Spoiler-Free Review of “Head Count” on Shudder: Beware the number Five

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“A Hisji is a vengeful thing. Five times its name you never sing. With skin pale white and eyes of green. It’s something you’ve already seen…”

Head Count premiered on Shudder in February 2021, but the film was originally released back in 2018. The film stars Isaac Jay, Ashleigh Morghan, Bevin Bru, and Cooper Rowe. It is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes long.

After visiting his brother out in Joshua Tree, California, Evan meets a group of friends who invite him over for some seemingly harmless fun, but all goes horribly wrong when they begin telling ghost stories around the fire and one becomes a disturbing reality, as they summon a paranormal presence unknowingly.

Here is the trailer:

Head Count leaves the jump scares behind and focuses more on a slow burn terror that latches on to you with intensity, but does its ambiguity get in the way? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Head Count Spoiler Free Review 1

Images courtesy of Shudder

Unsettling terror.

I think that this film really delivered with its slow burn approach. The pacing still worked and I was invested in what was going on the entire time. I thought that the fear really built up well and maintained suspense without revealing too much too soon.

Head Count Spoiler Free Review 2

Images courtesy of Shudder

Unique mystery.

I’ve seen plenty of films that involve a group of teens summoning an evil spirit by accident, but this film kept me guessing. I enjoyed the focus on numbers and the clues were well placed and chilling on their own.

The Cons:

Head Count Spoiler Free Review 3

Images courtesy of Shudder

Forgettable characters.

There were a few glimmers here and there, but the majority of the characters were just kind of there for the ride. I didn’t really care about what happened to them and I wanted to feel connected to at least a few of them.

I thought that Camille and Evan were the best out of the bunch, but I just wanted some more layers presented to us.

So am I in or out?

Head Count Spoiler Free Review 4

Images courtesy of Shudder

I’m in!

I thought that this movie really stood out and it kept me invested the entire time. The fear felt very real and unsettling. I thought that the ending was satisfying and even though it was left kind of ambiguous, that worked for me. Not everything was explained and I still have a lot of questions, but that means this film effectively created a conversation worth having.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Head Count in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Castle Rock” Season 2 on Hulu: Lizzy Caplan as Annie Wilkes gets this Slow-Burn Horror off to a Chilling Start

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

Just in time for Halloween, Hulu has released the first three episodes of Castle Rock season 2.  I loved season 1 so much and it featured some of the most brilliant episodes on television that I have ever witnessed.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen season 1, episode 7 (The Queen) yet, I highly recommend it.  So that being said, Castle Rock season 2 has a lot to live up to, but I am excited that they are taking the anthology approach, as we get a new story with different characters.

Castle Rock is a psychological horror series on Hulu based on the characters and setting of Stephen King.  There will be 10 episodes for season 2.  Similar to the format with season 1, Hulu has released the first 3 episodes as of October 23rd 2019 and it will continue to run weekly episodes on Wednesdays.  Season 2 stars Lizzy Caplan, Tim Robbins, and Elsie Fisher.  

Season 2 follows a nurse named Annie Wilkes, based on the character of the same name in Misery.  While Castle Rock is not necessarily a prequel, it does bring us familiar elements from both Misery and Salem’s Lot

Annie has a lot of psychological issues and she is on the run with her teenage daughter when she arrives in Castle Rock.  Annie mostly keeps to herself, but when she goes through withdrawal from her medication, her hallucinations start to become all too real, as she finds herself doing some very bad things. 

The plot and characters certainly have a lot of potential, but will season 2 be able to hold its own?  Let’s find out!

The Pros:

Castle Rock season 2 1
Images courtesy of Hulu

Lizzy Caplan is beyond captivating as Annie Wilkes.  

Her performance will chill you to your core, disturbing you in just the right way.  Caplan absolutely nails the role and is the best part of the show so far.  She immerses herself completely in this role, bringing you wild eye stares and horrifying reactions that are so real and terrifying.

The perfect dose of psychological horror.

I love that this show brings you along for the ride, unfolding the mystery with its audience.  While a lot of the scares are psychological, there are some edge of your seat moments that remind us just how deadly an unhinged paranoid person can be.

I think it also works to the show’s advantage not following a specific plot from Stephen King, allowing familiar characters and settings to take on a life of their own, which makes this show unique and original.

The Cons:

Castle Rock season 2 2
Images courtesy of Hulu

A lot of setup.

There are a lot of elements to digest after watching the first three episodes of season 2.  You may find yourself slightly overwhelmed by this, but I had the same issue with season 1 and it ended up paying off, as other elements were revealed later on.

Slow moving at times.

Each episode is about 50-55 minutes in length and the show does move at a slow pace from time to time.  The show is more of a slow-burn psychological horror, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make it difficult to binge-watch all at once.  You may want to try one episode at a time, but I thought that there were enough things going on to keep your attention.

So am I in or out? 

Castle Rock season 2 3
Images courtesy of Hulu

I am in 100 percent!  Lizzy Caplan’s performance is enough to keep me invested, but I love the intertwining between the two works from Stephen King, while creating a new story that branches off into something completely different. 

After watching the first three episodes, I am excited to continue watching weekly and I think this will actually make the watch that much more entertaining, as bits and pieces of the mystery are presented.  If you haven’t started watching yet, I highly recommend it, especially if you are a Stephen King fan.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Castle Rock in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

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