William Brent Bell’s The Boy has all the elements of a modern Gothic thriller: you’ve got the heroine with a dark past, a pair of menacing elderly folks, the handsome potential love interest, and a creepy mansion.
If The Boy had managed to put all the puzzle pieces together, this movie could have rivaled Nicole Kidman’s The Others as one of my favorite ghost stories. As it stands, it’s merely a pretty solid waste of two hours or so.
Lauren Cohan (Maggie, The Walking Dead) carries the film as Greta, an emotionally damaged American woman who flees a tragic past for a nannying job in England. Greta has just been hired by the Heelshire family to look after their rather unusual son, Brahms.
Rebecca Hall takes on the supernatural in The Awakening, a surprisingly effective, atmospheric ghost story set in England shortly after the first World War.
Hall plays Florence Cathcart, a professional skeptic who’s become famous for debunking supernatural phenomena and exposing charlatans in England in the wake of the war and the Influenza Epidemic. The film’s opening title—a quote from the fictional Florence—states “this is a time for ghosts.”
The South Korean obsession with beauty, perfection, plastic surgery and poor parental figures is on full display in this somewhat uneven horror film that draws very loosely from the famous fairytale of the same name (and I do mean loosely). Cinderella is a yet another dark look into the South Korean psyche.
The movie deals with a teen girl named Hyeon-su, and several of her friends, all but one who have had plastic surgery performed by Hyeon-su’s talented surgeon mother. The girls who have had the surgery are haunted by a ghost girl in a blue dress who wants her face back.
The Evil Twin is another in a long line of stylish Korean horror films that touches on familiar territory, such as relationships between sisters, jealousy, good and evil, doubles, and guilt, though maybe a tad less successfully than its better-known predecessor, A Tale of Two Sisters.
The Evil Twin employs a non-linear timeline as it jumps from “present day” to flashbacks of the protagonist So-yeon’s childhood and back again, and also follows multiple characters as the storyline—and the central mystery—unfolds.
Nothing in The Evil Twin is quite as it seems. One moment, So-yeon is docile and kind; the next moment she’s wearing a knowing smirk that hints at something dark just beyond the surface. And what exactly is So-yeon’s mother keeping from her?
“A great work of art is like a dream; for all its apparent obviousness it does not explain itself and is always ambiguous.” — Carl Jung
A Tale of Two Sisters is a successful, popular horror film that came out in the early 2000s and was the first major South Korean contribution to the Asian horror movement.
The film, which was inspired by the ancient (oft-filmed) Korean folktale 장화, 홍련 (Janghwa, Hongryeon/”Rose Flower, Red Lotus”), transports the wicked stepmother, emotionally detached father, and the victimized sisters of the original tale to a contemporary Korean setting—and gives it a gothic twist.
The Resident is a rather pedestrian thriller that stars Academy Award winner Hilary Swank (she also produced it) and pits her against Grey’s Anatomy and Watchmen star, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, as the apartment super from hell.