Today’s episode of Sounds of Cinema continued this month’s Halloween theme by catching up on reviews of some of the horror films and other spooky movies released this year. Here is a rundown of the titles reviewed on today’s show as well as some of the other horror films covered earlier this year.
Barbarian – One of the better horror films of 2022. Barbarian hints at some bigger social commentary but doesn’t quite get there. Nevertheless, Barbarian is a very scary and entertaining haunted house picture.
The Black Phone – Based on the short story by Joe Hill, The Black Phone is a frightening and suspenseful horror picture. While the plotting is a little wobbly, the film succeeds as a story of captivity and survival.
Bodies Bodies Bodies – More of a thriller/mystery than a horror picture , Bodies Bodies Bodies sardonically sends up the values and eccentricities of contemporary youth culture while telling a compelling mystery. It’s not a deep film but it is well made and is both funny and suspenseful.
Day Shift – This vampire hunting action picture is a bland mix of cliché storytelling, unfunny humor, and uninspired filmmaking. It is a disappointing and frustratingly lazy movie.
Firestarter – A frustratingly inept adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. There are pieces of a potentially interesting picture here but they’ve been executed and assembled in the clumsiest way imaginable, resulting in a film that is incoherent.
Fresh – The filmmakers skillfully manage comedy and horror within a smart and incisive take on male-female relationships.
Goodnight Mommy – This remake repeats all the relevant elements of its predecessor but without the style or the audacity of the 2014 film. It is a remake that only exists to capitalize on a familiar title and American audience’s unwillingness to read subtitles.
Halloween Ends – The final entry in David Gordon Green’s sequel trilogy is an ambitious entry in this series, departing from the usual stalk and slash thrills. It deserves credit for doing something new but the film’s many parts don’t quite come together.
Hellbender – Concise to a fault, Hellbender is an effective and unique work of folk horror featuringstartling images that are viscerally horrifying but contain larger implications.
Hocus Pocus 2 – This is not a great movie but neither was its predecessor. The sequel makes for acceptable family-friendly Halloween viewing and it ought to appeal to fans of the 1993 picture.
The Innocents – A challenging and in some ways unpleasant movie that is also extremely well crafted with a thoughtful script and great performances by its child actors. The Innocents is a tough watch but offers a lot to think about afterward.
Men – An impressively crafted horror picture that might be a little too arty for its own good. The filmmakers make a show of their technical acumen while combining slasher movie thrills and an ambitious visual style.
The Munsters – Rob Zombie is a self-professed Munsters fan and this film is clearly an attempt to share his affection for that show and its characters. While Zombie’s enthusiasm is evident, The Munsters fails at virtually every filmmaking metric.
Nope – Jordan Peele 2022 film was a Spielbergian science fiction and horror picture. It demonstrates a different tone and bigger scope than Peele’s other films and Nope puts a unique twist on a familiar genre.
Orphan: First Kill – This prequel isn’t as creepy as the original picture but it does have its own share of thrills and surprises. The filmmakers find an approach that is fresh enough to justify the prequel.
Prey – This fifth entry in the Predator series is among the best. It does not develop the larger story world the way some of the other sequels did but Prey does offer the primal survivalist thrills that made the original Predator a classic.
The Reef: Stalked – This film has a great first half but falls apart in the second half. It lacks the primal terror of the original film and its attempt to be more action oriented just makes it less believable.
Scream – The fifth film in the Scream series injected new life into the franchise. The 2022 film does for the contemporary audience what the original film did for 1990s viewers.
Smile – Despite a relentlessly and maybe mistakenly cynical ending, Smile is a successful horror picture. It mixes scares with a tangible sense of how trauma and depression haunt the afflicted.
Terrifier 2 – A sequel that is overlong and overdone but the moviemakers understand their audience and demonstrate ambition and showmanship. Terrifier 2 is brutal and gross which is exactly what it is trying to be.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre – A direct sequel to the 1974 original film. This is far from the worst entry in the franchise but it’s not very scary. The movie is a grab bag of gore, callbacks, and half-developed ideas.