Crisis

Crisis (2021)

After text promising a film “inspired by true events”, Crisis opens with a young man – a boy, really – hiking in the snow near the Canadian border, when he is surrounded, chased and apprehended by an overwhelming cordon of police. Cedric Beauville (Charles Champagne) was transporting bagfuls of green pills – fentanyl, an opioid…

Screamers

Screamers (1995)

Screamers first published by Little White Lies, as entry 104 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column In 2058, the mining corporation known as the New Economic Bloc (or N.E.B.) discovered a new energy source known as Berynium on the planet Sirius 6B – but when miners learnt that its extraction also released radiation and other pollutants,…

Empathy

Empathy, Inc. (2018)

Empathy, Inc. first published by Little White Lies, as entry 103 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column “To thine own self be true.” These are the words that open Empathy, Inc. – but the speaker on stage is not Polonius from Shakespeare’s Hamlet addressing these lines to his son Laertes, but rather a man directly addressing…

Noroi

Noroi: The Curse (Noroi) (2005)

Noroi: The Curse (Noroi) first published by VODzilla.co Around the turn of the millennium, a slew of Japanese horror films came out which updated old superstitions and traditional long-haired spectres to a new technological era, and spread their malign influence across the Pacific. For each of Hideo Nakata’s Ring (1998) and Dark Water (2002), Kiyoshi…

Z

Z (2019)

Z first published by VODzilla.co You wait for one ‘imaginary friend’ narrative with an intense mother/son relationship at its heart, and two come along. In Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real (2019), a young student must contend with the possibility that he has inherited his mother’s mental illness, even as Daniel, the destructive imaginary friend…

Ema

Ema (2019)

Ema first published by VODzilla.co Ema opens with the image of a traffic light. It is a state-erected sign for vehicles to stop and go, and therefore also a signifier of social order – except that this one, suspended over a street in Valparaíso at night, is on fire, as a woman watches her handiwork…

Quantum

Blood Quantum (2019)

Blood Quantum first published by VODzilla.co “Take heed to thyself, that thou make no treaty with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest lest it be cause of ruin among you…. and when you choose some of their daughters for your sons, they will lead your sons to do the same.”  In opening with…

Calm With Horses

Calm With Horses (aka The Shadow Of Violence) (2019)

Calm With Horses first published by VODzilla.co “That’s not you.” These words are stated – twice by different characters – to Douglas (Cosmo Jarvis), the protagonist of Calm With Horses (aka The Shadow of Violence). Douglas indeed comes with a brutal inner conflict. In a voiceover that opens the film, he states: “I’m told I…

Kwaidan

Kwaidan (1964)

Kwaidan first published by Little White Lies, as entry 102 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Kwaidan opens with ink: first black ink swirling in clear liquid (on a white background), and then vortices of different colours, eddying and mixing into rich chromatic layers. This credit sequence (intercut with cast and crew names typewritten on quality…

Archive

Archive (2020)

Archive first published by Sight & Sound, March 2021 Review: In Archive, the feature debut of writer/director Gavin Rothery, two very different types of futurist technology converge: the emergence of ‘deep-tiered machine learning artificial intelligence’ that can convincingly match a human mind; and the ‘Archive’ of the title, a commercially available device that preserves the…