Best Body Horror Movies

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Best Of Best of Movies Featured Scary Movies and Series

Body horror movies are films that focus specifically on trauma, mutation, mental deterioration, and illnesses that occur in the human body. Some of these processes are natural, while others are inflicted. Movies that fall into this genre are typically gross, morbidly fascinating, and outright alarming, and the reason they are so effective is because they concern aspects of living we all can relate to: our physical and mental health. It’s quite horrifying when something invades, violates, and/or transforms our conceptions of who we are.

Though the term “body horror” is relatively new in the world of horror, there is thankfully no shortage of examples in film. The list below constitutes some of the best in the genre, along with a dozen other recommendations (and though David Cronenburg’s ouevre could be a list of its own, we did limit him to two films here to allow other movies to shine). 

Check out Puzzle Box Horror’s best movies about body horror!

Possessor (2020)

Possessor body Horror film poster

Tasya Vos is an assassin working for a high-tech secret organization. This organization uses brain implants to sync her mind up with another, giving her control over someone else’s body in order to commit the murder and leave them behind as a scapegoat. That’s already pretty freaky stuff, but then things take an even darker turn when her latest host regains control over their mind/body. There are several layers of disturbing body horror happening here – loss of control, blackouts, possession, transformation – and it’s all very dramatic and unsettling. Possessor is directed by Brandon Cronenburg (of Antiviral fame), and stars Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott.

American Mary (2012)

American Mary Horror Movie poster with woman and chainsaw

Mary is upset because the high tuition costs at medical school are thwarting her dreams of becoming a surgeon. But things take a turn when she performs impromptu surgery at a strip club, and then they take another turn when people being paying her to alter their bodies and introduce her to the world of extreme body modification. Not only are there numerous graphic scenes of highly illegal body modifications, but there is also a revenge storyline involving Bloody Mary and the man who raped her. The film verges on torture porn levels, but it’s also highly intriguing in its subversiveness. American Mary is directed by the Soska Sisters and stars Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, and Tristan Risk.

Teeth (2007)

Teeth Body Horror Movie

We often feel as strangers to our own bodies during adolescence (thanks puberty), but Teeth takes this concept to a strange new level. Dawn suffers from a rare condition, referred to in the film as “vagina dentate” or “vagina teeth”, that makes physical intimacy with another impossible. But when a shocking and nonconsensual encounter awakens her violent side, she realizes she can use her condition to take revenge on other bad man. Heads up for those with male reproductive organs, this is a tough one to watch. It’s also a bleak and unsettling coming of age tale told through emotional performances and streaks of dark comedy. Teeth is directed by Mitchell Lichtensteina and stars Jess Weixler.

Slither (2006)

Slither horror movie poster with worms and lady in a bathtub

A small town in South Carolina is invaded by a malicious alien parasite that immediately infects someone and spawns numerous larvae offspring. These new parasites continue the trend, turning their unsuspecting hosts in all manner of mutated grotesqueries and forming a large hive mind. It’s up to a ragtag group of survivors, led by Police Chief Bill Pardy, to stop the spread before the whole town goes under. The film manages to be both extremely disgusting and extremely hilarious. This blend of alien invasion and body horror is certainly an example of horror comedy at its finest, and it’s filled to the brim with blood, goo, and gross-out scenes. Slither is directed by James Gunn (right?!) and stars Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks.

Society (1990)

Society Horror Movie Poster with woman taking her face off

Bill is a teenager who lives with his wealthy family in Beverly Hills. Bill has always felt a little different from his sister and parents, who subscribe to the upper class elite mentality, and he begins to wonder if there is something darker going on behind the scenes. A series of strange events lead up to a shocking conclusion where all of Bill’s fears will be revealed. Like some of the other films on this list, Society is a movie with something to say. Sure, it’s not very subtle in its satirical take on wealthy urbanites, but it’s certainly memorable (especially that last orgy scene…). Society is directed by Brian Yuzna and stars Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, and Evan Richards.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Iron Man body Horror Movie Poster

A man and his girlfriend are driving when they accidentally hit and kill another man. They begin having strange visions and noticing horrifying changes to their bodies. Turns out the man they killed was a metal fetishist who is taking his revenge by turning them into a monstrous mesh of man and machine. This film, with its abstract narrative and soundtrack of scraping metal, certainly falls into the avant-garde style of experimentation. This black-and-white cyperpunk nightmare is also one of the wildest movies you’ll ever experience. It begins with a man shoving a metal rod into a cut in his leg, and then it just escalates from there. Tetsuo: The Iron Man is directed by Shinya Tsukamoto and stars Tomorowo Taguchi and Kei Fujiwara.

