The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

The Manchurian Candidate first published (in a slightly different version) by Movie Gazette, 11 December, 2004  John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate (1962), based on Richard Condon’s 1959 novel of the same name, was a bleak, hallucinatory conspiracy thriller about a soldier who returns a decorated hero from the Korean War, but has in fact been…

Final Cut

Final Cut (Coupez!) (2022)

Final Cut (Coupez!) first published by SciFiNow Final Cut (Coupez!) opens with a conflicted young woman (Matilda Lutz) fending off a young man (Finnegan Oldfield) with an axe, while trying to reconcile herself to the fact that he is no longer her boyfriend but a braindead zombie. It is a hackneyed, clichéd scenario, the patchy…

Inside

Inside (2016)

Inside first published by SciFiNow In the opening scene of Inside, pregnant Sarah (Rachel Nichols) is driving in the rain, and chatting with her husband Matt about the name they should give to the child she is carrying in her belly, when the car collides head-on with another, flips spectacularly over, and suddenly Sarah is…

Funny Games US

Funny Games (aka Funny Games US) (2007)

Funny Games (aka Funny Games US) first published by Film4 Summary: Michael Haneke rewinds and replays his games of cinematic violence in this doubly uncompromising English-language remake of his 1997 film.  Review: When directors remake their own films for an English-speaking audience, there tends to be an element of cultural reduction, or ‘dumbing down’ – after all,…

Sematary

Pet Sematary (2019)

Pet Sematary first published by VODzilla.co True story (with an old spoiler or two): in Stephen King’s best-selling novel The Shining (1977), the hotel chef Dick Halloran is summoned from his Florida vacation by the psychic powers that he shares with Danny Torrance, and rescues little Danny and his mother Wendy from terrifying supernatural events…

Rabid

Rabid (2019)

Rabid is up front about what it is. Before we have seen the first frame of narrative, plain yellow text on a black background reveals that what we are watching is “Based on the Original Film by David Cronenberg.” Yet remakes are a complicated business. They can be painstakingly faithful to their model, like Gus…

Suspiria (2018)

Suspiria (2018)

Dance en abyme: Suspiria (2018) and reflections on rebirth Remakes always come with an in-built tension. Cleave too close to the original, and your film seems pointless. Cleave too far from it, and the film barely seems a remake. The ideal is to find a balance, somewhere between these two poles: a film that still…

Slaves

Satan’s Slaves (Pengabdi Setan) (2017)

Satan’s Slaves first published by SciFiNow There is a scene near the beginning of Joko Anwar’s Satan’s Slaves where 22-year-old Rini (Tara Basro), responding to the ringing of a bell, enters a bedroom and walks past a mirror to her ailing mother Mawarni (Ayu Laksmi) whom she is surprised to see out of bed and on…

Black

Black Christmas (2006)

Black Christmas first published by Film4 These days retreads of seventies horror films are a dime a dozen, but so special is the place occupied by Bob Clark’s Black Christmas (1974) in the history of horror that the prospect of bringing it back to life ought to fill any contemporary filmmaker with dread. Thanks to its…

Going

Going In Style (2017)

Going In Style first published by RealCrime Magazine “I don’t want to watch the ending.” “Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.” The speakers are Joe (Michael Caine) and Willie (Morgan Freeman), watching Dog Day Afternoon (1976) on television. Like the characters on the screen before them, they too are planning to stick up a New…

Million

One Million Years B.C. (1966)

One Million Years B.C. first published by Little White Lies, as the 24th instalment of my Cinema Psychotronicum column “This is a story of long, long ago, when the world was just beginning,” states a voiceover at the start of One Million Years B.C.. The initial darkness of the screen is invaded by a series of…