The Cry (2007)

Can it be an Urban Legend if it started in 1500 AD?

Can it be an Urban Legend if it started in 1500 AD?

20 Horror Movies for $7.50 — Part XVI.  

Title Card:  La Llorona is based on a Mexican legend of a woman who drowned her kids in the river after her husband left her for a younger woman [1].

You lost me at the title sequence.  First we get the preceding on-screen explanation which is generally not necessary in a good movie.  It is followed my by a montage of poorly composed pictures and cacophonous music.  However, it is quite brief, so I was relieved to quickly see an opening shot labelled as Mexico circa 1500 AD; although it really had a 1510 AD vibe to it.

We a hear a titular cry as a young child is — I’m guessing here — drowned. Unfortunately, due to more godawful camera work behind the credits, I couldn’t say for sure.  In the pre-title sequence there are even a couple of shots of kids swimming away — why would those shots have been chosen for a film whose entire premise is based on kids being drowned?  Again, it is mercifully quick; for both us and hopefully the child.

thecry02The next scene is showing the presumably present day (2007 AD) New York skyline.   We can, at least, be confident in saying it is later than 2001 AD.  After an interminable flyover of Manhattan, we end up in an apartment where a woman is frantically making charcoal drawings, the latest of a boy with a red ball. Minutes later, the boy with the red ball is attacked by something with bad eyesight in the park.

This is the 9th kid that has gone missing in the last 3 weeks in Spanish Harlem.  But this was a white kid, so things get serious.


Trivia: All evil entities have poor eyesight.

The wooden Detective Scott is listening to the radio about the case, but turns it off — because why would a detective be interested in hearing about the cases?

Distracted, he nearly hits the artist-woman pushing her kid in a stroller across a cross-walk.  After the fright, the woman stops — in the middle of the crosswalk — to give her kid a hit off his inhaler.  So neither of these two lead characters are particularly likable or smart, but at least one of them does look hot in a wife-beater.  For some reason — possibly lack of talent — the detective just stares her down as she does this.  No apology, no remorse, just a dead-eye stare.

thecry04A woman jogging in the park hears some ominous whispers and her eyes get all red.  She goes home to her 9-month old baby and hears more whispers.  She calmly turns on the bath, carries the baby off-screen and drowns it.  To her credit, she does go straight to the police and confesses.

Perez and Scott go to a fortune teller to get the scoop on La Llorona.  Her extensive answers in Spanish with no subtitles do not help the film. We do learn that La Llorona is now stalking New York because the artist’s son is the reincarnation of of he child La Llorona drowned.  Finally, we get a little meat to the movie.

The artist has asked to see Detective Scott at the park.  Meanwhile, La Llorona is on quite a spree in the park.  She kills Scott’s partner.  We get a blurry POV of him pointing a gun and firing at this . . . what, ghost?  This clod could be chief security officer on the USS Enterprise 1701-D.  Then she kills off a couple of yahoos who try to help Maria and her son.

We finally learn through flashbacks that Scott was a stockbroker whose son was drowned by his ex-wife (grounds for the divorce are not mentioned).  So apparently, Scott quit stockbroking, went to the police academy, made detective, and was lucky enough to be assigned to the unit that would get this case.  La LLorona had been on a bloody rampage lately, but where was she during the 10 years it must have taken Scott to make this career change?

Literally the creepiest shot and best performance in the movie.

The artist loses track of her child after Scott insists at gunpoint that she put him down. She finds later him in the lake, but drops him as her eyes go all red.  Scott saves the boy, but the artist for some reason jams two branches into her eye sockets, leaving bloody holes.

How did the kid survive underwater?  Why did his mother blind herself?  Is La Llorona still out there?  Why did she kill the other kids if they weren’t the reincarnation of her son?  We’ll never know, but at 83 minutes, I think we’ve put enough time into the investigation.

Just really a nothing of a movie with some terrible performances and camerawork  There was the germ of a good idea in the screenplay, but it was squandered with dull characters, coincidences and unanswered questions.


