Michael vs. Thomas: BLEED and THE UNINVITED
Michael Rich and our Editor-in-Chief love horror films and hate each other. In the spirit of the great horror face-offs of history, they’ll be going toe-to-toe in the ring and covering the horror films of Netflix in Michael vs. Thomas.
Logline: When a group of friends decides to hunt for ghosts at a nearby abandoned prison, their expedition takes a horrifying turn.
Michael: Are you getting tired of this recent trend of 80-minute runtimes in horror? I tend to prefer shorter movies, but movies like BLEED barely have enough content to be considered a feature. 8 of those 80 minutes are spent on credits.
Thomas: I think that 80-90 minutes is the ideal runtime for a horror film, actually. BLEED’s problems are definitely to be found in things other than its length. It’s interesting you point out there’s no content here, because I feel like they had a lot of potential content that they put in the last 10 minutes instead of the rest of the film…the main narrative doesn’t seem to come out until the film’s almost over.
Michael: Exactly. Maybe I should rephrase. I don’t mean to arbitrarily complain about an exact runtime, but rather the fact that many indie horror movies are stretching what should be a short film into a feature. There’s not enough substance in films like BLEED, narratively or otherwise, to justify their existence as a feature.
Thomas: Which is a shame too, because I found the production values and acting to be much better than some of the other dreck I’ve forced us to watch. I just don’t understand how you can mess up an abandoned prison being scary. The “ghost” effects were laughably bad and entirely took me out of the story, and I don’t understand what the crazy villagers wanted or what the significance of Sarah’s baby is.
Michael: Speaking of the ghosts, what was up with the Rob Zombie lookalike?
Thomas: Actually, funny you bring up Rob Zombie; this movie reminded me of a Knott’s Scary Farm maze. But whereas Zombie’s film 31 managed to make that atmosphere somewhat interesting, this fell entirely flat. I thought there were two cool visuals though: that room full of human skin (which is never addressed and doesn’t make contextual sense) and when Sarah vomits up dirt.
Michael: Yeah, I’m not sure why things went full TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE at the end. This movie is so light and fluffy that I, unfortunately, probably won’t remember it by next week. The little that’s there is cinematically well done, but this movie isn’t a full meal.
Thomas: A waste of both time and a surprisingly diverse cast. Avoid at all costs!
Logline: A grieving teenager discovers upon her release from a mental hospital that her father plans to marry the nurse who took care of his now-deceased wife.
Thomas: Alright, I know it’s pretty popular to hate on this film, but for one reason or another, I actually found myself enjoying it. For mainstream, PG-13 horror, this one gave me a sufficient amount of heebie-jeebies.
Michael: I didn’t know until after watching it that THE UNINVITED is a remake of the Korean movie A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, which I love. This movie can’t hold a candle to that fantastic piece of cinema, but it definitely falls into that “Meh, decent Netflix one-time watch” category we always talk about.
Thomas: C’mon, I think it’s a little better than that…it’s clear that the studio actually gave a shit about this movie (since it was riding high on that first wave of Hollywood remaking East Asian horror films), and that shows itself in the actors they got to show up. The scenes with the mother ghost are creepy, and the third act has a solid thriller premise. Is the twist what you have the most beef with?
Michael: SPOILERS AHEAD!!! …No, actually. I liked the twist. A film that everyone fell in love with recently called GOODNIGHT MOMMY…spoilers for this movie, as well…has essentially the same twist with the sibling being dead. For some reason, I knew five minutes into GOODNIGHT MOMMY what was going to happen and I was very disappointed with the rest of it, because the movie’s entire punch comes from the twist. I had my suspicions at the beginning of THE UNINVITED, but I think the filmmakers did a better job of throwing me off base.
Thomas: I was entirely clueless, although assuming that A TALE OF TWO SISTERS has the same twist, I’m a little disappointed that this movie essentially “ruined” the premise before I had a chance to watch its presumably superior peer. But back to the twist…I think it actually made sense? Did they flub up and have the dad talk to Alex in that one scene where she’s berating him…?
Michael: No. The dad doesn’t actually respond to her. He just rocks back and forth like he’s responding to her accusations. Clever…maybe a bit convoluted…but clever.
Thomas: I think the weakest part is the flashbacks to the night of the fire once we know the twist, and I thought there could have been more done with her cellmate in the mental asylum, but overall, I found myself mildly impressed. Among the better things we’ve watched for this column as of late, in any case.
Michael: Yeah, they set up the cellmate to play a more important role than she actually does. The movie is fine. Not awful. Not necessarily good. A one time watch won’t kill anybody