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***Official 20th Annual HTF October Scary Movie Challenge 2019***

Discussion in 'Movies' started by John Stell, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    October 13: The Limehouse Golem (2016) - 3 out of 5

    In Victorian London a strange series of murders has gripped the city and the papers (along with the susceptible public) are blaming an ancient creature called the Golem. Unable to break the case, Scotland Yard assigns Inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy) to his first murder case (so he can bear the brunt of the public's frustrations while the killer runs amok), but Kildare is methodical and meticulous. The case takes Kildare to the local theater world and a murder trial which may be somehow related, as the search for the serial killer continues.

    The Limehouse Golem is two things. It is first a film with earnest and strong performances and terrific production values. It is also a bit of a mess. Just a little but too much story made murkier by the abundance of trips down characters memories as they recall events, or as Kildare imagines various suspects committing the crimes. The layering becomes too heavy as the story unfolds. The main idea behind the film plays second fiddle to the murder trial, and while it all ties neatly in a bow by the end, it does rob the film of what we think we're going to get, which is a variation on the Jack the Ripper idea (only here the killer is less concentrating and consistent than the Ripper would eventually be).
    The performances by the core performers are strong. Bill Nighy is always watchable and seems completely in his element as the intense and intelligent inspector. Olivia Cooke is terrific as the on-trial Lizzie Cree. Sympathetic, funny, intelligent and endearing, she's one of the best parts of the film. Douglas Booth as Dan Leno and Daniel Mays as George Flood (the law man assigned to work with Kildare) are equally compelling in their roles.

    I liked The Limehouse Golem but I was greatly disappointed in the murkiness and lack of focus the film has in telling its story. Handsome production, interesting ideas, and potent performances aside, the end result isn't as satisfying as all the pieces suggest.
     
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  2. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    After a completely packed early October I am jumping in to see what I can still rack up before the end of the month!

    #1. Psycho. One of my favorite movies of all time. Pure genius. If you ever get the chance, read Robert Bloch's original book as it's quite different from the movie. 10/10 MV5BNTQwNDM1YzItNDAxZC00NWY2LTk0M2UtNDIwNWI5OGUyNWUxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzkwMjQ5NzM@._V1_.
     
  3. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    #2 The Wasp Woman. Typical low budget horror. Aging cosmetics tycoon is losing market share so she tries something new. BUT BE WARNED...this may not work or may have side effects! So when it starts to make her younger she does the obvious: takes too much! Well, that wasp venom extract DOES have side effects. Not horrible, but the makeup effects are pretty lame. 4/10 IMG_0221.JPG
     
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  4. Message #224 of 488 Oct 14, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    5. Abbott & Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)
    Immediate follow-up to Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein is certainly far from the classic monster mash-up that one is, but is entertaining in its own right. Most of the picture is set in the Lost Cavern Hotel, as bellhop Freddie (Costello) is framed for the murder of a well-known criminal attorney, and only hotel detective Casey (Abbott, better than usual as the cigar-chomping straight man) believes he's innocent. There's a plethora of suspects here, including a swami (Karloff), a femme fatale (Lenore Aubert), and the hotel manager (Alan Mowbray).

    A good deal of the movie involves Freddie finding dead bodies in his hotel suite, only to have them disappear and crop up elsewhere...under his bed sheets, in his bathtub, etc. The highpoint is a fun, atmospheric ending, in which Freddie is lured into the Lost Cavern itself (a very cool, spooky set), for a meeting with the killer, who looks pretty creepy dressed in a rain slicker and rubber mask. Your mileage may vary on how funny you find Lou Costello's hijinks, but overall, this is a pretty good entry in the A & C canon. Definitely not enough Boris Karloff for my liking, however, considering his billing.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Message #225 of 488 Oct 14, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    6. The X-Files
    1.19 "Shapes"
    4.3 "Teliko"
    There are two classes of X-Files fans: those who prefer the mythology episodes, and those who prefer the Monster of the Week format. I'm most definitely in the latter camp. "Shapes" doesn't seem to be well-liked by most fans, but I rate it pretty highly...and it's the only time that the series does its own spin on a werewolf tale. This one has some nice dreary, misty atmosphere, and an interesting slant incorporating Native American tribal beliefs and politics, with their distrust of white FBI agents realistically portrayed. Guest stars Michael Horse, Jimmy Herman and Donnelly Rhodes add some gravitas.

