Penny Dread­ful

Some­thing old, some­thing new, some­thing Blum­house, some­thing to do

SFX - - Opinion -


So Ouija 2 is okay. Or rather, should we say, Ouija -1, given this is a pre­quel set in the ’60s about a mother and two girls who hold fake séances in the name of bring­ing “com­fort” to the be­reaved. But when they pick up Has­bro’s game, “Ouija”, things get a bit ghostly.

Retro set­tings for hor­ror films seem to be all the rage. You don’t need to worry about mo­bile phones, CCTV cam­eras or any mod­ern tech­nol­ogy. But ac­tu­ally it’s more than that. We live in an age of cyn­i­cism. Of so­cial me­dia, “meh” and “LOLs”, where ev­ery­one has seen ev­ery­thing be­fore, and no one is scared by any­thing that isn’t a loud noise and a crash zoom. Tak­ing us back to a time when we were more iso­lated, when power cuts and can­dles were a thing, when houses were creaky and we could be­lieve in ghosts, is strangely com­fort­ing. Ouija 2 isn’t great. But it did make me miss a sim­pler time when all we had to be afraid of was our youngest daugh­ter be­ing pos­sessed by the malev­o­lent spirit of tortured WW2 vic­tims and not all this Trump and Brexit stuff.


Trailer of the month goes to Get Out , an­other from the Blum­house hor­ror fac­tory. Daniel Kalu­uya stars as an African-Amer­i­can guy who heads to the coun­try to meet the par­ents of his Cau­casian girl­friend, but once he’s there he’s con­fronted with a bar­rage of bizarre and ter­ri­fy­ing racist be­hav­iour. There’s some crazy su­per­nat­u­ral stuff go­ing on here as well, and some alarm­ing mind games from Cather­ine Keener’s hyp­no­tist mother. It’s di­rected by Jor­dan Peele of comedy duo Key and Peele, so I’m ex­pect­ing wry laughs as well as so­cial com­men­tary and freaky hor­ror.


Two Pixar an­i­ma­tors have re­leased a short – and it’s a lit­tle bit har­row­ing. This is Bor­rowed Time , a seven-minute vi­gnette about an age­ing sher­iff re­turn­ing to the scene of a hor­ri­ble ac­ci­dent that’s been plagu­ing him since he was a young man. It’s a Western – think No Coun­try For Old Men meets Toy Story 3. Film­mak­ers Lou Hamou-Lhadj and An­drew Coats said they wanted to make an an­i­ma­tion that’s not for kids and that they want peo­ple to see an­i­ma­tion not as a genre in it­self but just an­other method of sto­ry­telling. The next step, then, is surely hor­ror. Okay, there’s a fair bit of hor­ror anime from Ja­pan, while stop­mo­tion movies like The Night­mare Be­fore Christ­mas and Corpse Bride touch on hor­ror themes, but out­side of that it’s sparse. Are we miss­ing a trick? Pixar’s so damn good these days their films are com­pletely im­mer­sive – with zero re­stric­tions, they could surely scare the life out of us. Make it so, guys.


More on shorts then – and two new ones do­ing the fes­ti­val cir­cuit that I urge you to watch. The first is Con­nie , from di­rec­tor Cat Davies, a kind of funny, fem­i­nist riff on the ven­tril­o­quist sec­tion of Dead Of Night, where a strug­gling come­di­enne adopts gobby pup­pet Con­nie to freshen her act – but at what cost? The se­cond is Dawn Of The Deaf , which just won the prize for Best Short at Sit­ges. It deals with big is­sues like the im­pend­ing zom­bie apoca­lypse and it looks as­tound­ing, with 28 Days Later lev­els of scale. Dawn Of The Deaf was shot in Lon­don with the deaf com­mu­nity and is a teaser drum­ming up in­ter­est for a fea­ture to be shot “with an en­tirely deaf cast for a main­stream hor­ror au­di­ence” ac­cord­ing to writer/di­rec­tor Rob Sav­age. It’s gen­uinely ex­cel­lent – this isn’t a “good cause” movie, other than the good cause of the po­ten­tial for a re­ally great, fright­en­ing hor­ror that’s a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent from the norm. Head to for more.

Spooky houses and kids in Ouija: Ori­gin Of Evil. Dark an­i­ma­tion Bor­rowed Time. Con­nie could have Miss Piggy any day.

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