The best and worst of Horror on UK Netflix

Hola amigos!

As usual, I’ve been watching many diabolical things, in an attempt to discover something that frightens me more than the prospect of Brexit, and my streaming service of choice is Netflix. Netflix has a lot to offer, but tends to lack a lot of key horror titles, but I’m here to take you through some of the best horrors I could find, and some that you’re better off avoiding.


The Best

The Invitation

The_Invitation_(2015_film)_POSTER

A very convincing argument for never speaking to your ex again.

The Invitation is what I will show anyone that tries to convince me that my policy of completely erasing exes from my life is self destructive. Our hero, Will arrives at his gorgeous former home with his new girlfriend, for dinner with his ex wife. It is quickly revealed that the pain of their young son’s death caused Will and his wife to divorce.

Of course, people handle things in different ways, and at different paces, and to the rest of the world, Will’s ex wife Eden seems to be moving forward in her life, but underneath her smile and equally smiley husband (a sure sign that something is wrong in horror, would be an abundance of smiling) lies a very dark truth to how Eden has recovered so well.

Without spoiling too much (I know, I always do that!), The Invitation really looks at the idea of whether we as people are every truly capable of knowing each other, and knowing the true capabilities of those around us, as well as giving a definitive answer to whether the past really should remain in the past (brief spoiler alert, it definitely should).

Black Mirror

black mirror jennifer juan

The future is bright, but it scares the shit out of me.

Now, some wouldn’t consider Black Mirror to be horror, but I personally would. Perhaps not all of it is horrific (San Junipero says hello, and I’m crying all over again), but there are many horror aspects, and so one could argue it is a horror anthology, and, well, I am.

One of the most frightening parts of Black Mirror is coming face to face with how truly awful we have the potential to be. Why fear ghosts and creatures when monsters are walking past us every day, right? Charlie Brooker has succeeded in showing the reality of every day life and human nature, and how it can lead to chaos, destruction, and unfortunate pig related incidents.

I’d personally say that my favourite episodes were “National Anthem” and “Playtest” but I’ve never finished an episode and felt unsatisfied, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy them all.

Shutter

Shutter08poster jennifer juan

More trouble with exes..

Now, I’ve been very vocal about how disappointing western remakes of eastern horror can be (Death Note, I’m looking at you), but Shutter is definitely one of the better ones.

As Ben and his new wife Jane travel to Tokyo to start their new life as a married couple, they think nothing could go wrong. This is a horror movie, and so, of course, they are wrong. The trouble begins when Jane hits a girl with their car, and the girl vanishes without a trace.

They try, as people in horror movies often do, to forget about the situation and move on with their lives, but of course, that just isn’t going to happen, as Ben’s photographs begin to show signs of spirit photography, leading Jane to begin unravelling the mystery of Megumi Tanaka, and the horrific truth of her connection to the newlyweds.

As mentioned, it is one of the better adaptations of an eastern horror, and will certainly deliver more scares with less lazy crossover writing than some of it’s peers.

The Mist

The_Mist_title_card jennifer juan

Dreams, after all, are insubstantial things, like mist itself.

With the recent release of It, many of us will be looking for something Stephen King related to continue the scares after watching, and The Mist is the perfect option. The movie adaptation is a favourite among many horror fans, for it’s terrifying visuals, and breathtakingly bleak ending, and the television series does a great job of continuing the universe of King’s original story.

I must admit, I was hesitant to begin watching the show, as The Mist genuinely troubled me when I watched it, many years ago, on Sky Movies, when my mum was out of the house and couldn’t stop me, but I’m very glad that I put my self inflicted childhood trauma aside and gave it a chance.

With an impressive cast, and the opportunity to delve further into the story than the movie adaptation, it is definitely an enjoyable show for fans of Stephen King, and honestly, anybody else.


The Worst

Unfriended

Unfriended_2015_teaser_poster jennifer juan

Please, little girl, take this lollipop…

Unfriended was an ambitious idea, and so I will give them credit for that. Focusing the entire audience perspective on social media is certainly original, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was the right step. I applaud the originality but I feel the movie relied on that gimmick too much, and didn’t give proper attention to character development.

