June was all about films. I didn’t watch a lot of television serials because I didn’t have time to really watch chunks of episodes at a time, which is how I typically like to consume serials (if my ADHD allows). So, when I did find myself with a couple hours of free-time, I just went with whatever films sounded good in the moment. As such, the list of seen titles is pretty large. I’m both impressed with myself and realise that it’s kind of ridiculous, simultaneously.
Anyhoo, you can check out my monthly cinematic shenanigans down below, in completed order. I’ve included the year, streaming platform used, snippet, brief thoughts including whether I recommend it or not, and content warnings (CW) where applicable. I don’t have links for any of these, but if you see something interesting and are curious as to where you may access it, please visit Just Watch. It’s what I use to look up availability for my region.
Resident Evil (2002) [Prime]: A sci-fi horror that’s loosely based on the video game of the same name, it follows a lady name Alice who awakens without her memories to a shitstorm of wandering dead bodies (zombies) and a military task force that’s been sent to annihilate them. This is so cheesy, and as long as you don’t associate it to any of the video games whatsoever, it’s an entertaining bloodbath of a popcorn flick. As a game adaptation, it’s absolutely horrendous though. Even so, I enjoy it for what it is (a hot mess with tons of gory goodness) and I like to watch it in the background while I work. As pure, non-serious entertainment, I would RECOMMEND this. However, if you’re looking for a more serious zombie horror title, then you should probably pass on it. CW: Graphic sequences of violence, blood, gore, including body mutilation, dismemberment, and cannibalism. Graphic depictions of animals with severe infections and animal deaths. Strong language. Mild alcohol consumption. Brief human experimentation.
The Nun (2018) [HBO]: A historical, supernatural horror film about a priest and a noviciate who are sent to Romania after a suicide occurs at one of the oldest monasteries there. Upon arriving, they come to realise that the location is being haunted by a terrible source of evil. I watched this twice in June because I just really love this film. It’s Gothic ambiance and atmosphere is so excellently done, and it’s one of the few films that can still make me jump on occasion, even though I know it’s coming. This is the first title chronologically speaking within the Conjuring universe; however I would highly recommend watching this after The Conjuring 2 because it makes more narrative sense that way. All in all, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND The Nun, especially if you’re a fan of supernatural horror. It can be watched as a stand-alone. CW: Suicide via hanging (on-screen) including bodies swinging from trees. Graphic blood. Strong, disturbing images of demonic activity including possession. Depiction of being buried alive. Depiction of dead bodies. Brief scene of drowning. Mildly strong language. Disturbing scenery involving snakes.
Annabelle: Creation (2017) [HBO]: A supernatural horror about a family who prays to a dark entity in the wake of a horrible tragedy and loss of a loved one. However, they end up summoning far more than they ever bargained for, which manifests years later after they open an orphanage for young girls. This is the best Annabelle film in the franchise. It’s a slow-burn watching with gloriously mounting tension and atmosphere as things start to spiral into chaos after the girls’ arrival. It was wonderfully creepy yet evocative and holds one’s attention quite raptly. There’s a small level of suspension of disbelief that adds to the innate ambiance that I really appreciated. Definitely HIGHLY RECOMMEND this for folx looking for a supernatural horror film, and also a place to start their journey with the Annabelle/Conjuring universe. CW: Death of child(ren). Graphic blood and gore, including body mutilation. Depiction of demons including possession. Intense disturbing imagery relating to demonic activity and ghosts. Mildly strong language. Ableist bullying of a disabled girl. Cautionary warnings for following phobias: nyctophobia, demonophobia, claustrophobia.
