In The Earth

In The Earth (2021)

In The Earth first published by In The Earth begins with an image of the object at its centre: a menhir with a circular opening in its middle through which the arboreal foliage beyond is framed. It is like the monolith from the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – a mysterious, numinous…

Ben Wheatley on In The Earth

Ben Wheatley on In The Earth

Ben Wheatley on In The Earth first published (in a slightly different format) by Sight & Sound, Summer Edition 2021 Seeded from small beginnings, the filmmaking career of Ben Wheatley has grown steadily.  He has gone from making viral online comedy clips and animated shorts in the early Noughties to ever larger rôles contributing to…


Mandrake (2022)

Mandrake had its world première at the Glasgow FrightFest 2022 Lynne Davison’s debut feature Mandrake begins in the dark, as a man frantically digs with his bare hands into the thick mud. An unearthly shrieking is heard, and his body goes limp – and is then dragged off into the trees by the chain around…


Gaia (2021)

Gaia had its UK première at FrightFest 2021 Sometimes you wait for one movie involving fungal fear and freakery to come along, and several arrive at once. The latest cycle probably started with Naughty Dog’s 2013 video game The Last Of Us, Corin Hardy’s The Hallow (2015), Colm McCarthy’s The Girl With All The Gifts…


They’re Outside (2020)

They’re Outside first published by They’re Outside, the feature debut of Sam Casserly and Airell Anthony Hayles, layers its central narrative in a succession of frames. On the one hand, it is the latest (and last) video made by YouTube pop psychologist Max Spencer (Tom Wheatley) with his girlfriend Nicole (Nicole Miners), as he…


Sator (2019)

The title of Jordan Graham’s second feature (following Specter, 2012) is initially mystifying, as befits a film structured as an enigmatic puzzle which the viewer must solve from narrative hints and breadcrumbs scattered in its primordial forest of meaning. A Latin word that originally meant a ‘sower’ (of seeds), and then came to be used…

Lake of Death

Lake of Death (De dødes tjern) (2019)

“Do you think there’s an alternate person in people’s reflections?” In Lake of Death (De dødes tjern), written and directed by Nini Bull Robsahm (Amnesia, 2014), this is the opening line, delivered by Bjørn (Patrick Walshe McBride) to his twin sister Lillian (Iben Akerlie), as the camera tilts up from their inverted images reflected in…


The White Reindeer (Valkoinen peura) (1952)

The White Reindeer (Valkoinen peura) first published by Little White Lies, as the 79th instalment in my Cinema Psychotrunicum column. “A lot goes on here that southerners don’t understand,” a local informs an outsider who fancies that the single white reindeer currently plaguing the village’s male populace can be stopped simply with a modern rifle….