Let's face it: 2016 has been a lousy year for horror films.
Sure, The Forest delivered some cheap thrills, and the latest chapter of The Conjuring was diverting, but there hasn't been a truly scary movie in ages.
Until now. On Thursday night, I was treated to a screening of one of the most bone-chilling new films in recent memory: It was called Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech, and it was absolutely terrifying.
Directed not by an auteur like Wes Craven, but by a craven team of political opportunists, Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech left me frightened and unnerved throughout its 90-minute runtime.
I was alternately shocked, jolted, and disgusted by the outrages unfolding on the screen. Just when you think the horror of Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech has reached its apex—BOOM: It just becomes scarier and scarier.
Filmed in garish Technicolor, the bulk of the film is simply the title character (a jaundiced demagogue with a New York accent and a Mussolini streak) delivering a foreboding speech to a rabid convention hall, howling forth his apocalyptic visions of America.
And boy, are those visions chilling. Trump conjures an America beset by roving gangs of murderous immigrants; sprawling Hoovervilles dotting a devastated landscape; and homegrown terrorist groups targeting police and firefighters with the encouragement of a duplicitous president.
We never actually see any of these visions, of course, and the film strongly implies that these are mere hallucinations.
But God, are those hallucinations—and the idea that they could propel the maniacal title character into political office—chilling, and all too real.
The movie features a relatively small cast: There is the title character, played with a discomfiting mixture of bravado, sweat, and bile; and there is his unwitting sidekick, the cornfed Midwestern Governor Mike Pence, swept away on an apocalyptic journey with promises of political power. (Spoiler: He doesn't last long.)
We briefly meet Trump's eerie, vampiric offspring, whose projections of normalcy hint at subterranean evils, and Chris Christie, a dead-eyed vessel whose every move and thought is controlled by Trump. We also hear about several hapless politicians like Lyin' Ted, Little Marco, and Crazy Ben Carson—all of whom, the film suggests, Trump savagely murdered several months earlier.
And then there is Crooked Hillary, a mythical demoness spirit whose every mention sends the possessed citizens of Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech into irritation and frenzy.
Why does "Crooked Hillary" haunt them so? The film never answers this question. Perhaps there is no answer.
Despite these small inconsistencies, however, it's clear that Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech doesn't end at the climactic balloon drop. The production has been engineered to churn out several years of sequels, should America reward Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech with its box office vote.
Indeed, it is easy to imagine the spine-tingling followups: Donald Trump's Inauguration Day; 2 Donald 2 Furious; Donald Trump 4: Nuclear Fallout Shelter.
Given the themes of Speech, it's also easy to imagine crossover films with franchises like The Purge, or The Hunger Games, or any number of Cormac McCarthy novels.
For this summer, however, Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech is scary enough. It could represent a revival in American horror that we haven't seen since the heyday of Alfred Hitchcock.
Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech isn't playing in theaters. But I guarantee that if you watch it alone in a darkened room, you'll be terrified.
Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech is rated R for ghoulish imagery and disturbing themes. Children under 17 are not advised to watch, though you should probably talk to them about it.