“The Changeling” is a classy thriller/horror film that hits all the right notes to provide one hell of a scary evening. Watch this alone on a dark night with all the lights out and it will give you the chills!
High school friends Julie, Helen, Barry and Ray accidentally hit a man with their car after a night of partying. Instead of doing the right thing and report the accident they decide to get rid of the body in fear of what would happen to their futures if they came clean. A year later Julie gets an ominous message simply stating “I know what you did last summer” and soon it’s apparent that the group’s buried secret is coming back to haunt them in deadly ways…
“The House With Laughing Windows” is one of those chillers that sets an uneasy tone from the start and maintains the ominous mood admirably throughout. It doesn’t hurt that stylistically the film is wonderfully lensed and the surroundings gradually become a bit otherworldly as the oppressing mood slowly tightens around the lead character. Director Pupi Avati manages to maintain the sombre mood and gradually escalate the tension. But be forewarned that it’s a fairly slow burn affair.
The small mining town of Valentine’s Bluffs has a bloody history that coincides with Valentine’s Day. The annual celebration is eagerly awaited and two supervisors of the Hanniger mine leave early and fail to check on methane levels with a number of workers still below. An explosion occurs and leaves the miners buried beneath as the celebrations go on above….
Eccentric millionaire Lionel Twain invites five of the most renowned and respected detectives in the world to his isolated mansion for a dinner and a murder. Greeting them is blind butler Bensonmum who only receives help from a hired deaf/mute maid who has a long list of things she doesn’t do; among them cooking. Before the night is over Twain promises that a murder will occur and the five best sleuths will be completely stumped.
Coming at the tail end of the slasher film’s popularity and subsequent inevitable foray into self-parody; “The Initiation” is a thriller/slasher that’s very competent in every department and takes itself seriously. It has a terrific cast of old pros and good up-and-comers, a neat mystery that’s very well played out and solid set-pieces that are both well staged and executed with flair.
Director Joe Dante is one of my favorites. He’s delivered some bona-fide classics like “The Howling”, “Gremlins” and “Innerspace”.
He’s simply an imaginative filmmaker who can play in more ways than one with the material at hand and, therefore, make them fairly unique and original.
Like many of Dante’s other films, “The ‘Burbs” pays a great deal of homage to a particular genre while also carving out a satirical standpoint that gives it it’s own identity.