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Decision Paralysis is a Son of a Bitch: What Horror Have I Actually Seen in 2022 So Far?

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Decision Paralysis is a Son of a Bitch: What Horror Have I Actually Seen in 2022 So Far?

Given that we are still in the midst of a pandemic by every metric out there, this piece feels a bit premature, so here’s instead a statement that I think is long overdue: there is entirely too much shit to watch or stream out there. While some people would rather have too many options than too few, I have two issues that are at wits with one another, both of which stem from an anxiety disorder. On one hand, I want to have as many options available, as I hate feeling limited or potentially missing out, which is colloquially called FOMO (fear of missing out). On the other hand, I will get decision paralysis from having too many options, and it may take me some time to actually settle on what I want to watch, play, read, insert action verbs here.

As such, for someone who fancies herself a gorehound who wishes to keep her finger on the pulse, I haven’t kept up as much as I should. In fact, I find myself going back and watching things from earlier in the pandemic, finishing up series I needed to wrap up, or picking a movie off Shudder for shits and giggles. I was inspired by filmmaker Edgar Wright (Last Night in Soho, Shaun of the Dead, et al) to keep a list of the films I watched throughout the year, and as we come up on the halfway mark, the amount of horror I’ve actually sat and consumed is actually rather scattered, to say nothing about the lack of quantity.

I chalk this up to not just my aforementioned condition, but working full-time as an educator, as well as writing for multiple sites and projects, as well as adjusting to life post-pandemic, the latter of which I know we can all appreciate as being difficult to say the least. In any case, here are my thoughts on the horror films I have managed to watch thus far in 2022. Hopefully such a list on the back half of the year will be far longer.


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Next Generation Leatherface

Damn my completionist nature. This film is the red-headed stepchild of the iconic Texas Chainsaw franchise, to the point where it feels like a parody of itself. Of course, we do get all of the requisite scenes of a Texas Chainsaw film, including the dinner table scene and Bubba, here in the admittedly charming “pretty lady” mask, losing his marbles at every turn. Matthew McConaughey makes for a great antagonist, but he doesn’t feel like a great addition to the Sawyer family. As a whole, it’s a bunch of ideas and “oh wait, we need this!” that comes together less in a cohesive picture, but a pile that is passed off as a prize winner.


Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer Mirror

For me to have to turn a movie off and return to it later means it’s a nasty one, and that’s exactly what I had to do with Henry about sixteen minutes in. A friend of mine had been discussing it and other films that fall under the “that film” category (see also A Serbian Film, Megan is Missing, and other films where even one screening may be too many), and so I felt compelled to cross this one off my watchlist. Michael Rooker is one of those actors that I’ve always had a soft spot for, but seeing his turn as the unrelenting, unflinching title character has forever molded my touchpoint for him. If you want violence, piligrim, this film will give you violence, but be wary when you make it to the climactic fight and subsequent beheading. None of this violence is flashy or attractive, it’s mean, it’s gritty, and it will upset a good number of its viewers. But for those that want something clear out of left field, this oughta do it.


Random Acts of Violence

Random Acts of Violence

At the rate things are going, I’m honestly starting to wonder whether the concept of a copycat killer is a real phenomenon. It seems like far more of an easy plotline for film and television, though in the case of Jay Baruchel’s take on the influence of media on real-life violence, it makes for a gruesome, if darkly comic, film. Things get uncomfortable quickly, and the set pieces are something to behold. Disturbing, offbeat, and innovative, this is a new breed of slasher that does more than enough right to be entertaining, even for a breakneck eighty minutes of runtime.


Slaxx

Slaxx 2020

A killer pair of pants? Holy B-movie, Batman, what the hell has the horror world come to? Rarely do I get that twinge of “oh man, this sounds ridiculous and I therefore have to watch it” – that’s more my fiancee’s bag, but I digress – but this film scratched that itch, so here we are. On paper, this film is about a pair of designer jeans that took Motley Crue’s “Looks That Kill” a bit too literally. While there’s plenty of denim-led destruction, this film is a lampooning and skewering of branding, holier than thou corporations that may not be telling the full truth in their methods, and the drain on society that is the social media influencer.

If I’ve made the film sound like the next A24 wunderkind, it is anything from it. The commentary only goes just beneath the surface. Rather, Slaxx is what an old friend of mine would call an “awesome dumb movie.” It was a joy to watch, with plenty of inventive and gory kills throughout. You may end up going in wondering how many ways you could maim someone with a pair of jeans, though if so, you still may not be ready for what this fashionable flick has in store.


Choose or Die

Choose or Die Movie

I’ve given my full thoughts on this film in my long-form review, but to sum it up, this is nostalgic without leaning fully into head-in-the-clouds self-parody. The kills get creative and upsetting, with a particular VCR tape incident still ingrained in my memory with its viscerality and originality. The film itself isn’t a total game-changer, but I’m a sucker for a gaming-related horror, especially a short and sweet eighty minute one like this.


Little Joe

Little Joe 2019

A film about the dangers of groupthink and viruses might cut a little too close to the bone to be considered an escape, but damn if it isn’t a fun exercise in the limitations of science, and what happens when those limitations are challenged. There’s a growing unsettling feeling as the urge to play God to these new plants moves forward, and while there’s not a grand “holy shit” kind of climax, things end satisfyingly enough to warrant a watch.


Spree

Spree 2020

When a new form of technology or a trend relating to it comes along, inevitably an artist will take it to its logistical extreme and make something of it. Such is the case with this rideshare / influencer horror starring “Stranger Things'” own Steve Harrington, Joe Keery. This film does well in its escalation of gruesomeness, just as a slasher should. Sasheer Zamata is great as the comedian Jessie Adams, who goes from ride canceller to cord-cutting final girl, but not before peppering in her fair share of quips and tension-breakers. All in all, a fun time.


Green Room

Green Room 2015 Movie

Nazis are the ultimate bad guys. It’s remarkably easy to demonize and dehumanize someone who, well, does the same for just about anyone that isn’t like him (and it’s basically always him). Seeing Sir Patrick Stewart playing one who owns a rock bar is a fever dream, but his performance as the level-headed Darcy is a joy, even if you’re explicitly not supposed to root for him or the other skinheads. Rather than a bar room brawl, this film insteads takes the approach of “who’s stuck in there with whom, really?” with each escalation leaving a greater mark than the last, as few and far between as each jolt may be. I’ve had this one on my list for a minute, and I’m very glad to have crossed it off.


The Witch

The Witch 2015 Movie

I only knew of the line “Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” from a Blake’s hard cider named after Black Phillip, but after seeing Robert Eggers’ directorial debut, I feel as though I understand the full impact of that question. This is as atmospheric and bleak as they come, with the overlapping prayers as the family attempts to tend to Caleb serving as a scene that left me with genuine chills. Once the shit hits the fan, it keeps hitting, contributing to a look at how crying wolf – or witch, in this case – can tear a family apart, no matter who may be in league with Satan, if anyone. What violence there is is shocking, sudden, and not meant to really be celebrated, even one killing that happens in self-defense.

May the second half of this year lead to more scares, more gore, and much more to write about in the horror realm. Remember that gatekeeping is bullshit, and I’ve written this article as a testament to that fact.

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