Diane

Diane (2017)

Diane first published by SciFiNow “I can honestly say, she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve seen in my entire life.” In New Britain, Connecticut, Steve (Jason Alan Smith) is a limping veteran of the War in Afghanistan. He is isolated, earnest, taciturn, able to handle himself – and, with his history of violence, maybe wound…

Hierro

Hierro (2009)

Hierro first published by Film4 Summary: In Gabe Ibáñez’s thrilling feature debut, a desperate mother (or two) findx the real, the psychological and the supernatural all washing up at the edge of the world. Review: Lying in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa and used for many centuries to mark the prime meridian on maps, El…

Power

The Power (2021)

The Power first published by VODzilla.co The Power opens with a dream. Terrified little girl Val (Marley Chesham) is shut in a dark school closet, and a match is struck in front of her face revealing a grown-up man in there with her, lighting his cigarette – and then the adult Val (Rose Williams) is…

Aloners

Aloners (Honja saneun saramdeul) (2021)

Aloners screened at the London Korean Film Festival 2021. Below is a rough transcript of my live introduction to the festival screening, and also my programme note. Welcome to this evening’s screening of writer/director Hong Seong-eun’s Aloners (Honja saneun saramdeul), which has already won its lead Gong Seung-yeon best actress prizes at Jeonju Film Festival…

Martyrs Lane

Martyrs Lane (2021)

The first word in the title of Ruth Platt’s Martyrs Lane might suggest that the film is going for something extreme like Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs (2008) – but in fact the lane in question is a leafy country road leading from the village church where Thomas (Steven Cree) is the local priest, to the big…

The Maid

The Maid (Sao-lab-chai) (2020)

The Maid had its UK première at FrightFest 2021 “It was very scary,” says Fon (Ratchanok Suwannaket) at the very beginning of The Maid (Sao-lab-chai), “Just when I think about it, it gives me chills.” Fon is describing to a psychiatrist the very first thing that we see in the film: a toy monkey belonging…

Followers

Followers (2021)

Followers has its world première at FrightFest 2021 Writer/director Marcus Harben’s Followers opens with the sense of an ending, as Zauna (Loreece Harrison) speaks – significantly in the past tense – of ‘infamous social media influencer’ Jonty Craig. “He was a fool, a liar and a cheat,” she says, as though delivering a eulogy, “but…

Psychics

The Psychics (De Klarsynte) (2019)

Journalist Camilla (Kristi Lovas) has decided to make a documentary about the psychics who often help police with criminal investigations. Camilla is open-minded on the issue, but her cameraman Thomas (unseen, and played by the film’s writer/director Tomas Sem Løkke-Sørensen) believes that all psychics are frauds, and seems far more interested in Camilla herself. Yet…

Mr. Vampie

Mr. Vampire (Jiāngshī Xiānshēng) (1985)

Mr. Vampire (Jiāngshī Xiānshēng) first published by Little White Lies, as entry 107 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column There is a scene some way into Ricky Lau’s Mr. Vampire (Jiāngshī Xiānshēng) where Taoist priest Master Kau (Lam Ching-ying) is invited to a ‘Western tea’ by the wealthy businessman Master Yam (Huang Ha). Unfamiliar with Western…

Dead

Dead (2020)

“I’m Dane Marbeck, and I can communicate with ghosts.” With this minor variant on “I see dead people”, the sweet-natured scooter-driving stoner (Thomas Sainsbury, also the co-writer of Dead) known to everyone as Marbles is openly allying himself to clairvoyant characters from films like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense (1999), Stephen Sommers’ Odd Thomas…

Sleep

Sleep (Schlaf) (2020) at Fantasia

Sleep (Schlaf) is at Fantasia “Don’t breathe, please,” says young adult Mona Engelhardt (Gro Swantje Kohlhof) to her single mother Marlene (Sandra Hüller, Toni Erdmann) at the beginning of Michael Venus’ feature debut Sleep (Schlaf), which he co-wrote with Thomas Friedrich. The reason for Mona’s plea is that they are playing Jenga together, and Mona…