Showing posts with label Into the Dark. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Into the Dark. Show all posts

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: Midnight Kiss



What made me excited for a second round of Into the Dark seasons is that maybe we would be getting some new holidays to celebrate. But here we are four installments in and we have gotten exactly the same episodes as the first season. Not only that, the New Year’s Eve/Day one kind of has the same premise in a group of friends convince at the most wealthiest friend’s house and celebrate the end of the year. It even hits midnight right at the halfway point.

But instead of four female friends, this time around it is four gay friends (and a token straight female). Oh, and there is a serial killer on the loose this time in an S&M mask. But before any anti-homosexual people out there get excited at the thought of all the gay dudes being slaughtered, be warned, there is copious amount of nudity (although aren’t the most ardent anti-gay crusaders turn out to be closeted gays anyway?). It was like they were trying to turn the tables of forty years of objectification of women in horror and cram the same amount of male objectification into less than ninety minutes. I am pretty sure all the main dudes in the cast go full backal at least once and those boys sure like getting clean because they are constantly in the shower.

The Midnight Kiss in question is a game the gays (and one chick) play every New Year’s Eve going back to 2013 where there are three simple rules: 1) it has to be to one guy who is a stranger; 2) the kiss must be consensual; 3) Do whatever you want between midnight and sunrise but no contact with the guy afterward. There does not really seem to be any prizes or anything, but basically just a way to hook up with random dudes, but since all but one have Grinr, it does not sound like a special game other than they have to do it without aide of an app.

Unfortunately Midnight Kiss, aside from the change in sexuality of the lead characters is riddled with almost every slasher cliché except the black dude dies first, but that is mostly because there were no black dues in the cast. There would have been one pretty creative kill except there was a similar death scene on the most recent season of Castle Rock. And there really is not enough death. With only four dudes (and a straight chick) it really cuts down on the number of deaths and kind of makes who the murderer kind of obvious as the movie goes along. Someone does bring back their Midnight Kiss from the club and someone is murdered Gay Psycho style (remembered how I said it was clichéd; just because it is the first time it happens to a homosexual does not make it interesting) in the opening scene though that is never mentioned by any of the friends at all.

Not only is Midnight Kiss the weakest installment of the season so far, it is one of the weakest Into the Dark episodes ever. It is not equality to give the gays their own horror movie if you are just going to make it a boring one. This is essentially to the gays in the horror genre what Catwoman was to women and African-Americans was for the Superhero genre.

Into the Dark Season Two Power Ranking:

1. Uncanny Annie (October)
2. A Nasty Piece of Work (December)
3. Pilgrim (November)
4. Midnight Kiss (December)

Into the Dark: Midnight Kiss premieres tomorrow on Hulu.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: A Nasty Piece of Work



Christmas horror movies are weird. This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year (though why anyone would call a time which is sometimes thirty degrees and snowy “wonderful”) and yet some executives occasionally think movie goers want a little blood to offset the holiday cheer. Personally cranberry sauce is the only gooey red stuff I want to see in December. Yet the third Black Christmas is coming out on Friday the 13th and we are getting our second Christmas In the Dark episode.

Although A Nasty Piece of Work is one of those scripts that seem to be retrofitted to be holiday themed but really could have taken place any day of the year with a few minor tweaks. But as a holiday horror movie, a dark comedy tile this works better than a slasher bloodfest. A Nasty Piece of Work takes place at a firm that did not have a good year so no Christmas bonuses this year instead everyone will have to endure the shared sacrifice. But two promising executives do get an invite for a Christmas party where one will get a promotion while the other gets eliminated but you will be left wondering if they will be losing just their job.

Needless to say, the boss is the titular nasty piece of work who has some warped ways to determine who is the worthy employing. Or it could be his wife who may be even nastier than him. The respective wives of the employees also have some nastiness in them. Before long you will be left wondering what games are going on or if there is even a promotion to behave and these rich people are just getting their rocks off by all of this. I am not a big fan of being scared around Christmas but this may be close to a best case scenario for a December installment of Into the Dark.

