Grey Gravestone RIP

i would like to give a general disclaimer that i'm just somebody who really likes horror movies so i figured i might as well share my opinions about them somewhere. it's ok if you disagree, this is just my personal rating of movies that came out in 2022 that i thought deserved to be talked about (at least 3/5 "stabs"). major spoilers are blacked out until you hover over them.

 planning to review:
- hellraiser
- prey
- barbarian
- bodies (x3)

credit to sictaena for the tv

fresh - written by lauryn kahn & directed by mimi cave

synopsis: "the horrors of modern dating seen through one young woman's defiant battle to survive her new boyfriend's unusual appetites."
my review: (slight spoilers) i didn't think i would be able to see sebastian stan as a killer, let alone a cannibal, but he sold the shit out of it. typically cannibalism depicted in horror really makes me sick to my stomach, but stan's character, "steve", spent so much time dancing around and making jokes about it that i too was able to downplay the seriousness of it in my mind for a bit. i'd never seen the lead actress, daisy edgar-jones, in anything else before, but she was fantastic. i feel like this movie was screaming "girl power!" without pandering and being annoying about it. also, the music and cinematography were both great! parts of this movie were just really fun and made me laugh a lot. unlike with some black comedies i can definitely see myself watching it again because there's really nothing i disliked about it.
update/addition: it's 2023 now and i can't believe that i haven't heard more people talking about this movie. it could be because it was a hulu exclusive instead of a theatrical release but i'm just bummed it didn't get more attention.
my rating:   4.5/5 stabs

pearl - written by ti west and mia goth & directed by ti west

synopsis: "in 1918, a young woman on the brink of madness pursues stardom in a desperate attempt to escape the drudgery, isolation and lovelessness of life on her parents' farm."
my review: on this website, as one of my friends likes to say, we respect women's rights and her wrongs (so of course, i really liked this movie). i love that mia goth co-wrote the script for this movie because i feel like it just added more depth to the chracter and probably made her feel more comfortable experimenting with the way she portrayed pearl on film. not only was the acting amazing, but the cinematography was so beautiful and all the colors popped in a way that makes my brain happy. it was meant to somewhat emulate technicolor film, which was starting to come out around when the movie takes place. there are a lot of parallels to the wizard of oz, which is considered to be the first movie filmed in technicolor. mia goth acted her ass off in this movie and it's just something i can't really compare to any other horror movie because it just feels so unique. since it's a prequel, you can watch it as a standalone, but it does add more to your understanding of elderly pearl in x. they definitely feel like very different movies, though. i thought it was pretty cool that they started production on this movie before x even released, which made it possible for them to put both out in the same year. i will say that if you're very sensitive to animal death, then this movie might not be for you. overall, i really loved this movie and i can't wait for the third installment in the series!
my rating:   4.5/5 stabs

nope - written & directed by jordan peele

synopsis: "the residents of a lonely gulch in inland california bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery."
my review: i've loved every movie peele has put out so far, and i certainly was not disappointed by his most recent. his ability to give you so much more to chew on than what is directly being shown is really amazing to me. i always love when i walk away from a theatre thinking i want to see the same movie next week. it took me so long to get to this review because there was so much to think about and analyze that i was having trouble deciding what to even say. when the trailer first came out i really liked the visuals but wondered, "how deep can an alien movie really be?" silly me. i'll start out by highlighting how well each actor did fleshing out the characters and making them entirely believable. of course, a lot of it is because peele gave these characters real depth and they each had their own motivations. i also loved peele's unique vision when it came to the ufo.
i thought it was really cool that the entire thing was the alien, like some giant carnivorous sky whale. i also liked that there was no effort to explain some greater reason the alien was there, or how it even got there. it's simply a big intergalactic animal that found a new home and wants the neighbors to shut the fuck up and stop staring at it.
i really appreciated the fact that the trailers didn't give too much away about what really happens in the movie, which made certain parts really jarring because i was not expecting them at all (i.e. gordy's breakdown, which i will not be writing about because go watch the movie). over all, i thought this movie was a really great cinematic experience and it also gave the viewer a lot of food for thought: about trying to tame and control things we don't understand, about the commodification of tragedy and spectacle, and about flying too close to the sun. i would definitely recommend watching nope.
my rating:   4/5 stabs

watcher - written by zach ford & directed by chloe okuno

synopsis: "a young american woman moves with her husband to bucharest, and begins to suspect that a stranger who watches her from the apartment building across the street may be a local serial killer decapitating women."
my review: i have no idea why nobody has been talking about this movie, because it was fantastic. it may be that people are tired of the "woman looking out a window" theme, but this one had a unique spin on it. it was definitely a slow burn, but that's what can be expected from a psychological horror. maika monroe, who i'd really only seen before in it follows, did a great job in this movie. she really sold the feeling of being isolated in a foreign place but trying to put on a happy face anyway. the cinematography also lent itself really well to that feeling of loneliness. you also really start to wonder if the main character is just paranoid or if someone really is stalking her.
my only real gripe about the movie is that they show the stalker so early on and he is a recognizable actor. i mainly remember him from the dark knight rises. so, it became obvious to me that he really was stalking her and that he would definitely end up playing a larger role toward the end. i just wished that the actor they had used was less well-known so that the viewer can still have the illusion that the main character really may actually be making something out of nothing. as gaslighting was a huge theme, though, it was very satisfying that the main character got her "i told you so" moment with her husband, and at the final moment when she looks over at him you know for damn sure they will be getting a divorce.

