Cyst

Cyst (2020)

Patricia (Eva Habermann) is a nurse spending her last day working at a clinic. Capable and assured, she could do anything – but for now, she is still stuck assisting her boss Dr Guy (George Hardy), an older, altogether less competent practitioner whose very name plainly genders his many flaws. Played as a southern-fried blend…

Stage

Alien On Stage (2020)

Art is a collision of ambition, actuality and audience.  Every year, an amateur dramatics group comprising employees of the Wiltshire and Dorset Bus Company stages a Christmas show for charity – but one year, their young writer Luc Hayward decided that he wanted to move on from their usual pantomime scenarios to a far more…

Heckle

Heckle (2020)

The twin goals of live comedy are to slay the audience, and not to die on stage yourself – which is to say that there is considerable overlap between the worlds of stand-up and horror. Perhaps most famously explored in Martin Scorsese’s The King Of Comedy (1982) and Todd Phillips’ Joker (2019), this slippery space…

Knew

The World We Knew (2020)

In the opening scene of WW Jones and Luke Skinner’s The World We Knew, Smith (Mat Harvey), young Eddie (Alexander Wells) and Stoker (played by Jones’ co-writer Kirk Lake) are waiting in the back of a van. The door opens, a male voice says, “It’s time,” and we see the gun in Eddie’s hand as…

Spare

Spare Parts (2020)

An all-woman four-piece rock band is playing a raucous gig in a biker bar when a big guy invades their performance space and starts groping the lead singer Amy (Michelle Argyris). True to their stage name the Ms. 45s (from Abel Ferrara’s notorious 1981 rape-revenge film), this quartet – including Amy’s sister Emma (Emily Alatalo)…

Butchers

Butchers (2020)

The two Watson brothers, Owen (Simon Phillips) and Oswald (Michael Swatton), are out burying their recently deceased mother in the snowy ground, when they spot a car breaking down on the nearby road – and opportunity as well. Shortly afterwards the car’s driver Steven is dead, and his girlfriend Celeste is suspended by chains in…

Owners

The Owners (2020)

Television director Julius Berg’s feature debut The Owners begins first with gentle birdsong over the opening credits, and then with a slow pan across the calming English countryside – only for this idyll to be broken as DP David Ungaro’s camera settles on a red car parked in the field whose occupants are smoking up…

Babysitter

Babysitter Must Die (2020)

It is the Christmas period, and while her college co-ed friends are out partying, Josie Jane (Riley Scott) is babysitting young Sophia Castillo (Scarlett Hazen). “I’d honestly rather be babysitting,” she tells her mother at the beginning of Kohl Glass’ ominously titled Babysitter Must Die – and this desire is rooted not so much in…

Breeder

Breeder (2020)

“I don’t like dogs,” says Mia Lindberg (Sara Hjort Ditlevsen) in voiceover at the beginning of Jens Dahl’s Breeder, as the camera tracks past horses in individual pens. She feels differently, she explains, about her riding horse Karat. “I have to believe that I know what’s best for him. But maybe all I really am…

Photographs

Woman of the Photographs (2020)

As its very title suggests, writer/director Takeshi Kushida’s Woman of the Photographs is a film concerned with images. Shy, taciturn Kai (Hideki Nagai) is a one-time award-winning photographer who works and lives in an old, rather run-down studio shop where he takes people’s ID photos and retouches their images digitally to remove any unflattering features….

Don't Look Back

Don’t Look Back (2020)

“Police say the man was a Good Samaritan, stabbed while trying to stop a mugging. Surveillance video shows the man bleeding to death on a sidewalk for an hour as 25 people pass by.” We hear a news reporter saying these words, as footage of the scene is shown on screen, at the beginning of…