A Dark Song

★★★☆ – (2016) – A woman enlists the help of an occultist in order to settle a score over her dead child. Takes a little while to grip, but once it does you’re treated to one unexpected moment after another. Moody, tense, and highly effective in its drama and horror, though some may find the conclusion a little too bonkers.

Under the Shadow

★★½☆ – (2016) – In a city under Iraqi attack, a mother must protect her daughter from a force of evil. Manages two layers of suspense, the ghost and the war, though the former could have been avoided had the protagonist left home as suggested. Not the most logical, but does pile on some gritty suspense in the latter stages.

The Nightmare

½☆☆☆ – (2015) – Faux documentary about a bunch of people who describe their dark brushes with sleep paralysis. An excruciating experience that gets old five minutes in, but insists on dragging out stories that get less involving the more they expand. Might have worked as a short, but this is full length torture of bad actors pretending to have real plights.

Hereditary

★★☆☆ – (2018) – A woman whose family history is riddled with insanity goes off the deep end ensuing a relative’s death. Hard to describe (and critique) since for every unique shock there’s a moment of complete nonsense. Involving and has plenty to commend, but after a while some scares become silly while the acting becomes a little too unhinged.

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.

Veronica

★½☆☆ – (2017) – A young woman inadvertently summons a pissed off ghost and wades through one haunting after another. While this does have solid attempts at horror, none ever take hold since they’re always visions without consequences. Worst of all is the rampant stupidity, as characters seem to beg to be put in harm’s way.

Bornless Ones

★★☆☆ – (2016) – A couple moves into a new home and, along with their friends, become terrorized by forces of evil. Not much here could be considered unique, though some of the gore is effective. Moves slow and the characters don’t grip, but at the very least some gruesome scenes are hard to watch.

Insidious: The Last Key

★★☆☆ – (2018) – A woman who can see ghosts returns to her childhood home to confront her original clash with evil. The overall idea might have looked good on paper, as there are a few horror ideas put forth, but one thing that couldn’t have been planned is the incredibly languid pace. Burns too slow for a fourth entry with no new inventions.

Ghostkeeper

★★☆☆ – (1981) – A group of vacationing friends tread upon a manor that contains a kooky old woman and her murderous son. Succeeds in areas of atmosphere within and around the main location, but succumbs to a dreary pace and undistinguished events. Has a lot going on, but takes too long to get to each action.