The Ones You Didn't Burn

The Ones You Didn’t Burn (2022)

The Ones You Didn’t Burn had its international première at FrightFest 2022 “I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark, though the witches are all hung.” These words, expressly cited from Henry David Thoreau, appear as text at the beginning of writer/director Elise Finnerty’s feature debut The Ones You Didn’t…

Hellbender

Hellbender (2021) at Fantasia

Hellbender has its world première at Fantasia 2021   Written and directed by John Adams, Zelda Adams and Toby Poser (the aptly named ‘Adams family’), Hellbender begins with overt overkill. Caught squatting around a grisly pile of body parts, a woman (Judy Rosen) with a grotesquely sewn-up mouth is hanged in the woods by a…

Häxan

Häxan (Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages) (1922, 1968)

Häxan (Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages) first published by Film4 in 2007 Summary: Benjamin Christensen’s pioneering 1922 semi-documentary account of ‘witch madness’ just will not stay silent.  Review: The year 1922 was to be a landmark in the history of cinema. Not only would it see the release of both Robert Flaherty’s proto-documentary Nanook of the North…

Pale

The Pale Door (2020)

Sometimes, to understand the great American horror story, you need to go back to the source. Aaron B. Koontz’s The Pale Door begins with a quote from Edgar Allen Poe (which supplies the origin of the film’s title), and with that most familiar of the genre’s formative primal scenes: a little boy in bed, frightened…

Sitter

The Night Sitter (2018)

The Night Sitter first published by SciFiNow The Night Sitter opens with the sound of strange humming – and then we see young ‘Amber’ (Elyse Dufour) driving to a house in a suburban cul de sac for a child-minding job. As Amber carefully discards her cigarette, applies drops to her eyes, and practises introducing herself by…

Suspiria

Suspiria (2018)

Suspiria first published by Little White Lies ‘Simulacrum’ is the single word that elderly psychologist Dr Jozef Klemperer (played by one Lutz Ebersdorf, in fact a pseudonym for Tilda Swinton) writes in his case notes as he listens to an unhinged Patricia Hingle (Chloë Grace Moretz) rave in his apartment cum consulting room. In this…

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…

Dead Night

Dead Night (2017)

Arrow Video FrightFest 2018: Dead Night (2017) Most of the action of Brad Baruh’s Dead Night takes place over one long dark night on the 21st March, 2015 – Spring Break, technically, but still snowy in the Oregon hinterlands. Yet the film opens in the same place on 12 June, 1961, as a couple canoodling…

Bitching

Witching and Bitching (2013)

Witching and Bitching first published by VODzilla.co “His name’s José. José Fernández Costa. He’s divorced. He wants joint custody, but Mum refused, because she says he’s irresponsible.” This is how 10-year-old Sergio (Gabriel Delgado) introduces his father (Hugo Silva) to the other men in the taxi – driver Manuel (Jaime Ordóñez), partner-in-crime Tony (Mario Casas), and…

Cherry Tree (2015)

First published by TwitchFilm Where Irish director David Keating’s previous feature Wake Wood (2011) showed a couple resorting to local supernatural powers to bring back their dead daughter, his latest, Cherry Tree, inverts these ideas, as teenaged Faith (Naomi Battrick) enters a Faustian pact to save her terminally ill father (Sam Hazeldine). The deal is…