The Seeding

The Seeding (2023)

The Seeding first published by SciFiNow, timed with its world première at Tribeca 2023 Writer/director Barnaby Clay’s feature debut opens with a peculiar pairing of scenes that set the tone for what is to come. In the first a toddler, naked but for his nappy and absolutely filthy, walks in the desert chewing on a…

Infinity Pool

Infinity Pool (2023)

Infinity Pool first published by SciFiNow, 20th March 2023 Infinity Pool begins in the dark. Novelist James Foster (Alexander Skarsgård) has just muttered something creepily nonsensical in his sleep (“You can’t feed yourself with white sand brain death”), and his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman) asks for clarification on what his unconscious was trying to say….

Custom

Custom (2024)

Custom had its world première at the Glasgow FrightFest 2024. “Hi, I’m Snake”, says a young man (Rowan Polonski) direct to camera at the beginning of writer/director Tiago Teixeira’s feature debut Custom. “And I’m Flower,” says the young woman (Abigail Hardingham) sat next to him. ‘Snake’ and ‘Flower’ are not their real names – for…

Stopmotion

Stopmotion (2023)

Stopmotion opens with the image of an object floating in space. It is just like the beginning of Eraserhead (1977), which later included some of its own stopmotion sequences – and much as David Lynch superimposed the bobbing face of his protagonist Henry Spencer over the planet to suggest that what we are seeing is…

Peter Strickland

Peter Strickland on Flux Gourmet and outsider artistry

“Why can’t you be more like Stephen Frears?”: Peter Strickland on Flux Gourmet and outsider artistry first published in a much shorter version by Little White Lies. While our national cinema is dominated by ‘heritage’ stories, plucky underdog comedies and urban miserabilism, the films of writer/director Peter Strickland are eccentric outliers. His 2009 feature debut…

Medusa Deluxe

Medusa Deluxe (2022)

Writer/director Thomas Hardiman’s Medusa Deluxe opens with a mannered animated sequence that it would be easy at first to mistake for a production company ident. Tiny armoured Ancient Greek men – and the odd monster, including the Gorgon of the title – appear and then evaporate in a desert in which there also appear, emerging…

The Civil Dead

The Civil Dead (2022)

The title of John Hillcoat’s searing feature debut Ghosts… of the Civil Dead (1988) involved a metaphor for the state’s incarcerated population, buried away in a privatised penal system and left to perpetuate decidedly uncivil behaviours. Clay Tatum’s buddy comedy The Civil Dead, which he wrote with co-star Whitmer Thomas, may seem to be far…

Murder, Anyone?

Murder, Anyone? (2022)

Murder, Anyone? begins with a shadow – the silhouette of a male figure in a wide-brimmed hat, illuminated by a circle of light. This monochrome image, and the melodramatic orchestral score that accompanies the superimposed opening credits, point to the now rather passé genre of film noir, while that figure – a projected artefact of…

Crimes of the Future

Crimes of the Future (2022)

Back in 1970, Crimes of the Future was in fact David Cronenberg’s second feature – but since then both he and the future have changed considerably, and accordingly his latest feature of the same title is in fact an entirely different film, even if it looks back to motifs from his earlier films, especially Rabid…

The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer (2022)

The Ghost Writer had its world première at FrightFest 2022 The Ghost Writer opens with a dim-lit hotel corridor and with Gilliger Graham (Luke Mably) roaring into a bathroom mirror, whether in pain or triumph or madness, before there is cut to him onstage accepting a literary award for his latest book, also called The…