One of the key things with horror, is creating characters that people care about. If you I don’t care about the characters, why should I care when they die, or get damned to hell, or eaten, or whatever you’re doing to them. One of the curses of modern horror is reliance on jump scares or quirky gimmicks, to cover up that a story doesn’t make sense, or the characters are poorly developed, and Unfriended is definitely guilty of that.

I suppose the message of “Don’t cyber bully” is nice to see in a mainstream movie, but I couldn’t really get past how weak the writing was, and so the message was lost, for me.

The Green Inferno

The_Green_Inferno_poster jennifer juan

We get it, Eli, you’re really edgy.

If you’re ready for more poorly developed, unlikable characters, then you may enjoy The Green Inferno.

Now, as many of you may know, I am not the biggest fan of Eli Roth (although, I did think Hostel was great), and so perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, but honestly, for someone who is hailed as one of the brightest stars in the horror genre, I expect better, and The Green Inferno was a massive disappointment.

I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the most annoying parts of The Green Inferno, for me, was the mess of messages for the audience. It was so difficult to pin down who I was supposed to sympathise with, or if I was even supposed to care at all. A lot of the time, it felt like it tried to emulate the message of Cannibal Holocaust (We think that indigenous people are savages, but WE are the savages), but they also shoved a whole bunch of 4chan worthy shit on top that it was lost. We get it, Eli, you’re really edgy. We get it.

One of my problems with The Green Inferno was that, while admittedly it was a homage to Italian cannibal movies, and so would naturally have similarities to many existing ones, including Roth’s blatant main muse, Cannibal Holocaust, it didn’t feel like Roth did anything new with the genre, or the resources available to him. It felt like the kind of thing kids would make on windows movie maker, for a GCSE media class, but with a bigger budget, rather than feeling like a movie made in tribute, but with original thoughts and ideas behind it, so the whole thing just came off as lazy.

The only interesting or slightly likeable characters turned out to be the tribe, and so I wasn’t too bothered as they picked off most of the characters I was meant to be rooting for.

Roth also got overly defensive, when accused by Survival International of continuing to give a platform to negative stereotypes about indigenous people, saying “The idea that a fictional movie about a fictional tribe could somehow hurt indigenous people when gas companies are tearing these villages apart on a daily basis is simply absurd.”

I get defending things you create, to a point, but this seems like a case of a creative never having had to face major criticism before, maybe because the entire genre they dominate keeps telling them how clever they are, and how special they are, and then getting defensive when confronted with genuine criticism, because it hurts their ego.

He went on to say “The fear that somehow a movie would give them ammunition to destroy a tribe all sounds like misdirected anger and frustration that the corporations are the ones controlling the fates of these uncontacted tribes.”

The fact is, dehumanisation of marginalised people is what keeps them marginalised, and this is partly done by the media and entertainment industry, so, yes, while the movie didn’t drive the whole world to attack uncontacted tribes, it is part of the fabric of their dehumanisation, and to say that these things don’t influence or vindicate prejudiced people, who kill people who stand in the way of profit, is naive at best, and ignorant at worst, because they are only able to kill those people, because they have been so dehumanised that they no longer see them as people. Attacks on indigenous people are still a reality and while I wouldn’t say writers and film makers should never touch on subjects like this, they should at least try and be responsible, and not act like people being offended by their bad treatment of sensitive topics is unfair.

Eli Roth is a grown man, a grown man of 45 fucking years old. If he’s grown enough to make his little cannibal movie, he should be grown enough to defend it without shouting down people’s opinions, and throwing a tantrum because people don’t “get” him, and actually confront his work with criticism.


Besos,

J x

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Jen’s Spooky Soundtrack

October is here, and with it comes one of my favourite holidays, Halloween. I have always loved Halloween, because it brings together so many of my favourite things. Dressing up, scary movies, and of course, door to door free stuff, although, sadly, I’m now a little too old for trick or treating…

Today, I’m going to share with you a little of my Halloween playlist, that I use all through October, to keep me in a creepy, spooky mood.

