The Pink Panther Snipes Again

Bad Movie Reviews with a Touch of Snark


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We Are Still Here, or: Home Sweet Funeral Home

Gorgeous Ladies of the Blog Collab continues!  Not for the first (or presumably last) time, we spend some time in a remote house that may or may not be haunted.  Spoiler alert:  it’s haunted.

The Film:

We Are Still Here

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Uncondensed Version:

It’s the ’70s, which becomes clear through costuming and the really sketchy dudes with thick ‘staches and aviator frames.  Anne and Paul, having recently lost their son, make the informed decision to move to a creepy house in a remote area along the East Coast.  Things get a little strange right away when Anne claims to feel Bobby’s presence in the house, but Paul pretty quickly dismisses this as nonsense.

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Thus the game of how quickly I would’ve been driving away from that house at high speeds begins.

  1.  After a framed picture Bobby hated falls and breaks?  Obviously, yes.
  2. When the smell of smoke emanating from the cellar refuses to go away?  Ugh, so out of there.
  3. After the insanely sinister neighbors pay a visit?  OUT.  SO FAR OUT IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY.
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First sign these are horrible neighbors:  didn’t even bake cookies.

 

So the neighbors are special people who reveal the charming story of how the shady old house belonged to the Dagmars, who owned and operated a funeral home (naturally).  They were driven out of town by the locals after it turned out they sold the bodies of the deceased and cremated empty caskets.  All of this is punctuated by dead giveaway lines like “It’s been 30 years since we’ve had fresh souls in the house” and “It’s still Dagmar’s house,” along with a note that straight up tells the new owners to get out.

In an ill-advised decision to bring more people into the line of fire, Anne invites her son’s college roommate and his family to the house.  The parents, May and Jacob, believe they have a major connection to the spirit world.  Perhaps they’ll be able to reach Bobby?

However, it becomes clear pretty quickly that whatever is in the house is most definitely not Bobby.  Sadly, for the poor contractor who comes to take care of that freshly cremated smell, this realization comes too late.  He becomes our first victim of creepy burnt to a crisp ghost/demon that lurks in the basement.

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Séances are all good fun until someone loses an eye…

So things aren’t off to a great start when the local bar is called Buffalo Bill’s Lounge.  Presumably after the outlaw rather than the women’s skin DIY-er, but still.  The family arrives, and it turns out that being a skeptic isn’t enough to save you in this scenario.

 

 

 

By the time the group gets around to holding a séance, their ranks have thinned considerably.  With about 20 minutes or so left, our rather slow burning film takes a turn for the violently gory, which feels somehow satisfying and jarring at the same time.  Word of advice:  don’t watch this while eating dinner.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Eh, I don’t know, I just wasn’t feeling this one.  It took me a long time to get invested in this, and I didn’t really ever care what happened to the characters.  However, major props to the neighbor with his Scooby Doo routine, who was the highlight of the film to me.  I did also enjoy the incredibly gory finale even if there were some truly nauseating moments.  The ’70s setting was a nice tribute to classic slasher films and provided a surprising amount of period detail.

On the other hand, some really cliché lines of dialogue about all of the death and darkness tended to take me right out of the creepiness.  Not a bad film overall, but I was hoping to feel more engaged with it.

Was Christa still here at the end of this one or did she book it as fast as any sane person would have at the start?  Find out here!


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The Silenced, or: Ghost Super Soldiers

October in blogland at last!  You already know this month’s theme.  We’re into hauntings, unexplained disturbances, and creepiness in general, aka Paranormal Blogtivity (admittedly a title that needs work).

The Film:

The Silenced

The Premise:

Disappearances and creepy goings-on plague a Korean girls’ school conveniently in the middle of nowhere.

The Uncondensed Version:

Bit of background:  it’s Japanese-occupied Korea, just before the outbreak of WWII.  As it goes with empires, everyone wants to go to Japan since it can provide a better education and more opportunities for young people.  This is especially true for the girls in this film, who are competing for one of two coveted spots to go to Tokyo for school.

Shizuko is a transfer student to a school that is also a sanitorium(?) in the Korean countryside that seems to specialize in embroidery and vaulting.  Seriously, they are in a traditional classroom once in this entire movie.  Though Shizuko is very ill, she starts to get better with the help of the headmistress and some very experimental treatments.  She also makes a friend, Yeon-deok, and develops romantic feelings for her.

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You know what they say about girls who know their way around embroidery cherry blossoms… (Actually, I have no idea what that even means)

Meanwhile, all kinds of creepy shit keeps happening.  There are events that seem to be tied to a ghost or some other supernatural presence—girls choking, seemingly victims of possession, and becoming very violent.  Petty high school things also happen as one girl in particular seems to have it in for Shizuko and does crazy shit like leave a dying bird in her locker and spreading rumors that she has TB.  In part, they’re uncomfortable because a girl named Shizuko disappeared before this new girl with the same name arrived.  Spooky, eh?  Sort of?

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Mandatory staring at hands in horror scene.

As Shizuko recovers, she becomes inhumanely strong, which is bad news for the girls bullying her.  You’d better believe she’ll get her Carrie moment.  What kind of medical experimentation is really going on with these girls?  And what’s up with the nearby Japanese army base?  Super sketchy shit, guys.  Super.  Sketchy.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Really brief plot summary reflects my inability to follow this very easily.  The chronology is confusing as fuck, and I never quite knew what the intent of this film is.  It begins as a ghost story, but shifts rather abruptly to a story about medical experimentation.  Make up your goddamn mind—is this a ghost story?  Forbidden schoolgirl romance?  Conspiracy?  Sociopolitical commentary?  Please pick one or two themes and develop them further.

This had a lot of promise at the beginning, and there were elements that were a bit like Guillermo del Toro’s Spanish-language films.  There’s even a really beautiful but despicable character who you are just waiting to see die violently.

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THE WORST.

The problem is that there’s no emotional resonance, which is a pretty terrible crime for a film that deals thematically with coming of age, first love, abuse, and the devastation of war.  I can’t say any of the characters felt especially three-dimensional or interesting.

I’m not crazy about revenge films, but this one may have been better off with that focus as the last 10 mins were so fucking badass.

Not a terrible film, but somewhat aimless and confusing.

Did Christa think this one made a miraculous discovery or would she rather it simply disappeared?  Find out here!