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The Stepfather [1987] The Stepfather [2009] Stepfather II [1989]
Still/Born [2017] Stir of Echoes [1999] Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming [2007]
Stitches [2012] Storm [2005] Stowaway [2021]
The Stranger Within [2013] The Strangers [2008] The Strangers 2: Prey at Night [2018]
Stratton [2017] Stray [2019] Street Trash [1987]
Strigoi [2009] The Stuff [1985] Sudden Fear [1952]
Sudden Impact [1983] The Suffering [2016] Suicide Club [2001]
Sukiyaki Western Django [2007] Summer Camp [2015] Summer of 84 [2018]
Sunshine [2007] The Super [2017] Superdeep [2020]
SuperGrid [2018] Survival of the Dead [2009] Survive the Night [2020]
Survivor [2015] The Suspect [2013] Suspiria [2018]
The Sweeney [2012] Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl [2016] Synchronic [2019]

Sudden Fear [1952]

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A famous playwright marries an aspiring actor after a whirlwind romance then discovers he's a conman planning her death. Time for her to do the conning. The shift from love and romance to total shock and anguish is sudden and stark effectively altering the whole tone of the film. Really enjoyed her intricate plan of attack ...shows what you can do when you stay up all night planning your vengeance. The ending was far too convenient for me and this is firmly a 50s film but Joan Crawford, Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame were stellar. Nice thriller!

Sudden Impact [1983]


Harry goes to Santa Cruz (called San Paulo in the film) to investigate men being killed via a shot to the gonads. I'll preface by saying I liked this film just fine but, boy, it has issues. A sub plot and a character that were ultimately ignored, bringing in and killing another unnecessary character to perpetuate the "everyone Harry knows, dies" angle is getting old, it was too long, and the villains were just obnoxious caricatures. Nostalgic for me as I used to live in the La Bahia apts used as the hotel in Santa Cruz and the Boardwalk was my playground. That was fun!

Stowaway [2021]


A tech was left onboard a Mars mission and now there isn't enough oxygen. Spoiler alert! This was an extremely compelling drama and great acting with a scientific realism that had me impressed ...then the last half hour showed up. Suddenly, all common scientific sense was thrown out the window. NASA only provided belay devices to climb the cables? and no safety tethers? and then they abandon what they're doing with only a few seconds left? Despite all the drama, the ending simply said, "We just wasted 2 hours of your time, ha ha" ...and it was going so well.

Survivor [2015]

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The head of a security division in London finds both the authorities and an assassin after her while she attempts to prevent a terrorist bombing. Pretty standard action thriller with a lot of excitement flying along at a breakneck pace but managing to do so without losing the viewer. Acting was fine with Milla Jojovich doing well as an everywoman (rare for her) well out of her depth and Pierce Brosnan as the cold assassin doing what he does best. Maintains a high level of tension and thrills making it a fun ride well worth a hot dog and a box of bon bons.

Synchronic [2019]

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A paramedic begins looking into a designer drug that seems to be responsible for a string of bizarre deaths. What he finds is far stranger then he thought. The premise is awesome but totally wasted in this film. The characters didn't behave properly; the cops were morons, we spent an inordinate amount of time talking about personal problems, which really didn't amount to anything heading into an overly melodramatic ending. So, nothing really rang true and with a vehicle to let the imagination to run wild, they declined the trip. As a result, flat with little energy.

Superdeep [2020]

aka Kolskaya sverhglubokaya

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An epidemiologist and a small crew travel down into the world's deepest bore hole to investigate a potential disease. This low-budget affair out of Russia (but in English) mixes elements of The Thing and Annihilation to present a series of events that had me hooked throughout it's 2 hr run time despite amateur direction, lame acting and cheesy and immature dialog. Pacing was out of whack, as well ...the 20+ min climax took me from suspense to 'let's get this over with'. Excellent makeup. I'd like to see this produced as a major film. As it is, opportunity wasted.

SuperGrid [2018]

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In the plague-ridden world of the future, two brothers must travel through hostile country to retrieve an unknown package. This is a prime example of ambitions far exceeding a budget with an attempt to make a Road Warrior style film that's little more than a couple guys driving around in a truck. Even with the budget, though, they could have really improved things with some imagination. As it is, it's just lifeless; the shootouts are lame, the emotions are canned... even the dialog is void of personality or wit. I never wanted to turn it off, though. There's that, I guess.