    "Teliko" plays like an African folktale take on "Tooms," with its body contorting, albino killer sucking the pigmentation from his victims. Lots of creepy touches in this one, and once again, we get Mulder and Scully sneaking around in dark buildings, flashlights and guns at the ready, cornering deadly monsters in their lair. Also with Carl Lumbly and Zakes Mokae.
     
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  6. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Good review! Been curious about this film, it's got all kinds of elements I love, but the unfocused story you mention seems to be a problem for many viewers, which does give me pause. I still plan to check it out at some point.
     
  7. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I'm a huge XF fan and I've come to love even the bad episodes of the first five seasons thanks to Vancouver's acting talent and its free atmosphere. It's not a great episode but Shapes has solid stuff in it.
     
  8. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    So, I saw this in a theater back in 1988 and have not seen it since. I recall not liking it and don't remember much about it outside of the fact that Cage gave a rather nutty performance. Pretty certain it was sort of both a commercial and critical flop at the time. Somehow over the years it has become a major cult favorite and is often listed as Cage's best (or among his best) performance, including by Cage himself. He claims this was a huge acting moment for him and that he was channeling the great silent film actors and I believe that this role played a large part in opening him up as an actor.

    I also plan on revisiting it this month as Cage is in a few films I have on tap. He is basically a featured actor for October in my slate of films. I do want to see if I find something in this picture I missed back in 1988 and figure out if there is some spark of greatness in his performance.

    I guess the thing Cage has become most known for is his nutty freak-outs and he certainly is quite skilled at delivering those. To me I think it depends upon how his weirdness fits with the film he is in and if the director is utilizing that weirdness in a way that benefits the picture.

    In Mandy, Cage gives what to me seemed the ultimate Cage performance and the director completely knew how to use that to maximum effect. Also in Mandy Cage begins reserved and builds through the story to utter lunacy. His breakdown in the film is justified and wonderfully done. He gets to play a pretty wide range of emotions and honestly, he nails it. I can't picture anybody else playing that part.

    Another Cage film on my agenda, which people list as a hidden gem, is Mom and Dad. The claim is he is brilliantly whacked out in it and delivers crazy in a way only Nic Cage could.
     
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  9. Message #229 of 488 Oct 14, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
    Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    I have the UK blu-ray of The House That Jack Built. It is not really much like American Psycho because Lars takes a rather interesting approach to the story that mixes in a large dose of Dante. Jack and Patrick are pretty different characters.

    But I mean they are both darkly comical serial killer films that are not really about serial killing.
     
  10. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Got three in yesterday. Ping-ponging between two Arrow boxsets. Blood Hunger and American Horror Vol 2. so far Blood Hunger is winning.


    022 10/13 Whirlpool (1970) 3/5 Pervy thriller in which a perverted young photographer lives with his older aunt on an estate that they use to lure young models. This one, while not a proper Giallo, certainly has some vibes and feels like one. It’s a slow film, but I never found it dull. Well crafted and acted.


    023 10/13 Dream No Evil (1970) 2/5 Ended up I revisited this one, having no memory of it. A young orphan girl grows emotionally wanting the father she never had, and has a mental break. Or does she? Probably most notable at this point for having Edmond O’Brien in a weird roll, there’s little else to recommend it as it plods along looking like a TV movie with a ridiculous narration.


    024 10/13 Vampyres (1974) 3.5/5 Another take on the vampire thing, this one about a couple of sexy vampires that hitchhike to woo men to their lair to fuck and feed. I really dug this one. It’s got a gothic, Eurotrash look, banging soundtrack and is actually as sleazy and nasty as advertised.
     
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  11. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Dream Stalker (1991) 1/2

    A woman begins having dreams that her dead boyfriend is trying to kill her. This shot-on-video release obviously didn't have much money to work with and it's even more clear that there aren't too many good things to say about it. I can respect filmmakers who just get up one day and decide to make a movie but there's just no way around the fact that this thing isn't entertaining. The look of the killer was good but that's about it.

