Last Straw

Last Straw (2023)

Last Straw had its UK première at the Glasgow FrightFest 2024. Last Straw opens near its end, with an aftermath: a tableau in montage showing the interiors of a classic old (faded, even) diner, like a blast from the past of lost Americana. This is also, clearly, the scene of a recent massacre, with blood…

Shadow of Fire

Shadow of Fire (Hokage) (2023)

Shadow of Fire (Hokage) screened at the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2024 In the still smouldering embers left by the end of the Pacific War, an unnamed woman (played with unhinged intensity by Shuri) lives alone in a tavern that is one of the only buildings in this black-market district left standing after the…

M3GAN

M3GAN (2022)

M3GAN first published by SciFiNow M3GAN opens with an advertisement, and with a primal scene. The ad is for Funki’s latest toy product, robotic talking animals which, like Tamagotchi, require constant feeding and attention from their young owners. Young Cady (Violet McGraw) is watching this ad on her tablet and playing with her own PurfectPetz…

Isaac

Isaac (2023)

Isaac had its world première on Sat 26 Aug in the First Blood Strand at FrightFest Isaac opens with a primal scene. Its first shot moves at ground level through sun-dappled wheat stalks – a Malickian image of homespun, idyllic nostalgia, and of the melancholy that comes with Paradise lost. As though to underscore the…

Earwig

Earwig (2021)

Earwig (2021) Earwig first published by Sight and Sound, Summer 2022, as was the appended sidebar on other films by Lucile Hadzihalilovic Synopsis: Europe, the mid-1950s. Albert Scellinc ensures that the icy false teeth of his young ward Mia are regularly replaced. This routine is unsettled by instructions to ready Mia for her new home,…

Breathing Happy

Breathing Happy (2022)

Breathing Happy has its European première at Soho Horror Film Festival 2022 “I’m at one year sober today. I dunno, technically I’m not gonna get it until another hour and 40 minutes, but even I can’t fuck that up, right? I miss you guys. Merry Christmas.” This is the voicemail message that Dylan Bradley leaves…

New Religion

New Religion (2022)

New Religion had its world première at FrightFest 2022 After a brief impressionistic prologue in which abstract shapes, transforming bodies, fluttering moths and fractal patterns – all red in colour – emerge from the darkness, and a red-filtered cityscape and its inverted image are seen mirroring each other, New Religion opens with a primal scene,…

Tony Takitani

Tony Takitani (2004)

Tony Takitani first published by Film4 in 2004 Summary: Issei Ogata finds loneliness, love, loss, and then loneliness again, in Jun Ichikawa’s stylish adaptation of a Haruki Murakami short story.  Review: In the writings of Haruki Murakami, style is every bit as important as content. The events may be somewhat surreal, the characters eccentric, but the prose…

Woodland Grey

Woodland Grey (2021)

Woodland Grey screens at Grimmfest Easter 2022 A man heads from his rusty caravan into the rainy night, holding up a hurricane lamp to the shadowy tree-line beyond, from which a four-note lilt is repeatedly whistled by someone – or something – unseen. This opening scene from Woodland Grey – Adam Reider’s feature debut which…

Old Windows (2022)

It is 4pm, and Kerrie (Laura Bayston) is closing up for the day at the greasy spoon which was previously run by her father, and before that by his father. This empty, faded establishment is something of a time warp. For it has layers, with old black-and-white pictures and tattered posters alongside newer framed football…