  • [1] In the legend, the ghost of La LLorona searches the earth killing other children to take the place of her own when she is judged at the Pearly Gates.  Wouldn’t she get more satisfaction killing off married men who cheat with younger women?  Does she not have access to the Ashley Madison list?
  • It is interesting that the movie ties its theme into real cases like Andrea Yates and Susan Smith.  It would have been more acceptable in a better movie — here it just seems exploitative.
  • I would never have guessed that Detective Scott played Dexter’s brother.  So he can act; he just chose not to do so here.
  • Carlos Leon knocked up Madonna.

Midnight’s Child (1992)

midnightschild0020 Horror Movies for $7.50 — Part XV of XX.

A title card tells us we are starting off in Stockholm Sweden so hopes are high with visions of nurses, stewardesses and — that being a free country, bikini teams — dancing in my head. Nope, nuns.  Well that was a buzz-kill.

While schoolgirl Anna is lured to the science lab on the last day of school, another girl goes through her luggage, passport, plane tickets, and au pair contract.  OK, OK, au pair . . . this thing is salvageable.  Anna gets to the dark lab and is clobbered by a pestle[1] the size of a bowling pin — WTF were they mashing up in there?  Cut to a well manicure hand turning on the gas in the lab (which has more jets than United), a body strolling past a lit candle, leaving the school, and KABOOM.

midnightschild02Back in the USA, hot business woman Kate (a Linda Hamilton doppelganger) comes home to a house that is messier than my condo, like they just moved in.  That day.

Stay-at-home dad Bob makes dinner for her and their 8 year old daughter Christina played by 10 year old Elizabeth Moss and looking exactly like she does in Mad Men.  Somehow Bob has managed to burn dinner in  a microwave with a freakin’ timer, so they order enough Chinese food for Peking. On the bright side, maybe they don’t have a gas stove.

midnightschild03That night, just as Bob and Kate are about to have the sex, faux-Anna (hereafter known as Anna) knocks on the door.  Despite her first day being a disaster, she stays on at the house.

Meanwhile, back in Stockholm, Kirsten’s (the faux Anna’s) father is suspicious why her personal things are gone from her room.  Personally, I am suspicious why the enormous conflagration did not seem to do any damage to the school.

Other than the inevitable 1) au pair very mildly flirting with the father scene, and 2) mother feeling replaced and threatened scene, not much happens in the middle section, yet I was never bored. The cast was good in their roles, even though I didn’t recall seeing most of them (as adults, anyway).

midnightschild08So Anna took Christina to a theme park 2 days before Kate had promised to take her.  So Nick and Anna went shopping for Christina’s birthday presents without Kate because she was working.  Nothing radical ever really happened, but that’s all it took to get to the two lines that ignited the 3rd act:  Kate:  “I want that woman out of my house. Now.  Today.”  Nick: “What do we tell Christina?  That Anna had to go away because mommy couldn’t stand the competition?”  Oh no you d’int!

Act III:  Kate storms into the house and into her bedroom, slamming the door.  She midnightschild09immediately gets a call from Dr. Loomis — er, I mean “Anna’s” father. Since his character gets no name on IMDb, let’s just go with Loomis.  He tells Kate that “Anna” is really his daughter Kirsten and , “She is EVIL!”  Wow, he IS Dr. Loomis.  “And that she will do anything to get what she wants . . . your child.”  Christina has been chosen by Anna to make a bond with the devil.

They agree on a meeting place and hang up, but Anna has been eavesdropping on the kitchen phone.  Oddly, Kate has been talking on a black phone, and EVIL Anna has been listening in on a white phone.  Seems like . . . well, I ain’t no director.  Kate tears through the house looking for Christina, but she and “Anna” have fled and are hiding in the woods.

midnightschild13Rather than call the police, Kate goes through “Anna’s” room and finds 2 passports and a t-shirt from the Rhode Island School of Design.  She breaks into Nick’s studio and finds a Gieger-esque painting of the family and “Anna”.  She runs to Christina’s bedroom to find her coloring — so what was the point of hiding in the woods.  As Kate drags Christina screaming out of the house, she is stopped by Anna who has enlisted Nick and, for some reason, the landscaper to stop her.

