Thoughts on Into the Darkness:School Spirit

School Spirit the latest film in the partnership between Blumhouse and Hulu is pretty good. The trappings of it are familiar, and the kills never really excite or get inventive. Basically, if you are a fan of horror, you have seen this one done before, maybe even better, somewhere else. However, what this film does do well is applying a deconstructive lens to some issues that are prevalent in our society right now. That’s not to say the film is a genius piece of cinema, but as far as horror films go, this one is worth a watch. The set up is a group of kids are at the school for Saturday detention. Soon, it becomes clear that they are not alone as they are getting picked off one by one by the school’s resident ghost. The ghost effects and overall costume design for the specter are pretty good. Even though the film takes place during the day, the ghost is usually obscured in shadows which helps elevate the great makeup job that they did. 

The group of characters are pretty standard for this kind of fair. They all seem taken out of any teen slasher flick. However, one thing this film does do to its credit, with varying success is to give them all a tragic reason for them to be in detention. The one that stuck out to me the most was Lizzy, who we find out gets detention to avoid being home with her alcoholic mother. She comments frequently on not being able to avoid drunks, and how she wishes for her peers to not drink around her. Another stand out was Erica, the girl who is a straight-A student and its a mystery why she is even in detention, to begin with. The full cast plays pretty well with the only occasionally amateur hiccup. 

Overall, the film does throw some good surprises in its third act that I didn’t see coming. However, mileage will vary with this film depending on what you’re looking for. It has the feel of a made for TV movie Halloween special. The film is not remarkable, but it’s a far cry from bad. With a run time a little under an hour and a half it’s a quick and easy watch. I liked this film enough to want to check out the other films that Hulu and Blumhouse have worked on together.

Thoughts on An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn

There is a scene in An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn where they argue if Beverly is a boy’s name or a girl’s name. In the film Beverly is a boy’s name. The scene goes on with both parties backing up their points and treating it very seriously. This part of the film helps summarize the type of film it is. This film is to mumble core as Scary Movie is to horror films. It works as a parody of the world we live in and understand. Characters will yell loudly for no reason, and repeat lines even if they have been heard. One review I read compared the film to Napoleon Dynamite meets David Lynch. This is a fare comparison as it has the oddball characters akin to the dead pan delivery and heightened importance of the mundane with the surreal and dreamlike plot of a David Lynch film. I found the film to be hilarious. The characters living in such a bizarre and disconnected world really worked for me. One scene for instance has two characters eating dinner. They have plates of spaghetti in front of them and an enormous meat ball in the center. This meatball is so big it is noticeable without any attention being brought to it. Hence why the scene is funny. None of the characters act like what they are doing or saying is off. Which heightens the feelings of it being off. It’s a great time if you can handle offbeat humor and the plot is follow able enough without being too bizarre and alienating. This is a movie I could see grabbing a bunch of friends, opening a some beer and having a great time with.

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