The Fly (1986)

The Fly Horror Movie Poster

A brilliant scientist finds his world turned upside down when a failed experiment mixes his genes with that of a common fly. This freak encounter leads to a slow and painful transformation for the scientist. The grotesque scenes of mutation are as haunting as they are harrowing for the man and his loved ones. The film, a remake of an earlier movie from the 1950s, takes its source material and elevates it to higher levels of emotion, anxiety, and terror. The film has also become a classic in its own right, especially in the world of sci-fi horror, and is likely the director’s most well-known mainstream movie. The Fly is directed by David Cronenburg and stars Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, and John Getz.

The Thing (1982)

The Thing John Carpenter Horror Movie Poster with alien man

In a remote facility in Antartica, a research team is hunted by a bizarre alien life form that can transform its body to mimic other forms, in this case shapeshifting to assume the form of its victims. The plot of this film is simple and wastes no time in getting to the good stuff. The paranoia and body count runs high as the isolated research station is invaded and the team desperately tries to root out the evil and survive. The movie also has some of the best practical effects ever, making the many “wtf” moments that much more special. It’s bizarre, it’s gruesome, and it’s a whole lot of fun. The Thing is directed by John Carpenterand stars Kurt Russell as well as a great cast of supporting characters. 

Videodrome (1982)

Videodrome Body Horror movie poster with man floating

There’s a shocking new satellite feed airing on television called “Videodrome”, which depicts random people being sodomized, tortured, and murdered in various ways. The president of the TV station, Max Renn, becomes determined to find out who the creators are: a quest that will feature a wide variety of graphically deranged scenes and lead to his own psychological unhinging. It’s a body horror program within a body horror movie, full of the director’s emphasis on surrealism but loaded with even more gore. It also effectively blurs the line between reality and fantasy as it becomes something of a study on the genre itself. Videodrome is directed by David Cronenburg and stars James Woods, Debbie Harry, and Sonja Smits.

Honorable Mentions

Tusk (2014)

Antiviral (2012)

The Skin I Live In (2011)

Cabin Fever (2002)

Brain Damage (1988)

Hellraiser (1987)

From Beyond (1986)

Re-Animator (1985)

The Stuff (1985)

Possession (1981)

Eraserhead (1978)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Best Performing Sequel Horror Movies

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Scary Movies and Series

Ranking The Best Horror Movie Sequels?

Horror movies are sometimes so good that they prompt follow up movies known as sequels.  It is no new news, however, that most horror movie sequels suck. At minimum, most of the horror movie sequels out there are simply no where near as good as the original movies. Still, even with the sea of terrible horror sequels, there are a few gems which have done pretty good, just as good, or better than the original movie.  In some franchises, it may just be the first and/or only sequel to perform well, while there are some horror movie franchises with several movies which do pretty great.  The next natural question to ask is “which horror movie sequels are the best?”  While something like “the best horror movie sequels” is very clearly an opinion, many fans can agree on most of the best ones (coincidentally also the most popular ones); and thus Horror Enthusiast has officially ranked the best horror movie sequels of all time!

The Best Horror Movie Sequels Of All Time

This is a ranked list of the best horror movie sequels of all time. Remember, sequel means “part two”, or subsequent part of a series, not “remake” (thus there are no remakes on this list).

A New Nightmare (1994)

A New Nightmare is one of Wes Craven’s greatest creations.  Arguably the best Nightmare movie ever made, although that is a rough call when taking the original and part III into consideration. Still, in terms of sequels, it is an original adventure that continues the story beyond the idea of simple, fictional, on-screen fear.

