In a Nutshell. Mini reviews of movies old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. And often no sleep.

Saturday, 27 August 2016


After a successful turn with The Fast & the Furious franchise, director James Wan returns to the frightening world of The Conjuring.
Suffering from a particularly distressing case at the infamous Amityville house, real-life paranormal investigators Lorraine & Ed Warren are reluctant to take on another case until they are summoned to help out a broken family in London, England.
While it might not be nearly as pants-shittingly scary as the first film, it holds up with some heartily told human stories supported by a strong cast.  Wan maintains his knack for inventive visual frights, supremely creepy atmosphere and a cleverly paced build-up that explodes with scary grace that never seems quite as long as it actually is.

3 crooked men out of 5


budarc said...

I wasn't a fan of the first film. I thought it was vanilla at best, in terms of horror and originality. This one improved on it in every way, it gets you into a certain mood and doesn't let go. I didn't even notice the time go by. Even the emotional story between the Warrens really hit home. 4 nun wiggins out of 5

cuckoo said...

I loved the first film.
It scared the diarrhea out of me something fierce.

This one...ehh...several of the scary moments were almost laughable (one was actually).

...but, like I said in the nut, the human stories were so well done I found myself heavily invested in all of them.

Without a doubt this one will be a definite blu-ray purchase this week though.

budarc said...

It probably helps that I saw part 2 at a packed pre-screening with a bunch of raving fans and the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Same went for Don't Breathe (4 turkey basters out of 5). Some horror flicks can be really fun with the right audience.

cuckoo said...

XD I like horror films with large audiences.
They're the best.

Except the U.S. version of The Ring...I saw it alone at a matinee in a theater with only about 4 other people...
...and it scared the shit outta me.
One of my favorite theatrical experiences ever.

budarc said...

That's a great point. Sometimes a movie experience is enhanced by being all alone in a great big darkened theater (it's happened to me more often than you think).

I remember one particularly memorable/sad Halloween night, I went to go watch the 10th anniversary of Saw on the big screen and I was the only one there. It only made that movie all the more sinister. (Afterwards, I snuck into an encore presentation of The Nightmare Before Christmas and it was packed, so it all evened out.)

I guess it really depends on the movie though. I saw Lights Out at an advanced screening with a receptive audience, but it still stunk. I saw The Darkness with a medium-sized crowd and it was crap. I saw both The Forest and The Other Side of the Door all alone in a tiny theater and they sucked. I guess my point is...lots of shitty horror movies this year. :P

cuckoo said...

It's been awhile since I've seen a horror film in a desolate theater.

I saw "Saw" on opening night with my best bud. We were drunk and really obnoxious. Every time Cary Elwes was on screen we screamed out "AS YOU WISH!!!" I'm sure there were a few folks who wanted to end us right and good.

We went to go see "The Cabin in the Woods" in the same state and it was fantastic...except we were the only ones laughing at the funny parts. I don't anyone else in the packed audience were expecting the funny or were familiar with Joss Whedon's brand of humor.

It's unfortunate you saw all those shitty horror movies on the big screen. I can't think of many I'd want to see on the big screen as of recently. IN fact most of the most current films I'd think would work better in more intimate setting.....and probably still suck.
I only saw The Forest from that pack and thought it was pretty terrible. I thought it had potential for fantastic atmosphere because it was pretty much handed maximum creep factor...but then it failed in every way.

budarc said...

I guess you gotta break a few eggs to get to the really good shit. Some memorable experiences this year included The Neon Demon, The Witch, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Before I Wake, Hush, The Boy, The Purge: Anarchy, and the aforementioned Conjuring 2 and Don't Breathe. The new Blair Witch looks like it'll be a hoot to see with a crowd too.

I can't really recreate a good horror vibe at home, try as I might. Even all alone at midnight, with all the lights out and the volume up doesn't stand close to the darkened theater experience. Plus there's always that added fright factor/paranoia that someone might actually be stalking me in the dark. :P

cuckoo said...

The original Blair Witch was an absolute riot to see with an audience.
I still remember the screams and nervous laughter when the kids hands were pushing on the outside of the tent.
That freaked me out back then. I haven't seen it since but I intend to revisit someday.
Saw the 2nd one by myself and hated it. Although I read an article a month or two ago pointing out the better aspects of it and I couldn't help but agree so I might go back to that one too.
I suppose with the new one coming out soon it won't hurt to get those ones Nutted.

I don't watch a lot of horror films on my TV and usually watch them on my computer and in bed. It's more frightening and kinda funny when I find myself almost ready to hide under the covers without even knowing it. :laugh:

budarc said...

Damn, I missed the original runs of both Saw and The Blair Witch Project. But they were memorable in their own right, even watching them on VHS on a 27-inch tube TV. Maybe the problem is that I've seen too much and that's why nothing does it for me anymore.

I think the impact of the original has lessened. Last time I saw it a few years ago, I found it more funny than anything (that map scene is hysterical). Although the ending is still pretty disturbing. I'm interested to see how they follow it up in the new one.

Blair Witch: Book of Shadows is one I did see during its theatrical run though, and it was incredibly disappointing. I think there's so much mythology to explore in these movies and I can't believe it's taken them 16 years to finally revisit it.

P.S. I just checked and the first movie has already been nutted. I think I would give it 3.5 stick bundles out of 5 just out of sheer memorableness.

cuckoo said...

Yeah...I saw that it had been Nutted.
I'll revisit it anywayS....then regretfully be the one who gets to Nut the shitty sequel. :laugh:

Is the new one a remake or a sequel?
I haven't read much on it...other than saw the two trailers...the one before it was officially the Blair Witch and only had some blink and you'll miss them clues and the officially announced trailer.
It kind of looked like a remake to me.

budarc said...

It's a sequel, from what I've heard, that directly follows up on the events of the first film...which must render the Book of Shadows sequel null and void since they referenced the Blair Witch Project as a "movie" in that film. It'll be confusing to say the least. But Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett have a good track record so I'm hoping for the best. I've been purposely avoiding the trailers because I read they gave too much away. I need more spontaneity in my life. :P

budarc said...

Well, I ended up doing something spontaneous. I found out about a Blair Witch screening tonight but all the tickets were already gone -- so I went anyway on a whim, traveled over an hour to the literal boonies (a most perfect location for Blair Witch activity) and managed to get in anyway.

All I want to say about it is that it's not among one of my most memorable moviegoing experiences of the year. Also, it's a sequel but it might as well be a remake.

All in all, it's been a interesting week for early movies. Monday I saw Sully, yesterday I saw Yoga Hosers and tomorrow I'll see Rob Zombie's 31. I'm getting my Halloween off to an extra early start this year (I always say I'll do that but this year it's finally happening!).

...god, I'm lonely.