Eve Was Weak – Betty Buckley and Linzi Hateley (From Carrie The Musical)

You may not even know that a musical based around the classic Stephen King book Carrie exists, sadly, the original production didn’t do so well, but it became a cult favourite among fans of both Broadway and the original book, and is now enjoying a revival, which honestly, would be what poor Carrie would want. Eve Was Weak is a stunningly spooky duet between Carrie White, and her terrifying mother, as Carrie pleads for comfort after a traumatising ordeal at school. The instrumentation is sinister, with lyrics describing fears that don’t just come out at Halloween, and giving a fresh perspective on the horrors Carrie faced outside of School, and building a perfect introduction to the tragic monster she would become, and the tragic monster that waited for her at home.

Main Titles – Charlie Clouser (From Dead Silence)


Charlie Clouser has become a well known name among horror fans, having composed some of the themes to many recent staples of the genre, such as Saw, American Horror Story, The Stepfather, and of course Dead Silence.

The theme from Dead Silence has always given me a Phantasm vibe, due to the similar use of the piano in the build up to the stunning crescendo that a villain like Mary Shaw deserves.
The Well – Hans Zimmer and Henning Lohner(From The Ring)


While Hollywood does have a tendency to tone down the scares when remaking foreign horror movies (I’m looking at you, John Erick Dowdle, Quarantine was a mess) Gore Verbinski’s remake of Hideo Nakata’s Ring was a refreshing take on the American – Foreign remake. While there were some plot changes, the intelligence and sheer dread of Ring was retained, and this was definitely helped, by the utilisation of a soundtrack by legendary composers Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner and Martin Tillman. The Well is probably the song you hear when thinking of the movie, containing elements of the chilling antagonist, Samara Morgan, and a familiar melody that follows you throughout the movie, The Well will have you checking under your bed, and fearing any kind of water.
Ave Satani – Jerry Goldsmith (From The Omen)

The Omen is an iconic horror movie, and one of the defining moments of the genre, that demonstrated how truly masterful horror can be, when in the right hands. It’s Academy Award Winning soundtrack certainly doesn’t disappoint, with the satanic hymn Ave Satani being one of the major highlights. Paying tribute to everybody’s favourite bad boy, Satan, the lyrics are a clever inversion on traditional latin prayers and chants, creating the ultimate ode to the Anti Christ. I’m reaching for my rosary as I type…


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May Faves ❤️

mayfaves jennifer juan

Someone suggested this type of post to me recently, and it made a lot of sense. I’m the kind of person who is always looking out for new things, and then getting excited and obsessed with said new things, enough to warrant a blog post (but normally just resulting in me bothering my friends and relatives with inarticulate ramblings), and so, without further ado, here are some cool things I found in May.

Hush Jennifer Juan

Hush

Hush first came to my attention when Netflix sent me a notification about it being released. I love horror movies, but I have to admit, over the years, I’ve grown tired of the home invasion subgenre. A lot of recent efforts have too many similarities, which makes for good drinking games, but not for good movies. You can only watch a family that you haven’t learned all that much about, run around a house you aren’t familiar with, while screaming “Why are you doing this?” to a villain who will inevitably say, in the voice of Christian Bale’s Batman “Because I can.” before aiming something at their head so many times, before you start to wonder why you didn’t just stick with zombies. Zombies can be samey too, but at least there is occasional variety in the origin of the infection, and the gory ways in which it can be spread.

With all that in mind, the cover of Hush, a standard masked man behind a frightened woman did make me want to click away from the description and search for something else, however, a quick glance at the description renewed my interest. The lead character, Maddie, was a writer. She was also deaf.

Writers in horror isn’t all that rare, but deafness in horror movies is these days. It would seem that murderers, zombies and ghosts are only interested in attacking those without hearing impairments.. or, the more likely option, most film makers don’t consider that deaf people exist and could be in horror movies, because diversity is something that horror does seem to be a bit far behind in, hence why the minorities tend to die first, if they get to be in the movie at all.

Still, new film makers are emerging every day, and with them, come new ideas, new characters and new possibilities, that are championing a diverse list of heroes to battle against the monsters of the universe and save the day.

