3 Best Movies To Watch After Annabelle (2014)

The Spool Staff



Local filmmakers, horror & desire are all given the spotlight at the Chicago International Film Festival's shorts program. This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labor of the actors currently on strike, the work being covered here wouldn't exist. The first program of shorts featured at this year's Chicago International Film Festival, titled “City & State,” highlighted local voices with astounding range. Dustin Nakao-Haider’s film Ethan Lim: Cambodian Futures is a poignant and complex film highlighting Chicago chef Ethan Lim and his hope for a different future that moves Cambodian food in revolutionary directions. Director Linh Tran’s Video Funeral grapples with similar issues of loss, (re)connection, and family brought about by diaspora. Like Linh Tran, Ian Kelly’s animated short Soft Lights and Silver Shadows is a tender testament to how art and media can help transcend time, distance, and mortality. Equally fascinated with different domestic dynamics, Tetsuya Mariko intently investigated what makes a family against crumbling infrastructure in his tense Before Anyone Else. Continue Reading →

The Purge: Election Year

SimilarDie Hard 2 (1990), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Godzilla Raids Again (1955), Live Free or Die Hard (2007), Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Superman Returns (2006), Twelve Monkeys (1995), War of the Worlds (2005),
MPAA RatingR
StudioBlumhouse Productions, Universal Pictures

When The Purge film series began, it attempted to create a heightened, ultraviolent version of the future that was both laughably over-the-top and an accurate reflection of the current political climes. They created a dystopia that was vaguely familiar but could still leave you rolling your eyes at its implausibility. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, the concept is as follows: On one night each year, the US government legalizes all crime, including murder, in the hopes of providing an outlet for Americans’ rage. It ultimately leads to an overall decrease in crime and an (ostensibly) utopian society. Continue Reading →

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

SimilarA Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Carrie (1976), Happy Death Day 2U (2019), Ocean's Twelve (2004), The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999),
MPAA RatingR
StudioNew Line Cinema,

Several movies into the Conjuring universe, we’ve mostly separated the real life grifters Ed and Lorraine Warren from the America’s Mom and Dad version of them on screen. If the movies work, it’s because stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga bring warmth and gravitas to them. They sell the hell out of the bullshit their characters are peddling, whereas the real-life Warrens often came off as prickly and defensive in interviews, offended that anyone would dare to question their dubious authority. Wilson and Farmiga can only do so much, however, and it’s not enough to save The Conjuring: the Devil Made Me Do It, a by-the-numbers snooze that trades in haunted house horror for a supernatural police procedural. Continue Reading →