Saw II (2005)

Saw II is arguably more sadistic than the original by far, which is an interesting variable when ranking sequels.  Still, it is one of the best performing and most entertaining sequels there are in terms of horror movies.  Saw II took the winning concept of a trap room as seen in the original movie and essentially expanded it into an entire house.

best sequels for horror moviesFinal Destination 2 (2003)

The Final Destination franchise was cutting edge in terms of suspense-thrillers and also unique on-screen deaths.  The second movie was the response of the hype built up from the original, which many people loved.  Fortunately, Final Destination 2 stepped up to the plate, making a place for itself on the list of best horror movie sequels ever.

Scream 4 (2011)

Scream 4 came a bit late in the franchise, but it was nevertheless truly exhilarating to watch. Bringing movie goers back to the original town of terror, Woodsboro, they embark down Sidney Prescott’s decade’s worth of effort to move on from her traumatic past.  Scream 4 did a great job of reminding the audience exactly how scary Ghostface can be!

Nightmare on Elm Street Part III: Dream Warriors (1987)

The third installment of the Nightmare series earns itself a healthy spot at the top of the list, as it embraced creativity, re-invented the idea of Freddy Krueger in a way that people enjoyed.  Giving the heroes the abilities to fight back in their own unique ways kept the Nightmare franchise rolling, full steam ahead!

Halloween II (1981)

One of the things that made Halloween II more terrifying than the original and more terrifying than many horror movie sequels, is the fact that it takes place largely in a hospital setting.  Hospitals are supposed to be safe havens, not bloodbaths! This true terror of a Halloween sequel is one of the best horror movie sequels of all time. 

Freddy Vs Jason (2003)

This movie is one of the most controversial horror movies of all time…but it is also one of the best sequels for two independent franchises (and one of the only of its type). Both franchises, the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, saw this sequel as a hit and an instant classic among fans.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)

This Paranormal Activity movie is arguably the best of the franchise. The amount of ritualistic-style terror is off the charts and the, well, paranormal activity, is on a whole different level of scary.  This movie most certainly deserves a place on the list of best horror movie sequels of all time.

chucky is great in the sequelsChild’s Play 2 (1990)

A lot of fans argue about which movie is best: Child’s Play or Child’s Play 2.  Regardless, Child’s Play 2 is absolutely one of the best horror movie sequels ever.  It’s an adventure that created a bigger cult fear of Chucky than the original movie could have ever mustered alone.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

Although it is technically a “prequel,” it is most definitely a follow up to the success of the 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (which could not make the list due to being classified as a remake, not a sequel).  The Beginning, however, helps the audience understand how Leatherface and family got to be so savage (definitely worth seeing)!

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Halloween H20 is set (obviously) 20 years after the original movie’s release, and in the storyline, it is set 20 years later as well.  Laurie Strode is now trying to cope with her past and still struggles with the idea of being stalked by her murderous, mute, brother, Michael Myers.  He in fact returns on Halloween and the slayings continue, while Halloween H20 secures a spot as one of the best sequels in the horror business.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

There are a lot of Friday the 13th movies, but only some of them are good.  The Final Chapter is one of the best ones, if not the best one. Jason has been revived for (supposedly) one last rampage, making his way from the morgue back to his beloved Camp Crystal Lake.

28 Weeks Later (2007)

This sequel is staged 28 weeks after the original outbreak in the storyline.  With the plague-like virus that had everyone turning zombie supposedly eliminated, the US Army begins rebuilding life on the British Isles.  Unfortunately, the virus isn’t gone and it comes back stronger than ever.

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

It is no surprise that Jason has made the list again, as there are a lot of Friday the 13th movies, however, the second movie is definitely a gem. It is the first movie Jason is the killer, and showcases the most human-like Jason of them all. It’s scary because it seemed it could really happen.

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

Insidious is its own brand of scary. It showcases a fear that steps beyond the normal world, suggesting there are places we cannot see that exist all around us, all the time.  The idea that the supernatural can interfere with the real world in this way is a very terrifying thought!

The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984)

The remakes of the Hills Have Eyes (in the 2000s) couldn’t make the list, but the actual sequel of the original movie, is absolutely terrifying enough to make the list. The storyline continues 8 years later, following the sole survivor of the tragedy, who ends up having to relive the horror.

horror movie sequels that are goodHellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Hellraiser is always scary but Hellbound, the second movie in the body horror franchise, is truly terrifying.  This movie gives the heroine residence in a mental institution, where she struggles to help her father, whom is trapped in hell, dealing with a number of horrifying demons.

