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  • Bryan W. Alaspa

Two Small Horror Films to Add to Your List

These days, the smaller budget films in the horror genre that come and go, can still be found and enjoyed right from the comfort of your home. Thanks to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Google Play and iTunes, you can find just about anything. That makes discovering some of these hidden gems a lot easier even after they came and went at a few theaters years ago.

I am fortunate. I have a bunch of horror writer and horror movie fans and friends who like to tell me about movies they think I should see. So, I wanted to recommend a couple of horror/thrillers that you can find online right now and I think are worth checking out.

The Invitation (2015)

Yes, this one came out a few years ago. I have no idea if or where it played, but I never saw a review or it playing at a theater anywhere near me. I had a friend saying to check it out and I found it on Netflix and, I have to say, I kind of loved it.

A movie that does more than throw things at the screen and go BOO! It has a real story to tell. A man and his girlfriend get invited to a dinner party to the man's ex, hosted by the ex and her new boyfriend. There is a lot of pain between the ex and the man due to a child they lost together years ago. However, his ex has started to, supposedly, repair things in her life thanks to a group known as The Invitation who insist they are not a cult.

What follows is paranoia, suspense and thrills. Is something evil and suspicious going on? Are they really cult members? Are we seeing what we think we're seeing? Or, is the fact the man is there, revisiting his pain and seeing his ex, causing him to jump at shadows where there is nothing?

Well-paced, well-acted and with an ending that will leave you shocked and breathless, The Invitation is worth seeking out.

The Void (2016)

I saw this one pop up in my Facebook feed a few weeks ago. It is a movie that had a short run back in 2016, then got a slightly longer run just this year. It seemed to me, it was making the rounds of smaller theaters, perhaps playing for a just a weekend. The reviews were good and I was excited to check it out. I heard it was "Lovecraftian" and I love a Lovecraft-style movie.

It is a movie with a low budget and no-name actors that uses practical and "real" special effects instead of CGI. That is admirable and the gore and blood flows quite freely.

It tells the story of a group of people trapped in a hospital surrounded by this cult of freaks in head-to-toe white robes with weird black triangle patterns over the face. They are following a man who wants to find a way to bring back the dead, and has turned to the "old gods" as a way to do that.

It is a very disturbing and violent movie and well done. However, I do feel like one more run at the script might have been in order with this one. The main villain does something at some point that I never quite understood - why? If anything, doing what he does just slows down his ultimate goal and makes it easier for the hero to get close to him, so, why does he do it? It's not explained and some of the plot is a bit muddy.

That being said, the non-CGI effects are very good and owe a big thanks to John Carpenter's The Thing. They are genuinely disturbing and gross and will bring you right back to early 80s horror classics.

It is not perfect and I liked The Invitation a little better, but The Void is definitely worth seeking out.



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