Chills and Thrills featuring Orphan, Spontaneous, Terror Train…

Welcome to The ScreenSlut’s Chills and Thrills, a monthly column of mini-reviews where I talk about movies and TV shows that I have found interesting, compelling, forgettable or just horrifically bad. This entry features slashers, werewolves, hauntings and futuristic alien drug dealers.

Orphan (2009)

Orphan 2009 movie

I never saw this movie when it was first released. Even though I have seen its name pop up here and there, it was never shown the fervent love as other horror movies. But I am glad I got around to watching it, feels like a very modern take on the Omen franchise. 

It follows a couple who recently lost their daughter to a tragic accident, who then decide to adopt a 9-year-old girl. At first, she appears kooky but innocent, but soon mysterious events start to happen that indicate this young girl is not as innocent as she first appears.

Terror Train (1980)

Terror Train

Though I do love the 80s for a lot of its films of sci-fi and horror, there are a lot of less-than-good movies that came out of that era too. Unfortunately, Terror Train was one of them. The name sounds exciting but frankly, it was more of a train of boredom for me.

Terror Train starts with a prank on a student that unfortunately goes very awry, leaving the pranked one having a mental breakdown and ending up in a mental asylum. Three years later, it is graduation time and the students decide to celebrate by having a party blowout on a train. But things turn sinister, when a killer is onboard that kills his victims disguised in the costumes of his victims.

I know that older movies did not have the special effects of modern films, but the tension throughout this felt pretty lacking. We have had a few movies that have featured murderers on trains, but this is not one that I would particularly rate.

Spontaneous (2020)

Spontaenous

A lot of people loved this movie, but unfortunately for me, it did not click. As it was explained to me on Twitter, it is more of a film for American audiences, due to their prevalence of gun shootings that Spontaneous mimics in the film. Admittedly I did really enjoy the first half of this film, but the second half did not do it for me.

Spontaneous is set in a high school, where teenagers set exploding unexpectedly. Not knowing if this day will be the last, they try to cope with the thought that any day could be their last.

Still, regardless of the latter half, I would recommend watching it. It is quite a charming movie even though the main focus is often bloody and brutal. In a way, it was a cross between Warm Bodies and Daybreak.

The Hitcher (2007)

The Hitcher 2007

Probably the only film where Sean Bean does not die at the very beginning, only because it would be a very short film otherwise. This is not a classic and probably not something that I would watch again, but it was a bit of fun to pass an evening. I have not seen the original, so I did not have that colouring my view. But considering the IMDb scores of both, the remake is the lesser version.

The Hitcher follows a couple, Jim and Grace, who are driving to Lake Havasu to celebrate spring break with their friends. During a rainy night, they almost hit a man who was standing in the road. Jim feels bad for the near-miss and wants to give him a lift, but Grace is spooked by the mysterious man’s strange behaviour so they ultimately leave. After meeting up with this man at a gas station, they offer him a ride this time, but he soon shows his psychotic tendencies. Narrowing escaping his clutches, they are soon drawn into a cat and mouse game with this man who is a killer that wants to destroy their lives and frame them for his crimes.

Ok, this remake is pretty predictable, and frankly, Sean Bean as a villain does not do it for me. He is just not believable to me, I think his strength lies with being the good guys. Perhaps if they had cast another actor as the villain, The Hitcher might have had more of a lasting impression.

Dark Angel (1990)

Dark Angel 1990

Dark Angel is a detective story with a sci-fi twist. It is a fun watch, but nothing to really leave a lasting impression on me. The first half is quite interesting with the investigation into the mysterious crimes that leave behind overdosed victims with odd puncture marks on their foreheads. But when it came to the showdown, I found myself wanting more.

Dolph Lundgren is a renegade cop that is running a sting operation to take down a drug lord that he is running without the approval of his supervisors. When things go utterly wrong leaving his partner killed, along with many of the criminals, this renegade cop realises there is a new dangerous player on the field. Forced to team up with FBI Special Agent, they both soon come to the conclusion that this new death dealer may not be of this world.

Definitely fun to watch, but won’t be making it into my favourite sci-fi films. It is not a bad film by any means, it just did not have enough to make a special impression on me. I do wish they had delved into the world-building more of these mysterious villains, but it is pretty surface. I think if they had managed to combine these sci-fi and detective elements more effectively, it would have made it a great film rather than a good film.

The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

The Haunting in Connecticut

Though this did not have favourable reviews when it came out, I did enjoy this film. It is pretty much a run-of-the-mill ghost/possession story but it had a few good moments where it was genuinely scary.

A family is forced to relocate to Connecticut where their son is receiving experimental treatment for his cancer. Having received the house at a discount rate, they soon discover why. The house has a tragic history as it once was a funeral parlour, but the real events are even more sinister. The son starts to experience hallucinations that at first, he thinks are the side effects of his treatment but he soon realizes something supernatural is influencing them. 

It is worth a watch if you are into ghost or possession stories. But it definitely is not on the level of Conjuring and other similar movies in that genre. Though there are a few scary moments, they are not frequent or intense enough to make enough of an impact. 

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

An American Werewolf in London

I never say this when I was younger, but it has been referenced in a lot of pop culture. With my recent werewolf binge, I had to see what all the fuss was about. Though I can see why it is a favourite of a lot of horror fans, it was not my cup of tea. The transformation scene is definitely impressive for that time, but I guess werewolf comedy is just not for me. 

Two college students are doing a walking tour of Britain when they get lost. After leaving a pub that was not particularly friendly to them, they are attacked by a werewolf. One of them is unfortunately killed along with the werewolf that the locals refuse to acknowledge. 

Await Further Instructions (2018)

Await Further Instructions

To say that I hated this film would probably be a gross understatement. The idea was quite intriguing but implemented in the crudest and offensive manner. None of the characters were remotely likeable in any way and the blind obedience that the characters follow to the voice on the TV is just absurd.

It is Christmas Day with a family that has strained relationships. They wake up on Christmas morning with a mysterious black substance that is surrounding the house. Suspecting some global event has happened, they turn on the television to find out any information about what is going on. The television starts to give them instructions that end up testing their limits and become more and more sinister as time goes on.

I just found that the characters were very silly and their leaps of logic, did not sound feasible at all. I am sure some British families are filled with racist horrible people, but it did not make for an interesting story the way it played out.

That’s all for this Chills and Thrills.

In case you missed anything last month:

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