my rating:   4/5 stabs

x - written & directed by ti west

synopsis: "in 1979, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives."
my review: (slight spoilers) i'll be honest, i'm a sucker for mia goth. i was interested in this movie but hoping it wouldn't be another "old people are creepy!" movie. it kinda was, but there was more depth to it than that because it focused on the sexual aspect of aging, which i think a lot of people are uncomfortable thinking about. i mean, who wants to think about their grandparents fucking? well, this film makes the viewer start consider why we're so repulsed by such things. a bunch of youthful, sexy people filming a porno on the same farm that a cognitively declining old woman (pearl) hyperfixated on having sex makes the perfect storm, and the outcome is satisfactorily bloody! the only thing that took me out of the movie somewhat was the old age makeup they did on mia goth - i'm fure the fx makeup artists did their best, but it still looked unnatural to me. despite this, i do understand why they chose to do it, considering goth will also be playing pearl in the upcoming sequel. aside from that, the cinematography was really good and im looking forward to the next installment.
my rating:   3.5/5 stabs

the menu - written by seth reiss and will tracy & directed by mark mylod

synopsis: "a young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises."
my review: i went to see this movie in the theatre with my boyfriend because i thought he might like it, given that he used to cook in restaurants. i'm a big fan of both ralph fiennes and anya taylor-joy, so of course i had to see it. from watching the trailer, my friends and i sort of assumed the movie would end up having cannibalism in it, but it actually didn't (which i was thankful for). the food was definitely a focal point and served as a way to send a message, but there was no point in which the food was something that might be completely unappealing to eat. i thought the acting and cinematography were both really good and i like how it told a story about the current plight of working in the food service industry and how food reviewers and foodie culture has had a negative impact on the work of chefs and the restaurant business as a whole. it's definitely more focused on social commentary than on pure horror, which some people may not like as much. the only reason it haven't rated it higher is because the pacing is a little slow and i feel like it wasn't quite as memorable as some of the other movies i watched in 2022.
my rating:   3.5/5 stabs

halloween ends - written by david gordon green and paul brad logan & directed by david gordon green

synopsis: "the saga of michael myers and laurie strode comes to a spine-chilling climax in the final installment of this trilogy."
my review: i'll be honest, i wasn't expecting much from this trilogy after watching halloween kills (2021) but i was really surprised to find that i liked this one. my opinions on the halloween movies have never been super popular though, considering i actually really like halloween III: season of the witch (1982) and wish that john carpenter could have made the movies into a horror anthology like he had wished to rather than focusing primarily on michael myers. this film finally started to tell a different story, but one mirroring the one we're already familiar with. from now on i will have to get into spoilers to discuss my thoughts, so be warned!
giving the audience a fresh take on the killer origin story with haddonfield's new boogieman, Cory, was a really good way to wrap up the series in my opinion. the theme of this trilogy is that evil breeds evil, whether it be the shadow of a murderer turning a town rotten or the trauma of an elder being passed on through generations, and there are many other avenues that this theme can be expressed through than just michael vs. laurie (and the general inhabitants of haddonfield). i liked the nuance of cory's story, how he was labelled a monster for something that was an accident and how being ostracized in this way contributed to the downward spiral of his mental well-being.
i do understand why some people may have been disappointed with the film because of the misleading advertisement, leading most to believe michael and laurie's final showdown would be the primary focus of the movie. they definitely face off, of course, but there is a whole lot more going on in the movie than just that. i was personally happy with the direction they took and i'll be honest... rohan campbell is sexy as fuck im sorryyyyy
my rating:   3.5/5 stabs

the black phone - written by c. robert cargill and scott derrickson & directed by scott derrickson

