Assimilate (2019)

Assimilate first published as an audio contribution to The Grimm Exchange John Murlowski’s sci-fi horror Assimilate opens with a close-up of tiny ant-like creatures swarming on a large leaf. In a single fluid motion, the camera pans left to reveal a well-lit suburban middle-class home at night. We cut to inside, and a young, panicked…

Dies Tomorrow

She Dies Tomorrow (2020)

She Dies Tomorrow first published by “‘Humans are the only animal or creature that pretends to be what it’s not.’ Albert Camus said that, I think.” The speaker, Jane (Jane Adams), has just turned up – in her pyjamas, with a bandaged wrist, in a state of obvious agitation – at the home of…


The Swerve (2018)

The Swerve first published by Through the Trees It is clear from early on in The Swerve, the feature debut of writer/director Dean Kapsalis, that Holly (Azura Skye) is a car crash waiting to happen. You can see it in the mouse that she, and she alone, sees first in the kitchen and then in…

Black Easter

Black Easter (2021)

Jim Carroll’s Black Easter carefully set its store in the opening sequence. To the accompaniment of a bombastic orchestral score, baroque gold credits appear on screen – the first reading “Jason Castro as Jesus” – over the incongruously anachronistic image of a red car speeding along a road. “Stop, wait, time out, says protagonist Ram…


Possessor (2020)

Possessor first published (in a slightly different version) by Sight & Sound Review: “When did you get so clever?” asks Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) in an early scene from Possessor, as her young son Ira (Gage Graham-Arbuthnot) shows how he can use his laptop to choreograph the movements of a toy figurine. The apple, it…


Yella (2007)

Yella first published by musicOMH It is not always easy to cross a bridge. There may be hopes, dreams and ambitions to drive you forward, but then there are also second thoughts, backward glances, guilt-tinged regrets and nostalgic longings that keep drawing you back. Yella (Nina Hoss) embodies this idea of a life in suspense….


Snowdevil (2021)

“I called because I wanted to tell you that I’m going to kill them. Every last one of them.” Chilean director Patricio Valladares’ short film Snowdevil presents itself as a dialogue – or several, in fact. We hear a phone conversation between caller Alan Massy and the increasingly alarmed emergency services operator (voiced by Jeannine…

El Rey

El Rey de la Fiesta (King of the Party) (2021)

Salomón Askenazi’s El Rey de la Fiesta is – much like Spike Jonze’s Adaptation. (2002) – concerned with identical twins and twinned identities. Where 50-year-old husband and father Héctor (Giancarlo Ruiz) is uptight, unhappy and deprived – self-deprived, even – of everything that he desires (sex, fun, freedom), his brother Rafael (also Ruiz) is Héctor’s…


Wander (2020)

The text with which Wander opens offers a dedication to “all indigenous, black, and people of color who are targeted and have been displaced through border control on stolen land”, and expresses a desire to “expose government violences, propel change and honor the voices of those who have been silenced.” Sure enough, the film opens…