Crypt Critiques

The Conjuring 2

“The Conjuring 2” will go down as another instant classic in director James Wan’s masterfully crafted horror film portfolio.

The film expertly recreates the real and eerie scenes that spotlighted the “Enfield Poltergeist” story into national headlines back in the late 1970s, but does so with unique flair.

Following the formula of its predecessor, “The Conjuring 2” intertwines its own narrative in a plot  largely based on a real-life haunting.

The film’s ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren journey off to Enfield, England, and its gloomy, foggy backdrop provides the perfect setting for the eerie and gripping tale.

While Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga do a fine job reprising their roles as the ghost hunting duo, the real star is upcoming actress Madison Wolfe, who plays the young and possessed Janet Hodgson in the film.

Expressing a gamut of emotions in the film, the young actress, through her smart and nuanced portrayal, will have viewers legitimately feeling for her.

The film may run a lengthy two hours and 14 minutes, but viewers shouldn’t worry. Its enticing story, acting and set design will have watchers glad they took the time to see one of the summer’s most interesting films

-Cesareo Contreras

Lights Out

“Lights Out” plays on the classic fear of what’s lurking in the shadows.

The story is centered on an entity, named Diana, who only comes out when the lights are out.

The main characters are the mother, Sophie, her estranged daughter Rebecca and her young son Martin.

The plot is somewhat refreshing, as there are no ghost hunters or mediums – only a broken family that comes together to fight this entity who has been terrorizing them for years.

Most of the scenes were filmed in the dark, but still came out beautifully and maintained the necessary eeriness of the film. The location of the scenes were in places that didn’t allow the audience to brace themselves, which only made them all the more scary.

The film touches upon some sensitive topics – mental illness being one of them – and viewers could be triggered by some of the scenes in the film.

As far as the “fear factor” goes, it wasn’t terrible.

There were jump scares in all the right places, but they lost their effect soon after they occurred.

That being said, the plot is interesting enough to make you want to keep watching, so while you may not be on the edge of your seat for the entire movie, you won’t be disappointed.

– Allie Gath

The Girl on the Train 

“The Girl on the Train” is a psychological thriller that transcends into a modern “Silence of the Lambs”.

Emily Blunt plays Rachel, an alcoholic divorcee who is obsessed with a couple she has never met. This couple lives near the train tracks, perfect for people watching – more like stalking. They also live on the same street on which her ex-husband and his new wife live.

Rachel often falls into drunken stupors and one night, things go black and the woman from the perfect couple is murdered. As Rachel tries to piece the night together, the movie highlights her alcoholism and she proves that people with this disease just want help.

The movie also highlights emotional domestic abuse. Without giving away many spoilers, it is evident that the three women all experience a form of emotional abuse.

“The Girl on the Train” is unique because of the ability of interchanging perspectives, thus keeping true to the critically acclaimed novel.

While reading the book prior to the film isn’t necessary, it is helpful when understanding the change in first person. Like many adaptations, the book is superior, but it should not derail the opportunity to experience the emotional train ride come to life.

– Allison Wharton

The Boy 

With a 27 percent rating from Rotten Tomatoes, “The Boy” is an awkward effort by William Brent Bell at another Chucky or Annabelle-type thriller.

“The Boy” has a promising story centered on Greta, an American nanny, hired to care for an English family’s 8-year-old boy who happens to be a life-sized doll.

When she violates a list of strict rules, Greta – played by “The Walking Dead’s” Lauren Cohan – experiences a series of disturbing events which leads her to wonder if the doll is actually alive.

While the story has potential, “The Boy” falls into the usual horror movie trope of jump scares. The story takes a while to pick up initially – a spooky noise here and a jump scare there – but only really begins once Greta breaks some of the rules.

Despite the movie devolving into jump scares left and right, Cohan gives a skillful performance.

She manages to surpass most would-be scream queens, coming across as more of a human being than a pretty face with a pair of lungs.

Cohan masters her composure despite Greta losing hers, and keeps us holding our breath along with her during the less-than-scary jump scares.

Ultimately, “The Boy” spends so much time trying to make a place for itself among “Chucky” and its brethren that it forgets to actually scare us.

-Cass Doherty

Hush

“Hush” begins with the story of a young woman who lives alone in a cabin in the woods, a fairly predictable horror movie trope.

The film takes a turn when you discover the main character is a Deaf mute.

We meet the villain of the film and chaos ensues. He quickly finds out his intended victim is Deaf, and the murderer taunts her by sending voyeuristic photos to her laptop from her stolen cell phone.

This film surprised me because although it all took place in the same small house, the director was able to maintain an interesting and evocative experience for the viewer.

You can’t help but be caught by the twists and turns created by the loss of this one sense that takes a fairly typical horror movie and turns up the dial.

One of the most unnerving aspects of this film is the scarcity of dialogue. We get an occasional gasp for air, the antagonist cries out, but this movie lacks the traditional frantic dialogue of a victim trapped.

Kate Siegel took this role on well, creating a well-rounded character who uses her disability to her advantage.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed this film, I would like to have known the motivation behind the killer. We’re never given a reason why this man chose this house or this woman in particular, we’re left guessing what motivated this man to attack the main character in her home.

– Bailey Morrison

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