The Hyperborean

The Hyperborean (2023)

The Hyperborean had its international première at Soho Horror Film Festival 2023 “I’m the patriarch of this family, I have a unique perspective on all this, and I’ve got the most to lose,” says ‘whisky magnate’ Hollis Cameron (Tony Burgess) about halfway through The Hyperborean. “In the basement what we have is criminal exposure –…

Greenhouse

Greenhouse (2022)

Greenhouse screened at London Korean Film Festival 2023. This is a longer version of my on-stage introduction (plus programme note) Greenhouse gets its title from the off-road, metal framed structure in which single mother Lee Moon-jung (Kim Seo-hyung) is living. More tent than home, with plastic sheeting for walls, and designed to house plants, this…

He Never Left

He Never Left (2023)

He Never Left had its international première on Friday 27th Oct at the Halloween FrightFest As text reveals at the beginning of He Never Left, a masked menace known as the “Pale Face” killer terrorised Larsen City (‘played’ by Fairview, Utah) for over a decade, before suddenly all the murders and disappearances stopped dead in…

On Fire

On Fire (2023)

On Fire begins with an aerial tracking shot, following a brown leaf as it flutters through the air, swept by a wind over a vast forest, before finally drifting down to the dry floor below. This is not unlike the opening shot from Gil Kenan’s animated feature Monster House (2006), where the fall of an…

My Mother's Eyes

My Mother’s Eyes (2023)

My Mother’s Eyes had its international première on Mon 28th Aug at FrightFest My Mother’s Eyes opens with a close-up of a woman’s eyes, tearing, anguished, and then – after the sound of a newborn’s cry – flushed with relief and anxiety and a complicated kind of happiness, as the music of a cello fills…

Daughter

Daughter (2022)

Daughter first published by SciFiNow “I want you to understand something. I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want any harm to come to you at all – but if it comes to it, you will be harmed.” The speaker is Father (Casper Van Dien, in a career-best performance), and his immediate audience (Vivien…

Woe

Woe (2020)

Writer/director Matthew Goodhue’s feature debut Woe begins with a series of unsettling sights and sounds. As a young bearded man (Adam Halferty) comes out of  house’s backdoor carrying something in a large garbage bag which he embraces tenderly before putting it down, picking up a shovel and digging into the ground, we can hear the…

My Sister's Wedding

My Sister’s Wedding (2022)

As its very title suggests, My Sister’s Wedding is concerned not just with the institution of marriage, but also with a protagonist who is simultaneously at the film’s centre and on its sidelines.  When it comes to her family, Allison Valentine (Samantha Sayah) is always caught in between. She is the middle sister to older…

Wildflower

Wildflower (2022)

At the beginning of Matt Smukler’s Wildflower, and for much of its duration, 17-year-old Bea Johnson (Kiernan Shipka) is in a coma. As her extended family – for the first time in ages – assembles around her hospital bed in Las Vegas and argues – not for the first time – about her fate, two narrative…

Ash and Bone

Ash and Bone (2022)

The opening titles of Ash and Bone are impressionistically intercut with images of a young, terrified woman (Denise Emilia Sandulescu) with a splash of blood on her white top, as she limps through dark woods, and flags down a car only to realise – too late – that her pursuers are inside. She is summarily…

Adopting Audrey

Adopting Audrey (aka Porcupine) (2021)

Adopting Audrey has its European première at the Glasgow Film Festival, 2023   “Don’t you ever feel like you just want to – leave?”, asks Audrey (Jena Malone, astonishingly nuanced) at the call centre where she works. Audrey is surprised to hear how long the customer on the other end of the phone has lived…