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…

Dangerous

Dangerous To Know (2020)

After a brief, formally titled ‘prologue’ in which Tom Douglas (David Simpson, also the film’s writer, director editor and composer) and Dr Flannagan (Demelza Randall) discuss the borderline personal disorder of Tom’s estranged sister Bridget (Bridget Graham) and Bridget’s recent, risky withdrawal from treatment and medication, Dangerous To Know introduces us to Jordan (Andrew Robert…

Dead

Dead (2020)

“I’m Dane Marbeck, and I can communicate with ghosts.” With this minor variant on “I see dead people”, the sweet-natured scooter-driving stoner (Thomas Sainsbury, also the co-writer of Dead) known to everyone as Marbles, is openly allying himself to clairvoyant characters from films like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense (1999), Stephen Sommers’ Odd Thomas…

Brain

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (2020)

“Let me die, let me die,” says the female voice at the beginning of Derek Carl’s The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, leading to monochrome credits that would not be out of place in a B-movie from the 1960s. Indeed, this closely mimics the opening to Joseph Green’s 1962 film of the same name (although also…

Sinners

The Sinners (aka The Color Rose) (2020)

“This story isn’t about truth, or love – this story is about sin.” says Aubrey Miller (Brenna Llewellyn) in voiceover near the beginning of The Sinners (aka The Color Rose). The film opens in medias res: Aubrey is on her knees praying when a car pulls up behind her, and six young women in masks…

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…