Don’t Torture a Duckling

★★½☆ – (1972) – Someone’s killing children in a small Italian village, and many locals are suspects. Has a gripping and disturbing first half that offers high levels of discomfort. The final half, however, drags when the murders and the reactions to them are replaced by a dull investigation.

A Quiet Place

★★☆☆ – (2018) – A small family continues to outlast creatures that attack anything that makes noise. Somehow won the world over, most likely those in for some decent scares and those who’ve never seen Tremors. While there are inventive moments, there are some illogical ones as well, along with predictability and the sad fact that we have no idea who these people are.

Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins

★½☆☆ – (2009) – A group of teens and a talking dog try to solve a ghostly problem in their high school. Good for a chuckle or two if your child-self is watching, but to the adult-self this is pure misery. The jokes grow old fast, the story is hard to invest in, and the characters barely resemble the cartoon cast or even the actors from the first two live action films.

Revenge (2017)

★★☆☆ – (2017) – A girl who’s raped and later left for dead hunts down her aggressors. Initially has some enticing and shocking moments, but gradually becomes a bland mix of I Spit on Your Grave and Rambo III. The violence is the highlight as this ultimately turns into a bloodbath, but the plot and characters leave much to be desired.

Disciples

★½☆☆ – (2014) – Demons on Earth battle for the fate of mankind with some human interference. Has traces of a good film in style and casting, but figuring out what this all means is nearly impossible. A muddled mass of religious mumbo-jumbo with some truly laughable effects and horror moments.

Trophy Heads

★★☆☆ – (2014) – A man is kidnapping B-movie scream queens and filming their murders. The motive isn’t air tight, and some scenes drag on for far too long. Never lives up to its concept, either, but the actresses are all game and it’s great to see so many assembled at once to poke fun at their cheesy (but awesome) careers.

Hatchet for the Honeymoon

★★☆☆ – (1970) – A troubled fashion designer murders women against his own will. Moves slower than a one-wheeled dump truck, and none of the victims are worth worrying about. However, this does manage to make the psychosis of the antagonist creepy and unnerving.

Deep Blue Sea 2

★½☆☆ – (2018) – Scientists in an underwater research facility fight for their lives against flooding and sharks. A veritable blueprint of the first film, so much so that this is far more a remake than a sequel. A failure in either regard, as this lacks the corn that made the original memorable and fun.

Deadgirl

★★½☆ – (2008) – A deceased young woman who’s not really dead complicates the lives of derelicts and their bullies. Though there’s a lot of confusion in the rules at hand, enough twisted and violent acts occur to mark this as a success. Would have worked much better if any single character weren’t so despicable or weak.

In Fear

★★½☆ – (2013) – A couple on their way to a hotel become lost in a never-ending maze while tormented by strangers. Though the plot is hardly airtight, and the characters aren’t drawn well enough to root for or against, there is an overall aura of tension throughout and a need to see how everything will pan out. Often unique and stirring.