Unfortunately, I have the longest netflix watchlist known to man, but I got to Hush eventually, and I’m very glad I did.

The opening of the movie did a great job of letting you get to know Maddie, without distractions, a drawn out title sequence or a massive amount of conflict. Due to the movie not being overpopulated, you are able to form an attachment with the lead character and immediately root for her.

Every part of Hush seemed necessary. It was about building a connection between Maddie, and the audience, and then sending them both on a one way trip to thrillsville (I know that is the lamest thing anyone has ever typed). I found myself with Maddie, in every moment. Her horror, became my horror. The horror of the movie lies in the reality of Maddie’s situation. Anyone can find themselves at the mercy of a bloodthirsty killer who decides today is your last day. A lot of horror comes with conditions. You MUST move into a haunted house to encounter a ghost or demon that will mess with your life. You MUST watch this video tape to activate the scary ghost lady (or little ghost girl depending on which version you watch). You MUST mess around with this spirit board like a moron and then spend several days hiding under your bed from the consequences. Hush, like most home invasions moves away from that and examines how horror can enter the lives of people who didn’t go looking for it. Maddie didn’t do anything wrong. She didn’t ignore a warning on the television about an escaped convict, she didn’t go to an abandoned hospital to play Bloody Mary, she didn’t upset a self righteous terminally ill man with far too many traps just lying around to snare her with. All Maddie did was stay home and try to finish her novel. I do that all the time. Literally, tonight, when I’m in my jammies, snuggled up and trying to finish the bastard thing, a killer could just turn up at my door and decide he was going to terrorise me for the night. I genuinely don’t know what I would do if that happened, so please nobody do it.

One of the best parts of the movie is the commitment to not victimising Maddie due to her deafness. It is made very clear that this situation could be experienced by anybody else, and it is also made clear that Maddie can handle the situation like anybody else. If I was to guess at why deaf characters (or disabled characters in general) do not appear in horror very often, it could be that directors are not sure of how a deaf person would handle something like a home invasion, or a zombie apocalypse, or their child being possessed by a demon. The simple answer, as shown in Hush, is that they, like everyone else, would just do what they had to do to get through it. To see a disabled character, especially one that isn’t written off straight away as a burden or cast as the villain, purely because of their disability is such a huge step for modern horror, and can only bring more diversity to horror movie characters in the future.

Also Stephen King likes it, and that is a guy who knows his horror.

mua velvet lip jennifer juan

Halcyon

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not a makeup expert (duh). I don’t even really know much about it. For a long time, I wore the exact same products all the time. I would purchase the exact same brown lip gloss and gold eye shadow, and that was about it. Someone once told me my lashes were too long for mascara, and I was too afraid of getting foundation wrong that I just didn’t even bother having a go.

However, after seeing make up tutorials (which I find weirdly relaxing) I figured I could branch out and maybe give some new things a shot. I thought it best to stick to some things I had a little knowledge of, and first started with lip products.

I don’t really follow trends and fashions (hence why I dress like an old woman cosplaying a toddler), but after some research, I discovered that Matte is in for lips. I meant to buy a matte lipstick (more on that later) but I ended up buying lip lacquer instead. I had actually mistakenly purchased a lip lacquer years before, when attempting to buy my usual lip gloss, and hated it, because it was incredibly drying on the lips, but this one doesn’t have the same effect. It has staying power, without making my lips feel like a desert, but dries quickly to leave long lasting colour, without sacrificing comfort, which is perfect for newbies like myself who may have been put off by fear of the unknown.

fancy fawn jennifer juan

Fancy Fawn

As previously mentioned, I am by no means a makeup expert. I wouldn’t even call myself competent at it, but I have a vague idea of colours that look cool with me. As mentioned previously, I used to stick to browns and nudes, and so I decided not to deviate too far from that when getting a lipstick. I went with Matte again, because they look cool, and also because after wearing glittery lip gloss exclusively for years, I thought it might be time to go for something a little more grown up.

