Mini Movie Reviews: Halloween Edition

So this weekend, in honor of Halloween, I watched three highly acclaimed horror movies I had never seen. My mini-reviews:

(Spoilers may happen. These are not new movies.)

The Witch: Yes, it’s well-made. But it never seems sure of what it wants to be. Is it a criticism of extremist religious views? Is it a “Crucible”-like exploration of how easily children can be corrupted by hysteria? Is it a twisted family drama showing how an overbearing and self-righteous father can destroy what he professes to care for? Or…is it something supernatural…and if it isn’t, wtf is going on with the woman in the woods? One thing that I don’t think it is at all? Scary.

Midsommar: Wow, this one is beautiful. I loved looking at it. And the contrast between the lovely flower-garlanded, white-clad cult and the brutal murders it is committing is genius. (The bear thing is just fucking weird, though.) I liked how it was framed as a story about a young woman whose like is falling apart, and the fact that she never really buys into the cult but somehow gets sucked into it anyway. And let’s face it: Florence Pugh can make *anything* great. This one is very predictable (I mean, it’s a fertility cult: *of course* it will be horrible!) but still good. Again, though: is it really scary?

Hereditary: Easily the scariest one of them all, this is also the only one to dip into the supernatural in any major way. Toni Collette is another actress who makes anything she is in better, and the notion that mental illness is hereditary and can doom a family before it even gets formed is frightening. But this story doesn’t stop there, as it weaves in supernatural twists that make for great visual moments (Collette on the ceiling, her husband bursting into flame, etc.) but maybe in the end dilute the main theme? I mean: if they are being hunted by the supernatural, maybe the genetic disturbance passed through the grandmother is not quite as important? The scene with the car accident was stunning and horrifying. I wonder what the authorities will think when they eventually come upon this house’s carnage…

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