7 ways to leave your Shudder

This week, desperate to see the Zoom-based British horror film, Host, I took out a free seven day subscription for Shudder, Amazon Prime’s horror extension. Having already completed Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime in lockdown, I figured it would be a good idea to ween maximum content from the subscription before I cancelled so here are the seven gems I found in my week of Shudder.

Host (2020)
I thought that the last thing I wanted, having spent nearly a year solely seeing my friends and colleagues on Zoom (other web-based platforms are available) was to watch a horror film where a group of friends conducted a seance over video chat. It turns out I was wrong. Host is a lot of fun and it genuinely set the jeepers up me, something that it becomes increasingly more difficult to do as the world continues to be its own horror show.
Host is creepy and well-paced, clever and twisted.

Oldboy (2003)
The year is important as a distinction here. Oldboy is a South Korean neo-noir directed by Park Chan-wook. We don’t talk about the Hollywood remake. Get over what Bong Joon-ho called the “one inch barrier” and read some subtitles.
Oldboy isn’t a straight horror but it’s definitely found a good place on Shudder. Having been captured and held hostage in a cell/hotel room for fifteen years, Oh Dae-su heads out for revenge, getting caught up in a romance along the way. Oh, and there’s the octopus scene.

Revenge (2017)
Imagine a French Kill Bill in the desert. A young woman is sexually assaulted and left for dead by a group of bungling idiots. What they don’t know, and perhaps this isn’t quite the spoiler you were expecting, is that she didn’t die. Dragging her sorry ass away to a cave to recover with the help of some harrowing McGyver medical procedures, Jen (played by Matilda Lutz (who keeps mysteriously appearing on my Pinterest)) heads off on a rip-roaring revenge plot that makes Tarantino’s gore-work look like an episode of Sesame Street. I found myself wincing, terrified at how much more they could endure before she delivered sweet justice.
Revenge is a lot of fun. It’s dark, bloody and offers sweet, sweet justice.

The Furies (2019)
A fun little Australian cross between Mad Max and The Purge. Kayla is kidnapped and becomes the unwitting participant in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Featuring some wonderfully gross use of skin masks akin to Leatherface and a league of gore, it’s a hit for those who like a bit of melodrama mixed in with their horror.

It Follows
There are any number of horror films where it is teens having fumbles that become the victims of a masked psychopath, what I don’t believe I had seen before is a curse that is (spoiler coming (pun intended)) passed on through sexual intercourse. Once you’ve lost your precious V-plates, nobody wants to be followed around by a cursed ghost girl who will kill them off. There are many ways for It Follows to be read but there’s a lot to be said for the break it gives from the way modern horror has relied on slashers. Instead, it has some breathtaking choreography, a sense of foreboding that sets it apart and something interesting to say.

Vivarium (2019)
I heard a lot about Vivarium through the awkward interview that Eisenberg gave to Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo a year ago. I expected it to be like The Double, a Twilight Zone kind of concept that may or may not have delivered the goods. Instead, I was treated to a creepy look at endless suburbia.
Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots play a young couple on the hunt for a starter home. After being convinced to visit a house in a new build estate, they discover that they’re physically incapable of escaping the place again, looping around the block regardless of which way they turn, forced to face their relationship and their sanity down together.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)
What is there that I can say about this film that hasn’t been written in a more succinct and timely manner. I suppose the real issue is that it took me until now to see the film all the way through. I had seen many of the set pieces, from the wonderful pub, The Slaughtered Lamb, through to the transformation scenes which remain as chilling as they would have when the film first appeared.
The real surprise for me came in the humour of the film as well as an odd cameo from Rik Mayall and Brian Glover, a man I know best as the neighbour, The Rottweiller, in the Bottom epsiode, Gas.
If you haven’t seen AAWIL as nobody is calling it then I suggest you hope to it.

Published by Paul

Paperback writer.

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