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Jason has made the list another time with Part VI: Jason Lives.  This is the first time Jason has been very obviously considered supernatural by the writers.  The audience sees what they would further understand as an immortal Jason and a killer who is going to continue to return.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

So many fans like the fourth movie in the Nightmare franchise, despite an almost equal group of fans absolutely hating it.  It retains a really large following and showcases some pretty narly Freddy Krueger kills, making it a strong enough contender to be one of the best horror movie sequels of all time.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)

The sequel to “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” is probably just as good as the first, if not better.  Although the cast changed, the actual murders were just as scary. The killer is just as good a mystery and the twist is pretty awesome.  This movie easily earns a spot on the list for its cleverness and creativity.

Psycho II (1983)

Norman Bates is a truly terrifying weirdo. In the sequel to the Psycho film, Bates has finally finished his run at the mental hospital and he’s back home, trying to adjust to a normal life.  The problem is, the voices haven’t stopped, and the murder spree needed to continue.

Scream 2 (1997)

Ghostface makes the list again as he wreaks havoc on heroine Sydney Prescott and her friends. This time, a parody of the event, a horror movie called “Stab” has been released, and the real killer is back again as the movie picks up steam.  A movie within a movie, need we say more?

The Purge: Election Year (2016)

The Purge franchise is a unique horror that brings the idea of killings into every day life.  Part of what makes this particular sequel so scary is its plot is so closely intertwined with the timeline of the actual election in the United States. Talk about tension!

Final Destination 5 (2011)

The second time Final Destination landed a movie on this list, the fifth movie in the installment does a great job of bringing back the fear.  Final Destination 5 reminded the audience what made death so scary to begin with, and it did so with flair and death scenes like never before.

Final Words On The Best Horror Sequels Ever

One of the best parts about horror movie sequels is there can be another at any time! A lot of franchises have begun from a movie that swore up and down from every angle it would be the only one.  There were many sequels which spawned from movies that were meant to only be a single story. Even fan-based sequels have followed masterpieces and done very well.  There will always be more horror movie sequels and this list will always be able to expand.  As of 2018, the best sequels are pretty clear though, and many of them have provided fans a way to further explore the worlds that they have come to fear in the original movies.

Binge Watch These 4 Pandemic and Viral Outbreak Movies for Serious Survival Tips

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First you hear rumors on the web and watch a few videos on YouTube, that say a terrible virus is ravaging China. What little information the country allowed to escape its borders anyhow, thanks to authority sources like The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 The average person thinks “okay, that sucks, but I got my flu shot, I should be good”. The slightly more anxiety prone person thinks “oh $&#@, can that thing make it here to America?”. 

The horror movie fan on the other hand is like… “I’ve been training for this moment my whole life!”.  

Fist bump if you agree that the multitude of horror movies, series and books you may have read about post-apocalyptic life, global contagion, mysterious viruses and outbreaks have given you some serious survival chops?

Research.  It was research all along.  Since we are all sitting at home doing that ‘social distancing’ thing to prevent the virus from infecting everyone,  now is probably a good time to revisit some of those classic outbreak movies and glean some extra survival tips that could come in handy.  Particularly if this health threat continues longer than authorities think it will.

Folks Are Streaming the Wrong Prepper Movies on Netflix (In Our Opinion)

Before you think it’s a little weird to be watching pandemic movies during a pandemic, Netflix reported a significant spike in the genre of outbreak and virus movies on Friday, March 20th. In fact, the Netflix original docuseries “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak” and the disaster movie “2012” were two of the highest streamed movies on Netflix this week.

Our take on those two titles? While the Netflix docuseries “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak” is very informative and interesting; we’re in a pandemic.  Not particularly useful information at this point, as we navigate the COVID-19 global health crisis. But at least you understand the ongoing work that health organizations do globally to prevent more of these devastating viruses from going ape shit on the human population. At this point though, we feel it’s a little redundant.

The disaster movie “2012” is a high action reaction to a cataclysmic global warming and flood event.  It’s not even about a virus.  Sure, Bill Gates resigned his leadership of Microsoft (we think he headed to a bunker) about a week before things got really bad, but unless volcanoes start popping off all over the world and you get an email for a lottery ticket to an Ark, probably not that useful.