synopsis: "after being abducted by a child killer and locked in a soundproof basement, a 13-year-old boy starts receiving calls on a disconnected phone from the killer's previous victims." (based on a short story of the same name by Joe Hill, Stephen King's son)
my review: (if you are especially sensitive to the subject of child abuse, this movie may be triggering.) when i saw this movie's trailer i decided to re-watch the sinister movies to see if they were as good as i remembered them to be... and they absolutely were not. i think what i liked about them were mainly the visuals of the creepy executions on film accompanied by the fear-inducing music, but the plots were weak and the acting was often comedically bad. so, needless to say, Red Letter Media's video that lessened my enthusiasm for this film. it's probably good that i lowered my expectations because i actually ended up being pleasantly surprised. the acting from the kids was superb and it succinctly told a compelling story. with that being said, i was upset that the trailers basically gave away the entire plot of the movie. there really weren't any major twists or surprises for the viewer if they had already seen the trailer. i was also initially annoyed that we get no insight into the backstory or motivations of "the grabber", but after watching about it, i changed my mind; the story is about the children and them getting justice, it's not about their killer and thus the audience didn't need to know details about him. Amanda the Jedi also did a good review of this movie (definitely more critical than mine) and i agreed especially about how Finney's character should have reacted during the ending scene. over all, i thought this was a pretty good movie but could have used a few small changes.
my rating:   3.5/5 stabs

crimes of the future - written & directed by david cronenberg

synopsis: "humans adapt to a synthetic environment, with new transformations and mutations. with his partner caprice, saul tenser, celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances."
my review: i watched several of cronenberg's films (scanners, videodrome, and dead ringers) in "preparation" for this movie; i had planned to watch them anyway, but the media hype for his newest movie, touting several walk-outs in theaters, piqued my curiosity. i'm still not sure if this was a good approach or not. on one hand, it primed me for his film style, but on the other hand, this movie is a bit of an outlier. he focused more on the social commentary than he did on repulsive visuals. cronenberg himself has voiced his distaste for the simple label of body horror with regards to his movies, so maybe that is why this one was much more toned down. another important thing to know is that the screenplay has been entirely untouched/unedited since he wrote it 20 years ago. i really liked the ideas that were played with and i also thought the performances from the all-star cast were pretty good (even if kristen stewart had no idea what the movie was even about). my main gripe about the movie is the same gripe i have with most of his movies - it went on too long because he tried to do too much for one movie. cronenberg likes to intertwine several storylines at once that connect at different points, but he often goes overboard with this and it causes the film to drag. when there are too many stories being focused on, it's difficult to fully flesh each of them out. i think crimes of the future, with a few tweaks to the original screenplay, would have been a really good miniseries instead.
my rating:   3.5/5 stabs

scream - written by james vanderbilt and guy busick & directed by matt bettinelli-olpin and tyler gillett

synopsis: "25 years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of woodsboro, a new killer dons the ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect from the town's deadly past."
my review: to be honest, my rating of the movie was somewhat based on nostalgia for the original movie, which i think is exactly what they were going for. i like that they have kept the same characters throughout the movies, but they feel a little more watered down in this one. it may be because they wanted to shift focus more towards the main protagonist. i'm not discussing any spoilers because i dont really have a lot i want to talk about with regards to this movie. the killings were a little more intense than they previously have been, but that's about it. it was somewhat forgettable. i've loved the scream franchise, but i hope this is the last one. i really want to see more writers coming up with new, horrifying slashers rather than rehashing all the classics.
my rating:   3.5/5 stabs

men - written & directed by alex garland

synopsis: "a young woman goes on a solo vacation to the english countryside following the death of her ex-husband."
my review: i had high hopes for this movie despite seeing several bad reviews on letterboxd, but honestly all the reviews were totally valid. i won't go into spoilers because there aren't any particular plot points i want to discuss. this movie didn't have much to say aside from "(cis, hetero) men are toxic and overly dependent on the women in their lives" like... yeah we all know that, would you like to expound on the idea at all? this movie took a complete opposite approach than crimes of the future, focusing extensively on body horror in lieu of strong social commentary. i still gave the film a decent score because the acting was really good and some parts genuinely did scare me. although i was complaining about the gratuitous body horror, i did like the effects (minus samuel's face) and a certain scene (you'll know it when you see it) definitely offered a visual i had never seen before, kinda reminding me of the thing (1982).
my rating:   3/5 stabs

umma - written & directed by iris k. shim

synopsis: "amanda and her daughter live a quiet life on an american farm, but when the remains of her estranged mother arrive from korea, amanda becomes haunted by the fear of turning into her own mother."
my review: (slight spoilers) i fucking love sandra oh and so i was super excited to see her starring in a horror film. but then i saw that it was rated pg-13. i think that this was an excellent idea for a film - mommy trauma is very real (i know from experience). but this movie was just lacking some... oomph? i can't quite put my finger on it. it just needed to be more visceral, if that makes sense. yeah, sandra oh had her screaming in the tub moment, but she didn't really have her "I AM YOU MOTHER" moment like toni collette got in hereditary. i don't think the film needed to be more visceral meaning more gore, but it needed some more emotional rawness somehow if they weren't going to lean more into traditional horror. the jumpscares felt cheap and were too frequent. but i didn't hate the movie entirely, there were still some good moments.
my rating:   3/5 stabs