Insidious (2010) - I've had this bad boy on my Netflix Instant queue for a long while now. A bunch of people had recommended it to me as well, but I just hadn't had the urge to sit down and watch it for a long time. I'm glad I finally did. This was a taut, well-made and unique thriller that was a bit different than your run-of-the-mill demonic possession story. In fact, it wasn't a demonic possession story at all. Er, not really. Had more to do with a child who has the ability to astral project and what happens when he gets "lost" in that astral world. Some neat references to Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" in there, for us comic-book geeks. I'd love to see a sequel or companion film that shows the events of the film from the boy's perspective in the astral world.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Grey (2011) - Only by the broadest of definitions can this one be called a horror flick. It's really more of an action film with some horror elements. Survivors of a plane crash in the Arctic are pursued by a pack of hungry and cunning wolves. Yeah...that would be pretty horrible. To be honest, I only watched this because the trailer was hilarious. Liam Neeson seemingly fighting off a pack of wolves with his hands. How could I pass up that kind of fun? But it was actually a much more interesting film than I thought it was gonna be. And while it wasn't a classic horror film, it had enough horrifying and gory moments to keep my attention. Not really great, but not nearly as awful as it could have been.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The Innkeepers (2011) - Writer/director Ti West's follow-up to 2009's very interesting The House of the Devil. West seems to be a fan of the slow-burn, low-action horror films of the 1970's. Because that's exactly what these two films reminded me of. This one has two hotel clerks working the last weekend of business of a historic and haunted inn in Connecticut trying to capture evidence of paranormal activity for a website that one of them has started. Trying to cash in on the fad, so to speak. One of them gets a bit more than they bargained for as shit starts to get real. Or does it? I'm a big fan of movies like this that end up on an ambiguous note. Like I said, not a lot happens (although there are probably too many silly jump scares) but it's a fun ride nonetheless.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Apollo 18 (2011) - Everyone knows that there were only 17 Apollo missions. What this film pre-supposes is, maybe there wasn't. As in there was an 18th. And, using the found-footage gimmick, this film shows why that 18th mission was initially kept a secret and why we haven't been back to the moon ever since. It should have been a fun little horror flick that preyed up all kinds of lunar conspiracy theories, but it really just fell flat on it's man-in-the-moon face. I think it was the found-footage gimmick that really bothered me. I'm getting kinda tired of it, to be honest. This one might have worked better straight-up. We'll never know.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Update: Two quick pumpkin ale reviews for you as well. On Monday night, I tried two more pumpkin ales at a beer joint in Smithtown called The Tap and Barrel. Excellent craft beer bar with 52 awesome beers on tap. The first was New Holland's Ichabod Ale. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, it didn't have too much of a kick. Not nearly as much as some imperials out there, but enough that you could taste the alcohol. Lots of pumpkin pie spice nose and flavor, but not so much that it didn't taste like an actual beer, ya know? Definitely one that I would want to drink again. The other was Heavy Seas' The Great Pumpkin. I dug this one too, but it was very different from the Ichabod. Sweeter and much more carbonated, it was a great one and done brew. A little higher in alcohol content at 8.0% ABV as well. Not my favorite pumpkin ale, but not a bad entry into the fray either.