Stir of Echoes [1999]

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Based on a Richard Matheson story, it's one I just got around to seeing. After being hypnotized, an average Joe begins to have haunting visions and becomes obsessed with finding the answers. Acting is extremely well done all around, writing is excellent and the pacing is perfect with tension and chaos in all the right places. It is predictable - I figured out what was happening pretty quickly - and there was a subplot that provided an explanation as to why this was happening but that info is never utilized. Seemed unnecessary. Good film, though.

Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming [2007]

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After a soldier accidentally kills a family in the Middle East, he comes home and begins seeing ghosts. I liked this film more than I thought I would. It's mostly just one haunting after another, with each becoming more threatening as time goes on, but they were effective, and the reveal provided a bit of a twist. It had it's faults and the ending really didn't work for me but everyone did a good job of behaving like real people, especially Rob Lowe as the tortured, guilt ridden protagonist. Nothing particularly original but it kept me interested and entertained.

Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl [2016]


A young, naive woman, forced to take care of her agoraphobic aunt, begins traveling down a psychological spiral as she longs for individual freedom. Well acted, exquisitely photographed, and quite authentically placed in the late 70s (although I have no idea why), this film is incredibly slow and long-winded ...even at only 76 mins. It is a well made film and some will be able to appreciate it for what it is. As for me, I spent the entire time anxiously awaiting a climax that left me with a great big, "What does that mean? I don't get it". Art and drama buffs only.

Summer of 84 [2018]

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Teenagers doing some Hardy Boys snooping when one of them is convinced the neighboring cop is a serial killer. The characters were portrayed well making them very likable compelling one to want to tag along on this hunt for the truth. However, the mystery was dragged out far too long with the first hour going from suspense to annoyance to frustration before things finally got going. Then, contrary to the tone of the film up till now, it got really dark and rather depressing. Good but I expected more tension and an upbeat ending ...not the opposite.

Survive the Night [2020]


Basically a home invasion film about two brothers on-the-run - one psychotic one minute and overcome with grief the next - force their way into a doctor's house to mend a bullet wound. About as cliche as you can get, there's absolutely nothing original here. Cookie cutter characters with no real personality, a contrived back story that doesn't serve any meaningful purpose as well as a daughter (played by a terrible actress) who doesn't even need to be there. No real tension, suspense or excitement to be found. Just a story that plays out exactly as you'd expect.

Still/Born [2017]


A couple deals with the tragic loss of a twin that was still born. The mother begins to believe there's a demonic entity trying to take the other twin. Initially, I didn't really like the main characters much so those subtle moments of spookiness weren't really doing much for me. But, along the way, things slowly begin to shift into that gray area somewhere between monsters and madness and grew to an intensity that I did not expect. I thought the ending was perfect ..although it will tick some people off. Properly done slow burn and an overall good film.

The Stepfather [1987]

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A stepfather has a pathological need to have the perfect American family. When it doesn't work out, he slaughters them and tries somewhere else. Exquisitely writting by Donald E. Westlake, if you haven't taken the time to catch one of the best subtle psychological thrillers of the 80's, you've missed out. Terry O'Quinn is masterful at switching between the perfect family man and a complete psycho. The pacing is perfect as the movie slowly builds with an uneasy tension from what appears to be the perfect family to a brutal and shocking finale.

The Super [2017]

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An ex-cop, now straddled with taking care of two daughters due to the death of his wife, takes a job as a super in a major hotel just as guests are mysteriously disappearing. The characters in this film really don't have much charisma. As such, it's awfully hard to generate any concern or empathy. That, and a complete lack of any humor in the film, makes the whole thing rather dark and lifeless. Its saving grace is a great twist that really got things going ...although in retrospect, I probably should have seen it coming. Generally entertaining but nothing special.

The Sweeney [2012]

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An elite police unit, The Flying Squad, aka, The Sweeney, battles master thieves in London while trying to keep the squad from being shut down by Internal Affairs for their procedures. The characters are awesome, the dialogue is crisp in both the dramatic moments and general banter, the action is well constructed and tense. My only gripes are a lack of attention paid to unimportant members of the squad making them nothing more than warm bodies. Also, things get wrapped up far too clean and neat but still a good shoot 'em up.

The Stepfather [2009]


A man dreams of the perfect family ...and kills the ones that don't work out. This re-boot of the original 1987 version wasn't really necessary. It's not a bad film in its own right but attempting to upstage Terry O'Quinn in the original is too tall an order to accomplish. That aside, this one had some good, tense moments but overall, it felt like a TV movie and there was far too much attention paid to people not wanting to believe he may be a bad guy when someone suspects something. This stubbornness got unrealistically ridiculous.

