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Another Addition to a Horror Fanatics Shelf

Movie: Grave Encounters

Usually when a group of friends gather for movie night, at least one horror film is

a must. Films with jump scares and hair rising suspense are perfect for those kind of

late night watching with friends especially for horror fanatics. That is why Grave

Encounters is just the film that every movie marathon should include. With its found

footage style of filming, it will surely be a night of screams and horror.

The movie is the lost footage of an episode of a ghost investigation television

series called Grave Encounters. In the footage, Lance Preston, the host along with his

crew and Houston Grey, a fake medium, investigate an abandoned mental asylum.

Many instances of paranormal activity have been reported since its closure.

The core of its plot is a concept that has been recycled over and over: an

unsuspecting group walks into its demise unable to escape, nightmare inducing ghouls

haunt every room, and terror ensues. Fortunately, clichs are my guilty pleasure

especially if executed well.

Grave Encounters manages to assemble a good set of actors. Sean Rogerson

who plays as Lance set a believable performance when his character descends into

madness but Juan Riedinger who plays as Matt White, a member of the crew is also

noteworthy as he performs one of the creepiest scenes. After being separated from the

group, Matt is found later wearing a hospital gown crying and hysterically laughing.

Each character undergoes the same level of pain and stress the asylum brings.

But it is the capacity of their will power that is tested and how much their mind can stand

before it finally gives in to the horror and collapses upon itself. As the story moves
along, the group is constantly exposed to the basic human fears: isolation, confinement,

and the dark and supernatural beings. The movie explores these fears with

ruthlessness as time and again the characters are placed in impossible conditions.

Another peculiar element that makes the film good is the mystery shrouding the

asylum. Neither the investigation team nor the viewers have a background nor concrete

information of its history only that it is haunted. And even the end leaves the mystery of

the asylum unexplained.

Fans conspire that the horrific monsters of the hospital are the vengeful spirits of

victims that were experimented upon. The scene where Lance finds a room where a

mysterious group of people who look like doctors were performing a surgery supports

this theory.

All in all, the film executes plot, setting and characters well enough, it still does

not quite stand out. The concept has been used and reused. But for those who are

looking for an adrenaline pumped movie night without complicated details, then Grave

Encounters is the perfect choice. I give it a 3/5 stars.

Martie Durana is lover of mystery and horror. Although her hunger for scary

movies are insatiable, she still is quite terrified of being alone and walking alone along

dark hallways. She loves a good movie with excellent cinematography, political intrigue

but once in a while she indulges herself in movies that requires no thinking at all.
A Beloved Classic

Movie: The Shinning

Not every horror film includes blood thirsty monsters that pop out the screen to

make viewers jump. In fact, some of the greatest horrors have little to no jump scares.

Good horror films hold the right amount of suspense to put the audience at the edge of

their seats and leave them in cold sweat. One of which is The Shinning, a cult classic

based on Stephen Kings novel of the same name.

The story begins with Jack Torrance who becomes the caretaker of the Overlook

Hotel up in the secluded mountains of Colorado. Jack, being a family man, takes his

wife and son to the hotel to keep him company throughout the long and isolated nights.

During their stay strange things occur when Jack's son Danny sees gruesome images

powered by a force called "The Shining". Jack is heavily affected by this. Along with

writer's block and the demons of the hotel haunting him Jack has a complete mental

breakdown and the situation takes a sinister turn for the worse.

The film would not have reached its success without the help of the amazing

talent of the actors. Jake Nicholson who plays Jack, portrays the rather dark side of

human nature. Although he does a perfect mad man acting, it is his vulnerable moments

which push his character to the down spiral of insanity that stands out and becomes a

significant element in sustaining the frightening aura of the film.

Danny Llyod and Shelly Duvall who plays Jacks son and wife respectively also

does a great job. Dannys performance, considering that he was a six-year old at the
time, has been well received. His childish innocence add to the twisted scenes of the

movie that leave the audience thoroughly disturbed.

The film is full of unexplained oddities adding up a slow burn of fright. One

especially creepy scene is when Wendy, Jacks wife, sees a man across the hallway

wearing an open butt bear suit doing fellatio to another man. The screen zooms in as

the two look up and stare at the camera. Wendy runs in horror and then the movie

carries on as if none of it happens.