Annabelle (2014) [HBO]: A supernatural horror film about a couple in the 1960s who are haunted by a possessed doll. I like this film for what it was, which is a slow-burn, supernatural thriller essentially. It definitely has a very strong creepy vibe with respect to the hauntings and how it impacts the couple’s lives, however, I didn’t feel it was as terrifying as the other films in the franchise. Nonetheless, it’s still worth a watch if you’re a fan of The Conjuring or just decent ghost horror narratives in general. I find it’s better to watch it after Annabelle: Creation, from a narrative stand-point, even though this was released first. RECOMMENDED. CW: Graphic blood and moderate violence. Discomforting scenes of a pregnant woman getting injured. Attempted violence against a baby (nothing deeply graphic). Disturbing imagery of demons and demonic presences. Attempted suicide. Suicide (on-screen). Cautionary advisory for demonophobia.
The Conjuring (2013) [HBO]: A supernatural horror film about a family that moves into a haunted house, forcing them to call upon a couple of demonologists (The Warrens) in assisting them with removing the evil presence that has taken root of their home and family. Based on a true story. This was an incredible film. It’s so fantastically done! From a cinephile’s perspective, it’s my favourite in the whole damn franchise. The way it starts off with an ominous vibe as the family gets situated into their new home, the initial experiences of ghostly interactions with the children, and then the step-by-step escalation with well-placed and perfectly timed jump-scares (of which there aren’t a lot), and the intensity of the possessions—it’s all really fucking good. It’s the sort of supernatural film that leaves a deep and disturbing impression, and I can see why it’s such a famous and well-loved film. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of the horror genre, but know it’s not a film for everyone by far. CW: Strong depiction of disturbing demonic presences and possession. Child abuse. Attempted child murder(s). Mention of child murders. Animal death (dog, off-screen). Suicide. Attempted suicide. Mild sexual innuendo. Brief alcohol consumption. Brief consumption of food. Depiction of moderately violent exorcism. Cautionary advisory for following phobias: claustrophobia, nyctophobia, hemophobia, demonophobia.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019) [HBO]: A supernatural film about the Warrens (real-life demonologists) shortly after they brought the infamously evil doll, Annabelle, into their home. When they leave for a weekend to take care of work, their daughter and her babysitters become embroiled in a ghostly fight for their lives. This is my favourite Annabelle film, mostly because it’s the easiest to watch over and over again. It’s less intensely slow and cerebral than the other two. However, the disturbing imagery and discussions on the Warrens’ cases is a bit stronger here than the other two films, as it covers various entities rather than just Annabelle. I also liked the relationship between the Warren kid and her babysitter, it was very charming. I’d definitely RECOMMEND this to folx looking for a ghost film to check out. You don’t necessarily have to watch the other Annabelles to understand this film as the references are small, but it does help. CW: Brief depiction of school bullying. Discussions of death including death of parents and death rituals. Strong disturbing imagery relating to demonic presences including possession. Depiction of dead bodies. Mildly strong language. Preparation and consumption of food. Brief depiction of severe asthmatic episode. Mild sexual innuendo. Cautionary warning for nyctophobia and demonophobia.
The Curse of La Llorona (2019) [HBO]: A supernatural thriller taking place in 1970s Los Angeles, where a social worker ignores a mother’s warning of something malevolent hunting her children, causing said evil entity to start coming after the social worker’s own children. This is very loosely connected to the Conjuring universe and can definitely be watched as a stand-alone film. Because the film centres on children and a single mother, I feel it has a stronger evocative element to it, mostly so because there’s a lot of portrayals of abused children and how the social system handles that sort of thing. I did like that cultural additions to this narrative though, as it strongly represents the ‘70s LA climate and it also just makes for a much more intriguing supernatural experience. It was a good watch and I’d RECOMMEND it to fans of such films. CW: Murder of children (on-screen, brief). Dead bodies of children. Portrayal of physical child abuse via demonic entity. Strong scenes and references to children drowning. Disturbing imagery of demons, demonic presences, and possession. Moderate violence. Mildly strong language. Alcohol consumption. Consumption and preparation of food. Cautionary warning for demonophobia and nyctophobia.
