Book Review: Southern Reach Trilogy

Thirty years ago, an ecological event closed off an area of land referred to as “the forgotten coast.” Saying that it was an environmental catastrophe, the government named the bordered off area “Area X.” But the government didn’t set up those borders; in fact, something else created the invisible barrier that for a long time was impenetrable. When passage into Area X opened inexplicably, a government agency called Southern Reach sent expeditions of scientists to investigate, all of them failing in their task. Some would come back with no recollection of what they saw, others wouldn’t come back at all, and many came back only to die of cancer months later. This is how Annihilation, the first book of Jeff VanderMeer‘s riveting Southern Reach Trilogy, begins: with the twelfth expedition setting out on their mission. Read More Book Review: Southern Reach Trilogy

31 Days of Halloween — Day 23, Bloody Reunion

Without waxing sentimental, let’s acknowledge that teachers have a long-term impact on our upbringing and adult character. Sometimes, though, horrible people can hold such positions of authority over tender young psyches. Many of us have had some horrendous nightmare of a teacher who still gets our hackles up when we think about them. We wish that we could have told them off in some spectacularly snarky manner, but mostly we just walk away after graduation and revisit the past as a humorous talking point over drinks with friends. In Dae-wung Lim’s 2006 horror film Bloody Reunion (or To Sir with Love, the original title in all of its intended irony), one student waits for more than a decade to exact revenge for a childhood of humiliation at the hands of someone who was supposed to be a benevolent adult. (TW for a bloody film poster, and references to suicide, abuse and violence ahead.)

Read More 31 Days of Halloween — Day 23, Bloody Reunion

Oculus: Or Why I Was Right to be Scared of Mirrors

Official Synopsis: A brother and sister reunite 11 years after a tragedy in order to destroy the evil mirror responsible for the death of their parents.

Snap Synopsis: HAUNTED MIRROR. NOPE.

“OH SHIT!” Moments: Lost track. Just never buy antiques or peer into a mirror ever again. Read More Oculus: Or Why I Was Right to be Scared of Mirrors

31 Days of Halloween, Day 28 — The Betrayal of Women in Bedevilled

Before I start, you need to know this about Bedevilled. Aside from massive trigger warnings of violence, sexual assault, betrayal (you name it): This movie is a gutwrencher. The first half of the movie sets the stage with cruel and unjust situations that will leave you cringing and sad, and the film has no qualms in taking its sweet time building up to the denouement. Read More 31 Days of Halloween, Day 28 — The Betrayal of Women in Bedevilled

31 Days of Halloween, Day 21 — “We’re No. 1!” Ghosts, Monsters, and Anarchy

We’re No. 1! is a weekly feature looking at first issues in new comic series, as well as one-offs and special releases. In his reviews, Jeff highlights stories with diverse characters and plot lines Geekquality readers can care about, as well as points out comics that miss the mark. Read More 31 Days of Halloween, Day 21 — “We’re No. 1!” Ghosts, Monsters, and Anarchy

31 Days of Halloween, Day 14 — The Descent

When it comes to interesting roles for women in horror movies, it’s slim pickings. If they are the leading characters, it’s because they’re the target of a male gaze gone terribly wrong (stalking, haunting, hunting), or they’re on a revenge mission, usually because of rape. The standard depictions tend to run the gamut of heaving bosoms, see-through tank tops, and loud, rapid breathing. For a while, I had to resign myself to wading through some dismal and problematic stuff in order to enjoy a horror film. Until I watched The Descent, a movie that not only passes the Bechdel Test but practically breaks it. Read More 31 Days of Halloween, Day 14 — The Descent

31 Days of Halloween, Day 7 — The Virgin’s Revenge and Moral Dichotomy in Arang

[Slay — As part of the 31 Days series, I’ll be featuring guest posts from different authors. Lois from Geekquality ran an interesting series looking at revenge films — following is her analysis of the South Korean horror film, Arang. This post originally ran on Geekquality on May 9, 2012.] Read More 31 Days of Halloween, Day 7 — The Virgin’s Revenge and Moral Dichotomy in Arang