Halloween Marathon: We Need To Talk About Kevin & Absentia (Double feature)

I had originally wanted to do these two separately.  These both got third highest amounts of votes in the Halloween polls for psychological thrillers and everything else horror.  BUT, after trimming my movie rundown, I still have two movies that I really want to check out for this Halloween marathon so that means, mega movie night tonight. YUP!

I’m going to say right now that watching anything other than Friday the 13th sounds so refreshing.  I’ll have a huge recap on November 1st once I’ve gotten all the business taken care of. Friday the 13th made me forget what an actual horror movie felt like.  I never was genuinely scared in this marathon. Thats saying a lot because I’m so easily frightened.

Now, I needed to get myself in the right state of mind to watch these but I really wanted to, along with probably 4 other ones on the initial poll.  I’m sure I’ll fit those in eventually, just not in this marathon 🙂 Lets get the show on the road.  After all, we do have 2 movies to talk about!


we need to talk about kevin

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Cast: Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller, John C. Reilly, Jasper Newell, Ashley Gerasimovich

Kevin’s mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.- IMDB

I have no idea how to sum up the movie so I’m just going to use whats on IMDB.  However, as much as its showing the course of Kevin’s mother (Tilda Swinton) trying to love her son, its also about her trying to make sense of everything that lead to his final act.

we need to talk about kevin

We Need To Talk about Kevin is one of those psychological personality analysis of two people.  In this case, its Tilda Swinton’s character as Kevin’s mother flipping through the upbringing of his son’s life and figuring out why he did that final act.  What was the reasoning behind it and whether it was essentially her fault as everyone else seems to treat her like she’s the one responsible.  It a true look at the whole nature versus nuture story of what affects growth and development the most.  I get that as I’m watching it, except I feel that the material is a little too deep to be brought to the big screen.  Its the same reason I was happy to read Gone Girl or The Lovely Bones before seeing a movie.  I’m guessing the novel dives into a more balanced two sides of the story view.  In this one, Ezra Miller’s Kevin gets such a small part although the younger version of him really does bring out a little of his character already.  Being based on a source material that probably is pretty deep is hard to bring it to the big screen and now I really want to check that out and revisit this movie because I feel like I might appreciate it more.

we need to talk about Kevin

Although, I do think the material is not shown appropriately or could possibly be more effective.  There is no doubt that the performances were all around amazing.  This is my first time watching everyone except John C. Reilly and I can’t even remember what I saw him in before. I know understand why everyone raves about the stellar performances by Tilda Swinton because she grasped her role very well.  I really understood her perspective of this and just the confusion and despair of being in her situation.  I’m in the stage of life where its almost time to decide when to have kids and this really clings on to make you wonder: who can predict how your child turns out.  Its funny because it makes me think about a Chinese saying about  how who you are at 3 determines who you will be at 80.  I guess, nature plays a role but nurture is also a big thing because the script always gets in a little bit about how there are a lot of similarities between Kevin and his mother.  On the other hand, I might have wanted to see more of Ezra Miller’s role but that ending definitely was thought provoking.

Not really a horror per se, but as a psychological thriller it does hit a few buttons with its awesome performances.



Director: Mike Flanagan

Cast: Katie Parker, Courtney Bell, Dave Levine, Justin Gordon, Morgan Peter Brown

 Its been seven years since Tricia’s (Courtney Bell) husband Daniel (Morgan Peter Brown) has gone missing.  Now, she’s pregnant and slowly learning to move on with her life as she prepares to file for his death certificate under the reason of absentia.  Her sister Callie (Katie Parker) drops by to help her pack up and move forward. This is when they realize that maybe  there’s something more to the disappearance of Daniel.

Goodness, thats a bad summary I wrote up there.  Its okay, I really just don’t want to say too much.  Absentia is one of the more creepy movies.  The first time a creepy scene came in I turned off the movie for a solid 5 minutes before deciding to turn it back on.  Because you know what? I need to tough it out since Halloween is literally around the corner.

Absentia can be split into two parts. The first part is creepy and builds up the story of Tricia and how she inner struggle while Callie is also finding herself and trying to be helpful to her sister.  At the same time, they both have some creepy incidents that happen.  The second half takes a abrupt turn and changes a few factors in Tricia’s life especially but pulls Callie into a more main role as she starts seeing that there might be more to the disappearance and may be linked to a bigger picture.


Absentia is very much an independent horror film and some of the shots and how they move around is obvious that fact but it has a kick ass story.  I was totally pulled in and even though the start scared me so much, I’m happy that I toughed it out because the director and writer Mike Flanagan is fantastic.  He knows how to put a story like this one into a movie and balance the right factors, giving the right scares and the perfect sound and silence and even when to reveal or not to reveal anything.

Maybe its because I’ve been sitting around watching campy movies for the last month that I’m even easier pleased and I was extremely jumpy but Absentia has an awesome story behind a good cast and the atmosphere that Mike Flanagan puts together feels so perfect. He takes you on twists and turns and times them really well.  I don’t usually rate horror harshly (unless its for Shitfest) but I do know when I have a great one and this one is a must-watch horror experience on so many levels.

Another double feature done!

Have you seen We Need to Talk about Kevin? What did you think of the performances? Which aspect was the best in this movie? Did you feel that there should’ve been a stronger emphasis on the grown up Kevin (although this movie was already pretty long)?

How about Absentia? Have you seen it? Did you like how it ended (because I did!)? Was it on some level creepy for you? 

Horror Movie Survival Kit

What would  you want handy if you were part of a horror movie?

Do you ever wonder that when you turn on that horror movie or in the process of watching it?  Do you ever think to yourself what would have helped in that moment to get to the end credits alive?

Halloween is the time for horror movies.  As I go through my Halloween horror month and head into the second half of the month of the movie marathon life, I can think of all those movies I’ve seen (whether Friday the 13th or not) of what would be so useful to get through a monster attack, zombie apocalypse, chased down by a crazy slasher in the middle of nowhere (or ever somewhere civilized).

There seems to always be a formula of how the setting is and what happens.  How would you approach it?

Man Crates Gifts for Men is a company that focuses on gifts for men and their community manager reached out and told me about their campaign called the Horror Movie Survival Kit. The concept is simple.  If you were stuck in a horror movie, what would you want as your Horror Movie Survival Kit in your personalized crate.  There is no number limit of items.

I thought this campaign is a really fun idea.  After giving it some thought, I thought about portability, usefulness and durability (especially in the case of a zombie apocalypse or being in the middle of nowhere).

Here’s my list:


rechargeable flashlight

Flashlights are the one thing I always would want in a horror movies because they are just so damn dark.  ALL THE TIME! How would you like to have a flashlight to see further ahead and know whats there before you step into that dark room while escaping or at least using it to quickly find your path and see if you are walking into another corpse or obstacle on the ground.  Its usefulness is unquestionable except, I don’t want to deal with batteries because you know in that crucial moment, those batteries are going to run out and instead of fumbling for some in the millions of pockets, I’d rather give that flashlight a few shakes so that it’ll recharge again.  Its relatively quiet and kind of quick.  I’d say thats already a better alternative.


Just an example :)

Just an example 🙂

Goodness knows where this horror movie is but at least with nice sturdy shoes, it’ll have the grip to climb stuff quickly and run through forests and all that tough work.  If it was at a party or a beach thing, at least its not running in heels or flip-flops.  I guarantee you that its a shortcut for falling flat on your face and whoever and whatever is chasing you is going to attack.  No way I’m letting that happen!

3. WEAPONS(Portable Machete/Guns/Extra Ammunition)

I’m pretty sure this goes without saying that whatever situation, you need some form of weapons. I couldn’t decide between guns (because I’ve never shot one) but then its a movie, realistically speaking, it’ll work out somehow.


At least its something.  Extra ammunition goes without saying.  If you asked me what guns exactly, give me Resident Evil Alice’s Double Shotguns or those Silver Nite-Tac ones and I’m a happy camper.  As for the machete, just portable one is fine, like smaller than the big ones. Something I can tuck away and access easily but not hurt when running.  That sounds like a pretty good plan.


Portable first aid kit

There is no way to avoid getting hurt in a horror movie.  So, disinfectants at the minimum is needed regardless of alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, along with band-aids, Polysporin (if possible) or maybe add in a few painkillers.  I think this sounds pretty reasonable.  On the downtime, it would be useful to have this.  I don’t go anywhere without band-aids and I’m not in a horror movie, just saying 😉



Unless you are in a slasher flick, where its usually a one night do or die deal, most of time its a relatively stretched out battle.  I’ll need to keep replenished and hydrated.  I’m hoping that water hasn’t been contaminated whatever scenario I’m trapped in because I’d keep that bottle near by. I just hope that it doesn’t get too heavy.  And well, at least a little bit of food to stay decently nourished.  Its either that or getting some Centrum but pills tend to be heavy and noisy when carrying it around.

Other than that…

The best recipe for getting out of a horror movie alive comes in the form of something I can’t pack in a crate but rather in my mind and its called common sense and quick reflexes.  I need to remember to keep that in check even in panic because you don’t want to be that person that just freezes when some crazy man comes at you with some scary weapon.  Or stop or not shoot them a second time or in the case of Jason Voorhees, chop off his head so he doesn’t come back alive for 11 movies.

I’m not very unique in what I need because I really think sometimes simplicity is the way to go.

Now its your turn.  What would you bring in your horror movie survival kit/crate?

Fantasia Film Festival 2014: The Harvest (2013)

I’ve put this off long enough. The Harvest was one of the later additions to my Fantasia list.

It also had the director John McNaughton hosting the movie so we had a Q&A afterwards which I stayed for, even though it was so late and a Monday night.  Regardless, I sat around wondering how to write this review and the animations were just easier to write up because I knew exactly how I felt for those. Actually, its not not knowing where I stand but actually how to write it without exposing too much. I feel like there’s an aspect here where if you figured out what was going down the whole time (and I have no idea how you would), maybe the shock factor would be less and the impact would be less as well.

First, lets start with a little synopsis of The Harvest.

The HarvestDirector: John  McNaughton

Cast: Michael Shannon, Samantha Morton, Natasha Calis, Charlie Tahan, Peter Fonda

A mother and doctor, Katherine (Samantha Morton) and her husband and former nurse Richard (Michael Shannon) are bound to their home to take care of their very sick son, Andy (Charlie Tahan).  They keep him under their close surveillance all the time and restrict him from going outdoors to protect him from possibly getting worse, hoping it will ease him into recover.  However, when Maryann (Natasha Calis), a young girl moving in next door comes by and sneaks in to play with Andy, their friendship grows with each others company.  Maryann finds her only friend in this new town that she just moved into after her parents death and Andy learns companionship that he hasn’t had before.  Except, Katherine is not quite so accepting of this and finds all ways possible to prevent Maryann from coming by again.  Maryann’s persistence leads to a growing resentment and challenges the control Katherine has over Andy.

The Harvest Natalie Calis

Everything starts with this situation up there.  The Harvest doesn’t sound like there’s a lot going on from my synopsis.  For the most part, you might even wonder if you’re just watching a drama, at least I did.  Except, when the turning point happens, things really crumble really fast.  Lets just say overprotective mothers are the one thing you DO NOT want to encounter especially when trying to get between them.  See, thats why I stopped dating a certain type of guys.  That was a joke but also true.  But I do see reason in all that.  I grew up with a overprotective mother as well but after I saw this, I realized its really just me who thought she was like that.  I mean, one of the fun parts of watching this movie with a bunch of other people who obviously like film  and have fun with these events is that at some point, some guy in the crowd yells, “Crazy bitch” and of course, everyone laughs even though its super intense.  Seriously, I kept whispering that under my breath but this guy went out and said it.  Very awesome 😉

The Harvest

So far, this write-up is really going nowhere.  One thing that is very true is that although The Harvest is slow and its like nothing really much is going on and question marks are floating around my head for a good part of the beginning because I don’t get the deal of this lady, this movie is all about dark humor. In the Q&A session, someone asked the director John McNaughton whether we were supposed to laugh during some of the parts.  This is a pretty intense and serious and psychologically creepy story.  Trust me, I laughed and a few others did at certain points too. I see the point as to why someone might not laugh at it because you are just sitting here tensed up but I truly think it was meant to be funny and break the intensity just a little.  Anyways, he answers something really smart along the lines of how when things get really grim, its good to use some humor to balance it.  I agree with that 🙂

The Harvest

I’ve only seen Michael Shannon in a few roles before this one but he’s always been the dark roles type of guy in my mind.  And thats how he is fantastic for this role.  He’s not exactly in a great position: his marriage is somewhat strained because his wife doesn’t trust his abilities to care for their son and well, no one can do better for him because she is the doctor.  Then, his son is sick and having a hard time recovering.  You can see that he is stuck in the middle of two sides and he is trying to create a balance but he struggles to find one at the same time.  He may be a bit more accepting of Maryann’s “intrusion” into their lives but he also doesn’t want to create more trouble than needed.

On the other hand, Samantha Morton is also wildly fantastic in this role. As the irrationally overprotective mom, she nails it.  Every moment she’s on screen is a moment you wonder what she’ll do next because she’s unpredictable and as the movie goes along, you really have no idea how she’ll react because things get crazy and intense.  Katherine is a complex character and Samantha Morton takes it and really runs with it.

The Harvest

The children in this movie, Natasha Calis and Charlie Tahan are casted pretty well also. They both have  great job doing their respective roles.  Charlie Tahan’s Andy is simply sickly and he really is weak and has no control over his life.  Even though, he wants to achieve many things in his life, we can see his boredom and the enthusiasm and hope that Maryann brings him.  On the other hand, Maryann is a great character played by Natasha Calis, she starts with a pretty grim look at life because she doesn’t want to be in this small town living with her grandparents.  However, her literal breaking into Andy’s room was a pretty funny accident and one that initiates a lot of other problems as the movie progresses.  Her persistence for the friendship is amazing but at the same time, her loyalty is what wins the heart of the audience.  Although she makes some silly choices in my opinion, it does enhance the idea that she is just a child and she will not have well-thought out plans like adults.

The Harvest

Overall, The Harvest is a pretty good horror movie.  It targets the psychological aspect of an overprotective mother and that gets way out of control really fast.  Its a modern and twisted look at a classic fairy tale, is what the director calls it. I won’t tell you which one but I can totally see it.  The atmosphere that John McNaughton creates is really amazing.  The setting is well chosen and the cast really pulls off how the characters should act.  Sure, I spent a good part of the movie not really knowing where this is going but there is no doubt that the intensity notches up exponentially as the story picks up and we really see whats going on.

The Harvest is slow, gripping, intense ride into the world of a dark and troubled family and a girl that enters into it by mistake and the discoveries she makes and the things she needs to overcome.  I’m not sure how many people will appreciate it but I definitely did.  When the movie ended, I really thought that John McNaughton (although I saw nothing of his before) picked a great story and chose a really good angle in portraying it the way he did.

Are you familiar with the work of Michael Shannon? John McNaughton? How about the rest of the cast? What type of horror movies are the most effective for you?

Halloween Marathon: The Caller (2011)

Took me a few days to work up the courage to watch a horror movie by myself.  I ended up starting it and then my boyfriend woke up from my shuffling around opening the lights in my room after a jump scare scene. Yay! Company..haha! I’m building up the intensity of these horror movies.  I’ve been eyeing The Caller for a while.  I’ve never heard of it before I got Netflix and even then, I didn’t even check out what the actual plot was but hey, an unknown horror movie with actors I know: Rachelle Lefevre from Under the Dome and Stephen Moyer from True Blood! Lets check it out!

The Caller posterDirector: Matthew Parkhill

Cast: Rachelle Lefevre, Stephen Moyer, Luis Guzman, Lorna Raver, Ed Quinn

Mary Kee (Rachelle Lefevre) moves into a new apartment after her leaving her controlling husband, Steven (Ed Quinn) and settling the divorce with a restraining order.  As she tries to adapt to her new single life and avoid her ex-husband as he ignores the order, she starts getting calls from a strange woman who keeps asking for a man who doesn’t live there anymore.  The mysterious woman, Rose (Lorna Raver), eventually reveals that she is calling from the past and eventually gets attached to her and when she starts to avoid the calls, all the woman wants is revenge.

the caller rachelle lefevre

The Caller is a mystery horror thriller and a really great one at that! Its starts itself in a eerie and dark tone and has a lot of suspenseful music in the background to complement it.  I had no idea what to expect from it, seeing as I didn’t even know the story.  The premise is pretty clever and creative.  Although, it did somehow pan out to be something like Butterfly Effect.  Thats all I’m going to say about it as its filled with plot twists, thrills, suspense, even a little chills.

the caller stephen rachelle

The characters are focused mostly on Rachelle Lefevre who plays Mary Kee.  I’ve only seen her once before in Under the Dome series.  The reason I chose this was also because I thought she did a great job over there.  I’d have to say she’s pretty convincing in this one.  Mary Kee really tries to brings in and you can see her trying to adapt to life but of course, the unexpected thing happens and things turn bad really quick but still, she tries to keep calm and take care of herself.  As for the other main character, Rose was just a voice on the other side.  Its crazy how a voice can be so sinister and creepy and really send chills up your spine. I later saw that it was portrayed by Lorna Raver. Another instance of properly using the unknown.  Third up, we have Stephen Moyer who plays the guy that Mary Kee starts to date and kind of the only other person who looks out for her. Its one of the bigger roles I’ve seen Stephen Moyer in other than being some random cameo here and there.

the caller questions

As much as the dark scenes sometimes would get on my nerves in the beginning, it really did get on my nerves in a very scary way after a while. It made you feel like there was always someone peeking/stalking/following her everywhere.  It comes with the music, the pace, the camera angle all combined together and it just builds up as the movie goes along. The story itself was a mystery, does it exist, is it a prank? Sure, the story isn’t perfect. Its a very interesting concept that has some parts that don’t completely make sense, but I still think it was a really good horror thriller.

I’d definitely recommend this.  I don’t understand why its not rated well on RT and IMDB but at least, I found that its was a new twist to the normal stuff.  I always enjoy a good thriller and this one is worth your time. Maybe I’m the minority but I’d say to give it a chance! 🙂