Zalava

Zalava (2021)

Zalava had its UK première at Glasgow Film Festival 2022 Taking place less than a year before Iran’s 1979 Revolution and named for a small village built into a steep mountainside in rural Kurdistan, Arsalan Amiri’s feature Zalava – which he co-wrote with Tahmineh Bahramalian and Ida Panahandeh –  is a film of jars, of…

Anything For Jackson

Anything For Jackson (2020)

Anything For Jackson first published by VODzilla.co Satanists come with their own stereotype. The picture that they present in the popular imagination usually goes something like this: young, male, long hair, black leather, listens to heavy metal, incel. What you probably do not picture – unless your internal iconography is dominated by Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s…

The Last Rite

The Last Rite (2021)

The Last Rite has its First Blood world première at FrightFest 2021 Writer/director Leroy Kincaide’s feature debut The Last Rite opens with the sound of slow ticking, and the image of a mantel clock. Time indeed will play its part in this slow-burning psychodrama, which begins near its end – with Ben (Johnny Fleming) sitting…

Carmen Farias

The Exorcism of Carmen Farias (2021)

The Exorcism of Carmen Farias (El Exorcismo de Carmen Farías) has its international première at FrightFest 2021 When Rocio (Patricia Martínez) dies at the beginning of The Exorcism of Carmen Farias (El Exorcismo de Carmen Farías), in her will she leaves to her adult daughter Carmen (Camila Sodi) the rural home of her own mother…

Cleansing

The Cleansing Hour (2019)

The Cleansing Hour first published by SciFiNow Cleansing Hour is a live-streaming webcast in which exorcisms are performed on frothing, bleeding clients by ‘hot priest’ Father Max (Ryan Guzman), who uses the show to spread his name and flog kitsch merchandise. Though certainly Catholic, the self-loving, womanising Max is no real priest, and the show’s…

Ordinary.

Extra Ordinary. (2019)

Review: “You must pay”, say the ominous words written in condensation on a mirror in Extra Ordinary. – but then Martin Martin (Barry Ward) closes the other reflective panel on his bathroom cabinet, revealing the second half of the message: “the car tax.” These are instructions from Martin’s late wife Bonnie, still nagging him from…

Libera

Deliver Us (Libera Nos) (2016)

Deliver Us (Libera Nos) first published by Sight & Sound, Nov 2017 Review: In 2005, on christianforums.com, Nathan Poe articulated the principle, now commonly known online as Poe’s Law, which observes that, “without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor”, it is impossible to distinguish a mocking parody of a fundamentalist position from the genuine…

Hostage

Hostage to the Devil (2016)

There is always more than one side to a story. Marty Stalker’s documentary Hostage to the Devil shows interviewees asserting that Father Malachi Martin‘s death from a cerebral haemorrhage in 1999 was due to interventions either from agents of his political enemies in Rome, or from Satan himself. The fact that he was 78 at…

Asmodexia

Asmodexia (2014)

Asmodexia first published by Little White Lies, as the sixth part of my Cinema Psychotronicum column Sleeping rough near a cemetery on the outskirts of Barcelona, elderly Eloy de Palma (Lluís Marco) tells his teenaged granddaughter Alba (Clàudia Pons) a campfire story from his own boyhood: in the village of Alba’s great grandparents, the cemetery became a…

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,…

Deliver

Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Review first published by FilmLand Empire Claims to veridicality are a cliché of horror, and for those already playing the game they are as clear an advertisement of fiction as ‘once upon a time.’ Still, even the most gullible of viewers would do well, when they read the words ‘inspired by true events’ that open…