Lifestyle, Movies & TV

March horror recap: “Immaculate,” “Stopmotion,” and more | You Scared Me!

After a desolate start to the year, I’m so glad to say that horror is finally back.

Lila Baltaxe | Senior Graphic Artist

In fact, new horror movies have started hitting theaters at such a steady rate that I didn’t have the proper time to review them all individually. To make it up to you all, here are some of my quick reflections on all of the horror films that I watched throughout the month of March. 

“Stopmotion” (2023)

The work of British filmmaker Robert Morgan has haunted me for almost a decade now, dating back to his contribution to “ABCs of Death 2.” Morgan’s stop motion animation projects are so horrific because they use grotesque and uncanny imagery to build new visions of horror. In my eyes, this has transcended what live-action storytelling is capable of showing.

Therefore, I was very excited to learn that Morgan made a full-length horror film. The aptly titled “Stopmotion” is a fairly effective synthesis of Morgan’s unique artistic style and traditional horror tropes — even if this fusion runs the risk of grounding the film in reality rather than giving life to something wholly innovative. 

The full force of Morgan’s craftwork is on display here by unleashing some truly bizarre stop motion sequences on its viewers. However, the realism of the rest of the film often clashes with these surreal moments, resulting in a debut feature that is more tied up in conventionalism than I would’ve hoped for. 

Luckily, “Stopmotion” features more than enough creativity to stand out from other works in the horror genre, especially when it gets so nasty in its final act that I could hardly believe that I was able to watch it in a movie theater — but I’ll let you see that for yourself. 

“Imaginary” (2024)

I don’t have much to say about “Imaginary,” directed by Jeff Wadlow, but if it had come out when I still lived near a Redbox kiosk, I would’ve rented it and been satisfied with my purchase. For me, that’s a high compliment for any horror movie to receive.

Aside from being scary, the latest Blumhouse production is just plain fun. There’s a cool bear monster, and the labyrinthine set design of the film’s climax is pretty unique. 

I enjoyed watching “Imaginary” and have no lingering thoughts about it afterwards — but when it comes to horror, that is sometimes completely fine by me.

“Immaculate” (2024)

As someone with a soft spot for any form of horror film that grapples with religion, I should’ve been an easy target for liking “Immaculate,” and yet I walked away from it feeling more weary than inspired.

The film features a phenomenal Sydney Sweeney as a nun in Italy, one who has to reckon with what appears to be an immaculate conception. The film finds its most interesting point when it explores the potentially unholy implications of this scenario, but it too regularly decides to focus on simpler shocks and scares instead.

While a film like this would have benefitted from a more slow burning approach to the unraveling of its central mystery, its short runtime of 89 minutes leaves no space for any tension to take hold. Instead, the film leaps breathlessly from scare to scare, which greatly complicates the viewing experience. 

Due to this pace, “Immaculate” bulldozes rather than builds towards a respectably extreme ending that wasn’t enough to elevate this film to a level of divinity, even if it gave Sweeney an opportunity to stake her claim as a horror icon.

“Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2” (2024)

I did not like last year’s “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey” at all. I finally watched it this month in preparation for the sequel and was stunned by how empty it was. I took it as a bleak omen of filmmakers turning to horror just to profit off of public domain characters.

Therefore, I was shocked that “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2” mostly manages to justify the merits of its existence. It actually takes the time to develop its characters and plot. It also goes further to make the most out of brilliant prosthetic work and gore effects. 

Because of how mean-spirited it is, “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2” feels like the exact type of film that people would scapegoat if they don’t enjoy horror movies. Unfortunately, that leaves me defending a movie where Winnie-the-Pooh wields a chainsaw. I can’t win.

“Late Night with the Devil” (2023)

Emulation can only get a film so far, which is possibly why I was let down by “Late Night with the Devil.” Even with all of its era-specific bells and whistles, this depiction of a late-night broadcast gone demonic fails to thrive off of its concept alone, and comes off as a pastiche of the 1970s rather than a loving homage.  

Like Sweeney in “Immaculate,” David Dastmalchian’s presence lends the film a lot more credit than it warrants otherwise. Dastmalchian embodies a tortured talk show host who struggles with his rise to fame, yet constantly exacerbates it. This is worth watching just for his performance alone — I just wish the rest of the film met him at his level.

All in all, while there was a high quantity of horror films in March, I wasn’t as impressed by the quality of them as I thought I would be. Nevertheless, I’ll never complain about getting to see fresh horror in a theater, and I’m hopeful that April will bring more solid scares my way.

More Articles

Comments are closed.