The Strangers [2008]


A couple in a secluded ranch home are terrorized by strangers for no apparent reason. The story is that simple. However... many movies used the term terror quite loosely in titles, trailers, and ads but there's very few movies that truly terrorize. This is one of them. The slow pace, rather than bore the viewer, builds a tension of unease that continually increases to horrific levels making the entire film an uncomfortable view even for the veteran horror buff. This is really heady stuff. Looking forward to the sequel.

Sukiyaki Western Django [2007]

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The film centers around 2 clans' uneasy relationship in their control of a town and a stranger who comes in to stir things up. This is basically a spaghetti western in Japanese that is quite exaggerated almost to the point of parody ...sort of a cross between Sergio Leone films and Kill Bill (in fact, Quentin Tarantino has a small role in this). Having the Japanese actors speak English, when it's obviously not what they're used to, makes the dialogue pleasantly lyrical. Great action and shootouts. Extremely enjoyable.

The Strangers 2: Prey at Night [2018]


Doll face, Pin-up Girl and the Scarecrow are back to terrorize some more folks "because they are home". First, I'll say I really liked the movie but there's a lot I'm forgiving to get there. It didn't have the insidious tension of the first film, the "let's present and establish the dysfunctional family" setup took a bit too long, I didn't like the girl, and the last half of the film began to enter the realm of silly with an absolute final scene that I'd rather forget. Strangely, despite all that, I was thoroughly entertained ...probably because I like the villains so much.

Stray [2019]

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Reminiscent of Scanners, this film features a young girl, with a ancient power, whose family is being killed by someone with similar powers. Following the trend, the supernatural elements of the film are, once again, the backdrop for a character study ...mostly about a police detective, who's just returned to the force after trauma, and the complicated relationship she has with her ex-husband / boss. It's slow but the characters are likable, personable and kept me interested. I felt too much time was spent on somewhat irrelevant stuff, but overall, I liked it.

Suspiria [2018]


An American girl gains entry into an extremely exclusive dance school in 1977. But perhaps its far more than a school and what is it hiding in its hidden corridors? You have to work pretty hard to figure this out. With a length of 2 1/2 hours, I was impressed that it kept me engaged enough to where it seemed much shorter and I did like the unique style and look of it. I felt the photography of the ritual was terrible, though; dark red, flashing with the cameras over-cranked ...I may have liked it if it wasn't so nauseating. More clarification would have been nice, as well.

Survival of the Dead [2009]

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Romero's last "Dead" film, before passing away, once again involves completely different settings and scenarios and totally unique characters. This one takes place on an island inhabited by two rival clans ...think Hatfield and McCoy. Throw in some renegade national guardsmen and a few zombies and you have a party. Certainly weakest of the entries in the series but if you just take it for what it is, it's still good Romero zombie fun. We miss you, George ...although his wife has plans. Perhaps the Romero zombie carnage isn't over yet!

The Stranger Within [2013]

aka The Stranger Inside

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After being abducted by a madman for a few days, an actress and her psychologist husband go on a vacation to sort things out. Then a girl shows up and causes problems. This movie was about as contrived and cliche as you can possibly get. All movies are scripted but the trick is to not make it feel that way. In this, every scene was done exactly right and placed in just its proper place making the whole thing terribly unrealistic. And the ending was a complete and total non-surprise. I've seen this story before ...and so much better.

Stepfather II [1989]

SPOILER WARNING: the trailer is literally the whole movie, including climax, in 2 mins.

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After surviving his wounds, our Stepfather is committed to an asylum which he soon escapes and is now trying to establish a new family ...and deals harshly with those who interfere. If you liked the first film, you should like this one. It doesn't have the same level of intensity or uneasiness, the story is simpler and focused directly on the principals involved, and Terry O'Quinn doesn't have the quality of material he had before but still manages to make a convincing sociopathic nice guy. Make room for daddy!

The Suspect [2013]

aka Yong-eui-ja

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An ex N. Korean special ops mercenary, now a defector into S. Korea and driver for a high-ranking politico, is framed for murder. Let the chase begin. Way too long but certainly not for being slow. Too many characters, plot points, back story, interrupted by extremely long action sequences, with very few exceptional moments, all delivered at a break neck pace by folks who can't hold a camera still and editors with chainsaws. It felt like someone running around my house, frantically screaming, and waving their hands in the air. Geez, guys... relax!