    The Devil's Advocate (1997) ****

    It's been a while since I watched this one but it held up extremely well. I loved this movie when it was first released and it was a blast watching it again. Reeves, Pacino and Theron are all great in the picture and I really loved the story, the outcome and how everything played out. It works perfectly as a courtroom drama Perfectly as a thriller. The horror elements are saved until the end but those work as well. This is a perfectly entertaining Hollywood movie.

    Death By Love (1990) ** 1/2

    A famous sculptor manages to bed a lot of women but every time he does they are brutally murdered. He begins to think it could be a former friend who is now into Satan worshiping. This shot-on-video film is actually a lot better that most as we get a twist at the halfway mark that really works and the story itself was quite good. There's some silly sex scenes, plenty of nudity and the performances were actually good.
     
  12. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    #3. Earth vs. The Spider (aka The Spider) 41qFXGDYX4L. . Above average "big bug" movie. Pretty decent effects despite being low-budget. 7/10
     
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  13. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    #4. School Spirit. Has anyone seen an episode of Hulu's "Into The Dark" that was good? This one started out that way, but quickly fell down the same hole every other episode did. Bad acting, predictable stories and general ridiculousness despite having a great or interesting premise. Imagine "The Breakfast Club" with a killer (real? imagined?) killing off the detention students. I'm giving up on this series. 2/10 IMG_0235.JPG
     
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  14. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    October 14: Mandy (2018) - 4 out of 5 - First Time Viewing

    The year is 1983, and Red (Nic Cage) and his artist girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) live a peaceful, idyllic and simple life near the Shadow Mountains in California. But Mandy catches the eye of cult leader, Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache) who instructs his loyal followers to abduct her who then summon a demonic biker gang to do Sand's bidding. Abused, beaten and then forced to watch a fatal, despicable act, the laid back and calm Red becomes enraged and sets about to destroy the gang and the foul cult in a bloody, brutal rampage.

    Mandy is a fever dream experience of a film that it immediately stands out as something special. Director Panos Costmatos, whose directorial debut Beyond the Black Rainbow is clearly a thematic cousin (though not nearly as well realized as the fascinating Mandy) embraces his concept without hesitation. What drives this murky dream of a movie to exception is two-fold, first is the enamoring marriage of imagery and music. A synthesizer, rock hybrid score by the late and deeply talented Jóhann Jóhannsson breathes across the images filled with colors, with frames alive with layers of colors and lights that spread around the characters in interesting ways. There are also striking images aplenty that Cosmatos treats us to. The second and most vital factor in Mandy's success is the brilliant performance by Nicolas Cage.

    The film is split into two, with the first part a soft and gentile examination of loves potent power of peace where Cage, working with a fine performance from Riseborough, is a gentle man enamored with his partner. Once the unspeakable tragedy has unfolded, we witness Cage descent with bursts of crazed anger and violent revenge. It's a performance brimming with rage, sometimes explicitly, but mostly bottled beneath his unrelenting pursuit of everyone responsible for destroying his world. It's just magnificent and a performance the kind that I can only image Cage delivering this well.

    Mandy is such an unusual but wonderful creation. It doesn't try to explain the strangeness, it presents it as matter of fact, and that's alluring. The film creates a unique world that sits inside, or perhaps adjacent to the one we recognize, and lets loose it's story of love and loss, anger and atonement. It's a film that will demand repeat viewings, not to understand, but to simply exist inside the art and craft of the film once again. And for me, to find another way to listen to the captivating score by Jóhann Jóhannsson.
    MandyPoster.
     
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  15. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    (15) I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House (2016): For anyone who saw Oz Perkins' first movie, The Blackcoat's Daughter, and thought it wasn't ambiguous enough, this should be right up your alley. Slow (glacial), atmospheric ghost story that's so fabulously filmed and lit, just watching it is almost enough for me. It's not about surprises, because it basically spells itself out at the beginning. The fact is, I got a fairly major wiggins from this one. So I'd say it's successful enough.

    (16) Boa vs. Python (2004): The horror! The horror! Available on NetFlix... or something. I was drawn in by the credit for Angel Boris. Of course, she's not exactly a sign of fine cinema. A direct to video monstrosity. Free is overpriced.
     