Kate, again forgoing the police, goes to see Loomis at an abandoned building scarier than “Anna”.  There is the usual EVIL rigamarole, a pact with the devil, wedding a child bride, a pendant, a book.  On the other hand, Satan waits until the child’s 21st birthday to bear him a child.  So either devil-babies have remarkably long gestation periods, or Satan does have some boundaries.

midnightschild14The landscaper finally has a purpose as he kills Loomis in the classic “always run in a straight line when a car or spaceship is bearing down on you” strategy.  Finally Kate calls the police — no, wait, she drives home,  The wedding ceremony has already begun with Nick creepily giving away the bride and putting the pendant on her.  In a struggle, fire spreads throughout the orchard as “Anna” escapes with Christina into the burning house — another brilliant strategy.

Caught between “Anna” and her mother, Christina does the right thing and tosses the book into the fire.  “Anna” tries to retrieve it, but is killed as the roof collapses — a trick Satan usually saves for snowy church roofs.

midnightschild15Despite a firey load-bearing member[2] collapsing on top of her, “Anna” escapes without so much as a singe as she is seen hitchhiking.  Looking like she does, she easily gets a ride — and what luck, a nice couple with a daughter.

There is absolutely nothing remarkable or fresh about this movie, but somehow I found myself kind of liking it.  Maybe it was little Elizabeth Moss looking crazily like grown Elizabeth Moss, maybe it was grown Marcy Walker (Kate) looking like grown Linda Hamilton, maybe it was Olivia D’Abo just looking awesome, maybe after a rough week, I just needed a big fat comfortable chair of a movie.

Would I ever recommend it to anyone?  Never.  Will I ever watch it again?  Never.  Yet, somehow I didn’t feel like it was a waste of time.

midnightschild06However, the poster is God-awful.


  •  [1] Finally, I know which part is the mortar and which part is the pestle.  It’s been keeping me up nights.
  • [2] Coincidentally, the same thing Satan had for Christina in a few years..
  • Executive Producer:  Victoria Principal, who in 1992 should have been in front of the camera.
  • The director went on to do several episodes of Breaking Bad, winning an Emmy for one.
  • Does anyone eat Chinese food at home with chopsticks?  Even the Chinese?  Use a fork, ya hipster doofus!
  • Was the Rhode Island School of Design t-shirt a joke?  That was the alma mater of David Byrne, maybe best known for Psycho Killer.
  • The plural of au pair is aux pairs.

Ominous (2009)

ominous1120 Movies for $7.50 — Part XIV of XX

A pretty nice car pulls up in front of a not so nice run-down house.  A man steps out and says, “I can’t believe somebody bought this piece of shit.”  He goes in, but is quickly scared out by ghostly breathing and murmurs.

Six months later.

Calling from  his office, the hyper-tanned Mitch interrupts a very pleasant viewing experience (see below) as Sara cleans up some spilled milk.  He informs his wife Sara that the family is taking a trip to her family’s old cabin which he purchased.  The lack of emotion, and really any sign of life, he exhibits in this call, is stunning.  He is a non-entity.

The reaction of Sara is strange also.  We have just seen the cabin a few seconds earlier.  The realtor is correct, it is a “piece of shit.”  Seen in the prologue, it is filthy and does not even seem to still have walls separating the rooms — God knows what’s holding the roof up.  Why isn’t her response, “Are you f***ing crazy?”

Clearly Mitch is successful, he has a beautiful wife with big boobs, his cute young secretary is flirting with him while he talks to his wife, he either owns a tanning bed or has lots of free time to lay out by the pool, and he just bought a cabin in the woods.  Yet, I reiterate, he is a dull, dull zero.  I just hope this is laying the groundwork for him to ominous02eventually go ape-shit with an axe as the movie progresses.