Into the Dark Season Two Power Ranking:

1. Uncanny Annie (October)
2. A Nasty Piece of Work (December)
3. Pilgrim (November)

Into the Dark: A Nasty Piece of Work premieres tomorrow on Hulu.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: Pilgrim




The first season of Into the Dark started off with what ended as the best of the bunch. Unfortunately the very next installment ended up being the worst. The second season started out with another strong Halloween tale but thankfully the follow up is a vast improvement over last November’s offering.

Pilgrim features a modern family that hires an acting troupe to reenact the first Thanksgiving so they can celebrate like they used to when everyone was unplugged. If you have seen any Into the Dark installments before, you know things go horribly wrong. Yes the new “pilgrims” take their roles a little too serious, never breaking character even though they show up days early to prepare

Of course the black daughter is not having any of this and sets out to discover what is up with these weirdos. Unfortunately we never know what exactly is going on with the new pilgrims other than maybe it may be because of a wishbone wish. Though it definitely is never explained why the family is eating a full turkey days before Thanksgiving.

Still the episode is funny in parts. Sure I am not sure it was supposed to be funny, but I did laugh quite frequently. Most of the laughing happened at the end when things just completely come off the rails. Even though it is a vast improvement on last Thanksgiving episode, I cannot help but coming away with thinking there is a much better pilgrims taking Thanksgiving too serious story that could have been explored.

Into the Dark Season Two Power Ranking:

1. Uncanny Annie (October)
2. Pilgrim (November)

Into the Dark: Pilgrim premieres tomorrow on Hulu.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: Pure



Well here we are at the end of the Into the Dark season. What started as an interesting concept of a monthly anthology with a holiday themed episode to go with that month. It had its ups and downs but never seemed to go past the initial belief that I had that these episodes were just concepts summited to Blumhouse Productions that the studio did not think were good enough to get people to theaters. But even without the restrictions of a movie ratings system, all but one of these episodes strived way too hard to be PG-13.

The last installment of the season could have really benefited from less restrictions that a streaming service provides but still remained pretty toned down. But it is a shocking end to Into the Dark. Nope the September episode is not a Labor Day themed episode, nope, it is inspired by a holiday I did not even realized existed: Daughter’s Day. And Pure is exactly the episode you are thinking for such a “holiday.”

Pure is about a Purity Retreat. Shay is a first time attendee on account she just met her father after the death of her mother and it not going to the retreat with her father and half-sister. And no, these religious zealots do not seem that concerned that this dude has to daughters about the same age from two different mothers. It is more about making sure their daughters do not have sex as te boys in the family just seem like a lost cause. Yeah, dudes who whine a lot about #MeToo will want to skip this one.

Naturally most of the girls, some that have been coming to this for ten years, are not much of a fan of the patriarchy and find the ritual as weird as a normal person would (there is a true believer or two). Scott Porter (Jason Street!) show up as the pastor who always just so happens to have a pistol on his sidearm (Chekov: check). As they always do, the girls try to raise Lilith, Adam’s hornier first wife who did not want to be subservient to Adam. Not surprisingly Shay is the key and things start getting weird from there.

But not weird enough and this is another episode of Into the Dark that suffers from the slow burn so by the time blood starts getting spilled you are ready for the episode to be over. And again the episode would have benefited from a little more blood and given the theme, a little R-Rated when the purity pledge gets violated. Watching a girl cry because a boy kissed making her un-pure is not as emotional as if they went a little further. Into the Dark does not go out on a complete dud, but I guess it goes out as a fitting end as it leaves the audience they went a little further into actual horror.

Into the Dark Power Ranking
1. The Body (October)
2. Culture Shock (July)
3. All That We Destroy (May)
4. Down (February)
5. New Year, New You (January)
6. Pure (September)
7. School Spirit (August)
8. Pooka! (December)
9. I’m Just Forking with You (April)
10. They Come Knocking (June)
11. Treehouse (March)
12. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: Pure premieres today on Hulu.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: School Spirit



When Hulu announced the monthly anthology series Into the Dark with each installment being based on a holiday from those four weeks, the themes seemed easy to predict. And here we are at the penultimate installment and with the exception of March, they were. Of course with the announcement, my mind was searching for what they possibly could do for March. The only thing listing in my calendar was a Muslim holiday. There were also lesser acknowledged holidays like Grandparents day which would have been my bet. Instead, Into the Dark went with something that is not really a holiday and is something that is not celebrated on a universal day, and sometimes does not even happen in August: the first day of school.

