The Pool review

(Welcome to Now Scream This, a column where horror experts Chris Evangelista and Matt Donato tell you what scary, spooky, and spine-tingling movies are streaming and where you can watch them.)

Matt: It’s getting to the point where I don’t know how many times I can reword the same introduction in this space. Viral cases are still on the rise, we should all still be staying home when possible, and horror movies are more enjoyable than ever. How else to reword things? Lock your door, turn out the lights, and yell at characters in scary movies from the safety of your couch because it’ll momentarily fill the void left by social isolation. It’s the “Now Scream This” way.

Chris: Every other week, Matt and I try to come up with a clever theme for Now Scream This. We try to tie the theme into current events, or current releases. But current events these days are just endlessly hopeless, and there aren’t really any current releases to piggy-back off of. So to hell with it, we’re going with a grab bag of titles this week. Please clap. 

Sea Fever

Now Streaming on Hulu

Matt: While Chris and I were busy with themed “Now Scream This” entries, Hulu sneaky-dropped Sea Fever on their service. I’ve had this one in my pocket for a rainy day, one like today. Neasa Hardiman finds a balance between Lovecraftian existentialism and viral contagion horror that’s a more scientific spin on The Thing meets Cabin Fever meets Alien at sea. Do I think it’s better than any of those films? Welp, maybe Cabin Fever now that we’re on the topic? In any case! A stacked cast chases curiosity into unknown depths and pays a deathly price in the name of research. Oh, and there’s some squeamish body horror. Honestly, Sea Fever has it all.

Chris: I’ve been meaning to check this out, but I haven’t, because I’m a giant asshole who deserves to be sent to the electric chair. 

The Pool

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: I think I recommended The Pool when it first hit Midnight Pulp’s streaming service, but I’d venture to guess more of you are familiar with Shudder. In that case, here’s your chance. There’s nothing else to say that I haven’t already covered in my Fantastic Fest review from last year. One man, in a drained Olympic sized swimming pool, trapped with a crocodile, in desperate need of escape. Holy buckets is this film mean to its lead character, dangling a carrot only to tear the tease away time and time and time and time again – but that’s somehow the film’s sadistic charm? Oh yeah, dog lovers beware.

Chris: I was advised against seeing this at Fantastic Fest by people who know I really don’t like to watch movies where dogs die. So I haven’t seen this, and probably never will! 

The Voices

Now Streaming on Tubi

Matt: Remember that movie where Ryan Reynolds channels his untamable charm to play a serial killer who talks to animals? One a cat who instigates serial killing, the other a dog who pushes a path of normalcy? The Voices is one of those oddball genre roles that an actor takes after being typecast, and it works rather well. It doesn’t hurt to have Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick flank as supporting actresses, one with or without their body for most of the film. It’s quirky and murderous and, again, how unthinkably charming is Ryan Reynolds? Watch him play the nice-guy-gone-twisted for once (at the time of release, before his proper Deadpool performance).

Chris: I like the idea of this movie, but there was something about the execution that left me disappointed. 

Warning: Do Not Play

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: The concept of killer media is not new (see: The Ring). What Warning: Do Not Play does is marry the filmmaking process with a soul-sucking piece of media, something that’ll haunt whoever presses “Play.” You’re right to assume characters in Shudder’s “doomed shoot” thriller ignore warnings and find themselves at a cursed narrative’s mercy. What might throw some viewers is a blending of timelines and supernatural freakiness that’s handled with more subtlety in something like Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made. I prefer the former since I think Antrum is all talk and no show where Warning: Do Not Play gives you something to fear.

Chris: I liked this! There’s not much here that you haven’t seen before, but I’m a sucker for cursed movies/books/etc horror, and this delivers that. 

Evil Dead (2013)

Now Streaming on Tubi

Matt: I don’t think Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead has ever hit streaming while I’ve been a part of this column. You know, the superior Evil Dead? Might be an unpopular opinion, but Fede’s “remake” is one of the best horror remakes around by a longshot and one of the past decade’s brightest genre accomplishments. Jane Levy is a gift, Deadites are done proud, and Alvarez has the stylistic wherewithal to create a standalone Evil Dead that doesn’t even need nostalgia to succeed. It’s just good horror. Plain and simple.

Chris: Boy oh boy am I conflicted about this movie. It looks amazing and the gore is phenomenal. But the script is a mess, full of groan-worthy dialogue that makes me want to watch the whole thing on mute. 

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