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  • Summer of 84

    Summer of 84

    ★★½

    A fun but forgettable 80s homage. Summer of 84 seems intent on merely checking the boxes of its influences, rather than building off of, or exploring them in any interesting way.

    It's well shot, and decently acted, but the various elements here never feel like they are doing much more than going through the motions. Imagine 'Stranger Things' with less talented kids, no supernatural elements and no killer synth score, and that's basically what you end up with here. The idea of your neighbors being evil has been explored in much more interesting ways elsewhere.

  • The House of the Devil

    The House of the Devil

    ★★★½

    What really impresses about this 80's throwback is its slow burning sense of control.

    Ti West doesn't go in for cheap jump scares to keep us engaged. In fact the vast majority of the film is refreshingly mundane, as we watch a dorky young woman...just be a dorky young woman. The elements of weirdness, foreboding and dread are mixed in slowly, amidst walkman dances, pizza orders, and annoying roommates.

    The House of the Devil gets the ambiance of being an…

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  • In the Mouth of Madness

    In the Mouth of Madness

    ★★

    Look, I love the Lovecraftian vibe as much as anyone, but this is stinker as far as I'm concerned.

    It's got the elements of about 5 different films wrapped into one, and John Carpenter just can't seem to commit to any one of them. There's unspeakable terrors, annoying horror writers, vaguely hinted at small town dynamics, banal commentary on social decay in the 90s, irritating meta dynamics, half-boiled noirish affectations.

    Like, just pick a direction and STICK with it for…

  • Color Out of Space

    Color Out of Space

    ★★★½

    Personally, I think H.P Lovecraft's stories work better as inspiration rather than direct adaptation. It's hard to capture the old-fashioned, cosmic horror of his writing in a way that translates well to narrative film.

    Richard Stanley's adaptation pulls it off about as well as anyone has. The direction is tight and focused, and this is easily the most professional cast to have done a Lovecraftian film in several decades.

    The family at the center of this, who wind up traumatized…