The previous ten chapters covered many different sub-genres of horror, but the latest installment, School Spirit, final delves into probably the most popular: the slasher flick. But this is a new millennium, post-#MeToo slasher flick, not the type from the heyday of the eighties. So despite the opening scene involving two teen boys planting a webcam in the women’s locker room the day before classes start, but one claim claims he is “not gonna be a pervert about it.” But he becomes the first victim before and of the girls have their first gym class. There is also no clichéd have sex then die scene, the closest thing is a guy gets slashed while waiting for someone to show up and have sex with him.

Not only is the sex tamed down, the gore is pretty watered down. Some of the deaths happen just as the camera cuts away, while the camera instead focuses on the blood running down the floor. The kills that are shown are not the particularly scary. There are actually more scares in Hulu’s teen skewing horror show Light as a Feather than in School Spirit.

School Spirits takes place at a school named Helbrook, which, you know, pretty cool name for a horror film. After our introductory kill, we are then taken to the first Saturday detention of the year where the usual suspects are already gotten in some sort of problem, but things get interesting when the Ivy-bound student of the year also joins them. But this is the perfect setting for a slasher flick, the setting is big but space with a limited amount of potential victims, just five students and the vice principal. Actually that was kind of the premise of another Hulu horror show targeted at teenagers, Freakish.

One of the delinquents tells the story of the school being haunted of a teacher who died and haunts the halls getting revenges on the type of bad kids who sent her to an early grave. And of course then they start getting picked off one by one. The twist at the end is actually surprising and well done, unfortunately the watered down content that precedes it just puts a damper on the whole episode.

Into the Dark Power Ranking
1. The Body (October)
2. Culture Shock (July)
3. All That We Destroy (May)
4. Down (February)
5. New Year, New You (January)
6. School Spirt (August)
7. Pooka! (December)
8. I’m Just Forking with You (April)
9. They Come Knocking (June)
10. Treehouse (March)
11. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: School Spirit premieres tomorrow on Hulu.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: Culture Shock



Jason Blum, producer of Into the Dark, once say of one of most famous movies, The Purge, ““Whatever political party you’re in, you come out of the film saying, ‘See, that affirms my beliefs,’ which I think is cool. People on the Right are like, ‘The Purge is a terrible thing. This is an example of government getting into our private lives, when they should be smaller and get out of our private lives.’ People on the Left say, ‘There are too many guns, and this is what happens when there are too many guns.’ It’s a really violent movie, and it’s supposed to get people scared and it’s supposed to get people to have a good time for an hour and a half, in a movie theater. If it also gets people talking about whether it’s a good or a bad idea, that’s a great thing, too.”

I really do not think there will be as much ambiguity to the political themed latest Into the Dark installment, Culture Shock. First off, the America’s Birthday themed episode starts south of the border and it is over a half an hour before you hear anyone speak any English. The episode even mocks a certain popular Twitter feed. Yeah, conservative talking heads will be whining about this right after a segment where they call liberals snowflakes.

The episode starts off with a news segment stating violence against aliens at an all-time high (fun fact, the reporter also played a reporter in the Christmas episode; though a shared Into the Dark shared universe was kind of put to rest when someone who died in the Halloween episode showed up in the Mother’s Day episode). Marisol is giving birth any day now and has paid a coyote to get her across the border in time to anchor her baby. Along for the ride is a small child and a dude with a face tattoo that translates to “strength.” Oh my.

Things gets complicated when they arrive at the border and things go black, then all of the sudden Marisol wakes up in a bright pastel color scheme, has already given birth, in a very Wizard of Oz comparison to the dark and dirty first part of the show. This new place is part Pleasantville and part Stepford Wives. What happened? I will not say other than this is the best twist so far on Into the Dark.


