About Really Awful Movies

Horror movie authors and journalists who also review exploitation, action, grindhouse, kung fu, sci fi and other genre films. We are hosts of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, a celebration of low budget cinema - smart genre film chat, predominantly horror movies.

Friend Request

The bottom of the compost pile when it comes to horror subgenres, is undoubtedly social media horrors.

And Friend Request is no different, a rotten stinker predicated on a bullied spectral spookie who hijacks Facebook pages with gross content and torments her assailants.

But I Know What You Did This Summer this is not as the connection between the revenge seeker and the victims is barely there.

Laura is an uber-popular coed at a made-up California College populated by central casting types who chronicle their lavish lifestyles in Malibu, or some such place. Laura’s got 800 friends, 800 more than goth cliche loner, Marina, who sits in the back of psych class and pulls her hair out (maybe frustrated by the lack of quality slasher films tackling social media). To her credit, Laura reaches out to the outcast, only to be cyber-stalked and abused for her troubles.

Marina begins sending disturbing content to Laura’s friends, and posting snuff material as Laura (including a self-immolation vid), getting her expelled and making her the college pariah. Laura enlists the help of a hacker friend, who finds that the backend code is some witchcraft mumbo jumbo.

Meanwhile, turns out there’s little record of Marina even attending the school (maybe Felicity Huffman was lending a helping hand).

While the horror genre reflects cultural anxieties and has done so with aplomb in the past, whether it’s creeping conformity/communism in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or rampant consumerism of Dawn of the Dead,  however to date, no legit offering has adequately dealt with how social media is warping our minds, disrupting our concentration and making us depressed.

Whether it’s #horror, iMurders, Unfriended, or the best among them, Cam (which is a compliment so back-handed it should be used to slap a bitch) none can get out of their own way to tackle broader social implications of Pavlovian manipulation.

** (out of 5)

[Check out our Friend Request podcast!]

Mortuary

You’d be forgiven for thinking Mortuary is a zombie film, what with the poster art (right) and the admonition that “before you are covered with the last shovelful of dirt…be sure you are really dead.”

However, Fulciesque pretenses aside, this one is a reasonably straight-ahead slasher film, with witch coven/witching action sprinkled about for an extra smidgen of visual and narrative interest.

Two college students are skulking about in a mortuary, which looks like a Lower Manhattan garment factory for some reason. One of them (Josh) goes missing after the other (Greg) witnesses some kind of seance in which the participants are dressed like Supreme Court Justices.

He bolts, and asks around the local roller rink as to where oh where his buddy went. With enough disco boogieing to pad the lean running time, he’s off with his girlfriend, Christie, who in the film’s outset, loses her father to a baseball-wielding assailant (with the vic being ever so gently nudged, rather than swatted like A-Rod, and bunted into a pool and left to drown).

Christie is tormented by her pop’s demise, and doesn’t buy the police explanation (along with the bulk of the viewing audience) that his death was an accident.

But this is called Mortuary for a reason, barely.

There’s an antagonist with pasty white makeup stalking her, creeping around in the bushes wielding a trocar, the implement of choice for sucking fluids out of bodies (posthumously, that is, probably. Not for lipo). So this leaves little to no doubt about who the perp is, as there are only two characters connected to the mortuary, one, a mortician and the other, the owner of the business, played by Christopher George.

There’s a stand-out performance from a young Bill Paxton (Twister/A Simple Plan) and George’s wife co-stars alongside her hubby, who sadly, shuffled off his mortal coil shortly thereafter, speaking of mortuaries.

*** (out of 5)

[Check out our Mortuary podcast]!