Full disclosure: I have not been a very good Halloween turbofan this year. While I have leaned into it pretty hard on the ol’ YouTube channel, that’s really the most I’ve done. My condo is scarcely decorated – all that’s out are a Halloween Pumpkaboo plush and a dish towel with skellingtons on it. I’ve also been way behind on watching any season-appropriate films or television programs. But I did manage to sneak in a couple movies. Here are my short reviews of them!
The Devil Below
The Devil Below is about a rag-tag group of scientists who set out to explore an old coal mine that had caught fire and been abandoned decades earlier. They’re not only in search of what caused the mine to catch fire, but also why the surrounding town had been abandoned and completely wiped off the map. Led by a spunky, uh… tour guide/bounty hunter/supermodel, it’s not long before they discover that there’s something a little more sinister lurking below the surface.
I’ll start off by saying that this film has an 8% Rotten Tomatoes score. Yikes! That’s especially dire! I didn’t think it was all that bad, though. Or… was it? I’m sitting here and struggling to think of positive things to say about it. The main character, played by Alicia Sanz, was pretty cool. Though her acting was a bit stiff; I’m not sure if that was a choice to make the character more aloof or simply bad acting. The movie managed to hold my interest for the most part – I may have picked up my phone here and there, but it’s not like I had my Switch in hand at any point.
Onto the bad! Personally, I kind of hated the monster designs. Not that they’re necessarily bad. But they’re supposed to be this advanced race of insect-like creatures and they just look like people with oversized lamprey masks and claws. I appreciate that most/all the effects were practical, but the creature design didn’t really seem to fit the lore, especially since the boss monster resembles a termite queen. Although I suppose that “too anthropomorphic” isn’t the worst thing you can say about a monster design. On the upside, they did wait a very long time to give viewers a decent look at the creatures. Way to show restraint, director!
Other than that, the story was very paint-by-numbers, none of the other characters were endearing in the least, and it was much too dark throughout. Most importantly, there’s no satisfying resolution to anything. I’d like to know more about the creatures other than “they’re kinda like ants or bees”. I’d have liked to see more of the background story of the miners initially fighting off the creatures and sealing them away. I’d like to know why this allegedly superior race isn’t popping up anywhere else in the world. I mean, they live underground and eat people. How could they have survived for decades trapped in a burning coal mine with no food? Cannibalism, presumably, but that’s not a fun answer and would realistically only take a species so far.
Upon reflection, yeah, The Devil Below is not a good movie. But I didn’t feel strongly either way about it while I was watching it and I certainly didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time watching it. I also think that the 8% approval rating is a bit harsh. I’d say it’s more deserving of something in the 15%-20% range.
There’s Someone Inside Your House
Let’s begin with a fun fact: Actress Jesse LaTourette is in both this movie and The Devil Below. I did not recognize that it was the same actress, and probably would have gone my whole life without learning that fun little coincidence had I not been Googling these films to learn their casts’ names.
And that’s probably the most interesting thing I have to say about There’s Someone Inside Your House.
I called The Devil Below paint-by-numbers, but that almost seems unfair when you compare it to There’s Someone Inside Your House. This is the most boring, uninspired, cliché-driven movie that I have watched in a long time. Tears! I was bored to them! Well, not like, literal tears, but my soul was weeping. Because not 15 minutes in, I realized that I was watching Teen Revenge Slasher #3087 and I felt despair fill my gut. Sure, I could have simply turned the movie off, but I foolishly held out hope. And instead of rewarding me, There’s Someone Inside Your House just took a dump in my living room. Again, not literally.
Here’s the plot synopsis: Teens are getting murdered in a Middle American town, and it’s up to our gang of misfits to try to figure out who it is before they all get killed themselves. Sound familiar? YUUUP. If that had been Netflix’s synopsis, I would never have pressed play. Instead, they gave me hope by telling me that James Wan (Insidious) and Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) produced it. This is a cautionary tale to not watch things just because people who’ve made things that you like are involved!
I’ll go ahead and say that I didn’t much care for anything about this movie, but the most egregious part by far is that I didn’t really understand the killer’s motivation. He does a big ol’ exposition dump at the end, and I kinda get that end goal was to kill his dad in a huge, cinematic fashion, but then… what about all the teens who died along the way? I guess the idea is that he’d cracked and decided to just kill anyone who’d done something bad, but eh… it just rings hollow. If your plan is to expose people’s nasty secrets to the rest of the town, why not just do that? Why go the extra mile to murder them? Wouldn’t it be worse to have to live with their horrible secrets revealed? I guess the severity varies by character, but whatever, I still didn’t like it.
What mystifies me the most is that There’s Someone Inside Your House has a 47% Rotten Tomatoes rating!? The most bland, derivative movie I’ve watched in recent memory, and it’s got that much better a rating than The Devil Below? Really??? While I didn’t much care for The Devil Below, I did feel like I wanted my 1 hour and 36 minutes back after watching There’s Someone Inside Your House. And if that’s not the most damning criticism, I don’t know what is.
Okay, so maybe I did end up having some more interesting things to say. Who knew!?
Nothing new to say here, I would think. Seen this movie probably a half-dozen times, but I haven’t watched it in a decade, at least. And with the announcement of a new SH movie in the works, I figured now was the perfect time to revisit it.
But first, a short aside: As this movie came out in the stone age, I still have a copy on DVD, and that’s how I watched it. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a DVD, and I’d actually forgotten that they used to put ads before movies. What wild times those were!
If you had asked me before, I would have told you that in my opinion, Silent Hill is the best live-action video game movie. I know it’s a low bar to clear, but I always really liked this one. If you asked me now? Well, it’s hard to say. I was a little bit high when I was watching this, and also texting with a potential date throughout most of it, and also I fell asleep for the last half-hour or so. So it would be hard to say that I really watched Silent Hill, and as such, I don’t have a revised opinion to provide. Here are a few random thoughts, though!
Sean Bean is in it a lot more than I remembered. Like, he’s got a whole B plot where he’s trying to figure out where the heck Rose and Sharon went to. I knew he was involved at the beginning and end, but no, he’s got scenes all throughout the film. And yet still I can’t remember what his character’s name is!
Most of what I did remember are the parts of the movie that are closely based on the game(s). The general plot, the sequence where Rose is wandering through the alleys and gets attacked by the monster kids, how half of the monsters are actually from Silent Hill 2, stuff like that. Anything that was originally introduced for the movie? Basically all new to me. Except for the part where Pyramid Head rips off that one girl’s skin. That moment will forever be burned into my nightmares.
I really dislike how the movie grinds to a halt for a 10-minute exposition sequence. It’s really bad and I can’t fathom that nobody involved in the production could come up with a better alternative.
So, I’ll probably have to watch Silent Hill again soon, but with a little more focus. I have no intent of revisiting Silent Hill: Revelation though, as I didn’t much care for that one.