Last time out we had a trilogy of posts with the letter H, this time we venture into horror films beginning with I, and again it is a bumper letter with us going for a double bill with the later coming out next week. The horror genre loves sequels so here we go again!
I am Legend
Possibly a controversial pick and rightly so. I am Legend is added into the list almost solely because of the first half of the film. Right up until that moment with Sam, everyone was invested. The psychological horror of being alone for so long and then to experiment on others to try and save your species is a great concept. Of course, it is not the novel, but at this point, I doubt we will ever truly see a faithful adaption of the novel. The alternative ending helps save the film and if you have an opportunity to watch it with that ending for the first time then you will be much better off!
Ichi the Killer (2001)
We return to our old friend Takashi Miike and it will forever be ingrained in my memory. Ultraviolence is the order of the day here and there is the question on whether Miike goes a tad too far with it as we effectively see a live-action film that is as close as possible to a blood-soaked anime as we could ever imagine. Cut and paced as if the filmmakers were on ADHD this is not a film where those who like a slow burn will feel comfortable. Ichi the Killer is a film you will watch and never forget.
I’ll Take Your Dead (2018)
Possibly as far away from Ichi the Killer as you could get. I’ll Take Your Dead surprised me with how centered it is. An original premise that could have gone further, but for the story that Chad Archibald wanted to tell, it didn’t need to. The acting is a cut above with all three of our leads giving stellar performances. Each emotion is felt by the audience and as we know with horror, sometimes that doesn’t always work. This is a bleak sombre tale and one that affects you more than you would like it too.
You will go into Incubus not really knowing what to expect, yet come out of it still not expecting what you eventually saw. The less said about the film the better, but for those that need more, just know that it stars William Shatner, spoken in Esperanto (a language that had the aim of becoming the secondary language of the world). This is art-house horror at its most fascinating. The star of the film is the cinematography with the film looking far better than it has any right to. For those who enjoyed Carnival of Souls, Incubus is right up your alley,
In Fabric (2019)
Fans of Peter Strickland will already know they are in for a dark but great viewing experience. The scares are sparse, but wholly effective and spread carefully through the film. As with a Strickland film, it is visually attractive and the use of the score throughout is inspired. The only critique is that the plot is a tad too thin for its length, Marianne Jean-Baptiste is fantastic and carries the film with her relatable nature. Who thought a haunted film about a dress would be as good as this?
In Fear (2013)
A film about two people getting lost in the woods with only their car doesn’t lend itself to have the staying par of a feature-length film, yet Jeremy Lovering has been able to do it. He has created a tense film that keeps you engrossed throughout. Made for next to nothing In Fear builds and builds its tension to an unbearable point. I imagine that it would only be bettered if this was told on the stage. With two strong leads, this is a film that will surprise you.
Not Dario Argento’s best film, but even his secondary tier quality films are still above most other horror directors. The thematic sequel to Suspiria, we venture back into the world of covens. As always with Argento, the film is beautiful and the horror is plentiful and built well. While not as on the level of Suspiria it is still a film that deserves to be watched if you are a fan of Argento.
The Innocents (1961)
Jump scares and gore were not the as prominent in horror in the late 50s and early 60s as they are today and with The Innocents stands as a testament to what subtlety can bring to a horror. The use of first-person perspective to allude that we see what Miss Giddens see’s was inspired. No one else sees what she think she witnesses and we are brought along to believe her. Are these children as evil as she says? This is a claustrophic masterclass in horror. Deborah Kerr is fantastic as she gets to play a character that is strong while unnerved. With most ghost stories, it is always better to let us think about what we saw, to guess a little. Audiences are smart enough to allow their own imagination to take control and The Innocents allows that in a glorious way.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
For those old enough, it will be hard to believe that I Know What You Did Last Summer is fast approaching 25 years old. While there are obvious flaws in the film (it was a 90s teen horror film after all) there are plenty of upsides and effective horror moments spread throughout to keep the audience entertained. Without a doubt the casting of Jennifer Love-Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar allowed the film to elevate itself above other films of the time. A film of its time, but one still to catch.
Although Saw got James Wan’s career going, it was Insidious and later The Conjuring that exploded it for mainstream audiences. Teamed up again with Leigh Whannell they truly were the dream team of horror in the early 2010s. For those who love their jump scares loud, then you be very happy here. Though to some this technique negatively affected the genre for many years, it is effective and you can see the love the two have for the genre here. So many call-backs to classic films and the idea that the characters drive the plot, not the effects.
If character-driven films are not your cup of tea and you prefer things a little gorier… Well, an awful lot gorier then Inside is just the ticket. This is a film that is not for the faint-hearted and was released at the pinnacle of the French wave. Despite that, if you can get through all of the gore then this is a great horror film. It seems like the challenge was from the filmmakers was to see if they could dare the audience keep watching without covering their eyes. Inside is as visceral as a horror movie gets.
Come back next week where we finish off I, hopefully… Otherwise, please have a check below for our previous editions.