Into the Dark Power Ranking
1. The Body (October)
2. Culture Shock (July)
3. All That We Destroy (May)
4. Down (February)
5. New Year, New You (January)
6. Pooka! (December)
7. I’m Just Forking with You (April)
8. They Come Knocking (June)
9. Treehouse (March)
10. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: Culture Shock premiere tomorrow exclusively on Hulu.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: They Come Knocking



Into the Dark has had some obvious themes in its first eight episode with the exception of March and June continues that trend. Making it a little more disappointing is that we are following up a Mother’s Day episode with a Father’s Day episode, They Come Knocking. But unlike last month, this month actually mentions the holiday the theme is based on. Well, it does once and then kind of forgets about except a vague reference of how it is very cold for early June and the episode takes place over two nights so it is not even Father’s Day for half the time.

But hey, there is a father. He and his two daughters are traveling to the place where he proposed to so they can spread her ashes and camp out for a couple days in a camper. And any horror fan will notice the big board of missing children in a dinner they stop at for breakfast. So you just have to assume something is going to happen to the daughters, one a moody teenage (which is enhanced by the whole watching her mother being ravaged by cancer) and the other a precocious younger daughter.

As the title suggest, when the sun goes down and the family is about to get to sleep, some people come knocking asking to come in. Apparently this is a vampire situation where they have to be invited in and they only come out at night but these are not actual vampires. They leave, but do so with an ominous message. And in though these knockers are plenty scary, the episode is much more a character study on loss and the effects on a family. So if you are more of a thinking man’s horror fan, this may be more up your alley than a simple slasher flick. As for my take, here is where They Come Knocking ends on my Into the Dark Power Ranking:

Into the Dark Power Ranking
1. The Body (October)
2. All That We Destroy (May)
3. Down (February)
4. New Year, New You (January)
5. Pooka! (December)
6. I’m Just Forking with You (April)
7. They Come Knocking (June)
8. Treehouse (March)
9. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: They Come Knocking premieres tomorrow exclusively on Hulu.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: All That We Destroy



After the first couple episodes tied very strongly into their holidays, the last couple Into the Dark episode seemed to tenuously linked to the supposed theme. March’s Ides of March episode only had a vague revenge plot but did not even feature an “Et Tu Brute” moment. Now for May, we are treated to a Mother’s Day episode that does not even mention the holiday once.

All That We Destroy features a geneticist mother who clones someone for his son which makes her a mother on two levels even though neither actually celebrates the holiday at any point during the episode. Samantha Mathis (American Phycho) plays the mother who is working on cloning to help cure people of disease in the near future as organ donors. Except she has diverged from her research to make the perfect clone for her son Israel Broussard (Happy Death Day).

See her son is a psychopath with homicidal tendencies and in her mind killing a clone is more in a moral grey area than having him snap and killing an actual human being. Sure this sucks for Aurora Perrineau (who was in the first Into the Dark episode though this is not a cross-over; although, since she is a clone in the future, I guess it is plausible) who plays the clone as she just repeatedly beaten to death while seventies soft rock song Every Time I Think of You is playing and then dragged naked to be cloned again. But hey, Into the Dark has already killed her off before. Things get even more complicated when another ethnically ambiguous woman (Dora Madison, Dexter) moves in the area and takes a likening to the son.

Setting aside dude killing a woman over and over again trope, All That We Destroy is the creepiest and haunting installment to date. It asks hard questions about technology and just how far should we go for the people we care about. Sure the twist ending can be seen from a mile away, but it still remains a satisfying ending.  It almost makes you forget the whole thing has nothing to do with Mother's Day.

Into the Dark Power Ranking
1. The Body (October)
2. All That We Destroy (May)
3. Down (February)
4. New Year, New You (January)
5. Pooka! (December)
6. I’m Just Forking with You (April)
7. Treehouse (March)
8. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: All That We Destroy premiere tomorrow on Hulu.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: I'm Just Forking with You



In a measure of full disclosure, I should mention I hate April Fool’s Day. Ninety-nine percent of people just are not funny and worse is when corporations try to prank their customers as if treating your customers like morons is a good idea. Really, there has only been one good April’s Fools Day prank that has ever been funny, when Taco Bell took out a full page ad in newspapers across the nation to say that have bought the Liberty Bell, were going to fix the crack, and rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. Now that was funny.

So I was hoping that for April, Into the Dark would be doing a Tax Day themed episode. But alas, it is based on April Fool’s Day. And the antagonist of this episode is the worst kind of April Fool’s prankster who is constantly trying to fool un-expecting people and even when they catch on, he still is pulling pranks and then they just keep getting bigger and more annoying.

The mark is a germ-a-phobe who for some reason picks a seedy motel to check in while attending his ex-girlfriend’s wedding who is now marrying his cousin. Ouch. But hey, he does have a fake social media account to troll the couple. He is meeting his sister at this motel but the guy gets suspicious of the prankster when she does not show up thinking that the motel clerk prankster has something to do with it. And this being Into the Dark, things start going off the rails as the pranks get bigger and bigger.

Into the Dark Power Ranking
1. The Body (October)
2. Down (February)
3. New Year, New You (January)
4. Pooka! (December)
5. I’m Just Forking with You (April)
6. Treehouse (March)
7. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: I’m Just Forking with You premieres today on Hulu.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: Treehouse



The first five episodes of Into the Dark picked pretty chalky holidays for their monthly horror anthology: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day. For March we get our first curve-ball. I am sure most people were guessing St. Patrick’s Day, but you would be wrong. Maybe because it is hard to do a horror episode based on that holiday without getting sued by the Leprechaun franchise, instead the March episode is actually based on the Ides of March.

I will say this about Treehouse, the latest episode; it does have a bunch of recognizable faces. Okay, no actual names, but if you are like me, you will spend the show going, oh hey, they guy from Breakout Kings, Howard Stern’s wife from the movie, the lady from Angel From Hell, that MuchMusic VJ, the chick from the Friday the 13th reboot, the teacher from Bunheads, the girl from a bunch of commercials.

The episode follows a semi-famous chef who escapes to his family’s vacation estate during some bad press that coincides with the wedding of his previous wife. Okay, the Ides of March theme is a bit of a stretch here. The episode open with a knife and I guess there is sort of an et tu Brute moment but the whole idea of the past coming back for what it’s due is a pretty vague concept here considering how the past episodes really banged you over the head with the holiday theme.

The Flesh and Blood episode probably set the bar foe slow moving episodes, but Treehouse is also pretty slow to pick up. It takes fifteen minutes for anything weird to happen (a random black goat), thirty minutes until we see the titular treehouse, then forty-five minutes until anything remotely scary happens. But once we get to the big reveal, the episode really picks up and goes in a direction that is a bit unexpected. Still, waiting for it to get going really keeps it low on my Into the Dark Power Rankings:

Into the Dark Power Ranking
1. The Body (October)
2. Down (February)
3. New Year, New You (January)
4. Pooka! (December)
5. Treehouse (March)
6. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: Treehouse premieres tomorrow on Hulu.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: Down



Not only have each episode of Into the Dark feature a different holiday of the year, each have their own take on the genre. There have been psychological, farcical, each different in their own way. For the Valentine’s Day episode Down, it is what the press release call Blumhouse’s version of a rom-com. A rom-com horror, I believe that is how you can describe seventy-two percent of every Lifetime movie.

I actually wished they played more into the rom-com aspect earlier in the movie to lull you into a false sense of security as the start is still very cold taking place in a very non-descript elevator. It is late on the start of the three day weekend where Valentine’s Day just happens to coincide with the President’s Day weekend and the final two people in the building are leaving. (To save you from some Googling, no, Valentine’s Day does not fall on the weekend this year. The 13th does not even fall on a Friday like the monitor say. The last time this happened was 2015 and will not happen again until 2026. So pretty much it seems like the writers really wanted this to take place on Friday the 13th, you know, because it is a horror movie.)

