Vicious

Vicious Fun (2020)

At a Minnesota motel in 1983, a creepy man fetishistically whets his set of butcher’s knives, gets into his car outside and offers a stranded young woman a ride. Carrie (Amber Goldfarb) gets in, he locks her door with a menacing smile – and she then turns and stabs him multiple times with a butterfly…

Urubú

Urubú (2019)

‘Urubú’ is the Spanish word for a black vulture, and in Alejandro Ibáñez’s film of the same name, an albino urubú, never before captured on camera in the wild, has become the white whale of photographer Tomás (Carlos Urrutia). So obsessed is he with shooting one through his tele-lens that he is prepared to drag…

Zed

Frank & Zed (2020)

Sometimes there is no need for words between friends. Take Frank & Zed, who for many years have been eking out together their cameraderie and co-dependency, with little more than the occasional monosyllabic grunt shared between them, even as time takes its toll on their bodies. If the very title of writer/director Jesse Blanchard’s film…

Deep

It Cuts Deep (2020)

An opening scene can weigh on the rest of a film. If you somehow missed the first minute and a half of It Cuts Deep, you might imagine that you are watching a breezy relationship film in which the inadequacies of Sam (Charles Gould) are exposed and skewered to hilarious effect. He is a mamma’s…

Cleansing

The Cleansing Hour (2019)

The Cleansing Hour first published by SciFiNow Cleansing Hour is a live-streaming webcast in which exorcisms are performed on frothing, bleeding clients by ‘hot priest’ Father Max (Ryan Guzman), who uses the show to spread his name and flog kitsch merchandise. Though certainly Catholic, the self-loving, womanising Max is no real priest, and the show’s…

Tvar

Stray (Evil Boy) (Tvar) (2019)

“The living dead exist, it’s true,” says a little girl at an orphanage near the beginning of writer/director Olga Gorodetskaya’s feature debut Stray (aka Evil Boy, aka Tvar). “I saw them alright.”  “Who was it? A boy or a girl?” asks her sceptical playmate, as a car pulls up. Inside the car is Dr Igor…

Anonymous

Anonymous Animals (Les Animaux Anonymes) (2020)

Georges Franju’s short 1949 documentary Blood of the Beasts (Le Sang des Bêtes) used explicit animal slaughter footage to contrast with the rural idylls beyond the abattoir, and more obliquely to evoke the mechanistic massacres of the then recent Holocaust. Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) had a family of laid-off slaughtermen treating…

Blackout

Blackout (2007)

Blackout first published by Film4 Summary: Rigoberto Castañeda’s second feature is a high-tension three-hander set in a broken-down elevator – with added nihilism. Review: “You can plan your whole life out, you can plot the most complex course – but sooner or later you’re gonna walk into some piece of shit elevator.”  So says Karl (Aidan Gillen)…

Brood

The Brood (1979)

The Brood first published by Movie Gazette, July 25, 2005 When Frank Carveth (Art Hindle) picks up his five-year-old daughter Candice (Cindy Hinds) from a weekend visit at the Somafree Institute where her mother, his mentally unstable ex-wife Nola (Samantha Eggar), is receiving an experimental therapeutic treatment known as ‘psychoplasmics’, he notices bruises and welts…

Padmavyuha

Padmavyuha (2020)

Before a young multi-cultural audience in an American university, Shaki Ramdas (Nikhil Prakash), a confident, clean-shaven professor of sociology and religious studies, is giving a lecture on the nature of faith. He even writes the word in big capitals on the blackboard and underlines them: FAITH. As he carefully disentangles religion from the other two…