Embryo

Embryo (Embrión) (2020)

An embryo is the collection of cells making up an organism before it is ready to be born or hatched – and the term is sometimes used, by a metaphorical extension, to refer to a rudimentary or beginning stage. So while the title of Patricio Valladares’ low-budget sci-fi horror might be taken to refer to…

Vast

The Vast of Night (2019)

The Vast of Night is mediated, and somebody is watching. Framed as a monochrome episode on Paradox Theater, a Twilight Zone-like television show “found only in a frequency caught between logic and myth”, and set in (fictive) Cayuga, New Mexico in the 1950s, Andrew Patterson’s accomplished feature debut follows two young people who work in…

Phantasm

Phantasm (1979)

Phantasm first published by VODzilla.co The paradox of death is that it is both inevitable and arbitrary. We know that it is coming, just not when or how, and this mystery of mortality is one of the more haunting parts of the human condition. 13-year-old Mike Pearson (A. Michael Baldwin) has had to learn these…

Last

To Your Last Death (2019)

At the beginning of To Your Last Death, Miriam DeKalb (voiced by Dani Lennon) bursts out of a building clutching an axe and covered in blood, as two mysterious figures look on (one instructing the other to “lock the bets”). Exclaiming “He killed them! He killed my family! He killed them all!”, Miriam is arrested…

Lethargy

After The Lethargy (2018)

Marc Carreté’s feature debut Asmodexia (2014) utterly inverted the established conventions of possession horror, so viewers ‘in the know’ will approach his follow-up After The Lethargy fully primed to expect the unexpected. This time around Carreté is tackling the tropes of alien conspiracy, as journalist Sara Hamilton (Andrea Guasch) is drawn to deep forestland –…

Canaries

Canaries (aka Alien Party Crashers) (2017)

Canaries (aka Alien Party Crashers) first published by SciFiNow As often as not the key to low-budget filmmaking is to think globally but act locally. So while Peter Stray’s feature debut Canaries (aka Alien Party Crashers) eventually settles into a parochial alien invasion comedy on New Year’s Eve, 2014 in the lower half of the…

Light

At First Light (2018)

At First Light first published by SciFiNow “How about you try to be a teenager for one night, and then you can go back to being a single mom in the morning?” So 17-year-old Sean (Théodore Pellerin, The OA) is told near the beginning of At First Light(aka First Light). Abandoned years ago by his…

Arachnid

Arachnid (2001)

Arachnid first published by VODzilla.co “I basically did it for the money and it was a stupid script … I got to live in Barcelona for six months and, you know, they paid me well. Everything was good except I had to go to work everyday and shoot a dumb script.”  In 2012, this is what…

Alienate (2016)

Alienate first published by Little White Lies, as the fourth part of my Cinema Psychotronicum column “It’s ok, baby, I’m fine,” says the young man (Nathan Day) to his anxious partner (Courtnea Hyland) in the opening scene of Michael Shumway’s feature debut Alienate. “It’s going to be alright.” All this is shot up close, and could…

Undead

Undead (2003)

Undead first published by Movie Gazette, 29 Dec 2004 René (Felicity Mason) may have just been crowned beauty queen in the small Queensland fishing community of Berkeley, but with the loan sharks circling her debt-ridden farm, she is set to flee to the big city – except that it is not so easy to leave…