The Conjuring 2 (2016) [HBO]: A supernatural horror film about the Warrens as they’re called in to investigate a disturbing, haunting presence in England, specifically the possession of a young girl. This was an interesting film because there are two plot points that are happening here. On one hand we have the possession and torment of a little girl, but then we have Mrs Warren who’s fighting some of her own inner demons (metaphorically) with respect to the fear of losing her husband. It’s interesting to see these two separate things eventually converge into a single a story. That being said, I didn’t think it was nearly as frightening as it’s been hailed to be. It’s definitely extremely disturbing and discomforting, and can make one’s skin crawl for various reasons, but it doesn’t compare to the first film all that much at all. I liked watching them solve the case and seeing them continue to fight for this family when no one else does, but as a scary film, it’s more of a thriller than horror as it relates to other titles in the franchise. Even so, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED because it’s wonderfully shot and has some great narrative elements to it. CW: Depiction of dead bodies including children. Scenes of children being shot. Graphic depiction of violence, blood, and gore. Strong disturbing imagery relating to demons, demonic presences, and possession including possession of a child. Child imprisonment. Attempted child murder. Brief scene of attempted drowning. Scene of attempted child strangulation. Depiction of traumatised children. Domestic violence. Brief discussion of infidelity. Brief alcohol consumption. Brief scenes involving smoking. Cautionary warning for following phobias: demonophobia, nyctophobia, and hemophobia.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) [HBO]: A supernatural horror film where the Warrens realise a local murder may be the result of demonic possession, so they set out to prove it to the authorities and the court. My least favourite film in the entire franchise. It felt so far removed from the others that I honestly wouldn’t believe it was even of the same universe if the two main characters weren’t named Warrens. All of the elements that make the Conjuring/Annabelle movies so damn good didn’t really exist here. The demonic elements took on a back-seat for an occult ritualistic aspect that felt out-of-place for the most part. I could go on about this in quite a bit of detail, and I shall in a future post, but as it stands, I felt wholly INDIFFERENT about The Conjuring 3. Die-hard fans of the franchise will probably enjoy this, but overall, I’d say skip it. CW: Mild sexual innuendo including brief nudity. Strong disturbing imagery relating to demons, demonic presences, and possession including possession of a child. Graphic scenes of violence, blood, and gore. Dead bodies. Cautionary warning for following phobias: demonophobia, claustrophobia, nyctophobia, and hemophobia.
Stardust (2007) [Netflix]: A fantasy adventure about a young lovestruck idiot who vows to bring a fallen star to a young lass whom he’s completely smitten with as proof of his affection and devotion to her. Upon embarking on his journey, the lad goes through a plethora of trials and tribulations that help him realise what true love is really about. I watched this with one of my favourite people and we had a blast! It was entertaining and hilarious, full of adventure and some ridiculous theatrics, and left us with an overall feeling of warmth. The humour is fantastic. The acting was terrific and the character interactions super charming, even when they were hating on one another. It’s just a really nice, feel-good, family treat and I’d HIGHLY RECOMMEND it to anyone searching for a fun, chill film to help them unwind with ease. CW: Brief nudity. Mild sexual innuendo. Action-adventure violence. Deaths. Dead animals and dissection of dead animals. Brief scene of poisoning. Alcohol consumption. Consumption and preparation of food. Mildly inappropriate language.
Legendary (2014) [Prime]: A sci-fi film about a scientist dude-bro who goes to China with a small crew to track down a legendary lizard type animal. Yes, this is as absolutely atrocious as it sounds. I actually only watched about the first twenty minutes of this before I finally gave up. I love creature-features, and sometimes the bad ones can turn out to be unexpectedly fun. This was not it, holy shit-on-a-stick, my chums, did this suck SO much. Definitely one of the worst things I have ever seen, so naturally it’s a NOT RECOMMENDED even if Hell freezes over and we have to watch it to survive… Overkill? Yeah… No regrets there, except for those twenty minutes I’ll never get back. CW: Death via creatures. Violence. Animal imprisonment and hunting. Mildly strong language. (There may be more, but I only watched a short bit o’ the film, sorry.)