Our Top 4 Practical Pandemic Training and Global Virus Movie Picks

After our team at Puzzle Box Horror scratched our heads (on Zoom… social distancing) and had our “holy #!%& this is real!” moment like the rest of the human race, we thought about the top five movie s that actually provided some valuable ‘how to’ in terms of survival tips for a global viral pandemic.

1. “The Stand” By Stephen King

Let’s ease you in with an epic, because if you have never watched or read “The Stand” you are missing out on some serious survival and prepper tips.  The story revolves around a slow but deliberately moving respiratory virus, or super flu called “Captain Trips” kills victims in less than a week with horrible pneumonia like symptoms and fever.  

Key pandemic takeaways from this movie?

  • Stay home (it’s safer).
  • Dumb people who don’t take the virus seriously are usually to blame for pandemic spread (sigh).
  • Have a lot of unperishable foods.
  • A can opener is really important.
  • Know how to start a fire.
  • Laura San Giacomo is really hot.

Eventually in the movie the virus kills almost 95% of the human population. The book was first published by Stephen King in 1978 and it is a BIG book thanks to the character development of an epic good vs. evil end of days storyline, pitting survivors into two main groups.

2. “Dawn of the Dead” (1979) George C. Romero

No offense to Sarah Polley (love you!) and amazing cast of the remake of the George C. Romero zombie apocalypse movie “Dawn of the Dead”, but when it comes to survival tips, nothing beats the 1979 original.  

Forced from their homes in a rapid exit by helicopter in Philadelphia, an intrepid team of two SWOT officers, and two reporters find themselves setting down on top of a mega mall. After clearing the mall of said zombies, the survivors set up one of the most amazing doomsday shelters, having fun shopping for stock in the mall (and grocery store).

Key pandemic takeaways from this movie?

  • Non-perishable supplies are really important.
  • Have more than one exit to your home if you barricade yourself in.
  • Never underestimate the desire of people with no supplies, to steal your supplies.
  • Life is really boring without cable tv when you are quarantined.

For fans of the “Dawn of the Dead” series, did you know that Romero actually had a far darker ending written for the original movie? Instead of Peter (Ken Foree) changing his mind at the last minute with a gun to his head and fighting his way to the pregnant Francine (Gaylen Ross), the suicide is followed through.  Hearing the gun shot, Francine herself gives up hope, and walks straight into the helicopter blades. 

Bleak ending right? Romero said by the end of filming that he had become pretty attached to the characters of Peter and Francine and wanted to give them a ‘fighting chance” so he rewrote the ending into something indeterminant but with a possibility of survivorship. 

3. “12 Monkeys” (Screenplay by Janet and David Peoples)

Hearing that Cher song “if we could turn back time” and had the ability to time travel, would we send our best and brightest to Hunan China, shut down the despicable wildlife ‘wet markets’ where the animal virus made the jump to human super virus?  Hell yes.  Let’s do that.   Time travel would be particularly useful, since humans seem to make these critical errors of judgement the jeopardize the planet.  But we digress (unless someone has a time machine handy).

Key pandemic takeaways from “12 Monkeys”:

  • When we wreck the planet, there are consequences.
  • Time travel is really tricky.
  • As smart and strong as we are as a species, we can be wiped out by a microscopic virus.
  • Social distancing is crucial in outbreaks.

In this movie, our favorite American hero Bruce Willis is sent back from the year 2030 to the 1990s to intervene and prevent the unleashing of a virus that would wipe out most of the human population, sending survivors into the underground to hide from the infected.

4. “Outbreak” (Screenplay by Laurence Dworet and Robert Roy Pool)

Who doesn’t love Dustin Hoffman? The guy pretty much exudes everything that is good about Americans in general; smart, strong, and in this case, the world’s best defense against a super bug that kills with symptoms far worse that Ebola.  Which essentially liquifies your organs until you bleed to death on the inside.

Yeah, we don’t like Ebola.  And we thought COVID-19 and the injuring pneumonia symptoms were scary enough.   But the African Motaba virus is also airborne (like COVID-19), and in several instances throughout the movie you see how quickly an airborne virus can spread.  From something as simple as a cut on your finger to breathing it in through the ventilation system in a hospital.

