Halloween Horror Reviews for Hendrix Students

I don’t know about you, but at least for me, spooky season lasts roughly twelve months a year. My friends and I go “ghost-hunting” in months of the year that are far from socially acceptable. And I will see a horror movie if it comes out in February. However, I know that for a lot of people, their horror movie intake increases in the month of October – so I am here to help you all out a little bit on what movies to watch for this upcoming Halloween season. These are my opinions on popular horror movies – and at the end of each review, I’ll include a list of possible triggers as well – since I’ve forced myself to watch these movies in full, I can prepare you all for any possible upsetting imagery or content that I wasn’t prepared for. (However! Triggers might contain spoilers, so proceed with caution.) 

The Blair Witch Project (Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick, 1999) 

This was the first horror movie I ever saw – and nothing has lived up to in my mind since. In this film, a group of college students decide to make a documentary about a local urban legend, the Blair Witch. They go deep into the woods in the hopes of finding these legendary spots where the witch was rumored to have been seen … and, well, you can probably guess what happens next. This movie is the absolute best when it comes to creepy, eerie feelings – there aren’t any jump scares in this movie, it’s all psychological. What gets to me about this movie is the fact that it is so real. I read after the fact that this movie wasn’t entirely scripted — the improv dialogue makes it so hyper-realistic that it feels like it really could have actually happened. (Fun fact: that’s how they originally advertised this movie – as if it were actual “found footage.” Honestly, I would have fallen for it.) If you’re not a fan of jump-scare reliant, gory movies, this is the movie for you.  

TRIGGERS: There really isn’t that much upsetting content in this movie. However, there is one scene where there’s a little bit of blood, and a (no spoilers) bag of human teeth. Gross, but really, not that bad (in comparison to what’s coming up, so get ready.) 

Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019) 

If the Blair Witch Project didn’t sound like something that would interest you, you’re in luck, because Midsommar could not be more different. Midsommar follows Dani (Florence Pugh), a young woman still reeling from the tragic death of her parents and sister, and her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) on a trip to Sweden to attend the famous midsummer festival. However, this midsummer festival in the movie is not the joyous occasion it actually is in Sweden (after watching the movie, I read reviews from some Swedish people who were, to put it lightly, not very happy about how their culture was portrayed in this film.) The festival is all kinds of bizarre, and Dani and Christian get so wrapped up in it that it’s hard to distinguish what’s actually happening and what’s just imagined. This movie, I will warn, is absolutely brutal. But, in between the awful, scary parts, it’s also intelligent and thought-provoking. Ari Aster, the director, makes some interesting commentary on the nature of grief and what it can do to the body and soul. It’s got beautiful cinematography and has some of the most memorable images from a film I’ve seen (in both good and bad ways.) If you’re looking for something completely bizarre and undoubtedly memorable, this is a good choice. 

TRIGGERS: Where do I begin. There are some pretty graphic images involving suicide … if that is a potential trigger for you, I, sadly, would not recommend this film. They come out of nowhere and are extremely explicit and upsetting in nature. There’s quite a bit of blood/gore — it is overall a pretty violent film. There is also an extremely explicit sex scene that I thought would never end, so if that makes you uncomfortable, there are about five minutes that I would advise you to skip over (trust me, you’re not missing anything.) 

It Comes at Night (Trey Edward Shults, 2017) 

This movie, in my opinion, is criminally underrated. This film comes from the studio A24 (if there’s a horror movie coming from them, I know it’s going to be good.) This film follows a family who were forced to isolate themselves in a cabin in the woods due to a deadly disease that has ravaged the country (if I watched this in 2017 when it came out it would have been terrifying, but now, to be honest, it just sounds like March of 2020.) Another family comes to stay with them, against their better judgement … and some truly horrifying, chaotic events ensue. If you’re not sick of the whole deadly pandemic thing after having lived through it, then this is the film for you. The film never truly explains exactly what this disease is like and what it does to the body … or, what it does to the mind. If you’re looking for something a little bit slower paced than most horror films, but with fantastic characters and non-stop intensity, I highly recommend It Comes At Night (and, as a plus, it’s free on Netflix.) 
TRIGGERS: There are some graphic images involving gun violence in this film, and they are pretty horrifying. There is also a fairly graphic scene of the family cremating someone in their backyard (although it happens very out of context.) And, I regret to inform you (spoiler!) the dog does die. Yes, I was devastated as well.  

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