Monarch Movie Minute: ‘Holidays,’ ‘Hush’ and ‘They Look Like People’
‘Holidays’ (2016) | NR | 106 min. | 🎬🎬🎬
A young girl gives her swimming coach a bloody Valentine’s Day gift, three girls get a little Halloween themed revenge and a New Years Eve date takes a surprising and deadly turn. These are just a few short movies out of many that encompass the horror anthology, “Holidays.” In this movie, guest directors are all brought on to write and direct short films that put a horrific twist on the holidays throughout the year.
Directors Kevin Smith, Nicholas McCarthy, Gary Shore and many other talented filmmakers take on holidays like Easter, St. Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day and put them through different genres of horror in both surprising and inventive ways.
Anthology movies seldom get made since they rarely prove to be successful at the box office. “Holidays” benefits greatly from its independent scope because the producers of the film allow the directors to take their stories into wild, unique and sometimes strangely comedic directions.
The standout segments for Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas are very effective and show a lot of vision. Other segments end up either rushed and not fully realized, like the segment for Easter. Some end up going so broad with comedy that it takes the viewer out of the movie (namely the Halloween segment). Still, despite a couple of lackluster segments, “Holidays” ends up being a visually enjoyable twist on the holidays we love so much.
“Holidays” is available on Netflix.
‘Hush’ (2016) | R | 81 min. | 🎬🎬🎬
Maddie (Kate Siegel), a deaf author, decides to go up to a cabin in the woods in order to get away from her relationship troubles and finish her latest novel. Things start to get intense on the night she arrives when a masked stranger begins stalking Maddie and threatening to murder her.
Quickly realizing that she is deaf, the masked man uses this to his advantage to start playing an intricate and deadly cat and mouse game with Maddie. In order to survive the night, Maddie must use her wits and other working senses to fight off the masked man, keep him out of the cabin and stay alive.
On the surface level, “Hush” seems like it’s setting itself up for a standard home-invasion storyline. Fortunately, the film manages to outwit its audience by inching itself away from the expected clichés of an average thriller. The film does this by taking very creative directions that enhance the tension in a majority of scenes without ever having to resort to cheap jump scares.
There are some stylistic choices that are made around the third act that involve an inner monolog from Maddie that excel the movie. Unfortunately, this never becomes fully utilized until the film is almost over. “Hush” is a fun and intense thriller that involves an interesting protagonist, but sadly director Mike Flanagan doesn’t begin pulling out the punches until just before the closing credits are about to roll.
Hush is available on Netflix.
‘They Look Like People’ (2015) | NR | 80 min. | 🎬🎬🎬🎬
When Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews) visits New York City, he runs into his childhood friend Christian (Evan Dumouche) who invites him to stay at his apartment while they reconnect. While staying with Christian, Wyatt begins receiving calls in the middle of the night from an anonymous caller that tells him that the world is in danger.
As Wyatt begins mentally unraveling and prepping for a possible end-of-the-world scenario, Christian begins to learn more about his long lost friend. As the truth becomes much clearer to him, Christian becomes determined to stand in the darkness with his friend no matter what is lurking.
Writer and director Perry Blackshear is mostly triumphant with this very low budget horror movie. Blackshear took the little resources and small cast he had on hand to create something downright creepy and unsettling while making it feel real and organic to his audience.
When the main twist is revealed, the audience is still left wondering the legitimacy of everything they are seeing and hearing. The misdirect that occurs in the last half of the movie had the potential of ruining everything Blackshear worked toward. In the end, however, “They Look Like People” manages to knock it out of the park with rich storytelling, an unsettling atmosphere and two leads that give the movie sincerity and heart.
This film is available on Netflix.
🎬 — Straight to DVD.
🎬🎬 — Well, there goes 2 hours of my life!
🎬🎬🎬 — Add to my queue.
🎬🎬🎬🎬 — A must see.
🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬 — Mind blown!