October 6, 2022

What We’re Watching: October 6, 2022


We finally showed the kids Gremlins (1984) and they absolutely loved it. My youngest agreed we were right to hold off until now. We all were laughing, enjoying the creepy, the silly, and the goopy. And in case you’re wondering we skipped the amazing Phoebe Cates speech; that haunted both my wife and I as kids, and it isn’t necessary to enjoy the rest of the film. If we watch it again one day when they are a little older we will let it play through.


A new Netflix series from Mike Flanagan is always appointment television, given how well he did with the seminal Haunting of Hill House and highly disturbing Midnight Mass(as well as the okay-ish Bly Manor). This year he’s adapting the YA novel The Midnight Club (2022), in which a group of terminally ill teenagers tell each other ghost stories after hours in their creepy hospital wing.  Is this just a routine horror anthology like Tales From the Crypt, or another surprisingly effective Flanagan tearjerkers disguised by splatter and suspense? My guess is a bit of both, and I’m looking forward to finding out this weekend.


Of course I went back to 2021’s Halloween Kills as part of my ritual preparation for Halloween Ends. I’ve sung the praises of this film for a year now, and this time I really just want to shower Anthony Michael Hall with some love. Tommy Doyle is a punk b****, and Hall plays him perfectly – a wannabe tough guy who’s all talk. We all know someone like this, probably got a cousin like Tommy Doyle. He’s one of those guys that would start a fight and then shout, “Guys, hold me back!” It’s evident in the third act mob scene, where Tommy stands behind everyone else as they take their shots at Michael Myers, only stepping in to whack him with a baseball bat once he’s down on the ground. I’m genuinely surprised Tommy didn’t turn and run, but the filmmakers decided to let him meet the fate he deserves after leading so many Haddonfield residents to their death. To quote Jay-Z, “You know the type, loud as a motorbike, but wouldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight.” You’re a d*** Tommy, and that’s why Hall nailed it. Bravo.


Proving that being derivative isn’t necessarily a negative for a horror film, Smile (2022) won’t win any awards for originality but ends up one of the best horror films of recent years thanks to its superb scares and superior filmmaking craft. Borrowing more than a few elements from It Follows and The Ring, this tale follows psychiatrist Rose (Sosie Bacon) who after a harrowing experience with a patient, learns that she has been cursed with terrifying visions and hallucinations and slowly loses her mind as the malevolent spirit tormenting her gets increasingly cruel and ruthless. The film’s fantastic recurring gimmick of various characters sporting creepy maniacal smiles is supremely memorable and disturbing, and writer/director Parker Finn already looks like an extraordinarily accomplished filmmaker, incorporating jump scares that actually work for a change and giving us a terrific main character in Rose, backed by an incredible, intense and sympathetic performance from Bacon. Grim and gruesome, this ironically-titled horror flick is an unexpected highlight of 2022.


Nathan Fielder’s The Rehearsal is the best TV show of 2022 so far. It has a corky premise in which Fielder prepares people for important moments in their lives by rehearsing them over and over, with the help of lots of actors, accurate-to-reality sets, and an HBO-style budget. However, the final scene of the premiere episode sets up that the show is gonna focus much more on Fielder than what the initial premise would make you think. Each episode expands that same premise into funny, weird and uncomfortable territory. That’s as far as I can go without spoiling it so check it out!

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