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  16. John Stell

    John Stell Screenwriter

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    042) 10/14/2019 Circus of Horrors (1960) [​IMG][​IMG]1/2 (out of four)

    Disgraced plastic surgeon takes cover running a circus which employees criminals and other undesirables, several of whom are in need of plastic surgery. When someone threatens to leave, an accident befalls them. Entertaining if obvious thriller boasts Anton Diffring's committed performance as demented doctor.

    043) 10/14/2019 Frankenstein 1970 (1958) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Boris Karloff seems rather grumpy playing Frankenstein descendant so in need of money that he rents his castle to American film crew. When the latest experiment begins, various members of the staff, cast, and crew suddenly vanish. Some good moments are dwarfed by too much talk and too little atmosphere, despite a good opening sequence.

    044) 10/15/2019 Head Count (2018) [​IMG][​IMG]1/2

    Evan visits his brother in Joshua Tree, California and hooks up with potential love interest and her friends. Soon after telling ghost stories around a campfire, the group realizes they may have picked up an extra member. Slow-burn chiller with good atmosphere and some clever ideas. But the climax is hurried and one-sided. Worth a look.
     
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  17. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Got in 5 yesterday. Finished the Blood Hunger boxset, it's great! Also finished the American Horror Project Vol 2 set, it's not so great!


    025 10/14 Dark August (1976) 2/5 Sometimes the billing of a film as a “slow burn thriller” is a nice way of saying “dull”. A guy kills a young girl in an accident and the girls grandpa puts a hex on him. There’s a lot of neat ideas with rural witchcraft and black magic, and it’s played pretty straight. It’s just so dull with a bland cast that buries Kim Novak that I found it to be another patience tester despite there being nothing really wrong with it.


    026 10/14 The Coming of Sin (1978) 3/5 An erotic thriller that’s certainly leans more to the erotic bit, a young woman haunted by nightmares stays at a country estate of another single woman, and a nude guy on a horse shows up and chaos insues. The craft on this one helps to hide some of the story shortcomings, but overall it’s at least never boring and seeing the trio of characters interact and shape their relationships manages to hold your interest. Oh, and there’s lots of tits. That helps too.


    027 10/14 The Child (1977) 3/5 Cheapie horror in which a young woman goes to work as a housekeeper/nanny, looking after a little girl who’s mom has died. The girl has some strange friends, and they only come out at night. There’s nothing much revolutionary about this one, and the make-up effects are kind of pants, but I dug it. It’s a neat idea, a good twist on the weirdo kid genre and oddly effective for a cheap-o horror. The best film out of Arrow’s AMERICAN HORROR PROJECT Vol. 2 set.


    028 10/14 Skinner (1993) 4/5 Revisited this one via the Severin blu-ray after not seeing it since the VHS debut back in the day. I remember liking it then, and I really dug it now. Skinner is a handsome young nerd with a Buffalo Bill side who rents a room from Ricki Lake while on the run from Traci Lords. Ever wonder what Van Helsing would have been like if played by Veronica Lake? Traci Lords got your back! It’s so great to see Ted Raimi as the lead, especially when he gets to play both the guy who kind of woo’s Lake, but also the crazy baddie. The cast really help to elevate this, and it delivers on the gore as well. What also helps is unlike all the other slashers from the era, this one plays it pretty straight despite being completely over the top and bonkers. That said, nothing, and I mean NOTHING will excuse the horrendous blackface scene…

    That aside, I dig it.


    029 10/14 Toys Are Not For Children (1972) 4/5 More a character study than a thriller, this one is so sleazy that I’m including it since it would be right at home on a double bill with a more traditional horror film. An emotionally stunted, toy obsessed young woman has a bad case of daddy issues that sees her go from terrified virgin to naive prostitute in search of her absent father. Never dull, sleazy and greasy despite not being overly graphic and even though you can see where it’s headed, it’s still a remarkably fucked up experience. The Arrow Blu looks great. This film should have been in the “AMERICAN HORROR PROJECT VOL 2” set that was so underwhelming.
     
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  18. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    OCTOBER 14:

    18) The Monolith Monsters (1957) 4/5 stars
    - As 1950's "monster" movies go, this one is quite unique in that there really aren't any monsters to be had, but they had to sell it to the general public of the time I guess. After a meteorite crashes to Earth just outside the Mojave desert town of San Angelo, CA, strange crystalline rocks are found around the impact site. Turns out they react to water by growing and multiplying beyond control, and they also leach silicon of any kind out of whatever is around them, including the human body. Well done and played straight, the Shout Factory Blu-ray looks amazing! One of the best sci-fi films to come out of this era in Hollywood.
     
