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Halloween / Dia de muertos weekend 2020 - Day 2 en 3: The Craft (1996), The Craft Legacy (2020), Candyman (1992), Come Play (2020) and The Call (2020).

My traditional horror weekend didn't exactly pan out the way I had intended. In large part due to disappointment. One of the reasons why I felt obligated to watch some older ones to balance out my viewing experience and make it more fun. 

The Craft (1996)

We wanted to see The Craft: Legacy. However my friend had never seen the original. So we decided to what that one first. And I must have seen it 4 or 5 times now. It still holds up pretty well horror wise. 

Four outcasts join up and call upon Manon for their own personal reasons. Some of those are understandable. Some aren't. Manon is a pagan deity supposedly superior to both god and the devil. It's safe to say that this ritual will have some big consequences for the young witches. Will they be ready for the force they unleash? I like how initially their wishes are granted and they are very happy about it but then start to learn that there are some unfortunate side effects too. Basically they learn the lesson Peter Parker has learned a long time ago. That with great power comes great responsibility. Actually only a few of them take this to heart. For some it's not enough. They want more. It's then when events start to spin out of control. 

Overall The Craft is an energetic and fun ride from start to finish. There are a few scenes with horror elements in this film that are still very effective even after multiple viewings. Sure the first time you will watch this will be more impressive due to the surprise factor but it's nice to see that a film doesn't feel outdated after so many years.

The Craft: Legacy

Now all pumped up we thought we were ready for the craziness that The Craft Legacy would offer. 

The film indeed offers craziness. Unfortunately not the kind I was hoping. Honestly I wasn't asking much. I would not have minded if this soft reboot would be more of the same with upgraded effects. However in their infinite wisdom they opted to be woke. One of the witches is a trans-girl and the main villain is the patriarchy. I wished I was kidding. Mind you, if this would bring us bone chilling scenes of terror or at least some very entertaining moments then I would have applauded this approach. As it turns out it there is not much to the political activism. It doesn't go far enough to be outrageous. Take Zoe Luna as Lourdes for example. The trans-girl. Apart from this fact there is nothing that makes her stand out from the other girls. The original might not have contained fleshed out characters. They did have certain characteristics and quirks to them that were unique. It's like these witched barely have personalities of their own. They also don't have solid reasons to call upon Manon. 

David Duchovny and the supposed surprising cameo could and should have been THE highlights. But it didn't look like they actually wanted to be in the film. And I can't really blame them. Worst of all is the fact that The Craft: Legacy isn't scary or creepy in the slightest. Such a waste of potential! 

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Candyman (1992)

After the disappointment that was The Craft: Legacy we felt like watching an older horror film. Since the reboot of Candyman is almost upon us I wanted to watch and review the original. Mostly to see if it still holds up today.

For some reason I remembered that Candyman had a large body count. Except there isn't. it's rather surprising to find out how little of Candyman is in the film. I mean he is talked about and certainly is present but there are only a few scenes you actually get to see him in action. And even then some of that is off screen. In hindsight this could be the reason why Candyman is very effective. It's a good example of that less is more. Candyman is so feared that just the mere mention of his name brings you chills which is exactly the point.

Make no mistake. The horror is real. Candyman's tale is disturbing but not in the way you expect. Instead of relying on blood and gore (which it has plenty of) you get a good buildup of myth and atmosphere. One of the biggest contributors to this is the superb acting and the soundtrack. It's also quite refreshing to see that the exploration of the urban legend is taken seriously.

Come Play (2020)

Come Play is a title I was looking forward to. It looked like it was going to be similar to The Babadook. And for about 15 minutes it did. 

Then it forgot about the basic and essential purpose of a horror film which is to scare you. Sure I dug the premise. And it was refreshing to see that the parents took their kids seriously and believed the supernatural elements. However antagonist Larry who does look like a scary and creepy monster fails to truly make an impact. I think it was a mistake to out him so quickly as they did. Still what was really bothersome was the reaction of the parents to him. Especially Sarah played by Gillian Jacobs. I know Jacobs from Community and not much else. But it is clear to me that she doesn't have that much range as an actor. When she is supposed to look scared and terrified it looks like she is mimicking the gestures without truly understanding or feeling the fear. Kinda like an android would do. In films like these it's the terror that sells. So the reaction should look and feel real. And apart from the first 15 minutes and some moments with the kids it there is no terror or sense of dread. 

Of course I am willing to acknowledge the somewhat optimistic and touching ending. Still it would have made more impact with fright. A missed opportunity!

The Call (2020

Lin Shaye and Tobin Bell in one film. Surely that must lead to something good. And for a while it looked like it was.

The Call is a throwback to Eighties horror. That for me is always a good thing. Plus it does feature a heavy Saw vibe. I mean Tobin Bell looks and acts like Jigsaw who is retired and out of the game but pulled back in. If only this would have been the case. It would have been real compelling. Still most people knowing Tobin Bell and his work might have expected this so in a way it could be considered good that it's not like Saw. However I did think of a scenario myself where the Saw elements, Lin Shaye's involvement and seemingly supernatural elements would have made sense. 

Unfortunately what you see is what you get. You are supposed to believe the supernatural elements are real. And had they been scary or terrifying I would have embraced them. Although I would have liked it had they made them ambiguous since most events also could have been explained psychologically. 

Overall The Call is one big mess that never convinces. They should have kept it simple and made this a slasher where the teens who pranked Lin's character get killed one after another. 

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