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…

Surrogate

Surrogate (2022)

“Just because somebody leaves us, it doesn’t mean they don’t love us,” Natalie Paxton (Kestie Morassi) tells her nine-year-old daughter Rose (Taysha Farrugia) some way into Surrogate. Nat is consoling Anna for the unexpected death of their beloved dog Indy, but her words might apply equally to Rose’s father, who disappeared from the picture before…

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…

Bloody Bridget

Bloody Bridget (2023)

After a series of brightly coloured illustrations depicting vodou death spirit Baron Samedi together with, and then apart from, his beloved wife Maman Brigitte, Richard Elfman’s Bloody Bridget begins with its Van Nuys trailer park heroine Bridget O’Brian (played by Elfman’s wife Anastasia) performing a burlesque on stage with fellow artists Pepe (Marcos Mateo Ochoa)…

Requiem

Requiem (2006)

Requiem first published by Film4 Summary: Sandra Hüller puts in an award-winning debut in Hans-Christian Schmid’s dramatic dissection of a notorious exorcism case from 1970s Germany. Review: For ten long months between 1975 and 1976, Anneliese Michel, a devout Catholic student with a long history of temporal lobe epilepsy, willingly submitted herself twice a week to violent…

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…

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…

Wild Bones

Wild Bones (2022)

Wild Bones opens with Fay (Roxy Bugler), and makes it clear that we are not just in her isolated environment – a remote stone cottage on the coast during winter – but also in her addled headspace.  To the sonic accompaniment of the wind howling outside and Ross Oliver’s ritualistic percussive score (think Toru Takemitsu,…

They Wait in the Dark

They Wait in the Dark (2022)

They Wait in the Dark had its International première at FrightFest 2022 Patrick Rea’s They Wait in the Dark opens with a primal scene, as little Amy (Brinklee Wynn) stands staring in horror at the foot of a bed as her mother (Meagan Flynn) lies dying in a pool of blood, her throat slashed. The…

Resurrection

Resurrection (2022)

“A sadist never understands why others aren’t enjoying his sadism as much as he is,” says Margaret (Rebecca Hall) in the opening scene of Andrew Semans’ Resurrection. Margaret is talking to an intern whom she is mentoring for a biotech company. Naïve, inexperienced Gwyn (Angela Wong Carbone) has reached out to Margaret about a boyfriend…

Parker Sessions

The Parker Sessions (2021)

The Parker Sessions has its international première at FrightFest 2021; first published by VODzilla.co “Rule number one,” Robert (Danny James) tells his new client in the first of several sessions that they have together. “I will be frank with you, and I expect you to be completely honest with me. No bullshit, ok? I want…