Weekly Shudder -WNUF HALLOWEEN SPECIAL

Weekly Shudder is an ongoing series of blogs/reviews of movies that are part of the online streaming service, Shudder, library.

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There are a few films I watch, and enjoy, but I think “I really can’t suggest someone watch this.” There are just movies that I like that I know most people will not.  For a recent example, I really really really completely loved THE LOVE WITCH. But I realize that there are more than a handful of people who just won’t like it or understand it.  But I do know a few friends who will absolutely adore it.  On a side note, those few friends are the best people around.

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WNUF HALLOWEEN SPECIAL is a movie that I think I’ll have a hard time selling to most of my friends, but I know there are a special handful of you that will immediately be on board with what this movie is.  Is it a horror movie?  Yes, but it’s more than a horror movie, it’s a love letter to 1980s local television. Which is to say, it’s a love letter to the era of television that I grew up on.  In other words, it’s cheesy.

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At its core, WNUF is a found-footage movie.  We, the audience, are watching a VHS copy from a 1987 news broadcast of a live call-in séance emanating inside a legendary local haunted house; hosted by local news personality Frank Stewart.  Throughout the movie we are shown some background into the house’s bloody history, lovingly borrowed from AMITYVILLE HORROR, and brought up-to-date on the status of the abandoned house that is allegedly haunted by the victims of a long ago murder.

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Sprinkled throughout the show are news updates from the in-studio news anchors as well as commercials for local businesses.  It’s in the performance of the news anchors and the realism of the hokey 80s commercials that the movie rings true and makes my heart leap for joy.

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Is WNUF scary?  No, I would say it leans more toward a charming comedy, but it’s the ending that leaves your hair a little bit on edge.  There is a noticeable difference in the end of the “live footage” and the news broadcast that ends the tape, which leads a viewer to ask themselves, “whose tape are we actually watching?”

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Based on the comments/ratings on Shudder, this isn’t a movie for everyone.  If you’re expecting jump scares and BLAIR WITCH style filmmaking, WNUF is not the movie for you.  But, perhaps, if you grew up in the 80s and early 90s, as I did, then WNUF might just tug at long forgotten memories and hit the right notes for you.

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>Patrick<

Weekly Shudder – PREVENGE

Weekly Shudder (temp name) will be an ongoing series of blogs/reviews of movies that are part of the online streaming service, Shudder, library.

I have found that the movies that have the most impact on me are the ones that I have no knowledge of before watching.  Certainly, there is a lot of crap out there to wade through, but every once in a while something special rises to the top and surprises me in a really wonderful way.  That’s exactly how PREVENGE (available exclusively on Shudder in the US) made me feel.  PREVENGE is so good, so daring, so wonderful that it was like opening a Christmas gift on Christmas morning and getting that gift that is so perfect and yet you didn’t even know you wanted it.

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Starring Alice Lowe as Ruth (Alice also wrote and directed the movie), PREVENGE is a bloody, body horror tale of a woman driven to kill by her loneliness and the malicious ravings of the baby growing inside her.  As the film progresses more the story of why Ruth is killing and how she is choosing her victims is peeled back slowly, making the reveal of the entire backstory incredibly tragic and sad.  Her victims don’t recognize Ruth, and it’s obvious by Ruth’s interactions with them that they should, and it adds to the sadness of her story when only one of her victims actually recognizes who she is beyond a pregnant woman.  For most of the movie, Ruth is a blank as a person, almost totally stripped down to one discernable trait, she’s pregnant.  Somehow this drives her to listen to her baby’s voice, and is cemented when her wet nurse explains that Ruth’s baby is now in charge of her entire life and Ruth better start listening to her baby.

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To anyone that has been through the doctor visit process during a pregnancy, that kind of talk is meaningless baby babble from a nurse or doctor.  But to Ruth, it’s something more, it is permission to succumb to her deepest desires through her baby’s commands.

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PREVENGE is a brilliant slasher film, maybe one of the best in recent memory.  It certainly deserves to be thought of in the same regard as AMERICAN PSYCHO by fans.  But dig deeper into the movie and there’s more than just bloodletting and stabs galore. PREVENGE is about the grief of loss, the hopelessness we feel when our world is turned upside down, and the struggle we all feel to control a situation that is beyond our control or ability to fix.

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There are many reasons to sign up for the Shudder streaming service, and now PREVENGE is one of them.  Available exclusively in the U.S. via Shudder, released theatrically in the U.K.

>Patrick<