The Stuff [1985]

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A primordial ooze makes its way to the earth's surface and it's delicious! However, the new treat that's taking consumers by a storm is also controlling their minds. Any film with a very unique albeit goofy premise such as this should be an absolute riot. Unfortunately, they figured the premise alone would make up for boring characters, bland storytelling, humorless writing (nary a joke to be found in the entire film) and deplorable editing. What a complete waste of a great idea.

Strigoi [2009]

aka The Undead

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Good God, this was torturous. Romanian village kills a man and his wife and buries them. The couple comes back and, while he messes with various people in the village, she does nothing but eat. Sounds like it'd be humorous ...but it's not. Excruciatingly slow, making no sense, with uninteresting and unlikeable characters, no humor, action or dramatic moments. There's obviously folks out there who can appreciate this film but as for me? I just don't get it.

Stitches [2012]

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Six years after a clown is accidentally killed at a kid's birthday party as the result of a prank by the kids, the clown comes back for revenge. This Irish, very tongue-in-cheek, gore, comedy is humorous and rather entertaining. Several outrageous gags; some of them worked very well (especially the umbrella gag) but most just missed the spot and came off as silly and over indulgent. And the constant use of puns really started to irritate me ...I love a good pun but seriously? Everyone did a good job though and it certainly didn't bore me.

The Suffering [2016]

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A appraiser finds himself stuck on an estate with a strange owner, a creepy house maid, and what appears to be a number of transients and bodies around the property. The premise and the magnetism of the protagonist compelled me to stick around despite this being an extremely slow burn. I wish I'd left, though. The second half had one silly and bizarre occurrence after another with no context and ultimately, the ending was predictable, long-winded, poorly executed and certainly not worth the time invested. For the viewer, the title says it all.

Summer Camp [2015]

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Four American counselors are setting up a summer camp in Spain when they inexplicably become psychotic killers. (heavy sigh) Ok... The agent that inflicts them and how it works is very good and quite unique. That alone had a huge potential to make a great movie. However, once again, the filmmakers decided to make all the principals morons. By the time the first one was inflicted, I was so frustrated in their behavior, I didn't care what happened to them. And it never improved. What a waste of a good idea.

Stratton [2017]

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A terrorist plans to launch an airborne weapon using drones and must be stopped by Sergeant Stratton and the British Special Boat Service. Exactly what you'd expect for an action oriented film of this type. This film adds nothing new or original to the genre but it moves at a very quick pace and kept my attention. The characters were likable, albeit somewhat shallow and non-engrossing. Pretty much your basic shoot 'em up that was fun and entertaining as long as you don't expect too much from it.

Suicide Club [2001]

aka Jisatsu sakuru


Japan is suffering an epidemic of suicides for unknown reasons and someone is presenting the death count on a website before they happen. It's almost like the movie was made backwards with the opening of 54 school students leaping in front of a train as its most auspicious moment. The longer it went, the more surreal and disjointed it became with a lot of philosophy and symbolism that wasn't making any sense to me ...perhaps lost in translation? Then it just fizzled out leaving me scratching my head.

Sunshine [2007]


The sun is dying and the Icarus II is sent with a massive bomb to kick it back on 7 years after an apparent failure of Icarus I to do the same. This sounds like one of those totally implausible scenarios used to create a spec fx heavy adventure without any real science to back it up. But this film took great care to make it scientifically plausible and the human drama was as fantastic as the story. This is really good, hardcore sci fi and my only gripe is much of the action was blurry and shaky and was making me nauseous.

Street Trash [1987]

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Oh, boy! A liquor store owner discovers a crate of Viper, 60 year old booze, hidden in storage so he sells it for a buck a bottle and anyone who drinks it, melts! Those moments in the film concerning that premise (surprisingly few) were humorous in there absurdity and gory multi-colored presentation. In between, these moments, we had overly obnoxious, disgusting, gross and profane behavior, including playing catch with a penis, sex with a dead woman, intentionally peeing and vomiting on people, all in the name of humor?? I spent most of the time grimacing.

Storm [2005]


A Swedish film about ...well ...I don't know, really. Something to do with comic characters come to life and a cube. They drag some guy into the situation who's supposed to find out what's in this all-so-important cube and basically lives through a version of A Christmas Carol re-discovering some ugly moments in his past. When the cube is opened, it was like, "Really? That's it? I don't get it." With no explanation, this film is a pointless mish mash of story lines with one story line left completely unresolved. Bizarre!

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