I Think We’re Alone Now (2020)

Directed by Jt Kris [Other horror films: N/A]

This is perhaps one of the most mind-numbingly horrible experiences I have had in my life. I mean, I am no stranger whatsoever when it comes to amateur horror movies, but this has got to take the cake, and every other imaginable pastry.

The plot of this one is simple – a mother and daughter are driving on a forested road. There’s a car on the side of the road, so the mother gets out to investigate. The mother get her throat slit by a mysterious masked man. The man then proceeds to chase the little girl. And chase her. And chase her.

I just took a deep breath, because I’m already frustrated. Most of this movie is a little girl running through a forest, sometimes finding a new place to hide (be it the ruins of a cabin or an old barn), and then the mysterious assailant finding her. The girl sometimes screams, and then runs away again. And the guy finds her. Sometimes there’s another person around (a man walking his dog, an old woman driving by, some drunk in a trailer), but these are all distractions, as none of them amount to anything, and the man is back to chasing the girl.

We never find out who this man is. Toward the end, the little girl pulls his mask off and screams, but she’s probably just screaming because that’s what she does for a good portion of the film. Truth be told, I felt bad for this girl (Junie Liv Thomasson), because while she’s not a great child actress (she looks into the camera a handful of times), she still has to submerge herself in water and sustain herself off stale Oreos.

There’s almost no dialogue in this movie. That might be expected, but there you go. Never once does the little girl say “Why are you doing this” or anything along those lines, which I can understand, as she saw him kill her mother, but with almost no dialogue, this movie is just tedious beyond all words.

Oh, and the audio isn’t really in sync. Whether it’s a scene of the guy pounding on a car door with the audio of the door being hit off from when the physical contact is made to the little dialogue there is being delayed a noticeable second from when it’s said, this was amateur hour all day long (so I guess 24 amateur hours).

Camerawork too was something problematic. I don’t have the vocabulary to really explain what’s wrong with it, but it’s not good. There are these little cuts that happen quite often, some random dimming; I don’t even know, it’s just all around awful.

And to top all of this off, this movie was an hour and six minutes. Now, 66 minutes might not sound like that long of a movie, but this definitely feels it’s length and more. Like I said, large swaths of this film have zero dialogue, and the amateur cinematography and out-of-sync audio will just give you a headache, provided you didn’t have one already.

What I can give this movie props for is the music. No, not the movie’s score, which was generally awful, but the songs that pop up in the film. Early on, when I thought this might have potential, A Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran (So Far Away)” played for a bit. Also, while I’m not a giant fan of the song, we also heard a little “Sugar Sugar” by The Archies.

Most of all, though, I Think We’re Alone Now utilizes the synthpop song “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany multiple times throughout the film. The killer listens to it in his car as he’s driving after the little girl. Now, I don’t know the song (it’s apparently a cover of Tommy James and the Shondells’ 1967 hit), but I enjoy 80’s music (why do you think I gave The Strangers: Prey at Night such a high rating?), so it was catchy enough to at least give me something.

Otherwise, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie as amateurly painful as this turned out to be. I mean, this was bad. You think you’ve seen low-budget horror before, and I know I certainly have, but if this isn’t one of the most amateur movies I’ve ever seen in my life, I’ll eat my socks and name myself Jim-Bob.

If you catch this free on Amazon Prime, I’m sorry.

0.5/10

Häxan (1922)

Haxan

Directed by Benjamin Christensen [Other horror films: Hævnens Nat (1916), The Haunted House (1928), Seven Footprints to Satan (1929), House of Horror (1929)]

Häxan is a deeply interesting movie. Part documentary, part dramatized sequences of things from torturing the confession of witchcraft out of women and covens of old women crafting potions, Häxan isn’t a movie that you’re soon to forget.

Throughout the film, we’re given some information and historical context for the belief in the devil and, more specifically, witchcraft and the trials of those accused of such black magic. These portions, while to some may seem dry, are pretty interesting, especially from a modern-day perspective. At times, sure, you might wish they focused more on the dramatized sequences as opposed to a lecture, but I thought it was balanced decently well, a section on middle age torture devices standing out.

There’s some wild stuff in this movie, too. Perhaps not surprisingly gruesome given the subject matter, there’s all manner of torture and depictions of Hell through the film, and while the demons and Devil have a certain whimsical feel to them, there are still some horrific stuff being done.

Many of the special effects are pretty cool, especially a sequence showing witches flying over a small village. Some of the costumes are a bit ridiculous, but at the same time, it’s a Swedish movie from 1922, so I’m not inclined to judge that too harshly.

There are a few of the dramatized scenes that run a bit long, I think, without much interesting content, and the movie does run an hour and 45 minutes (at least the print I saw this time around), so at times it can feel like a bit much. Still, the visuals and effects the movie boasts certainly makes it worth a look.

Directed by Benjamin Christensen (who also directed the 1929 Seven Footprints to Satan, a movie I deeply enjoyed when last I saw it), Haxan is an interesting experience that, if you’re a fan of silent films, is very much worth looking into. While it’s arguable that it loses some of the power with rewatches, having seen the movie twice, perhaps three times now, it’s still a solid viewing.

8/10

Vargtimmen (1968)

Vargtimmen

Directed by Ingmar Bergman [Other horror films: Jungfrukällan (1960)]

I’m not a big fan of experimental films. Antichrist was a film I rather disliked. Most of what I’ve seen from Cronenberg and Lynch, not to mention Tsukamoto, I’ve not particularly enjoyed. The same goes for this Ingmar Bergman classic. When I first saw it, I just had a massive headache afterward. This time around, I’ve grown to appreciate a bit more what it was going for, and they did that job well, but I still rather would have watched something a bit more coherent.

The story is simple: A man and his wife go to their small cottage on an island, and the man slowly begins losing it. He begins seeing bizarre people and experiencing intense paranoia. And he snaps.

Like I said, this movie does a very good job at showing us the bizarre spirits haunting our main character. Many of the scenes, while not outright terrifying, have an ominous, creepy atmosphere about them. And I truly do appreciate that.

What I cannot abide, however, are the random scenes cobbled up, not to mention the dialogue, much of which doesn’t make sense. Indeed, such is a well-done portrayal of losing it on an isolated island, but it’s not something I enjoy at all. On a positive note, I did enjoy how this movie was put together – the wife is being interviewed about her husband and her experience on the island, and so the majority of the story takes place as a flashback. It gave a pretty documentary feel to it, and I thought it came across as sort of cool.

That said, this isn’t a film I enjoy, and while there are the occasional cool scenes (a man removing his eyes, for instance), it doesn’t strike me as worth it. Despite being a Swedish classic, Vargtimmen (or Hour of the Wolf), probably isn’t something I’d soon watch again.

5.5/10