The Stylist traces the path of a burgeoning serial killer, for sure, but it hits much deeper than that. It’s a tale about loneliness and one woman’s longing to connect with another person. There’s a pain inherent in the protagonist, who lives her life through stories that her clients share. The Stylist is a mesmerizing and enchanting film, rooted in layered human emotion and the ache for connection. Director Jill Gevargizian’s film, based on her short of the same name, feels especially relevant considering a year of lockdowns and communication reduced to texts and Zoom calls.
“I’m gonna fight for my life once again tomorrow.” - May
History and current events have shown how women who have become victims of domestic violence are the ones that become minimalized as they endure the throes of gaslighting, misogynistic microaggressions, interrogations, and endless psychoanalysis in the aftermath of ongoing abuse. From Tina Turner to Nicole Brown Simpson (which ended in her death) to Rhianna to the horrible treatment that Amber Heard has revealed recently. These are a few of the countless women who have dealt with the sickening maltreatment at the hands of their monstrous male partners along with the insane after-effects as the female victim is put through the wringer as if there was something wrong with what these women have endured. The same workover is never given to the men who perpetrate these awful acts.
Why is it so hard to find a black character in horror that people relate to? Hollywood had a weird notion for a while that black characters had to be aggressive, hard-headed, comic relief, or early victims. Who doesn't like a good laugh, while watching something with the potential to keep you up at night? We all do, but why should it fall on a single race to carry that role? Today, I give you five of the best black characters in horror movies. This list will consist of the best characters that aren’t sacrificial victims, angry, aggressive, or comic relief.
Set in the Hasidic community of Boro Park Brooklyn, The Vigil is largely a one-man show. Fortunately, Dave Davis shines as weary and timid Yakov, who’s been asked to serve as a shomer and keep watch over a deceased body for one night on behalf of his Orthodox community. Directed and written by Keith Thomas, The Vigil is a claustrophobic film with plenty of unnerving frights. The malevolent entity is never quite fully seen, but the horror it unleashes upon Yakov forces him to confront his traumatic past and thus the collective trauma of his people.
Lately, there has been a rash of horror movies centered around family drama and the loss of a loved one. Specifically, Hereditary (2018) and Relic (2020) come to mind. The Dark and the Wicked falls into that category. Written and directed by Bryan Bertino (The Strangers), the film is a punishing and relentless take on a family dealing with mortality, suicide, and loss. The movie disturbs within the first 15 minutes and never relents.
In relationships, it is often said that opposites attract. After Midnight proves the same might be said for genre films. Starting as a romance, the movie opens with Hank (Jeremy Gardner) and Abby (Brea Grant), a young couple in the honeymoon stage of a new relationship. It is Abby’s birthday and Hank has brought her out into the country to his rundown family house for a night of romance. The couple seems blissfully happy. The film then quickly cuts to present day. It is dark once more and Hank, now alone and unhinged, shoots at an unseen beast destroying his front door. This jarring juxtaposition sets the mood for this genre blending film which takes the risk of being both a romance and a horror and largely succeeds.
Finding a special someone can be extremely difficult and falling in love is even harder. There are times when, searching for a soulmate, is a futile exercise and the end result is spending most of your time alone. When your search has ended and you’ve made that idyllic interconnection, you realize that the time you were flying solo, there were others in the sky doing the exact same. You then start to believe that there is someone for somebody.
A Ghost Waits, an apparition rom-com contribution by Rebecca Films and distributed by Arrow Video, shows us that a love connection can take place anywhere, even in a haunted house.
Wrong Turn is the latest franchise to turn over a new leaf for a reboot after six increasingly bloody and lifeless sequels filled DVD shelves. Many horror fans remember the cult classic that was released in 2003 for its competent scares, the effectiveness of Stan Winston’s makeup designs, and the gleeful yells of cannibal Three-Finger who drove around with his inbred brothers in a squeaky truck. If you’d like an answer as to whether the new Wrong Turn sticks to any of this, look below. If you’re not interested in spoil-filled answers or in seeing such violent images, it’s okay to leave.
Produced in America with an eye for theatrical release in Iran, IFC Midnight’s The Night is one of the first strong horror entries of 2021. It also marks a stellar debut for Iranian-American director Kourosh Ahari. The film invokes the type of dread that resembles Kubrick’s The Shining, and not just because the film is set in a hotel. So much of The Night is steeped in well-paced psychological horror that is bone-chilling.
What would you do to bring someone back from the dead? It’s a question at the heart of many horror movies and the characters often go a step too far to accomplish this goal. With Anything for Jackson, grandparents Audrey and Henry Walsh (Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings) go too far in the first five minutes and just dig a deeper hole as the film goes on. Their grandson is dead; the result of a terrible accident, and desperate to bring him back to life, they kidnap a pregnant woman named Shannon (Konstantina Mantelos).