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…

Zeros and Ones

Zeros and Ones (2021)

Zeros and Ones first published by Little White Lies, as entry 151 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Masked, armed and uniformed American soldier J.J. (Ethan Hawke) is in the middle of a nocturnal, locked-down Rome under explicit threat of explosive terrorist attack. For purposes that are never entirely clear, he shoots – with his camera…

Captor

The Captor (aka Stockholm) (2018)

The Captor (aka Stockholm) first published by VODzilla.co Following the excellent Chet Baker biopic Born to Be Blue (2015), Robert Budreau’s latest feature to star Ethan Hawke comes with a dual identity. For it was originally called Stockholm (where it is also set), but is now being released under the name The Captor. Bring those…

Precinct

Assault On Precinct 13 (aka AP13) (2005)

Assault on Precinct 13 (AP13) first published by Movie Gazette It is a story that has been told many times before: in the Seventies, Hollywood’s studio system gave way to an auteur-oriented movement embracing creativity and the counterculture, and producing some of the most innovative and confronting films ever to have emerged from the United States….

Regression

Regression (2015)

First published by Sight & Sound, December 2015 Review: Films trafficking in religion and evil must eventually decide where they stand on their own Satanic mechanics. While, e.g., Scott Derrickson’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), adapted very loosely from the true story of German teenager Anneliese Michel, flirted at first with rationalism and reality,…

Sinister (2012)

First published by Little White Lies Just when you think the whole shakicam subgenre has come to its natural end, ‘found footage’ finds a way to haunt its viewers (both internal and external) afresh. Like Lovely Molly before it, Sinister does not comprise first-person footage alone, but rather includes some ‘home movies’ within its more conventional ‘objective’ camerawork. In…

Predestination

Predestination (2014)

Predestination first published by Sight & Sound, March 2015 Review: In Greek mythology, it is precisely Oedipus’ attempts to avoid murdering his own father and marrying his own mother that drive him to fulfil that predicted fate. Yet in dramatising this clash of free will and determinism, the ancients had only the divine machinery of prophecy…

Daybreakers

Daybreakers (2009)

Daybreakers first published by Sight & Sound, March 2010 Review: Emerging in 2003 – after 28 Days Later… (2002) but before Shaun of the Dead and the Dawn of the Dead remake (both 2004) – Michael and Peter Spierig’s self-funded feature debut Undead (2003) was at the forefront of the Noughties’ cinematic zombie revival, and had enough energy,…

The Purge (2013)

Review first appeared in Sight & Sound, August 2013 Synopsis: 2022, America. On the night of the annual Purge, a legalised “countrywide catharsis” of mayhem and murder, security salesman James Sandin, wife Mary and children Zoey and Charlie lock down. Zoey’s boyfriend Henry is killed confronting a disapproving James. Meanwhile, a posse of local bourgeois…