Southbound

★★½☆ – (2015) – Anthology of intertwining stories that all have to do with the darkest sides of the ungodly. Has the same structure as Trick ‘r Treat, and though it’s not as tightly wound, this one has plenty of frights and shocks to call its own. There’s virtually no emotional connection to any single character, but what they’re put through is often grueling to watch. Not for the faint of heart.

The Nun

★★☆☆ – (2018) – A priest and a prospective nun investigate a suicide at a convent and slowly unravel a dark secret. Despite showcasing stark atmosphere and ghoulish imagery, there’s not much happening here storywise. This is by-the-numbers religious hodgepodge with an underused and unscary villain. Another Conjuring spinoff letdown.

Mandy

★★½☆ – (2018) – A mild mannered lumberjack goes after the cult that roasted his wife. The first half, while painfully slow, offers high levels of intrigue, while the second half provides all the Nicolas Cage bombast you could ever want or expect. Stylish one moment, basic the next, but always hard to look away from.

Long Time Dead

★★½☆ – (2002) – A group of college friends summon an evil force that doesn’t take long to start picking them off. Well-made and well-meaning, but suffers from two nagging flaws. One, most deaths are off screen, and two, the serious attempts at horror can come across as silly. Moves fast though, and isn’t hard to get through.

The Alchemist Cookbook

★★☆☆ – (2016) – A paranoid young man who lives alone in the woods conducts experiments to ward off evil. The premise holds promise, and a secondary character provides laughs, but by the mid-point every highlight dissolves into nothingness. The main problem is we’re never told what’s going on, which might intrigue some but frustrate others.

Krampus 2: The Devil Returns

★☆☆☆ – (2016) – Kris Kringle and his demonic brother punish bad kids and those who intend to stop them. If the intentions were to create a film with no excitement, no character worth caring about, and no reason to follow up the previous dud, then this succeeds admirably. Anyone looking for a film with a purpose and a pulse should look elsewhere.

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.