And… now we want to order one of those big yellow inflatable level 4 lab outfits with independent oxygen and install a microbial cleansing shower in our garage.   Because you know people like Jack Ma, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos totally have one.  Sigh…

Key pandemic takeaways from “Outbreak”:

  • Airborne viruses spread really quickly.
  • Limiting your exposure and self-quarantine are effective ways to protect your family.
  • Viruses that jump from animal to human genomes are particularly deadly, because we have no antibodies or immunity against them.
  • Facemasks only protect you from inhaling viruses or coughing and spraying out moisture particles infected with the virus.  If you want to be out in public (only when you have to be) invest in a full mask and face shield that protects your eyes.  Viruses enter the body through mucus membranes and your eyes are two big open doors to viral infection.
  • People who don’t follow quarantine measures risk infecting thousands of people.
  • Human contact with exotic wildlife is the number one-way pandemic level viruses are created.
  • Marshall law is always a possibility in a pandemic (and it sucks).

One of the most important takeaways from the movie “Outbreak” is that there are really brilliant medical researchers working on a cure and vaccine, round the clock, and at their own peril.  And we should call these people heroes.  Because they are.

Make smart choices during the quarantine period.  Do not take unnecessary risks and even if you consider yourself to be very healthy, understand that one person who is not symptomatic for up to 14 days can infect thousands of people.   Stay home.  Binge on Netflix.  Alphabetize your horror DVD collection, but do your part to keep your friends, family and yourself safe.

And don’t forget to stock up on toilet paper. If you can find any.

Brahms: The Boy II Left Us With ‘Lunch Box Let Down”

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Brahms The Boy II Image Source: Exhibitor Relations Co. 2 – Box Office Boogaloo

We love movies about haunted artifacts and apparently so do millions of people. There is just something about an evil spirit trapped inside an inanimate object when it causes suffering and chaos to the unfortunate owner that is so mysteriously macabre.

We Really Like Katie Holmes (But Not in Horror Movies)

Laura Cohen was the central character of The Boy (2016) and she had already mastered horror after playing Maggie in The Walking Dead (2010 – ). As a horror actress, she’s an instant hit, because she brings a sort of fearless badassery that makes us believe she is experiencing authentic terror. When Cohen is scared, we are scared. This is something that Katie Holmes has not quite mastered because horror is not really a genre that fits her profile or range.

It takes someone who loves horror to act with believable fear in a horror movie. Laura Cohen had more than a decade of that experience as she was slaying zombies on-screen every week. She has the survivor chops that someone like Katie Holmes cannot quite muster in a scary movie. She does, however, play a really awesome victim who is being stalked by a psychopath, but even her performance in the 2002 movie Abandon was panned by critics. Katie Holmes is not someone we want to see in a horror movie; she belongs in forty-something adult romantic comedies or suspense movies.

Brahms: The Boy II is not the first horror movie that Katie Holmes has been cast in, which is kind of strange since we feel that she’s not really the kind of person you want to see fighting in a life or death situation with a demonic entity.  Holmes also appeared in “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”, “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” and “Disturbing Behavior”, which do not top the list of truly scary movies. More like, the kind of scary movies you watch with your mom who hates horror movies. Watered down. Decidedly un-scary.

We wondered if Katie Holmes was a closeted horror fan. Was she someone that had a massive collection of every horror movie ever made? Did she snuggle on the couch with Jamie Foxx with a big ass bowl of popcorn and watch The Exorcist for the 100th time? There has to be a reason why she seems to get cast into horror roles right? Is she asking for work in the genre, without knowing she would be a better fit on feel-good shows like a Gilmore Girls reboot?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNJgte__mIc

Apparently, she does love horror, but her inspiration for the movie was communicating the vulnerability of Liza, the mother of Jude (played by the talented Christopher Convery). In several interviews Holmes has said she wanted to show the protective nature of a parent, and she nailed that (tapping into her own real-life experiences). But while she states in several interviews that Brahms: The Boy II will ‘have you on the edge of your seat terrified” the truth is that the scariest scenes barely involve Holmes at all. That is not where the few (but impactful) terror moments in the movie come from.

