When it comes to the terrors and haunting images of Halloween, we visualize witches, ghosts and goblins. But sometimes the real monsters are people.
My Must See Scary Movie Pick for Halloween 2019 is He’s Out There.
First time director Quinn Lasher delivers a horror masterpiece on an indie movie budget. This smart and frightening film, which slipped through the cracks in 2018, stars a very familiar face whose superb acting combines with Lasher’s talented directing to deliver a truly terrifying experience.
You know her as the butt-kicking spy from Chuck, the devious killer from Dexter and the barren Serena Waterford in The Handmaid’s Tale. Yvonne Strahovski does not disappoint in this edge of your seat twisted thriller about a family tormented by a demented murderer at their isolated lake house.
The premise, like most horror films, isn’t anything new. Unsuspecting victims being terrorized and toyed with by a psychopath hell-bent on destroying their lives is something we’ve seen a hundred times. However, the writing and execution of this film catapults it out of the mediocre “slasher flick” zone and into new high-quality horror territory.
Horror films are mocked endlessly for the poor decisions their scantily clad characters usually make (my favorite GEICO commercial is a prime example). However, Strahovski’s character, Laura, is intelligent, strong and scared for the lives of her two young daughters (portrayed by real-life sisters Anna and Abigail Pniowsky) so she makes many of the choices a mother in her situation might realistically make. This allows the film to go beyond a simplistic gorefest and hit home with the feels. Feels like,“Oh my god, this could actually happen to me. Let’s deadbolt the windows and never sleep again.” It gives the impression of being possible, which is enough to haunt any parent’s dreams.
The human element resonates with the audience and creates a foreboding tension that far exceeds basic jump scares and nightmarish violence; tricks typically employed by horror directors. The stellar acting from Strahovski and the two young girls mount the tension and really drive the fear home. The stakes are high. Is there any way they are getting out of this alive?
The villain in the film is also next level scary. He is something out of a nightmare, or worse, a Mindhunter episode. Cold, calculated and committed, he has accepted his fate in this world. He is evil incarnate and therefore he must fulfill his role. His last line, in an already well-executed and frightening film, is one of the most fear-inducing lines I have ever heard in a scary movie. I won’t ruin it for you but think Walter White “I am the one who knocks!” if WW were a deranged serial killer and you’re a 7-year-old little girl hiding under the bed. Chills.
If you’re a film nerd like me who delights in the horrors of scary movies, you are going to love the jump scares, surprise twists and turns, and the relentlessness of the human will to survive against the face of pure evil.
I recommend triple-checking the locks after watching this one.
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