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Bad Movie Tuesday: The Day Time Horror Film

March 5, 2013

The Awakening movie poster

via

When you commit to writing a column called Bad Movie Tuesday you set yourself up for copious amounts of bad cinema. The thing that keeps you going is finding the silver lining to the badness. However, with bad horror films there is no silver lining. Most of the time when bad horror films end I am left with a grimace and a feeling that time was wasted. I might be biased and Co-writer John might disagree but I find the horror genre the most frustrating. I am not a fan of horror films. I appreciate them but very few catch my attention. They’ve been destroyed by too much information, too many twists and seemingly hundreds of remakes and prequels.

The Awakening had one strike going against it already. The tagline read “all the children are gone. Except one.” So, I knew I was about to watch a film about evil kids who create many jump scares whilst actors look glum and inevitably becomes ghosts or realize they are ghosts. So, in order to prevent the inevitable scowl I watched the film on a well deserved weekday off and focused much of my attention to writing, playing with my cat and processing my thoughts about The Master.

Did she die? Did she live? Who takes care of the lawn? Who was that evil kid? Why didn’t Dominic West punch a ghost? I have the answer to none of these questions. The most intriguing aspects are the beautiful grounds and never ending house. I had a hard time believing that there was only one person taking care of all the shrubs, bushes and grass. Roger Ebert had a question as well “The real mystery is, what were the English thinking of when they build these scary stately homes and actually went to live in them?” I am convinced that 90% of all horror films would be prevented if people lived in one bedroom apartments.

The awakening outside house

via

The Awakening started off solid enough by establishing the main character as a paranormal hoax investigator. Rebecca Hall (The Town, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Iron Man 3) is a wonderful actress and she lent the film a much needed dose of credibility. However, once she arrives at the large mansion the movie goes awry. There is something about an evil kid, a massive doll house and Bran from Game of Thrones obviously being a ghost or massive punk. After the stock shock ending I was happy I chose not to pursue this film when it was in the theaters.

The best thing about this film is that it inspired me to force another horror sub-genre on the world. My Tank Top Horror was a success so I’ve deemed The Awakening  “Day Time Horror.”

Day Time Horror films are so bad, boring, twisty, remakey and sequely (Those two words were made up) that you can watch them during the day and not fret about missing scares and plot. The Day Time Horror (DTH) label can save many date nights and horror gatherings.  There is nothing worse than expecting a scare and being stuck with The Apparition, House at the End of the Street or The Ward.  The DTH label is a must in a landscape of terrible cinema. Why risk watching a good horror film during the day and wrecking a wonderful experience? I know that studios will never thrust the DTH label on their films so here are some things to look for.

1. Is it a remake or sequel?

2. Does it heavily feature a tank top?

3. What is the Rotten Tomato score?

4. Are there evil kids who are blurry, pale or sullen?

5. Does it feature Ashley Greene looking at stuff?

6. Is it PG-13 and named The Boogeyman, Dark Water or The Messengers?

7. Is it called The Last Exorcism 2 (huh?) or  Final Destination 4 3D?

If the horror film features these criteria I recommend watching it during the day. If you watch these while doing homework, cleaning, writing, exercising or napping you will feel like a better person. Your time will not be wasted because the movie is being used for background while you better yourself. Thus, you get the gist of the movie and not all the junk that goes with it. I would do anything to get the time back that I spent in the theater watching Paranormal Activity 3, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Grudge.

There are several films THAT YOU NEED TO WATCH in cinemas. So, research the film to make sure they all bring something new to the table.  Insidious, Drag Me To Hell and Devil were all rare treats that I fully enjoyed while sitting fully immersed in the dark theater. They had original stories, wonderful visuals and solid acting. The three mentioned films all dared to break free from the mold and give us something new. Goats become evil, Philly went upside down and people actually moved out of a haunted house. If Sam Raimi is directing and not producing I recommend the theater. If it tells an original story without evil kids or long stretches of boredom (AKA attempts at tension) watch it in the dark. Also, if it is directed by James Wan (Insidious, Saw (only the first) Dead Silence, The Conjuring) check it out. Wan will never hit a home run but the dude always swings for the fences and has managed to pile up a lot of doubles and triples. His latest film The Conjuring looks epic judging by the trailer. Ti West is pretty great too FYI.

Nothing new happens in The Awakening and that is what makes it a DTH film. There is a big house, a doubter, blurry kids and a twist. I saw these traits in the preview and that is why I watched it during the day while doing other things. The best thing I noticed about it is that it didn’t feel like attractive people looking at things like The Apparition and The Darkest Hour did.

The Awakening haunted house

via

If you embrace the DTH label and use your time creating while watching badness your day will be well spent. We movie lovers consume mass quantities of cinema and it is important not to overdose on subpar offerings. Some movies deserve your attention. Day Time Horror films do not.

Thoughts? Questions? Angry? Suggestions? How many times will you jump while watching The Conjuring?

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2013 11:08 am

    I happened to watch this film this past Saturday. Although I am not a film connoisseur as yourself, I’m delighted that my assessment of it was in line with yours. It was horrible. I’m not sure if the acting was just bad, or if it was just really poorly written dialogue, but the movie made very little sense. Then at the end, it was like, “Oh okay, yeah, alright, I get it. Hah. Cool. Whatever.” Moneyball was a nice breath of fresh air, not a horror film, but watching them back to back really highlighted how much good dialogue affects a film.

    This is my first read on your blog, can’t wait to follow more!

    • March 5, 2013 11:35 am

      Thanks for the comment! Glad you liked. Dialogue makes all the difference. Filmmakers rely on twists, shocks and tank tops too much and forget to make the film interesting. They need to create likable characters and scary villains to do more than look cool

  2. johnleavengood permalink
    March 5, 2013 11:49 am

    Whoah! Back up. Final Destination 5 was epic! I demand an apology. Have you even seen it?

    • March 5, 2013 11:55 am

      Sorry 5. I have adjusted it haha

      • johnleavengood permalink
        March 5, 2013 12:19 pm

        Now, if it’s called “The” Final Destination then even franchise fans should beware. That was the only installment that I didn’t love, and I HATED it. Even me, John of “John’s Horror Corner,” the bad horror lover.

  3. VJ Long permalink
    March 6, 2013 10:40 am

    I’ll be back for more comments on this one, but right now I’m thinking; who could pull of making a horror movie set in a one bed room apartment?! Tag line, “470 Square Feet of Terror!”

    • johnleavengood permalink
      March 6, 2013 11:24 am

      I have a few answers for you VJ…

      1) 1408, with John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson; 2) Cube, although its semi-sci-fi and semi neither at the same time; 3) Hunger takes place in two rooms; 4) Red Room; and 5) more of a murder/psych-thriller movie, but The Killing Room. Number 1, however, is the most true to form answer after Cusack gets to the hotel and meets with Jackson a couple times.

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