Truth Or Dare (2018) & American Mary (2012) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for Truth Or Dare & American Mary

Truth Or Dare (2018)

Directed by Jeff Wadlow

Produced by Jason Blum

Starring: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto, Sophia Taylor Ali, Landon Liboiron

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Truth Or Dare follows a group of college students who play a game of truth or dare while on vacation in Mexico, only to realize it has deadly consequences if they don’t follow through on their tasks.

My Brief Opinion:

I did NOT expect to like this AT ALL. Why do I watch so many horror movies I expect to be shitty?! Oh yeah – because my husband doesn’t get mad at me when I watch shitty movies without him. 😉 Anyway, this is a pretty typical cheesy slasher film filled with twenty-something twats. But as far as that sort of thing goes, I actually thought this was fairly decent example of the genre. A good bad horror movie! I’m a sucker for supernatural horror so was happy about that aspect of the film but know this doesn’t work for everyone. The story actually gave me a Final Destination vibe as this “curse” comes after these characters one by one and there’s seemingly no way out as they are forced to play along or die. The characters were somewhat better than your usual twenty-something horror twats, too. Most were even likable! Only two were assholes. I want to want characters to survive and will never understand why horror films often make absolutely everyone hateful. The overall story is a little predictable and it doesn’t exactly feel like we’re seeing anything new here. However, some of the truths & dares were fairly original and I had a decent enough time watching this knowing it’s slightly silly. The ending was also a bit stupid but, hell, what movie like this doesn’t have a stupid ending?! I’ve seen plenty of twenty-something twat supernatural horrors far worse than this one.

My Rating: 6/10

American Mary (2012)

Directed & Written by Jen and Sylvia Soska

Starring: Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, Tristan Risk, David Lovgren, Paula Lindberg, Clay St. Thomas, John Emmet Tracy, Twan Holliday

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Isabelle plays a medical student desperate for money who begins taking clients from the extreme body modification community in an effort to solve her financial troubles.

My Brief Opinion:

This was pretty hardcore. I’d been meaning to watch this film for a while now to see if it would be a contender for My Top Ten Body Horror Movies list. I’m afraid to say I didn’t love the film but thought Katharine Isabelle did a good job in this crazy role. I thought the film started out pretty strong but it loses its way when Isabelle’s character goes so extreme. She starts out quite innocent (although practising surgery on turkey carcasses while wearing sexy lingerie was odd) but then she goes completely batshit crazy and it just didn’t feel realistic after she was set up as this poor, struggling student who loves her sweet grandmother. I have to say, though, that she seemed to have enough money for lingerie for someone so poor! Lingerie is expensive. If you’re poor, surely you should buy clothes that keep you warm?! But I guess she needed the lingerie for turkey surgery. Anyway! There’s a bit of a revenge plot going on in this film and I did enjoy that because I love some good vengeance. And this was some fucked-up vengeance! I just wish the final half of the film hadn’t fallen apart. We start out on Mary’s side but can’t relate to her anymore by the end (at least, I hope no one can relate to her at the end). Oh well. It’s certainly a memorable film! I give it credit for that. I far prefer a memorable film to something so bland that I won’t remember it in a year.

My Rating: 6/10

Ma (2019) Review

Ma (2019)

Directed by Tate Taylor

Starring: Octavia Spencer, Kyanna Simone Simpson, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis, Skyler Joy, Luke Evans, Andrew Matthew Welch, McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianni Paolo, Dante Brown, Missi Pyle, Nicole Carpenter, Tanyell Waivers, Allison Janney, Dominic Burgess, Heather Marie Pate, Tate Taylor, Victor Turpin, Margaret Fegan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Ma follows a group of teenagers who befriend a lonely middle-aged woman who allows them to party in her basement, and find themselves being terrorized by her.

My Opinion:

Hey! The main teen girl in this (Diana Silvers) was in Booksmart. I reviewed that yesterday and was probably very unfairly harsh on that film. It’s a better film than Ma. However, I weirdly got far more enjoyment out of Ma. So, while I recognize that Ma is an odd film that some will hate, I’m going to review it positively. I liked it. When it comes to horror, I always lower my expectations. Is it a good film? Meh. Is it a fun horror with a fairly unique idea compared to the so many predictable horror movies that get made? Yes. That’s all you can really ask for from this type of movie. It’s not trying to be Suspiria or Rosemary’s Baby or some horror classic like those.

First of all, I always moan about unlikeable characters in horror movies. How are we supposed to care what happens to them if they’re assholes? I’ve noticed that horror characters are getting better these days and, luckily, Ma does quite well with its characters (as far as the horror genre goes). The teenagers, while not the most developed characters ever, are likeable enough and certainly not at all deserving of what this woman puts them through. Octavia Spencer’s role is also very good in that she’s actually a somewhat sympathetic villain. At least at first… I’ll stay spoiler-free but you will (I should hope) sympathize with her a bit. While I love a good full-on “crazy lady” (give me Piper Laurie in Carrie!), there’s more to Spencer’s character in this so she doesn’t get to let loose and go as completely mental as I was kind of hoping to see from her. However, once you know the story, it makes more sense for her character to not turn into Kathy Bates in Misery (although, don’t worry – she still goes pretty psycho if you’re wanting to see that!).

Another element I knew nothing about but was a nice surprise is that there’s a bit of time spent on the parents of the teenagers. Not nearly as much time as I’d have liked, though. They mostly focus on the main girl’s mother (played by Juliette Lewis) but she also deserved much more development. All the parents really should’ve had more time spent on their character development to further round out this story and I think this could’ve easily been achieved by taking just a little bit of time away from the teenagers. Yes, I’m the age of the parents (oh my god, when did that happen?!?!) and I understand the annoying need to market everything to a young audience these days but, in the context of this storyline, we needed a little more time spent on the boring, old fart parents as well. What’s weird is that I seriously hated Juliette Lewis when I was a teenager but now kind of love seeing her in stuff? Maybe I just appreciate seeing people my age in movies now. I think it started with Whip It. I love that movie. She almost made me want to be a kick ass middle-aged roller derby chick.

Well, I enjoyed Ma and appreciated the fact that the characters were a bit better than we normally get in this sort of horror movie. As with most horror movies, though, I thought the ending was weak. To be honest, I’m not sure how I’d have wanted it to end but it was kind of a letdown after a fairly strong start. I did also appreciate the storyline and the fact that this idea felt more original than in a lot of modern horrors. I’m not going to pretend that it’s a good film, though, and it’s one I’d only recommend to people if I knew their movie tastes well and thought they’d like it. You might hate it but I liked it enough to give it a much higher rating than I know it actually deserves. Fuck it, I rate on my level of enjoyment just as much as on a movie’s worthiness. I’ve been too harsh on movies recently anyway.

My Rating: 7/10