Villainess

The Villainess (Ak-nyeo) (2017)

The Villainess first published by SciFiNow “So melodramatic,” says trained killer Kim-sun (Jo Eun-ji) as two of her colleagues, Sook-hee (Kim Ok-bin) and Min-joo (Son Min-ji), spend a little too long on their farewells to each other. It is a familiar criticism levelled by western viewers at the sentimental sensibilities so often found in Korean cinema…

Shopper

Personal Shopper (2016)

Personal Shopper first published by VODzilla.co “I’m waiting,” replies Maureen Cartwright (Kristen Stewart), an earnest young American, whenever anyone asks her what she is doing in Paris. One thing is for sure: she is not there just to be the Personal Shopper of the title, a job that she hates almost as much as she fears…

Anti

Anti Matter (2016)

Anti Matter first published by SciFiNow Much like the small-scale (yet covertly expanded) experiment at its heart, there is a pleasing DIY quality to Anti Matter (aka Worm), the feature debut of writer/director Keir Burrows which, like Shane Carruth’s Prime (2004) and James Ward Byrkit’s Coherence (2013), spins some very big SF concepts from a small…

Ghosted

Ghosted (2016)

In Jerry Zucker’s Ghost (1990), when artist Molly (Demi Moore) declares her love for boyfriend Sam (Patrick Swayze), all the undemonstrative beau can say in return is an unromantic “Ditto” – and before he can make amends, he is murdered, so that he must prove his true love to her from beyond the grave. This…

Nekromantik

Nekromantik 2 (1991)

Nekromantik 2 first published by Little White Lies, as the 37th part of my Cinema Psychotronicum column With its unflinching focus on the messy mechanics of necrophilia, Jörg Buttgereit‘s Nekromantik (1987) was a macabre shocker in monochrome – the sort of film that it is hard to believe even exists until you have seen it with…

Party?

Mad Monster Party? (1967)

Mad Monster Party? first published by Little White Lies Having just crowned ‘a lifetime of experimentation’ with a new invention that can destroy all matter, Baron Boris von Frankenstein decides to throw a party in which he will announce his retirement as head of the ‘Worldwide Organization of Monsters’, and hand over the reins of power…

Baby

Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told (1967)

Spider Baby first published by VODzilla.co “Are you a horror fan, Miss Morris?”, asks happy-go-lucky playboy Peter Howe (Quinn Redeker) of his fellow dining guest Ann Morris (Mary Mitchel), in a central scene from Walter Hill’s Spider Baby, or The Maddest Story Ever Told. Ann’s enthusiastic response leads both of them to list all their favourites:…

Stalker

Stalker (1979)

Stalker first published by SciFiNow Stalker opens with two shots: a bar opening; and the ‘Stalker’ (Alexander Kaidanovsky) awake besides his wife (Alisa Freindlich) and their crippled daughter ‘Monkey’ (Natasha Abramova). Although his wife begs him to stay with his family in conventional, licit employment, Stalker heads out once more to guide paying clients into a…

Child

Who Can Kill A Child? (1976)

Who Can Kill A Child? first published by Little White Lies Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s Who Can Kill A Child? (or ¿Quién Puede Matar a un Niño?) opens with a grim reminder of the human capacity for internecine atrocity. As monochrome newsreels parade the horrifying toll of the Nazi Holocaust, the Partition of India, as well as…

Banishment

The Banishment (Izgnanie) (2007)

The Banishment first published by Film4 Synopsis: Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Bible-inflected follow-up to The Return banishes a family forever from its fragile idyll. Review:  If Andrey Zvyagintsev’s astonishing debut The Return (2003) was a barebones mystery thriller whose characters and their interrelationships were elevated to the realm of mythic archetypes, then his long-awaited second feature The Banishment, pulling…

Return

The Return (Vozvrashchenie) (2003)

The Return first published by Movie Gazette One Sunday on an isolated stony pier, some boys goad one another on to jump from a tall wooden tower into the water far below. The older of the two remaining boys, Andrej (Vladimir Garin), desperate not to be thought a coward by his peers, takes the leap, but…