Shepherd

Shepherd (2021)

“Sometimes people just need solitude, you know,” says Eric Black (Tom Hughes) in writer/director Russell Owen’s Shepherd. Eric is explaining what has drawn him to become sole resident – apart from his dog Baxter and hundreds of sheep – on a remote coast island. His addressee, the gruff, half-sighted boat woman Fisher (Kate Dickie) who…

Before I'm Dead

Before I’m Dead (2021)

Genre is often just a way to frame and to storify psychological experience, and this is certainly the case with Before I’m Dead. The feature may assume an increasingly mind-melting range of genre elements – space invasion, doppelgängers, time paradoxes, a looping trap (expressly compared to Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day, 1993); and it may feature a…

Dead Ones

The Dead Ones (2019)

The Dead Ones first published by Rue Morgue The Dead Ones opens with a film-within-a-film – a video uploaded to youtube entitled ‘Locker Room Dungeon Boy’ which depicts vicious bullies forcing the underwear-wrapped head of a male schoolmate down a toilet as they repeatedly call him ‘faggot’. The video has 11,240 views – a very…

Storonniy

Stranger (Storonniy) (2019)

Stranger (Storonniy) opens with two discrete sets of text (and closes with a third). The first is a quote (“…I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men…”) from that celebrated author of ‘weird fiction’ and cosmic horror, H.P. Lovecraft. The second offers bare statistics…

Stairs

The Ascent (aka Black Ops, aka Stairs) (2019)

Like many a psychological thriller, The Ascent (aka Black Ops, aka Stairs) features a primal scene that it visits at the film’s beginning, and then revisits and revises numerous times during the course of its characters’ journey towards a reckoning. In an Eastern European war zone, a British special ops squad of six – Will…

Quiet

The Quiet Earth (1985)

The Quiet Earth first published by Little White Lies, as the 60th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column For much of the duration of Geoff Murphy’s The Quiet Earth, middle-aged Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence) believes himself to be the last living person on Earth – but Zac was already a loner, even before the so-called…

AfterDeath

AfterDeath (2015)

AfterDeath first published by Little White Lies Like After Life (1998) or Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006), Gez Medinger and Robin Schmidt’s directorial debut AfterDeath makes no bones about the fact that it is set is a limbo between life and whatever comes next, as five of the recently departed find themselves washed ashore on a heath…

Hooker

Dead Hooker In A Trunk (2009)

Dead Hooker In A Trunk first published by Little White Lies See a film with a title like Dead Hooker in a Trunk, and you know you are in for some wilfully sleazy exploitation – and in this respect at least, the feature debut from identical twins Jen and Sylvia Soska (who act, write, direct, produce, and…