Hair-Raising New Releases for the Season
By Crystal Harrell
This month is all about scares, and with Halloween just around the corner, there are plenty of films out right now that are bound to get you into the spooky spirit—but whether they’re actually good is another story.
Our first film is Guillermo del Toro’s new release, Crimson Peak. This gothic tale follows a young writer named Edith who marries the mysterious but charming Sir Thomas Sharpe. Edith gets swept away and quickly moves into his opulent but very decrepit mansion in the English hills. It is here that Edith, Sir Thomas, and his uptight sister Lady Lucille start their lives together, but things are much bleaker than they seem. It’s up to Edith to uncover all the bloody secrets of her new home and live to tell the story of Crimson Peak. Mastermind director Guillermo del Toro is known for his larger than life settings and plots, and this movie is no exception. It’s fair to say there hasn't been a horror film this beautiful to look at since the turn of the century. From the elegant yet foreboding cinematography to the colorfully vibrant Victorian costumes, Crimson Peak gives viewers a feast for the eyes. But that’s not to say there aren’t any scares to be had. Del toro’s ghouls and ghosts are not like the ones seen in the shaky found footage films of today. They’re ever-present and designed in a way that’s so creatively morbid, you’ll have no choice but to stare in fascination. The film also boasts a star-studded cast comprised of Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, and Jessica Chastain. Overall, Crimson Peak is a bloody, thrilling gem of a film and definitely deserves a watch, especially if you’re a fan of del Toro’s fantastical movies.
Our next film hits us right in the nostalgia, and that’s Goosebumps starring Jack Black as the author of our childhoods, R.L. Stine. The movie begins with a teenager named Zach as he moves from New York to a small town in Delaware. While adjusting to his new setting, he meets Hannah, the girl who lives next door and her rudely eccentric father. Zach eventually ends up breaking into their house with an awkward new friend, only to discover that Hannah’s father is actually famous horror author R.L. Stine himself and that they’ve accidentally unleashed his monsters from the books they were imprisoned in. Zach and his new friends must now capture all of the monsters and put them back in the books they belong in before they destroy the town. Regardless of whether you’ve read a single Goosebumps book or not, this movie is a fun popcorn flick the whole family is sure to enjoy. Jack Black gives the best performance he has in a while as the bizarrely hilarious R.L. Stine and there is actually some well-balanced suspense that comes with being chased by creepy creatures. Speaking of the monsters, there is one downside of the movie, and it’s that out of the huge selection of Goosebumps characters to pick from, only a few are actually referenced in the film. This may leave some long-time fans discouraged if their favorite monster isn’t showcased in the movie, but besides that, Goosebumps is pure fun from beginning to end and highly recommended.
The last film for this cinema spook-tacular is the new and supposedly final addition to the Paranormal Activity series, The Ghost Dimension. This movie follows the Fleege family, made up of Ryan, his wife Emily, and their seven-year-old daughter Leila, as they settle in their new house. Preparing for the upcoming holiday festivities, Ryan finds an old camcorder that can record ghostly apparitions that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Soon after, his daughter starts talking to an imaginary friend, and the family has to deal with a dark force at work in their own home. While this movie does try to tie up some loose ends from the previous Paranormal Activity films, Ghost Dimension delivers the same old scare tactics we’ve come to expect from a franchise that lasted five films too long. This is another found footage film from a long list of releases in the past few years with nothing really notable or different that makes it stand out. And when you’ve come to expect the jump scares, shaky camera, and poor acting, the scare factor disappears entirely. If there really are any hardcore Paranormal Activity fans out there dying to see this movie, go ahead, but for all you casual viewers out there, it’s okay to skip this one.