Bullitt

Bullitt County (2018)

Whether it takes us back to childhood, or to ‘better times’, the appeal of nostalgia is the fantasy it offers of regaining paradise lost and returning to a state, however illusory, of innocence. Bullitt County, the second feature from writer/director David McCracken (Daylight, 2013), comes with a double dose of nostalgia: not only is it…

Mata

A Mata Negra (The Black Forest) (2018)

The opening shot in Rodrigo Aragão’s A Mata Negra (aka The Black Forest) is of a stone church atop a rocky outcrop, overlooking the forest below. There humble herbalist Pai Pedro (Markus Konka) finds an abandoned girl, and takes her in as his own. Years later, foundling Clara (Carol Aragão) is a good-natured, naïve teenager…

Wilkolak

Werewolf (Wilkolak) (2018)

Werewolf (Wilkolak) first published by SciFiNow Liberated by Russians from the horrors of the concentration camps, eight orphans have been left in the care of adult Jadwiga (Danuta Stenka) at an abandoned palace deep in the Polish forest. Here, still reeling and scarred from their own experiences, they struggle to keep from the door a…

Luz

Luz (2018)

Luz first published by Little White Lies Bloody and in a daze, cab driver Luz Carrara (Luana Velis) walks into a German police station and gets herself a can from the drinks machine, entirely unnoticed. After all, as a foreign, working class woman, Luz is practically invisible, the kind of person who would hardly capture…

Fare

The Fare (2018)

Driving in desert well beyond the city limits during a storm at night, cab driver Harris (Gino Anthony Pesi) half-listens to different talk radio chatter about time-leaping aliens, the male urge to conquer, and the female desire for intimacy, before taking a sip from his water flask and picking up his fare right out in…

Living

Living Space (aka Nazi Undead) (2018)

What goes around comes around. Steven Spiel’s feature debut was originally called Living Space, and has been travelling the festival circuit under that name. This title is also, in its context, overtly german(e), both as a phrase that, from the opening text onwards, repeatedly recurs within the film, and as a translation of the term Lebensraum…

Monstrum

Monstrum (Mulgoe) (2018)

[Please note that this review of Monstrum (Mulgoe) contains spoilers from the third paragraph onwards.] In monster movies, individual and societal anxieties assume prodigiously destructive form, so that, as well as embodying and spreading panic, they can also be vanquished or at least contained and accommodated – but nonetheless, they still retain their metaphorical power,…

Doe

Doe (2018)

A heavily bearded man (Timothy Davis) wakes up covered in newspapers on a park bench, with absolutely no idea who he is or how he got there. Eight years later, and still remembering nothing of his past save for a red-and-white-hued dream about holding a rabbit, this John Doe has become John Hutton – now…

Sunrise

Last Sunrise (2019)

There is a scene in the middle of Wen Ren’s feature debut Last Sunrise when Mu (Yue Zhang) tells her apartment neighbour, amateur astronomer Yang (Jue Zhang), of noises that she used to hear late at night. Mu suggests that this is proof of the existence of ghosts – before Yang reveals that it was…

Hunter

The Head Hunter (aka The Head) (2018)

Shot largely in Portugal, but with Norway and California’s Mammoth Lakes providing a few of its stranger landscapes, The Head Hunter (aka The Head) unfolds in a mythic time and place where men clash with trolls and other imaginary aggressors. On the King’s orders (delivered as messages on arrows), a hulking, bearded, Viking-like warrior (the…