Jeffrey's Hell

Jeffrey’s Hell (2024)

Jeffrey’s Hell seen at Panic Fest 2024  “So, the Mars story,” says filmmaker Aaron Irons at the beginning of Jeffrey’s Hell, in a monochrome to-camera piece that a caption reveals was recorded in 17th Sept, 2020. The Mars story dates back to a decade earlier than that, when Irons, fresh out of college, submitted an…

The Ceremony Is About To Begin

The Ceremony Is About To Begin (2024)

The Ceremony Is About To Begin seen at Panic Fest 2024 Director/co-writer Sean Nichols Lynch’s The Ceremony Is About To Begin opens with a series of monochrome interviews, each captioned with both the subject’s forename and, in scare quotes, the adopted name of an Egyptian god. For these are all ex-members of the Osiris Collective, a…

Do Not Watch

Do Not Watch (2023)

One of the paradoxes of the horror genre is that it attracts – and keeps – the attention of its willing audience with things that they might, in any other context outside of film viewing, find unpleasant, alarming and repellent. The very title of Do Not Watch captures this contradiction: for what should serve as…

A Life on the Farm

A Life on the Farm (2022)

This is in fact more than one film. It is of course Oscar Harding’s documentary A Life on the Farm, but within that is its subject, another film (or films) entitled Life on the Farm (no indefinite article) which forms its starting point and principal subject. These amateur videos shot on VHS camcorder by ageing…

The Glenarma Tapes

The Glenarma Tapes (2023)

The Glenarma Tapes had its international première on Sat 26th Aug at FrightFest Near the start of The Glenarma Tapes, a drama class is discussing the lovers’ double-suicide at the end of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. “I get it,” suggests Gordon (Warren McCook), “These two are the only good things in either family, and when…

Dashcam

Dashcam (2021)

Dashcam first published by Sight & Sound, Summer Edition 2022 Review: Presenting only what the characters see on their devices as a séance conducted over Zoom goes wrong, Rob Savage‘s feature debut Host (2020), co-written with his regular collaborators Gemma Hurley and Jed Shepherd during the first Covid lockdown, was pure ‘screenlife’ horror. This is…

Invoking Yell

Invoking Yell (2023)

Invoking Yell has its international première at Panic Fest 2023 One of the disparate story strands in Patricio Valladares’ Covid-curtailed, inchoate sci-fi Embryo (2020) involved a music video shoot gone awry in the Chilean backwoods – and with Invoking Yell, Valladares, working with his regular co-writer Barry Keating, revives this basic premise, while confounding the viewer’s sense of genre. This ambiguity of genre is…

The Outwaters

The Outwaters (2022)

Writer/director/editor/cinematographer Robbie Banfitch’s The Outwaters begins in familiar territories. An audio recording of an obviously distressed if incomprehensible call to emergency services is accompanied by stills (from happier times) of the four people whose voices can be heard ranting and freaking out on it – Michelle August (Michelle May), Angela Bocuzzi (Angela Basolis), Scott Zagorac (Scott…

Something in the Dirt

Something in the Dirt (2022)

Something in the Dirt first published by Little White Lies, 23 Jan 2022 In Something In The Dirt, fifth feature of filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (Resolution, Spring, The Endless, Synchronic), we hear wind chimes before we see anything. These chimes hang outside a somewhat dingy apartment building in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon, where feckless bartender Levi Danube (Benson) has just moved…

The Midnight Swim

The Midnight Swim (2014)

The Midnight Swim first published (in a shorter version) by VODzilla.co The Midnight Swim opens with a lilting lullaby sung by a woman in what sounds like a Middle Eastern language, and with a pure white screen which resolves first to mist-bound watery ripples, and then to an empty bed with a white sheet on…

The Last Broadcast

The Last Broadcast (1998)

Broadcast first published by Little White Lies, as entry 143 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column We know from the beginning how a filmed expedition into New Jersey’s remote Pine Barrens in search of the legendary Jersey Devil will end, because it has already ended. On the night of 15th December, 1995, cable TV host Stefan Avkast…