Revenge (2019) [Shudder]: A crime thriller about a young woman who goes away on vacation with her married boyfriend. His two friends arrive and one of them attacks her when her boyfriend leaves the house for a short while. When they try to kill her to silence her, she survives and seeks her vengeance. This is a French-Canadian film I found on Shudder, and I was surprised by how good it ended up being. It’s not for the faint of heart as it has extremely graphic violence and gore, and a scene of rape in it. But cinematically, it’s gorgeous. The long shots, the various angles used, the way that her acts of revenge were taken—it was all so much better than I ever anticipated. If you like revenge thrillers then you may like this. Just be warned that it’s extremely disturbing and dark and violent. CW: Strong nudity. Moderate sexual content (consensual) and innuendo. Rape (on-screen). Sexism and misogyny. Strong language. Highly graphic sequences of blood, gore, and violence including gruesome wounds, deaths, and torture. Graphic scene of cauterising wounds. Lots of alcohol consumption. Depiction of drug purchasing and consumption. Brief consumption of food. Vivid close-ups of insects, including on wounds. Depiction of self-defence death via drowning (on-screen).
The Devil All the Time (2020) [Netflix]: A psychological thriller about a young boy that grows up to become an instrument of justice and death as corruptions sinks and festers in the town around him. Takes place between WWII and the 1960s in both Ohio and West Virginia. My number one reason for wanting to watch this was Tom Holland. I think he’s a pretty great actor who has tons of potential to become something even more incredible and this film truly cements that. At its heart, The Devil All the Time is about how evil and righteousness tend to run along the same path and how people can become blinded by their faith in ways that they never expect. It also shows us what happens what when faith is used as an instrument of discipline and torture rather than something to help an individual grow and mature within themselves; something that is forced rather than allowed to be sought independently. It’s an extremely dark and contemplative film, but it’s so phenomenally crafted and acted. It was a mind-blowing experience to watch this and I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to cinema fans that enjoy intensely thought-provoking and cerebral, slow-burn thrillers. It’s a bit non-linear in the first half and has tons of content warnings, so be cautious going into it. CW: Very strong language. Strong sexual content (including statutory rape), innuendo, and nudity. Graphic scene of a crucified soldier. Graphic violence (gun, bladed, and fisticuffs) and blood including death. Murder of an animal (off-screen, but can be heard). Disturbing scenes of bullying and sex-shaming. Dead bodies including dead animal on a cross. Death via terminal illness. Attempted suicide and mention of suicide. Accidental death via hanging. Disturbingly graphic scene involving live spiders. Derogatory references to Japanese people (WWII era). Graphic depiction of corruption and exploitation via police and faith-based leaders. Strong alcohol consumption. Some scenes of smoking. Brief substance use.
Batman Begins (2005) [HBO]: In this dark, crime drama a young boy watches his parents get murdered and robbed in cold-blood. After he grows up and inherits their billions, he leaves his home on a journey of self-discovery and returns to seek vengeance and justice on all criminals in his hometown many years later. Batman Begins is probably my favourite cinematic Batman origins film (The Dark Knight is one of my favourite films of all-time, literally my number one, tied with Alien), and one of the main reasons I love it so much is because how much it resonates with me as a Buddhist. I have a post scheduled to go live in a week or so about this, but it’s a really superb film all around and captures the essence of impermanence quite vividly. Plus, the action, the music, and the acting are all rather fabulous. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of the Batman franchise. CW: Mild sexual innuendo. Intense graphic violence including gun and sword violence, and fisticuffs. Mild blood. Death and destruction via arson. Depiction of mass hallucinogenic attack. Disturbing imagery via hallucinogenic substances including insects and demonic representations. Intense police chase scene. Depiction of forced insanity, institutionalisation, and imprisonment. Mild language. Brief alcohol consumption. Cautionary warnings for following phobias: acrophobia, chiroptophobia (fear of bats), nyctophobia, claustrophobia, and brief agoraphobia.