Without context, the scene seems random and serves only to baffle but it actually

stems from a subplot of the book which the movie is based on. Fan theorists suggest

that the scene is more symbolic than random as the bear costume is associated with

Danny who owns a teddy bear pillow. The theory hints that Danny may have been

sexually abused by Jack. Another scene that supports this idea is when Danny leans

over a sink mirroring the exact position of the man wearing the bear costume.

The Shinning has more scenes that foreshadow events or give hints to the

mystery of the Overlook hotel. It is through these scenes that make the movie such a

compelling watch. Every detail is not an accident and is carefully placed which is

something Stan Lee Kubrick, the director, is famously known for.

I think Kubrick is more interested in presenting an enigma than a solid definable

theme. But primarily it depicts a theme common in the horror genre that evil or pain

remains even when its object is long dead. Similarly, the terror of the film still haunts its

viewers today even after 37 years since its initial release.

I recommend The Shinning for every horror enthusiasts or any movie lover for

that matter. It is a classic that should not be missed. The movie is a 5/5 stars with its

unparalleled cinematography, great acting and subliminal messages.

Martie Durana is a hungry 16 year old who eats up movie conspiracy theories for

breakfast. She believes a good movie should leave just enough information for the

viewers to be obsessed with it. And that a true horror film makes you feel something is

behind you even after the movie is long finished.

Hunger Games: More than a Love Triangle

Unless you lived under a rock, you must have heard of the Hunger Games

written by Suzzane Collins. With 4.3 million copies sold in 2010, its popularity tripled

after the first film hit the theatres in 2012, an astounding 27.7 million copies have been

sold worldwide. So even if you havent heard about it, it must ring a bell.

The Hunger Games is set in a dark future where the power is greatly unbalanced

and the system is rigged. 16 year old Katniss Everdeen is a citizen of a dystopian

version of North America called Panem which has been split into 12 districts all run by

the Capitol. Before, the districts tried to rebelled against the Capitol but failed. To

prevent further acts of rebellion, the Capitol arranges a televised battle royale called the

Hunger Games. Annually, two representatives or tributes under the age of 18 from all

the districts are randomly chosen as unwilling participants of the games. The objective?

To kill each other until only one remains.

When the time has come to pick the tributes, Katniss sister is called. In a

desperate act to save her, Katniss volunteers as tribute instead. Since that first step,

she starts embodying rebellion.

What dystopian adolescent novels have in common are triangular love affairs

and a story portraying a one of a kind girl who must save her people from all evil. Yet

Hunger Games has something more explicitly outlined in its narrative. A political


As Collins said herself : I dont write about adolescence. I write about war. For

adolescents. The book does not beat around the bush when it comes to portraying the
destructive nature of humans, the unjust social hierarchy and the danger of abusive

powers. These themes have been used and reused in many other novels. But what

makes Hunger Games stand out is that Collins addresses adolescents. She penetrates

the young adult genre with political violence. It is a story about teenagers where teens

die so young people can understand the cost of extremist power and visualize how a

world like Hunger Games could be like.

Besides war, a blatant theme is hunger as the name of the book suggests, not

only for political and social freedom but actual hunger. Poverty is in every nook and

cranny of the districts except the Capitol. The story is deeply founded in the wide gap

between the wealthy classes and poor workers. The Capitol is written as lazy, indulgent

people who take benefit from the hard labor of all the Districts.

They drink concoctions that make them vomit when they are full so that they can

eat again while hunger and starvation spread among the districts. It clearly paints the

social inequality of Katniss world which raises consciousness that that is a scene not so

distant from reality.

Finally Hunger Games is also a reflection of peoples obsession with media. The

Capitol publicizes information with meticulous care. Every day the people are presented

a series of lies, lies of their situation, lies of the history of District 13, and normalizes the

horrific nature of violence. Here Collin rebukes the society that is blind, and the media

that glosses over the hard truth.

The book is an extreme exaggeration of our everyday life. We relate it to the

current political, social and cultural issues with the nagging feeling at the back of our

head that if we are not careful enough, we might end up like Panem. Still, Collins
emphasizes that to overcome such issues, one must constantly reinstate the same

moral values and human qualities that has pushed Katniss to protect her loved ones.

Love, unity and family.

Martie Duranas interest of stories sparked at a young age and began with simple

fairytales of princesses and noble knights. Eventually, she moved on to more mature

novels of underdogs fighting for justice and against rigged systems. But nowadays, she

barely indulges herself in stories as she is too busy fighting off sleep to finish her


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