They pull up to site of the house formerly known as “piece of shit.”  Mitch has had the original house torn down and built a large luxurious cabin in its place.

The movie is so inept that it is not clear when Sara learns that he has had this palace built.  He only told her on the phone that he bought the property, but when they get there she says it looks nothing like the pictures, so she is aware of the new structure.  Like her husband, she shows almost no interest or emotion.

Their teenage son Scott has no interest in the house and takes off for a walk in the woods.  Being a teenager, this is at least in character for him.  He too senses someone else and hears murmurs and laughter.  He then becomes very interested in the house — interested in running his ass inside of it to hide.

We discover that Mitch had an affair and his wife and older son’s still hold a huge grudge against him.  Sara says she wishes there was some way she could thank him for the house, clearly implying he ain’t gonna get any — he looks like he spends more time in a tanning bed than regular bed anyway.

ominous05That night, they get a little mileage out of a kid scurrying by just out of Sara’s sight, and other creepy kids being revealed as a character move to the side.  I’m usually a sucker for this kind of thing, but this is going nowhere. There are several, and I mean multiple scenes of the creepy kids near or seen by the daughter Christina, but nothing ever happens.  They are not threatening, the are just there.  After a while you can get used to anything; even a creepy zombie kid just standing around.

The filmmakers also make far too extensive use of screeching violins.  Everyone can agree the the shrieking strings in the Psycho shower scene were great. Imagine them going on for several minutes and you’ll get how grating this noise is.

The next day, Mitch has to go back home for the day — something about trouble at the office or a missed tanning appointment, I forget.  OK, now things are really going to take off.  Well we do get a flashback of Sara’s abusive mother, but it’s too little too late at this point.

ominous07There is some occasional interesting camera work, the creepy kids are explained, and the interaction between the live kids (not involving the parents) often rang true. Otherwise there is nothing to be said for this one.  What a waste of a good title.


  • No, Sean Patrick Flaherty is in this.
  • Available on Amazon Prime, but why would ya?

Bleeding Rose (2007)

bleedingrose0120 Horror Movies for $7.50 — Part XIII of XX.

A woman awakens from a nightmare at 3:25, no 3:26.  I feel sorry for directors — they want to establish the time, but there’s not much you can do with a digital clock, so they always have the same hackneyed shot of the minute clicking over.  And that’s all we get before the title. Not exactly setting us up for a thrillride.

Cedric the aspiring entertainer is on his bike in New York City looking for a vocalist for his band.  Apparently auditions are passé, and such career opportunities are now offered to random strangers.  He is talking to one candidate on the sidewalk, but she turns out to be a poet — so close!  Ebony, the woman with the nightmare, sees her old friend Cedric, so he offers her the job.

They go out the next night Cedric finds out she had been dating a white guy.  His racist response, “I don’t know why you’re frontin’, dating all these vanilla guys.  You know you need a brother in your life.”  He further sweet talks her by accusing her white boyfriend of having a small dick and stating that “You know brothers is the ones with the anacondas.”  Off to the side, we see a leather clad figure crumbling a red rose in his hands.

The next night, Vanilla white guy Alex breaks into her bedroom and begins assaulting her.  She fights him off, and he immediately disappears as her father comes to her rescue, assuring her it must have been a dream.  But could we have had one shot of maybe an open or closed window to give us a clue?

Ebony explains to some vanilla white girl named Candice — roommate, best friend? — while painting each other’s toenails that she dropped Alex when he began to get into sorcery, magic and Gothic spells. Ebony, as a Christian, “is not down with that shit” as they say in church.  Alex calls, but Ebony tells him it’s still over.  That night she has another nightmare about Alex.