Small Crimes (2017) [Netflix]: This crime suspense drama follows a man who gets released from prison and has a second chance at getting his life straight, but ends up being pulled back into a life of criminality, costing him his family. My main reason for picking this up was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister from Game of Thrones, HBO). I like his acting and I wanted to see him in something outside of the epic fantasy serial. The movie was extremely intense due to its subject matter and the downward spiral the character gets ensnared in, but it’s also very formulaic of its type, which made a bit boring. It’s also not going to leave you with positive, fluff feelings as it’s quite the tragedy by its end. The acting was decent and I felt the story had potential to be more interesting if it had a chance to get more fleshed out, but all in all it was rather average across the board. I would recommend this if you, too, want to see Coster-Waldau in something outside of his titular role, but aside from that I felt pretty INDIFFERENT by the end. CW: Mild sexual innuendo and brief nudity. Moderately strong violence including stabbings, fisticuffs, and shootings. References to murder. Strong language. Alcohol consumption and substance abuse. Consumption of food. Death and near death of loved ones.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) [Disney+]: A sci-fi, space opera prequel film to the original Star Wars (aka Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) that follows Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn as they try to help Queen Amidala resolve the rising political tensions on her planet, Naboo. The last time I watched the original trilogy was back in 2013-14. Since it’s been so long, I thought it would be neat to re-watch the films and then watch all of the newer shtick I hadn’t seen. My goal was to do it all in chronological order, but goddamn, I had forgotten how incredibly awful this film was. Now, I love Qui-Gon Jinn’s grey morality (which is further emphasised and developed in the novels), so it was nice to see him. But everything else was outrageously excruciating to sit through. I’m sure I actually fell asleep half-way through. The rolling credits woke me up, but you know, I’m still counting it as a watched because… I can’t sit through it again. NEVER EVER RECOMMENDING THIS, EVER. CW: Fantasy-adventure violence. Brief racist/xenophobic comments.
Greenland (2020) [HBO]: A disaster film that revolves around a family that seems to be breaking at the seams, but when an asteroid causes an extinction level threat, they have to band together to save themselves from a seemingly inevitable demise. Disaster films are totally my jam, and I think that Morena Baccarin is quite lovely, so I was immediately drawn to Greenland upon reading the snippet. Unlike other disaster titles, this is less about the impending asteroid and more about how people act in times of disasters. So, how much of the darker parts of human nature emerge when they’re faced with their own mortality. Because of that, the film is excruciatingly intense. We watch a family get separated and then threatened and so much more because every single person wants to live longer and fight the decimation that this asteroid threatens upon them. They will rob and beat and kill whomever they need to in order to survive. It’s so disturbing, but also so wholeheartedly realistic (as the pandemic has shown us), and that’s what makes it such a compelling film. I also love the family dynamics. Yes, they have their issues and problems, but at the end of the day, they live for one another and die for another, which was so heartfelt. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for sure. CW: Intense scenes of violence and physical assault including mild depiction of blood and death. Depiction of looting, robberies, mass shootings, and child kidnapping. Graphic scenes of death and destruction via falling asteroids and broken, flaming debris. Scenes of armed soldiers shooting civilians and civilian riots. Scenery of decimated cities, rubble, and displaced people. Mild language. Brief alcohol consumption.