Natalie Martinez (Under the Dome) and Matt Lauria (Friday Night Lights) play the unlucky duo that at first make the best of a bad situation. The meet-cute happens when the elevator shuts down four stories underground and all they have to eat and drink are a bottle of wine and a handful of Hersey’s Kisses. These two are so perfect for each other; they both even keep a mini-corkscrew around just in case. But of course, since this is Into the Dark, things go horribly wrong before they are able to get out of the elevator. Now I am not saying it is the best episode so far (see the power ranking below), but it is the best twist so far.

Into the Dark Power Ranking
1. The Body (October)
2. Down (February)
3. New Year, New You (January)
4. Pooka! (December)
5. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: Down premieres tomorrow only on Hulu.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Previewing Into the Dark: New Year, New You



Into the Dark started as a novel idea, a new horror movie length episode even month based on a holiday that month. But I wonder how much they thought that threw because you have a couple months where that major holiday actually starts that month. So December actually gets two episodes so people can watch before the New Year themed episode before the start of the year. Or at least have four days to do so. I do wonder if March will get multiple episodes too, because April Fool’s Day seems like the most logical pick for April but that month also has Easter and Tax Day. Then in the final installment of the season, Labor Day is actually on the second of September.

I got really excited when I saw the trailer for New Year, New You as it featured Dalia Royce in all her mean girl glory, okay this time with a hundred percent less deadpan. Instead she plays a self-wellness vlogger who is about to hit the big time with her own television show. But before that, she accepts an invitation to a New Year’s Eve party with her high school friends at a house that will soon to be sold and has a dark history which led to the house being reinforced like a fortress.

The host is not as successful as her childhood best friend who is a babysitter who makes end meet as she never finished college or paying off those student loans. She also sports a scar that looks exactly like the integral symbol for no apparent reasons. This start off alright but clearly there is tension building and not just because Dalia Royce routinely goes back into her pretentious self-help speak saying things like she does not eat dairy anymore for no reasonable reason. And just when the clock is about to hit midnight, things finally start to get interesting.

Okay, only a little more interesting. Once the clock hits midnight, it start to get a bit predictable too. And really before midnight, it takes a while for the episode to finally get to the twisty they choreograph a little too much that it is coming. And it did have some chances to become fun like a TLC dance sequence which was way too short, but instead the episode stays a little to grounded in reality. Still, it is nice to see the old Dalia Royce grow up and help people for selfish reasons. Seems like a reasonable extension of Suburgatory. Too bad Tessa Altman was not invited to the reunion.

Into the Dark Power Ranking
1. The Body (October)
2. New Year, New You (January)
3. Pooka! (December)
4. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: New Year, New You premieres tomorrow only on Hulu.


Thursday, December 06, 2018

Previewing: Into the Dark: Pooka!




The first “episode” of Into the Dark was a farcical slasher flick, the second was a very insularity psychological thriller, and for December, we get a third very different type of horror. Pooka! is a very disturbing mind trip where the further we get in the episode the harder it is to trust what exactly what we are seeing.

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo, the writer and director of Colossal, Pooka! stars Nyasha Hatendi (Casual) stars as a struggling actor who gets cast as the body of the hot new toy for this Christmas season. Pooka has headlight eyes, a weird oval mouth with lines on both sides (being right under the eyes makes me wonder if they may be tears), a big “O” on the belly, and repeats everything you say in its weird voice. Oh and Pooka, who is only available at pop-up stores, chooses to be naughty or nice, not the owner or anyone else. Of course throughout the episode, Pooka is more naughty than nice.

After putting on the suit for the gig, Hatendi starts to wonder if he is wearing the suit or is the suit wearing him. There are gaps in his memory and visions of the suit moving without him. Making things even more troublesome, a budding romance with a single mother. And just when you think there is no why this episode can end in a coherent way, it actually ends in a way that (kind of) makes sense. Here is my up to date Into the Dark Power Rankings:

1. The Body (October)
2. Pooka! (December)
3. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: Pooka! premieres tomorrow only on Hulu. And look out later this month for “January’s” episode, because the New Year’s Eve episode premieres December 28.