  19. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    THE CHILD and TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN are two of my favorites from that era. I just saw THE CHILD for the first time through the boxset and really enjoyed it. I need to pick up the Arrow version of TOYS as I've only seen it via the Something Weird disc.


    Beyond the Seventh Door (1987) ** 1/2

    Perhaps the greatest mind screw from Canada? A thief gets released from prison and begs his former girlfriend for one last job. They go together to break into a house and find themselves being forced to enter various rooms where there are "games" to be played if they want to live. Did the SAW filmmakers ever watch this movie? This movie is so awful and yet so brilliant at the same time. I'm really not sure what the hell was going on with this thing but it was certainly crazy and constantly kept me glued to what was going on. There's no real gore or violence but it still manages to work.

    The Addams Family (2019) **

    Took the family to watch this animated movie and it was a complete dud. I mean, the story was just rather stupid and there was nothing creative done with the characters, their housing or anything else. At first I thought that perhaps I was just an old fool but after the film none of my kids liked it and in fact the entire theater was just quiet throughout the whole thing. It's not awful but it's just so flat and lifeless that you hope they leave The Munsters alone.

    Panga (1991) **

    Also known as THE CURSE III, this film has some American's living in South Africa. One day the sister to one of the Americans comes for a visit and stops a witch doctor from killing a goat. The witch doctor then puts a curse on the people who then start to die. This really wasn't very good but at the same time it wasn't nearly as bad as its reputation. The film features some nudity and mild gore and then you've got Christopher Lee picking up a paycheck.

    One On Top of the Other (1969) *** 1/2

    Don't Torture a Ducking (1972) ****

    I think most people become familiar with Lucio Fulci thanks to ZOMBIE and then they go through his 80s output of gore films. It's really too bad that those films are what the director is best remembered for because this earlier period was certainly much better. ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER is about a man who falls for a stripper who looks exactly like his recently murdered wife. This is pure VERTIGO story wise but the film is just so kinky and erotic that I really loved it. The film was very hypnotic and there's no doubt that Marisa Mell's performance and role here was among the most memorable of any Euro film.

    DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING is about a small town dealing with several young boys being murdered and molested. This certainly isn't a "fun" picture to watch due to the subject matter but there's no doubt that it's Fulci's best film. The film is just so dark and depressing yet it contains a powerful story and message. The acting is without a doubt the best from any Fulci film and there are some truly shocking moments of violence here. Just check out the scene where the totally nude woman tries to seduce the young boy. Yikes!

    Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) ** 1/2

    The twelfth film in the series is actually the best. I was really shocked at how well-made this film was and it really had some guts as well. The film works perfectly as a gore picture because it's pretty much non-stop violence and gore through the last hour. The dead scenes were rather creative and there were some shocking moments as well. The performances were also a lot better than you'd expect but the story did run out of gas a bit and the movie ran on too long.
     
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  20. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    October 15: The Nun (2018) - 2 out of 5 - First Time Viewing

    In 1952 Romania, a Catholic Monastery is the site of a terrible tragedy - an apparent suicide by one of the Nuns. Father Burke, who specializes in investigations is dispatched, along with Sister Irene (who hasn't actually taken her vows yet) to look into things and determine if the site is still holy (or something like that).

    The Nun should have been a killer horror movie. Spun off from the superb Conjuring films, where the frightening Nun character popped up like Mork did on Happy Days, the religious, period setting, the investigative approach to the narrative, and the Monastery setting just scream dark and creepy corners and the chance for terror and thrills. But what we actually get is a pretty boring tale. The performances work nicely, especially from Taissa Farmiga playing Sister Irene (Taissa is Vera Farmiga, who stars in the Conjuring films, younger sister), and the sets and locations are good, but most of the creepy moments you can see coming a mile away, and there are precious few surprises. The film doesn't have the collected grip of the Conjuring films, and there isn't really an identity to this film, again, not in the way the mothership movies have so successfully crafted. It's all a bit flat. But, it made a lot of money and so a sequel is on the way.

    Hopefully they'll do better the next time.
     

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