The Silencing (2020) [Prime]: A crime drama that revolves around a grieving, alcoholic father obsessed with finding his missing daughter, and a sheriff no one believes in who’s trying to hunt down a kidnapper and potential murderer. What a solid film. Again, picked it up due to Sir Jamie Lannister dude, and stayed for the marvellous acting and compelling plot of a father who isn’t ready to give up on his daughter that went missing five years ago. He’s a complete mess and the depth of his love for his daughter, as well as the shame and guilt that weighs heavily upon him in the wake of her disappearance, was outstanding. This film definitely shows us the potentiality of Waldau’s acting and it makes me want to see him in even more works moving forward. That smouldering intensity of mourning and anguish suits him perfectly. I wasn’t expecting to like this, frankly speaking, but it was just so damn good. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of good crime dramas. CW: Strong violence and blood including a scene where a man stitches himself up. Kidnapping of young women (mostly teenagers). Animal hunting. Depiction of dead bodies. References to child abuse and child imprisonment. Strong alcohol consumption. Strong language.
Cold Case Season 1 (2003) [HBO]: A crime procedural drama about a female detective and her colleagues that specialise in solving cold cases (or cases that have been open and unsolved for years and years). I started watching this one night when I couldn’t sleep. I put it on as background noise while I was reading and I ended up getting drawn into it. It covers a range of subjects and has all the content warnings you can think of (nothing too graphic as it’s rated TV-14, but still intense), but I like the characters. All the cops have their own problems and it’s interesting to see how they work together, develop friendships and camaraderie, and deal with their own baggage while trying to hunt down ages old killers and criminals. So, thus far, I would RECOMMEND this. Content warnings vary by episode but roughly include (for S1): Death and dead bodies. Hefty violence including gun violence, stabbings, hit-and-runs, and serial killings. Blood and occasional gore. Sexual violence. Child abuse, abandonment, and death. Robberies. Mild language. Some sexual innuendo.
Mindhunter Season 1 (2017) [Netflix]: A crime drama that chronicles the creation and evolution of the FBI’s BAU (Behavioural Analysis Unit) which involves two agents and a psychologist interviewing sexual serial killers. This fits my recent theme of reading and learning about the psychology behind serial killers. It was recommended to me by a friend after I told him I had been reading on the subject matter and it’s very, very good. Extremely difficult to watch due to the content and the criminal interviews (fictionalised for the show, but based on real-life interviews and individuals), but still unbelievably intriguing and contemplative. It’s also very curious to see the evolution of a serial killer and a psychopath so close to home with respect to the characters and their families. So far there are only two seasons with the third season pending for the near future. If you’re into this kind of content and genre, then HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Content warnings vary by episode but roughly include (for S1): Graphic sequences of brutal violence, blood, and body mutilation. Extremely graphic discussions of rape, torture, murder, sexual sadistic impulses, and death. Graphic nudity and sexual content. On-screen portrayals of cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and pot smoking. Suicide ideation. Attempted suicide. Strong language. On-screen strangulation and murder including death of teenagers. Sexist and derogatory references to women and queer people. Intensely depiction of life-threatening panic attack.
Stargate SG-1 Season 7 (2003) [Netflix]: A military sci-fi series about teams of Air Force members who go through an intergalactic gateway to travel between planets and explore the galaxy. While season seven has some good episodes in it, it’s also one of my least favourites due to a very specific character death. I just… it fucking emotionally eviscerates me every time and I hate it. This is also where I tend to go back and restart the series from season one because I don’t really care for the events that occur in the last three seasons. I’ll probably watch my favourite segments from those three and then start over. (I’m never not watching Stargate SG-1; it’s my favourite series, what can I say?) Content warnings vary by episode but generally include: Action-adventure military violence. Mild language. Portrayal of enslaved and oppressed peoples. Torture (non-graphic). Human experimentation. Near drowning. Death and near death of comrades.
That pretty much does it for my June watching thingymabobber. July shall carry on the film-watching mantle, although I also hope to watch some adult animated serials because I’ve been craving some good cartoons (which means you can expect Scooby-Doo stuff for sure). My goal is to try and dive into film reviewing a bit more, so that’s my other goal for the month. Please do keep an eye out for those and bear with me as I try to find my film-reviewing voice.
Until next time, stay hydrated and stay nerdy.