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Six Flix Weekly Horror Movie Watches

This week, we embrace the great escape, honoring the healing power of horror by watching films about escape while we escape from the world.

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At AlethalWeaponArt, movies (particularly horror) are a huge part of our life — and our business — so we take time to celebrate the art of film every day. Follow along with us to see what we watched each week. We will tell you if it’s worth watching or if you should skip it altogether and why.

Editor’s Note:

We watch horror films to be scared and excited and thrilled. However, there’s also something emotionally and psychologically healing about watching horror as a healthy escape from reality. The more devastating the horror off-screen is, the more we turn to onscreen horror for some relief.

Horror films address questions that haunt us, allowing us to confront our fears while simultaneously helping us self-medicate from the kind of fear and anxiety we can’t control by offering a far more manageable, manufactured kind of fear that can be comforting in turbulent times.

Films have always been a reflection of our society and our shared fears and anxieties. The events of the world significantly shape our perspectives and the stories we choose to tell or seek out. Our most treasured horror classics have been crafted under the influence of world tragedy and collective trauma.

READ A BRIEF HISTORY OF HORROR

Horror didn’t always start out as dark and intense as it is today. Early horror films of the 1900s — classic films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, and The Phantom Carriage — were more spooky supernatural tales featuring ghosts and mythical monsters.

In the shadow of major conflicts like World War I and the Great Depression, viewers craved a kind of escapism that was removed from a troubling reality.

In the 50s and 60s, horror started to shift to a nastier form of realism following a terrifying and gruesome Second World War and the emergence of the Cold War. This gave rise to psychological horror thrillers like Psycho and Rosemary’s Baby.

In the 70s and 80s, when the U.S. experienced a surge in violent crime alongside the aftermath of the brutal Vietnam War — a cavalcade of carnage and inhumanity that, for the first time, was pumped into the living rooms of every American household television set — horror became darker and more drenched in blood-soaked reality. This gave rise to slasher films like Friday the 13th and the horror of the unknown like Alien and Jaws.

As global conflicts became less prominent in the 90s and early 2000s, the genre hit a slump, offering little to surprise, innovate, or leave a lasting mark. The occasional film that was able to offer something different — like Scream, The Blair Witch Project, or The Ring — became an instant sensation.

Once the world took another terrible turn following the September 11 attacks, horror returned with a vengeance, offering nastier and more violent films like Saw and the rise of “torture porn”. Films about the end of the world became prolific and popular.

Modern horror is ever-changing and evolving as the world around us continues to feel increasingly chaotic and unpredictable.

Following the global pandemic and increased political turmoil and national division, horror had yet another massive resurgence — giving comfort to people crippled by a new kind of anxiety and depression and increasingly tense social dynamics.

This horror movie-watching week, we escape from the world with a week of escape-themed terrors. Sadly, however, we couldn’t quite escape the bad movie curse, batting a mere 50% when it came to hits versus misses this week.

1. ESCAPE ROOM (2017, THE ONE WITH SKEET ULRICH)

We went on a little escape room binge this week and had to put this one on the list because of our boy Skeet Ulrich. If we had any expectations we would’ve been disappointed; it is a pretty useless film.

The couples it follows are almost unbearable, the dialogue is bad and boring at the same time, and you end up hating everyone in the movie. The acting leaves a lot to be desired but it’s kind of enjoyable to make fun of. Skeets’ character Brice is pretty pathetic and not very bright, and his decisions throughout make no sense.

The plot is very questionable.

A demon box from the Middle East makes its way to a small town vintage shop in America. Brice, an Escape game owner, is looking to spice up his show and decides to steal the dangerous box despite the very specific warnings. The Demon Box ends up possessing one of the employees locked in the escape room with the couples and he kills them off slowly as they don’t solve the puzzle in time.

Why would a demon care if you completed a puzzle? He wouldn’t.

It gets pretty silly at the end, and there is nothing redeeming that would make this worth watching. 

Not recommended; you can, however, watch it for free on Tubi.

