Hey, hey, hey my witches! I know this post is coming a few days late, but I needed to wrap up a few things before I could write up this blog. This week had some ups and downs and some disappointments. I finished 3 books and watched 4 movies, so let’s get into this mama jama!
I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
Book Rating: 3.5/5 Movie Rating: 2.5/5
I’m Thinking of Ending Things follows a couple on a road trip to the boyfriend’s parents’ house. This is the first time the girlfriend is meeting his parents and should be excited. However, she is thinking of ending things with him. Will this road trip and visit cement the fact that she should cut ties or is there some redeeming quality to staying with her boyfriend, Jake?
I know this doesn’t sound scary, but creepy things definitely take place during and after the trip to Jake’s parents’ house. I have read the book before, probably about 3 years ago. Then I saw it going around booktube and heard Netflix was picking it up to turn it into a film featuring Toni Collette (LOVE HER), so I thought it was a perfect time to reread this one. Let’s start with the book.
Like I said, I’ve already read this book and I remembered how confused the ending left me. This time, I was able to pick up on a lot more and understand the ending a bit better. I also decided to pick up the audiobook because I heard it was creepy, so it was a nice addition to the reread. I will admit, the book wasn’t as creepy or unsettling as I remember from the first time, but I still think it had some solid elements. I love creepy people, and boy was there an abundance in this book, but I also love seclusion. Something about being trapped in the middle of nowhere with a person you don’t really like is just *chef’s kiss*. This book isn’t very long so there isn’t much I can say without spoiling anything, but I do recommend going into this book as blind as possible.
Now, let’s talk about this movie. Man oh man, was I looking forward to watching this. I had such high hopes for it because I remembered how unsettled this book left me when I first came across it. Plus, Toni Collette! I know I already talked about her appearance in this movie, but after watching Hereditary I am always super excited to see her in any film. Unfortunately, this isn’t a true adaptation and I really wish it was. They decided to go the route of “love letter” to the book rather than a play-by-play, which I didn’t have an issue with at first. They do spend a lot more time at Jake’s parents’ house in the movie than they did in the book, but I enjoyed the visit sequence. I thought it was a twisty, fun ride. However, the ending really didn’t do it for me. The ending of the book is dark, eerie, and confusing. While the ending of the movie is bright, musical and still confusing. I don’t think you truly grasp what is going on by just watching the movie, but it does hint at it. With that being said, I do recommend reading the book before watching the movie.
If you don’t mind spending most of the time inside the head of a character or long conversations, I definitely recommend both the book and the movie. But overall, I enjoyed the book much more.
The Return by Rachel Harrison
The Return follows a group of four friends after a traumatic incident: one of the girls, Julie, goes missing during a hike in a national park. However, two years later she reappears on the porch of her home without any memory of what happened. The girls decide to spend some time together by booking a long weekend at a quaint hotel. Everyone is happy to see Julie, but they can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t quite right.
This book wasn’t one of the 13 books I wanted to read this month, but I saw the audiobook and decided to give it a go. I really had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up, but the mystery intrigued me enough to finish it. Unfortunately, majority of this book is about the three girls talking about Julie and how weird Julie is being and if they should ask Julie about what happened when she went missing. It was a little draining to get through, if I’m being honest. However, the ending was a trip! I had no idea where this book was going, and the ending really did surprise me. I just don’t think it was enough payoff to trudge through these girls constantly saying, “I love you” and “sorry” to each other. All in all, I liked how weird this book got and would probably pick up another book by this author!
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
My Best Friend’s Exorcism follows two friends, Abby and Gretchen, from the beginning of their friendship to the time things got really weird their sophomore year of high school. And by weird, I mean one of them may or may not have gotten possessed by a demon. Dun, dun, duuuuun.
This is the second book I’ve read from Hendrix, and I loved it! His writing style is so immersive, other’s might complain that he can be a little too specific, but it really puts you in the mind of the characters you’re following. I’ve been through high school and I know how fragile friendships can be, especially when drama ensues. So, to experience that sensation of such hurt, betrayal, and confusion really just made ya girl feel some type of way! Also, each chapter name is a song from the 80’s and listening to them while I read just enhanced the reading experience for me. I had a good time reading this one, but I didn’t love it as much as I did The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. This one is a little slower as it builds up the friendship between the girls, but I still really enjoyed where the story went. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to relive high school but with a touch of demon possession!
Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)
Tigers Are Not Afraid is a dark fairytale about Estrella who has recently found herself orphaned because of the cartels that plague her city. She finds herself joining a group of kids who have also experienced the same loss Estrella has, and together they fight for their survival.
This movie was heartbreaking, but just so endearing. These kids we follow are going through things that no child ever should, but the way they care for each other makes my heart swell. The fairytale aspect of this movie is an interesting one. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie weave fantasy into such a dark tale so beautifully as Tigers Are Not Afraid did. I normally don’t seek out sad movies to watch, but I feel like this one was worth stepping out of my comfort zone. I highly recommend Tigers Are Not Afraid but prepare yourself for some heartbreak.
Spiral follows Malik and Aaron, a gay couple moving into a new home in a small town with Aaron’s daughter in 1995. This is your classic creepy neighbors story, where things get weird fast when the new family starts to get acquainted with the neighborhood.
I saw a lot of comparison to Get Out when reading the reviews for this movie, and I can kind of see the comparison. Malik is the only person of color we see on screen, plus Malik and Aaron are the only gay couple in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, this movie just got messy. I think they started out pretty strong with subtle things happening, but there was some stuff that just wasn’t thoroughly explained. This movie does include one of my favorite tropes, which is a character doing research montage. However, the pieces of the puzzle they tried to feed us during this montage didn’t quite fit together. That’s not to say the ending didn’t explain things, it did loud and clear. Just the way we got there, seemed a little rushed. I do think they were trying to accomplish something similar to Get Out when it comes the social commentary aspect, but it came off a little heavy handed. Overall, I don’t think I can recommend this one unless you’re looking for a Get Out wannabe. Oof, that’s coming off a lot harsher than I meant to be but thems my feelings!
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
This movie a crime noir piece following the story of a sinister preacher who preys on the lives of a widow and her children. That’s it. That’s the movie.
This October, I am watching horror movies with my grandma, mom and brother, which gave me the idea of watching a movie from each year we were born. Doing my research, this movie came up several times as the best horror movie from ’55. I don’t really know how I feel about this movie, to be completely honest. I don’t watch a lot of older movies, so I’m not sure what to compare it to. I think it was an interesting attempt to show the contrast between the corruption of the adults vs the inherent innocence of the children. I liked the preacher character, I thought he was a great mix of charming and unsettling. However, things started to dissolve in terms of the plot towards the end of the movie. It started introducing new characters and following them, rather than wrapping up the story line of the original family we were initially following. It also took me two days to watch this movie because I was just so bored by the concept. Maybe that just speaks to me being an uncultured swine. Who’s to know!
So far, October has been very interesting. I’m excited to broaden my horizon when it comes to the horror genre, but hopefully this week is a little spookier. Keep it spooky, y’all!