Ebony goes to see Cedric whose advances she had blown off earlier that night.  But, damn the timing, he is getting blown off again by his old girlfriend Dee — and the good way.

bleedingrose05That night Candice has a scary but non-eventful wait for the subway.  At home, Candice erases two messages without listening to them, I guess assuming they are from someone who had harassed her cell phone earlier.  She pours a class of wine and sees a man down on the street doing something, but it is impossible to see what she finds so menacing about him.

She runs for her landline but gets a “the number you have reached is not in service at this time” recording, so she runs for her cellphone.  Candice mutters something unintelligible, but why does she think her cellphone will get through when her land line will not?  She picks up the cell and it shows a text message “I AM COMING TO KILL YOUR ASS!”

Rather than call, oh say, 9-1-1, Candice begins running down the stairs toward the guy. He has the same idea and begins running up the stairs.  He follows her back to her apartment and she is able to take a baseball bat to him, unfortunately about as effectively as the girls in The Cellar Door.  In the next inning, he begins beating her beside the bath-tub, but she recognizes him and says “You?”  He crumbles a red rose over her dead not-naked body.

Cedric figures it was Alex and says, “I’ll kill his cracker ass!” Fortunately, his friend and business partner Kyle is more level headed.  Kyle then also goes to Ebony to hit on her. Ebony shows him the door also.

Cedric’s girlfriend Dee calls Ebony and threatens to kill her if her man Cedric is there. As she is leaving to kick Ebony’s ass, the leather-clad man is at her door and kills her. Thank God.  Ebonys’ father comes in to see what is upsetting her, but he makes it clear that he had no use for her “cracker” boyfriend either.

And then some other stuff happens.  Finally, Alex possesses the body of Cedric.  He explains how he killed everyone, and emerges in the form of Alex; with a pentagram carved in his forehead.  Somehow Ebony sends Alex back to hell.

She and racist, cheating Cedric head out for LA, because he’s such a catch.  The detective walks out of the room and says , “I’m going to have a hard time explaining this.”  You and me both.






This seemed like a borderline racist white guy’s idea of making a black indie movie. Other than Ebony, there were really no black characters to root for.  Cedric is an asshole, cheating on his girlfriend, Kyle is a good guy, but then you are lead to believe that he is the murderer.  Both are assigned the character of “aspiring rap artists” which shows up in a lot of crime reports.  Dee is just a caricature of a loud-mouth obnoxious black woman.  Even Ebony’s father seems like a nice guy until he starts calling her boyfriend a cracker.

On the other hand, the voices of authority and reasonableness are Ebony’s white friend Candice and the white detectives. These just seem like strange choices from a black writer / director. The ultimate bad guy — the murderer — is white, however.  So props for that, yo.


  • I had never seen any of these actors, except Ebony’s father in other shows.
  • The roses were not emphasized or explained enough to warrant the title.

No One Could Protect Her (1996)

noonecould0020 Horror Movies for $7.50 — Part XII of XX. Now there’s a Lifetime title if ever I saw one.

A teenage girl is delivering papers, being followed inconspicuously by a 20 year old land yacht the size of a sea yacht.  Jessica (Joanna Kerns) and the geezer across the street pick up their well-targeted soon-to-be obsolete dead-tree papers.

Shorty thereafter, the girl’s bike is found wrecked with black and white and red all over.  Formerly married detectives Beth Jordan and Greg Coming are on the case, keenly observing, “It doesn’t look like this was done by a friend.”  Greg further miraculously deduces with Holmesian implausibility that the girl was taken to the river.

He turns out to be correct as her body is quickly found.  Immediately after Beth says they need twice as many men to cover the area, Greg finds the girl 10 feet from him. The coroner determines that she has been stabbed, strangled and raped.  Also probably not the work of a friend.

For the 3rd time, we cut to Jessica and her co-worker husband Dan at the office, but so little happens that it is hardly worth noting.  After starting a new company 5 years ago, they finally take a vacation.  Just before leaving, they get the news that their newspaper girl has been murdered in their neighborhood, so at least they won’t have to cancel delivery.  Now if someone could just knock off the postman.  Bye, bon voyage!