A High-Quality Scary Movie Which Pales in Comparison to the First Iteration “The Boy”

There is a checklist of cinematic techniques and storytelling that make for a good (but maybe not great) horror movie. Real fans of the horror genre and writers are able to see these commercial cookie cutter elements that are (unfortunately) a predictable and repetitive recipe for mainstream scary movies.

  • At least one A-list actor to ensure audience enticement
  • A scary filming location (the Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia Canada)
  • Eerie but pristine old looking wooded areas
  • Creepy doll
  • An older historian type figure who connects the dots for the family with facts they were not aware of about the house, and the doll
  • A dog that can sense the malevolent spirit is brutally killed (we hate this by the way but understand the psychological trigger of including it in the plot). Cheap shot.
  • A strained marriage because of [insert trauma type] that makes the protagonist feel like he/she may be going insane as they start to witness paranormal behaviors
  • The injury of a child playing with the possessed or influenced child, within the geographic influence of the haunted artifact.
  • A male partner who thinks the female protagonist experiencing paranormal is hormonal or possibly insane. (We love it when horror writers throw in the ‘female is batshit crazy’ card… thanks.)

Sounds familiar right? With very few exceptions and breakout moments of script and storyline originality, Brahms: The Boy II feels like a movie we have seen before. Time and time again.

We cannot call it ‘horror’ because we were not afraid to go into the basement with the lights off, after watching the movie. We did not feel the need to sleep with the closet light on, and we had no bad dreams after watching Brahm: The Boy II.  It made us jump a few times which was fun, but it failed to penetrate into that squishy psychological area of our brain which makes us think about the movie for days afterward. Zero trauma. We were disappointed.

Hollywood horror producers, if you are looking for some talented writers in the genre, we have a long list of talented horror creatives. Just in case, you know, you are actually looking for some truly terrifying novels to adapt to the kind of horror movies we want to see.

REAL. SCARY. HORROR.

Brahms: The Boy II is Less Intense and Terrifying Than “The Boy”

At time of publishing “Brahms: The Boy II was out in the theaters (hello pandemic, not that we can actually go see it or anything… anyone else missing hot pretzels and insanely large sodas?). We went to Redbox on Demand and found that it was not yet available for rent, but we could buy it for $9.99. So, we did.

In the first film The Boy, we see a much more violent and malevolent demonic presence and influence in the doll. Yep, we are Maggie fans, because the talented Laura Cohen makes you feel the same fear she is experiencing. By comparison to Liza, played by Katie Holmes, we have a ‘concerned mother’ who feels a little slow moving to connect the dots.

The trauma is to blame? Maybe, but Holmes comes across as the kind of Mom that is distracted (not distraught), and definitely not the horror movie hero we want her to be in the movie. She comes across as being too nice, like a Mom you would like to invite to your wine and book club. This movie and storyline based on the original had so much potential, and literally falls on its face. Great cinematography however and some amazing camera angles, set and performances by other new and supporting actors in the film.

The creepy factor of Brahms activities are really limited to moving his head, footsteps in the hall (or up the stairs), slamming doors and one particular scene with a flashlight that we won’t ruin for you.  But overall, the dolls behavior in this sequel is pretty tame when you compare it to his epic and eerie malice in “The Boy”.

For the record, we REALLY wanted to see this movie. We paid $10 to watch it at home! We wanted it to be a fun and scary experience but ended up watching something scarier after the movie was over. My 14-year old stepson (who is only toe dipping into the genre with books and movies) said it best:

“That wasn’t really a scary movie. Can we watch something scary next?”

Go back to what worked in the first film. We look forward to the potential twist of storyline in The Boy 3.

Definition of Lunchbox Let Down:  When your mom tells you that she packed something extra special for your lunch. And you get all excited about it, until you open it on the bus and find a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bottle of water, and an apple.

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Release date: February 21, 2020 (USA)

DirectorWilliam Brent Bell

Film series: The Boy

ScreenplayStacey Menear

Production company: Lakeshore Entertainment

Distributed by: STX Films

Run time: 86 minutes

Image: Theatrical release poster

Feature Image Source: Exhibitor Relations Co. 2 – Box Office Boogaloo