Quick Takes: Scary Stories, Climax, Under the Silver Lake, Lake Mungo

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark may be aimed at teens but it’s still a well-made & effective horror movie. Creepy tales impressively interweave into a cohesive, dark narrative. The strong cast, period nostalgia & Burton-esque atmosphere add to the chilling charm perfect for a Halloween night.

Climax moves you with intense dance then compels you watch helplessly as the frailty of the artistic psyche plummets into darkness. The debauchery & nastiness flip the world upside-down, defying convention, pushing narrative structure to the grueling last act of carnage.

Under the Silver Lake offers a confused mystery wrapped in a cloak of conspiracy doused in skunk spray. This L.A. story is a slow, long slog that intermittently introduces oddly striking visuals & genuine moments of noir inspiration. But absurdity can only go so far. The anachronistic soundtrack & indifferent performances don’t entice much fanfare. This either points to a genius or overly indulgent filmmaker. I can't decide.

Lake Mungo is a faux documentary that explores family trauma and loss, and its wretched repercussions. Highly realistic interviews divulge unexpected twists & turns to a perplexing story. Then either photos or videos supply proof of ghostly phenomena to add to the confusion. It's well-made and absorbing, with effective performances that ground the film. Yet on the fringe just off camera lies a very dark dread that unnoticeably floods the room.