Like the above lip lacquer, this lipstick boasts long lasting colour, along with staying power, but does take a little longer to dry, so you may wish to use a lipstick sealant with it. Again, it doesn’t dry out the lips too much, but I have taken the very helpful advice on the review section of their website to moisturise and prime my lips before application to avoid drying entirely. Application is simple, and quick, with beautiful, long lasting results.

mua undressed jennifer juan

Undressed

Well. I wasn’t going to give up glitter completely, was I? Admittedly, I am again a novice at eye makeup, it may not always look great, but I have a lot of fun with it.

Undressed includes a glittery gold shade (lion) that I’ve used variations of for years, so I can recreate my signature (I’m laughing as I type this) simple look, of you know, just putting some around my eyes and hoping for the best. It also includes several beautiful and subtly shimmering shades (come on, you guys know how much I love alliteration) that I can experiment with, and try to find something that is a little less “toddler who got into mummy’s make up box” and more “actual grown up with a handle on things”.

To get so many eyeshadows for such a small price was great too, as I’ve often thought makeup to be super expensive, and maybe for some brands it is, but this satisfies my needs for now, and didn’t reduce my bank account to tears, so it’s a win win sitch.

zoella sweet inspirations jennifer juan

Sweet Inspirations

I think the vast majority of us have a vague idea of who Zoe Sugg is. If you haven’t seen her YouTube videos, you may have read one of her books, or tried one of her products, or even seen her on Bake Off a while back. For those who have done none of those things, Zoe Sugg is a blogger who makes videos, writes books, has a beauty line, and also has a dog. I may have left something out there, but I’m sure you can forgive me, for Zoe has her (I’m sure well manicured) fingers in a lot of (probably home made) pies.

Zoe’s latest range of beauty products is the Sweet Inspirations collection. I’ve never tried one of her products before, so I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but I had heard a lot about them, and about her, so when I saw them in the shops, I decided to jump on the bandwagon headed for…. no, I won’t add “ville” to another word. I just won’t. You know what I mean.

I’m very set in my ways about a lot of things (as you would have seen above) and I am trying to get out there and do more new things, but bath products isn’t something I’m ready to experiment with too much, so while I did stick with my standard Johnson’s Baby Bath in terms of that, I did decide to pick up the fragranced body mist.

It was quite an interesting experience, because I was surrounded by Zoe’s fans as I approached the display, all of which were very excited as the range had apparently been put out in stores earlier than expected. In all honesty, I haven’t been excited by new products from my favourite ranges for quite some time. Primarily because I literally buy the same things over and over, but also because my time is taken up by work, writing, and my own terrified ramblings about what the hell I’m going to do with my life, that I don’t stop to actually take a moment to get excited about something new. For a moment, even though I’m not a Zoella superfan, I took that moment, and I got excited about treating myself to something new.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that it didn’t come in a fancy box. The packaging design of the entire collection is very elegant, and there was definitely potential for fancy box with fancy box art for a fragrance, but on the upside, it is more eco friendly to not have a box for a body mist. In the grand scheme of things, it was a good decision to go boxless.

There is a good amount in the bottle for the price, and the fragrance is long lasting. I put some on this morning, and it’s now mid afternoon, and it’s still here. It is macaron themed, as is the entire range, and is sweet without being overwhelming or sickly.

My grandma also loves it. I don’t know if this carries the same weight as Stephen King liking Hush, but she knows her fragrances as well as he does his horror, so you can probably trust her opinion.

jelly belly sours jennifer juan

Sours

Who doesn’t love a good jelly bean? I love jelly beans. I also love sour things, so naturally, sour jelly beans were exactly what I needed in my life.

Perfect for sharing, or for your own little jelly bean party (is that a thing? I’m making it a thing), these are delicious. My favourites are the sour cherry (the red ones), but they also contain sour apple, sour peach, sour grape, and sour lemon, so have something for most tastes. They are also gluten free, gelatine free, fat free and peanut free, if you wondered. I only know what two of those terms means, but I love a good list, so I enjoyed that little factoid on the back of the packet.


Well, that concludes that post. I hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll see you soon!

Besos,

J x

Find The Products Mentioned Above

Hush
Halcyon 
Fancy Fawn
Sweet Inspirations
Undressed
Sours

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