The Knocking

The Knocking (Koputus) (2022)

The Knocking (Koputus) had its UK première on Fri 25th Aug at FrightFest, 2023 On a rainy night in 2006, police officers find the body of a father (Niko Saarela), killed by an axe blow, in the yard outside his remote woodland home. In an upstairs room, his terrified young daughter Matilda (Hilma Temonen) is…

Alone at Night

Alone at Night (2022)

“My personal favourite: believing that you’re in more than one place at the same time”, says Jake (Jake Weary) to Vicky (Ashley Benson), some way into Alone at Night, as he lists the hallucinatory effects of taking salvia. In fact this is also an effect of watching any film, television or online video: the viewer,…

Lovely, Dark, and Deep

Lovely, Dark, and Deep (2023) at Fantasia

Lovely, Dark, and Deep had its world première at Fantasia 2023 “Into the forest I go, to lose my mind, and find my soul” goes the text quote from John Muir with which Lovely, Dark, and Deep opens. Sure enough, this feature debut from writer/director Teresa Sutherland, who previously scripted Emma Tammi’s The Wind (2018),…

The Breach

The Breach (2022)

The Breach first published by SciFiNow The Breach begins where Sean S. Cunningham‘s Friday the 13th (1980) ends, with a canoe free-floating in the water – which is to say that as the vessel drifts downstream, the film is both advertising and literalising its own derivativeness. Yet the canoe is not conveying a traumatised final…

Pensive

Pensive (aka We Might Hurt Each Other, aka Rupinotjelis) (2022)

Pensive (Rupintojelis)had its UK première at the Glasgow FrightFest 2023. Pensive (aka We Might Hurt Each Other, aka Rupinotjelis) derives its title for the ‘Pensive Christ’, a stereotypical depiction taken from the iconography of sculpture. This shows Jesus with his body scourged and suffering, and his head usually in one or two of his upraised…

Nightsiren

Nightsiren (Svetlonoc) (2022)

Nightsiren (Svetlonoc) has its UK première at Glasgow Film Festival 2023 “Even in modern Europe, in certain lonely villages, folklore and medieval superstitions are still considered a way of life,” reads text at the beginning of Nightsiren (Svetlonoc).  The film opens with a primal scene: faced with the hair-pulling wrath of her abusive mother Alžbeta (Petra Vajdová), little Šarlota (Sára…

Monsters Club

Monsters Club (2011)

Monsters Club first published by Little White Lies, as entry 138 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column By the time Monsters Club came out, writer/director Toshiaki Toyoda and the actor Eita had history. After all, Eita made his big-screen debut in Toyoda’s Blue Spring (2001), and then had also starred in his 9 Souls (2003) and…

Old Man

Old Man (2022)

Old Man opens with a large painted image, as if from an illustrated children’s book. After showing a shadowy figure walking a forest path, the camera slowly tilts to take in, further up the mountain, a cottage with a smoking chimney. That cottage will turn out to be the film’s key location, its lived-in interior…

Blowing

Cold Wind Blowing (2020)

Nomi (Angela Way) has some dark feelings, even if she may be concealing them on her holiday in an isolated family property with friends. She still feels devastatingly sad about her mum and dad’s recent divorce, feels guilty that she is spending Christmas away from them, and feels bitter that she has had to pick…

Ranger

The Ranger (2018)

The Ranger first published by SciFiNow ‘First-time feature director’ can be a loaded term. It often implies inexperience – yet Jenn Wexler has not only written, directed and produced two short films (Slumber Party, 2012 and Halloween Bash, 2013), but also produced several stylistically and thematically arresting indie titles by other directors, like Mickey Keating’s Darling…

Evil

The Evil Dead (1981)

For the love of cheap thrills: gonzo auteurism and The Evil Dead first published by Little White Lies Although he had been making amateur Super-8 films for years with childhood friend Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi had only just turned 20 when he started shooting his feature debut The Evil Dead in late 1979, and was, in…