Three (2023)

William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973) may be set mostly in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., in the (political) heart of America, but it opens in northern Iraq, where the priest Lankester Merrin (Max von Sydow) sees the statue of an ancient demonic evil being unearthed. Some four decades later, Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us From Evil (2014), though…


Shelter (aka 6 Souls) (2010)

Shelter first published by Sight & Sound, June 2010 Review: “Isn’t it possible that what you’re looking at is what you’re actually seeing?” With this line, delivered by open-minded but faithless psychiatrist Dr Harding (Jeffrey DeMunn) to his more doctrinaire psychiatrist daughter Dr Cara Jessup (Julianne Moore), Shelter (aka 6 Souls) sets out its reflexive stall….

When Evil Lurks

When Evil Lurks (Cuando acecha la maldad) (2023)

When Evil Lurks (Cuando acecha la maldad) seen at the Imagine Fantastic Film Festival 2023 “The rotten must be removed before it rots the rest,” says Armando Ruiz (Luis Ziembrowski) near the beginning of Demián Rugna’s When Evil Lurks (Cuando acecha la maldad).  It is a principle that will be familiar to farmers everywhere, including…

Sorry About The Demon

Sorry About The Demon (2022)

Sorry About The Demon first published by When writer/director Emily Hagins presented the world première of My Sucky Teen Romance (2011) at FrightFest, she was barely old enough to attend the festival – but extraordinarily it was not her first or even second feature. In fact she debuted with Pathogen (2006) when she was…

Mother May I

Mother, May I? (2023)

Mother, May I? opens, as indeed it closes, with a view of the countryside seen through a window – an idyllic image of nature that conceals a human drama just beyond its frame. For the camera slowly pulls back to reveal the curling smoke of a lit cigarette balanced on an ashtray, and then an…


Shock (1977)

Shock first published by Little White Lies, as entry 146 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Shock opens with handheld footage of a house that has clearly been long uninhabited, even as removalists arrive with a family’s crates of belongings. This previously empty house is about to become a home again, at least temporarily, for Dora…

The Medium

The Medium (2021)

The Medium first published by “You might have watched too much TV,” Nim (Sawanee Utoomma) tells an unseen film crew. What we are watching purports to be footage that this crew has shot making their documentary Shaman Bloodline – and Nim is their focus because, although she is an ordinary-seeming seamstress in a small…

Mean Spirited

Mean Spirited (2022)

Mean Spirited had its world première at FrightFest 2022 On 6 October, 1999, Andy is behind the camera filming his best friend Bryce (Simon Val) door-knocking and pranking a cantankerous old man (Neville Archambault); Andy then continues filming as the man angrily drags Bryce into his home. This opening sequence in Jeff Ryan’s Mean Spirited…


Demonic (2021)

Demonic first published by Sight & Sound, October 2021 Synopsis: Somewhere in North America, today. Carly is drawn into an experimental attempt to make contact in a virtual space with her mass-murdering mother Angela, now in a coma. Yet there is something else inside, desperate to escape, and a team of Vatican demon hunters is…

Blind Beast

Blind Beast (Mōjū) (1969)

Blind Beast (Mōjū) first published by Little White Lies, as the 134th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column “My name is Aki Shima,” Aki (Mako Midori) says in voiceover at the beginning of Blind Beast (Mōjū). “I was never very popular as a fashion model.” This narration is accompanied by black-and-white images of Aki taken…