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Midsommar

Dani has just lost her parents and sister to a murder-suicide, and her relationship with her boyfriend Christian is on the brink of collapse. Christian and his friends, all of whom are working on their Ph.D. research, are going to Sweden to visit a family summer solstice celebration. Dani invites herself to join them. They arrive at the village in the land where the summer sun does not set, and after a magic mushroom trip among the young American visitors, things very slowly begin to turn creepy. I was fascinated and engrossed in this film. The director, who also created …

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Us

This is Jordan Peele’s second movie following his big horror hit from last year, Get Out. In this story, a young girl strays from her father and finds herself in a room of mirrors at an amusement park on the California coast. She turns around and finds herself staring at herself. Fast forward to the present day, she is married with two children, and she is talked into going to the beach by her husband who doesn’t know her history at that beach. One night, after a day at the beach, the family discovers 4 intruders on their property – …

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The House that Jack Built

This is the latest film from Lars von Trier, the controversial (and very creative) film director who managed (surprise) to create another like film. The film tells the story of the serial killer Mr. Sophistication, played by Matt Dillon, in five incidents, starting with his first killing and following his career through more gruesome murders. It is difficult to describe the film. It functions as a basic horror film, with some incidents creepier than others. Through a continuing (and sometimes fascinating) conversation with Verge (we find out about halfway through who Verge is and his purpose), the film attempts to …

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Mandy

Nicholas Cage is Red Miller, a lumberjack who lives in the woods with his girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). One day, while Mandy is walking along the road, she catches the eye of Jeremiah (Linus Roache, in a really creepy performance), the leader of a religious, Charles Manson-like cult. One evening, Jeremiah’s followers and some motorcycle gangsters from another world come to their cabin and eventually burn Mandy. The rest of the movie is pure revenge. I am still scratching my head over this one but in a good way. Visually, it is quite striking, with its fade-out imagery, beautiful dream …

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Teeth

This rather odd film is about a teenage girl, Dawn, who works for a group promoting teen chastity. She lives with her stepbrother, stepfather, and mother, right next to a nuclear power plant. Dawn’s incessant work with the group helps her to keep her budding sexuality in check. However, when a boy gets too close to her and tries to force himself on her, she discovers that she has the mutation vagina dentata – teeth in her vagina. Using a series of rather grisly events – it is not difficult to imagine these – the film serves simultaneously as a …

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Hereditary

Annie Graham (Toni Collette) has just suffered the loss of her mother. At the funeral, we discover that she and her mother had a difficult relationship. Her mother was particularly close to Annie’s daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro), but not to her son Peter (Alex Wolff). The death of Annie’s mother launches a series of events that will forever change her family. This is an interesting twist on the horror genre. There really isn’t any blood, and there are no things that make you jump in your seat. The horror is embedded in the family and its dysfunctions. The reason I …

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Revenge

This movie out of France, with both French and English dialogue (mostly English), is one fascinating and suspenseful revenge movie. Richard brings Jen, a girlfriend, to an undisclosed remote location by helicopter for a weekend together away from his family. Two other friends show up unexpectedly. A party, a misunderstanding, a rape, and it all ends horribly when Jen is pushed over a cliff and impaled on a tree stump. The rest of the story is bloody, suspenseful, and exhilarating. The film seems to have so many influences – I was reminded of Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween; the great …

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A Quiet Place

Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their three children (one of whom is deaf and ends up being central to the plot) live in a world in which everyone has to maintain absolute quiet. They craft a world that will ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that silence can be maintained; for example, putting sand on the paths to muffle noises and heavily insulating the walls of their home.  Early in the film, we discover what happens when someone makes even the slightest noise. I won’t say much more about the story; even small tidbits of information would …

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) and his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) have two children, Kim and Bob. Everything is perfect – both are doctors; he is a cardiologist, and she is an ophthalmologist. The children as impeccably smart and ask very intelligent and mature questions. In the opening of the film, Dr. Murphy meets with a teenage boy, Martin (Barry Keoghan) who has a relationship with Dr. Murphy that is vague. The film is the story of what happens to the family as the nature of the relationship between them becomes (menacingly) clearer. Yorgos Lanthimos, who directed Lobster, has crafted …

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Mother!

Jennifer Lawrence plays Mother, and Javier Bardem plays Him, a married couple who move into Him’s family home that had burned to the ground. Mother is an interior designer who has given up work to spend time renovating the rebuilt home and to support Him, a poet who is dealing with writer’s block. The house is isolated and almost unnoticeable. However, one day, Man (played by Ed Harris) appears; he is a fan of Him’s work. From here, a lot of very bizarre things begin to happen. Mother! is an interesting movie. Darren Aronofsky, who directed Black Swan and Noah, …

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