couple bickers about Doc’s jerkitude for the rest of the film. The train is helmed by Carne (Ben Johnson), and – oops! – it turns out there is no way to disembark or reach anyone through phone or radio. The Greek system partygoers drink, dance, and (implausibly) watch a magician act from David Copperfield. Yes, the real one. Sporting an impossibly large collar. Now you see it – wow, now you really see it! Unfortunately, as the group revels they have an impostor amongst them: someone has murdered one of the more obnoxious frat boys and has assumed his somehow unblemished Groucho Marx costume. The killer begins to stalk and murder several more people, donning costumes merrily as he goes along (and demonstrating impressive, and very quick, cleanup skills). As for plot, the film does try to cast several different individuals as possible killers, featuring a slight whiff of transphobia. And after the murders become public knowledge to the boarders, several people take rather foolish risks and behave in ways one wouldn’t; but then, if slasher…

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Christine Daaé (Mary Philbin), an ingénue with the Paris Opera House, has recently advanced as understudy to prima donna Carlotta (Virginia Pearson). Her admirer Vicomte Raoul de Chagny (Norman Kerry) and his brother Comte Phillipe (John St. Polis) frequent the venue to watch her sing. Meanwhile, new…

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Four typical teen girls Hallie (Julia Goldani Telles), Wren (Joey King), Chloe (Jaz Sinclair), and Katie (Annalise Basso) find a website detailing the sketchy legend of Slender Man (Javier Botet) and instructions on how to summon him. Sounds like a good idea, right? After trying…

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Lucky me, I am obsessed with nineteenth century seafaring disasters of late. Like a virulent flu, I suspect this obsession will soon run its frantic course. After all: these tales, incredible as they are, have a sameness. They are marked…

I’m a sucker for a good survival film and David Mamet’s The Edge is one of my time tested favorites. The film isn’t nearly as thrilling upon subsequent viewings, but the first time I saw it I was practically in tears.…

Listed as a “romantic horror film”, Birdemic features very little of either element. The now-notorious ripoff of The Birds is probably the worst eco-horror film I’ve yet viewed – and I’ve seen Frogs (1972). There is almost nothing to recommend…

A few weeks ago, I went to see A Quiet Place. That movie was a’ight, but you know what it reminded me of? Another movie in which a hapless family is tormented by (allegorical?) aliens with a completely weaksauce weakness.…

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