Bereavement

Bereavement (2010)

Bereavement first published by Little White Lies There is a scene at the centre of Stevan Mena‘s Bereavement in which a high school science teacher describes how “theories on our emotional development” divide between those that privilege genetics, and those that favour environmental factors – but pupil Allison Miller (Alexandra Daddario) is not paying the attention…

Perpetrator

Perpetrator (2023)

Perpetrator first published by Sight and Sound, 17 Feb 2023, timed with its world première at the Berlinale “Jesus, girls go missing all the time,” says high-school senior Avalon (Ilirinda Memedovski) some way into Perpetrator, barely convincing even herself of her lack of empathy. “I mean, what’s the big deal?” Jennifer Reeder is a chronicler…

The Disappearance of Alice Creed

The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009)

The Disappearance of Alice Creed first published by Sight & Sound, May 2010 Review: “You’re thinking too much”, Vic (Eddie Marsan) tells his much younger parter in crime Danny (Martin Compston) near the start of The Disappearance of Alice Creed. “Don’t think.” These are wise words of advice to anyone trying to navigate their way…

Barbarian

Barbarian (2022)

Barbarian first published by SciFiNow The title of writer/director Zach Cregger’s superlative thriller, Barbarian, is – at least at first – a bit of a puzzler, even though its associations and implications cast their shadow over the rest of the film. ‘Barbarian’ derives originally from an onomatopoeic word (βάρβαρος, barbaros) used by the Greeks for…

Daughter

Daughter (2022)

Daughter first published by SciFiNow “I want you to understand something. I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want any harm to come to you at all – but if it comes to it, you will be harmed.” The speaker is Father (Casper Van Dien, in a career-best performance), and his immediate audience (Vivien…

The Black Phone

The Black Phone (2021)

The Black Phone first published by Little White Lies It is 1978, in North Denver, and Little Leaguer Finney Shaw (Mason Thomas), on the cusp of adolescence, is living in constant terror – and not just the usual teen angst about whether he can attract the attention of the girl he likes in his class…

Ash and Bone

Ash and Bone (2022)

The opening titles of Ash and Bone are impressionistically intercut with images of a young, terrified woman (Denise Emilia Sandulescu) with a splash of blood on her white top, as she limps through dark woods, and flags down a car only to realise – too late – that her pursuers are inside. She is summarily…

Mum & Dad (2008)

Mum & Dad first published by Film4 Summary: Steven Sheil’s feature debut is a Heathrow-set riff on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, bringing some peculiarly English cuts to the butcher’s table.  Review: “I grew up in the shadow of Heathrow airport,” writer/director Steven Sheil tells the audience of Film4 FrightFest 2008 by way of an introduction to…

The Cottage

The Cottage (2008)

The Cottage first published by Film4 “We’re gonna go to hell for this.” This is the opening line in Paul Andrew Williams‘ The Cottage, but even as he utters it, mild-mannered, lepidophobic Peter (Reece Shearsmith) really has little inkling of the trouble that is in store for him and his more rough-edged brother David (Andy…

Repulse

Repulse (Hrana Zlomu) (2022)

Repulse had its North American première at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2022 Writer/director Emil Krizka’s feature debut Repulse (Hrana Zlomu) opens with DP Ryszard Perzynski’s handheld camera moving over the ground at dawn, passing first a discarded, dirty cloth sheep’s mask, then many sherds of broken glass and an axe – and ending on…

Julia

Julia (2008)

Julia first published by Film4 Summary: French director Erick Zonca has crafted a tale of alcoholism, abduction and alienation in L.A. and across the border. Tilda Swinton stars.   Review: Make a movie about an aging alcoholic, and you ought to have a tragic drama, like Le Feu Follet (1963), Trees Lounge (1996) or Factotum (2005)….