Window Break-In # 1

After some fly-fishing (sadly not a metaphor), Dan is cooking their catch over a fire when we get the TV-movie version of a seduction — Jessica’s silhouette stripping in a suspiciously back-lit tent,  wrapping herself in a towel and inviting Dan in — he and dinner are both f***ed.

When they return home, they think Jessica’s sister left the door unlocked.  But Carol did lock the door — someone broke in through a very insecure window and creepily laid out a lot of Jessica’s clothes and rifled through her drawers; and her drawers.  Gallantly, the next night Dan goes away on a business trip.


Window Break-In # 2

Jessica hears a door open and assumes Dan is home early.  But it turns out to be the guy who likes newspaper girls, who has broken through that same window a 2nd time. He also seems to like older women as he pulls a knife on Jessica.  She manages to get away, but only as far as the front lawn, screaming for help. The geezer across the street, thinking some kids might be on his lawn, comes out and scares the assailant off — but not before he inflicts some damage.

Her husband graciously comes home early.  When the doctor suggests a rape test be done, her husband, of course, knowing better than his wife or the doctor, says it won’t be necessary.  She says it is probably a good idea.  Dan turns into a real distant, unsupportive asshole after his wife has been raped, but he does at least spring for an expensive home security system.  So she’s safe now.


Window Break-In # 3

The day after telling the police how to do their job, Dan goes in to work.  As Dan pulls away from the curb of their house — not apartment, condo, duplex or high-rise, but their single unit house — the rapist’s enormous 20 year old behemoth of a car is highlariously revealed to be have been parked inches behind him.  This would be like Dennis Weaver not noticing there was a truck behind him in Duel.

Within minutes the alarm goes off and it is revealed that the naughty boy has for the 3rd time come through that same damn window that might as well say Rapists Entrance. Here’s a security tip — lock that f***ing window!  It is never broken.  It always seems to have been neatly lifted out of the frame.

I understand Jessica’s theory that the rapist must kill her because she has seen his face, but why does he choose a neighborhood cookout for his next attempt.  I guess he was peeking through the fence and saw he go into her house, so naturally he came in through that same damn window for a 4th time, without having to so much as scratch it.


Window Break-In # 4

He gets away that time, and soon the detective is staking out their house.  While Jessica and Dan have made up and are cuddling upstairs, the detective must decide where to position himself.

Hmmmm, use your detective training, apply that Holmesian steel-trap of a mind, think like a rapist.  Maybe . . . the attic, the basement?  No — wait for him in the kitchen — that’s the ticket!

Yeah, no reason to worry about that same goddamn unsecure window — that he indeed slips in for the fifth time!  He uses that window like Hogan’s Heroes used their tunnel.

Finally (hooray for the 2nd amendment) the guns come out, but it is really a deus ex machina, or serendipitous ending — choose your fancy word.  But it is allegedly based on a true story, so who knows.  But for the love of god, can we at least lock that window?

Joanna Kerns is perfectly fine as Jessica and actually gets better as the movie progresses, but her husband is a complete stiff.  True, he plays an unsympathetic character in the last half of the movie, but I had an immediate dislike, or worse — indifference — to him from the first frame.


Window Break-In # 5

Dan Luria comes off very natural as the detective.  Christina Cox as his partner was very captivating in her 1980’s suits (despite it being 1996).

I wish Joanna Kerns had done a worse job so I could rate this No One Could Direct Her.

She, Dan Luria and Christina Cox make it watchable, but just barely.  And definitely not recommendable.


  • I wasn’t overly impressed with the performances, but I must say Joanna Kerns’ portrayal of being knocked conscious seemed about as realistic as I can imagine. Bravo on that scene — it might initially come off as slightly hammy, but it really seemed true and effective to me.
  • Christina Cox was kind of a young Hillary Swank, but then in 1996, she was a young Christina Cox.  But I did love those suits — kudos to the costumers.  A phrase I’m not sure I’ve ever used.