2. ESCAPE ROOM (2017, THE ONE WITHOUT SKEEET ULRICH)

This one started with a bang intro that never really made sense, and it was pretty terrible overall. The movie follows six friends, three horrendous couples on a Birthday trip to an escape room. It is more like an absolutely insane and non sensical murder game.

This plot is a joke with one or two cool effects on the way.

You absolutely despise each and every poorly written and shallow character. Their deaths aren’t exciting or brutal enough to make up for how awful they are although there was a cool acid gas scene.

Other than that there is nothing worth noting, and it is not worth a watch outside of one cool kill. 

KILL OF THE WEEK: The acid gas scene in Escape Room!
Not recommended; it’s on Tubi if you’re curious.

3. ESCAPE: PUZZLE OF FEAR (2020)

This was such a weird one, but not in an interesting way. Not one part of this movie is creepy, spooky or scary.

This one opens on some randoms winning an escape game then cuts to a weird sex scene. It starts on the slower side following two couples meeting up in a nice house with a lot of weird flashbacks of this little girl locked up in a hospital. Pretty bad acting and weird characters. The wife (Aubrey Reynolds) is cute but we hate her husband (Tommy Nash).

As the movie goes on, there are more and more strange flashback scenes. This movie is edited very oddly and the placement of these scenes seems to  make little to no sense. It has a fun little twist ending that isn’t hard to see coming but we didn’t hate it.

Overall, this movie has little to offer and is not worth a watch. 

Not recommended; watch it for free on Tubi if you must.

4. ESCAPE ROOM (2019)

OUR FAVORITE OF THE WEEK!

Finally, we found a gem!

This one is a blast, it’s fast paced and unique, and the characters give you plenty to talk about.

The premise is simple: six strangers compete in an Escape Room for a cash prize. Nik Dodani plays this game expert and easily the best character. He brings some humor to the movie in a way that feels natural, and he is the least annoying. Everybody else is pretty irritating, but at least the acting is better in this Escape Game than any of the previous ones this week.

We hate the main girl played by Taylor Russell. She is so meek and annoying. Jay Ellis plays an equally annoying and more obnoxious man who is rude throughout but fun to hate on.

All of the rooms they encounter are really intricate and beautiful death traps. The group slowly works together to progress in the game and get through as many rooms as they can. Of course, people die along the way. We even liked the ending.

This is fun to watch and easy to get through with some interesting kills and good tension throughout. 

Recommended; watch on Hulu or rent on VOD.

5. DARK HARVEST (2023)

Dark Harvest thrusts you into a spooky world of masks and monsters.

We are introduced to a small town with a strange tradition. Every Halloween a creature known as Sawtooth Jack (Dustin Ceithamer) with a jack-o-lantern head and a heart of candy comes from the cornfields to cause trouble. There is a night where all the teenage boys in the town attempt to catch and kill him. This is called “The Run”. The winner of the annual run earns wealth for his family, a car, and money to leave the town.

Richie Shepherd (Casey Likes) decides to take part in the run, even though he shouldn’t because his older brother Jim (Britain Dalton) won last year. As the run approaches, Ritchie teams with Kelly Haines (E’myri Crutchfield) , a local girl, to hunt down Sawtooth and reveal the truth of the run.

The Halloween vibes are strong throughout, and the masks and all the jack-o-lanterns really add to the festive feel of the movie. It’s shot very well and has a great atmosphere.

This is definitely worth a watch, although, it would be especially fun during October.

Recommended; watch it on Prime Video or rent on VOD.

6. COME PLAY (2020)

Come Play is a very interesting concept and a spooky feeling movie. We were pleasantly surprised by this one.

It was well acted with Gillian Jacobs as Sarah (the mother), John Gallagher Jr. as Marty (the father), and Azhy Robertson as Oliver (their child). It follows a basically non-verbal autistic child as a monster named Larry becomes attached to him and attempts to break into their world through electronic and mobile devices.

It’s an interesting concept executed well. We loved the artwork in the “Book” about Larry. Come Play is shot well, the tension builds nicely, and it has some genuinely creepy parts. The end gets a little weird but not enough to detract from the overall enjoyment.

If you’re looking for a reasonably tame fantasy horror film with some familiar faces, this is a solid pick.

Recommended; watch it on Freevee..

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