Alive

Alive (2002)

Alive first published by Film4 Summary: In Ryuhei Kitamura’s dystopian prison sci-fi, it is not just the humans who are trapped inside and looking to get out.  Review: If Ryuhei Kitamura exploded into the world of cult cinema with his low-budget feature debut Versus (2000), a moviegeek’s wet dream of yakuza gunplay, samurai set-pieces and zombie gore,…

Birth/Rebirth

Birth/Rebirth (2023)

Birth/Rebirth seen for the BFI London Film Festival 2023 Birth/Rebirth opens with two extremes of life in a single sequence. After a pregnant woman experiencing a medical emergency is raced to hospital, her tiny premature baby is delivered by Caesarean, while she herself dies. These extremes – birth and death – allow for the dual…

The Lair

The Lair (2022)

The Lair first published by SciFiNow   It is April 2017, in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, and if there is one thing that we know, it is that Neil Marshall’s The Lair is going to end with a bang. We know this because text at the very beginning reveals that the rest of the film will…

Flatliners

Flatliners (1990)

Flatliners first published by Little White Lies, as entry 159 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column “I don’t know, you guys: it’s Halloween, there’s a full moon. Don’t you think we might be pushing it just a little bit?” So says Randy Steckle (Oliver Platt), some way into Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners, as he and four fellow…

Masking Threshold

Masking Threshold (2021)

Masking Threshold UK première at Soho Horror Film Festival 2022 Johannes Grenzfurthner’s Masking Threshold, which he co-wrote with Samantha Lienhard, is named for an acoustic phenomenon: if two sounds are played concurrently but one is louder than the other, it can mask the softer sound from the human brain, reducing it to inaudibility. Likewise the…

Space

Space (Prostir) (2021)

Sometimes a production ident appearing at the start of a film can be a guide to its reading. Space (Prostir) may open with text informing the viewer that it was shot in quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic by self-isolated participants filming with their own smartphones or cameras and communicating with the director Dmitriy Tomashpolski (Stranger,…

Honeymoon Phase

The Honeymoon Phase (2019)

The Honeymoon Phase first published by Through the Trees In writer/director/editor Phillip G. Carroll Jr.’s The Honeymoon Phase, we know from the start that things are going to end badly between aspiring author Tom Jacobs (Jim Schubin) and his illustrator girlfriend Eve (the director’s real-life wife Chloe Carroll). We know this because the film opens…

Minor

Minor Premise (2020)

Minor Premise (2020) at Fantasia The protagonist in Eric Schultz’s feature debut Minor Premise, Ethan (Sathya Sridharan), is – much like all of us – an individual full of contradictions. The scion and natural successor of world-renowned neuroscientist Paul Kochar (Nikolas Konotomanolis), Ethan is also a jealous, resentful son with serious Oedipal issues who would…

Jesus

Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway (2019)

At the beginning of writer/director Miguel Llansó’s Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway, the title is presented as the colourful title screen for an Eighties computer game, complete with garishly coloured 8-bit graphics displaying the film’s main characters, all to the accompaniment of old-school electronic squelches on the soundtrack. It is an apt…