9) Kill Theory
A bunch of stupid college students vacation in a remote house and are forced to kill each other so some weirdo can prove a point. I thought this was Kill List, which a lot of horror fans seem to think is a great film. This is not a good film and features absolutely insufferable young people running around, killing each other. I liked seeing Daniel Franzese from Mean Girls and Taryn Manning from Orange is the New Black in different roles. The concept was actually pretty interesting, but an important aspect of a film like this is actually caring about what happens to the characters. I simply didn't. Manning died super early although I liked her; Franzese was too hysterical to really root for; and the others were awful. I wanted them to die horrible deaths. The ending made me think really?? All of this just to prove you right? It's super random and frankly doesn't make a good movie premise.
My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins
A couple of kids unleash R.L. Stine's literary monsters, fight them, and try to get rid of them. This movie was total nostalgia for me. I read all of R.L. Stine's books as a kid and it's part of what got me into horror. Seeing them all together on the screen was delightful and fun. It reminded me a little of the Monster Squad with kids fighting monsters except with less perviness, guns, and cussing. The biggest strength of the film is the characterizations. All of the teens could have been insufferable and annoying, but they were actually pretty cool. I sympathized with Zach for his struggling-to-make-it-work mom, his grief over the loss of his father, and his life being completely uprooted to live in a small town. I also sympathized with Hannah because her dad is alienating and weird, keeping her away from pretty much all living people. I rooted for Zach and Hannah's romance and their relationship was really sweet. Their meet cutes between their homes and date at the abandoned amusement park were adorable, Even Camp, the neurotic sorta best friend, is endearing. Jack Black is the most cartoony caricature I have ever seen, but it works with the film. He's silly, wannabe sinister, and super dramatic throughout with a bizarre affected accent. The end is satisfying and ties everything up nicely. The only flaw is the CGI used for the monsters. I think it looks a little too cartoony, but it is a kids' film. I would appreciate more realism and scariness, but the intended audience is a concern. It's a cute film that's simple and enjoyable to watch.
My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins