Recliner Reviews for Oct. 31, 2013

October 31, 2013 

THE CONJURING

Lili Taylor in "The Conjuring."

COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES — Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

“The Purge”

A really cool concept for a horror film – one night a year murder and mayhem are legal, so lock down your house and pray the bad guys pass you by. The question is: who are the bad guys? Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey lead the cast in a film that doesn’t provide a buttload of scares, but it does provide creepy aspects, social commentary and decent acting. And that makes it worth a watch.

“The Conjuring”

James Wan, director of the first “Saw,” got a second wind in 2010 with “Insidious,” and he continues to move away from the gore-fests and into the creep-fests that rely on atmosphere, more suspense and less slash. This time he attempts to tackle an allegedly true ghost story from the ’70s. Wan’s direction harnesses the period and Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor deliver nice performances – worth a watch.

“Maniac”

French filmmakers Franck Khalfoun (“P2”) and Alexandre Aja (“High Tension” and “P2”), come back together to make nice guy Elijah Wood into a maniac. It’s a remake of the 1980 film by the same name, and it pulls no punches. It’s hard to surpass a classic slasher film that was made in the horror renaissance of the late ’70s/early ’80s. But these guys just might’ve done it with crafty direction and a deep dive into the bloody waters of the psychology that makes an everyday dude a mass murderer – worth a watch.

“Hatchet III”

Are we the only ones that have kept up with this low-budget trilogy of Victor Crowley? All three of these movies have been a mix of classic slasher horror with the campiness of “Toxic Avenger” and Troma Entertainment – mixed with a dash of Creole legend. Plus, it stars Kane Hodder, who has played Jason Voorhees since the ‘80s, as Crowley. His swagger as a deformed, immortal, inbred killer in the swamps of Louisiana is worth a watch.

“Monsters University”

For some, terror is not their thing. Or perhaps, they have kids. Or maybe, they just want to watch a Pixar movie on Halloween. Whatever the case, this is a well made movie with monsters in it. This is the first Pixar prequel and brings back Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi as the three principle voices of the monsters. Another playful romp in a world where we have come to expect family films that everyone in the family will enjoy – worth a watch.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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