Sunday, October 18, 2020

Mulliga's 2020 Halloween Spectacular: Paimon-palooza

Not even a seemingly endless global pandemic can cancel Halloween! As if 2020 wasn't scary enough, this year I am featuring my usual ghoulish assortment of posts. Today's entry looks at two Paimon-themed movies...


Hereditary is one of those horror flicks that has a clear family tree (no pun intended). The basic plot - a young girl starts acting strangely after the death of her grandmother - recalls The Exorcist and The Omen, and the film's combination of family drama with the paranormal is not particularly original after a half dozen Conjuring and Insidious installments. Perhaps the biggest influence is Rosemary's Baby, in the way the story focuses on the mental breakdown of the protagonist mother played by Toni Collette.

Novelty aside, execution still counts for a lot, and Hereditary nails it. Collette is one of my favorite actresses because of the way she commits to material. Here, she's aided by some fine supporting performances (mild spoiler: Gabriel Byrne plays a straight man for once in a horror movie) and sharp directing from Ari Aster, in his debut (!) feature.

Rating: 8/10

Last Shift

As I said, execution counts for a lot in horror, and Last Shift shows what can happen when dedicated, well-intentioned filmmakers mishandle a familiar premise. In the movie, a rookie cop takes the last shift in a defunct police station, and before you can say "Assault on Precinct 13," spooky things start happening to her.

Is she being stalked from beyond the grave by sadistic serial killers? Is a nefarious otherworldly entity behind her torment? You won't care, because the tiresome, constant jump scares and meandering plot meant I was ready to turn this one off about 40 minutes in. It's a shame, because Juliana Harkavy does well playing the beleaguered officer, and everyone on the crew obviously worked hard.

Rating: 4/10


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