• The Suspicious Death of a Minor

    The Suspicious Death of a Minor

    ★★★★

    Martino directing a darkly amusing poliziotteschi like one of his finest gialli, ultimately leads one to believe that perhaps this is the form that he thrives the most in. first half absolutely shreds, home stretch ain’t shabby at all either though the pacing falters slightly as there’s a great deal of (mostly necessary) exposition therein. 

    give or take half a star for the PROFONDO ROSSO rip-off soundtrack. I mean COME ON.

  • Xtro

    Xtro

    ★★★★

    cursed Spielberg familial sci-fi mutilated, left for dead, eventually consumed and then regurgitated until only the essential skeleton remains. and what a skeleton it is; this is so off-the-walls grotesque that it feels possessed. come for the goopy, terrifying extraterrestrials and stay for the veiny hickies, killer imaginary friend clowns, and snake egg swallowing.

    one could argue that this is more of a glorified FX reel than a movie but there’s something compelling and strangely lived-in about its esoteric weirdness,…

  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    ★★★★½

    predictably, Schrader near-effortlessly walks away with what may very well be the most brooding, guttural and empathetic film of the year. genuinely horrifying and steeped in doom yet the last shot, held for the majority of the credits as they elegantly scroll past, is so moving that the waterworks began. absolutely cannot wait to watch this again.

  • Malignant

    Malignant

    ★★★

    really admire this hyper-dorky blockbuster era of Wan’s career and the fact that this is basically him crafting the midnight movie of his wildest (fever) dreams, and although this is largely entertaining and joyously ridiculous it’s also every bit as bloated and tonally noncommittal as the majority of the post-CONJURING offerings. 

    kinda glad this throws so much at the wall in the third act because the previous two had just barely sank their rusty hooks into us. lotsa hearty laughs…

  • Dagon

    Dagon

    ★★★★

    stoned out of its skull, featuring a largely unconvincing Jeffrey Combs imitation of a lead, stretched perhaps a bit too thin, essentially little more than an excuse for Gordon to go as hard as he can with the Lovecraftian grotesqueries which had defined his career up to this point, etc.

    can absolutely see how this wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea but this mad thing is so utterly soaked in barnacles, gills, webbed hands and tentacles that one could swear…

  • Deep Rising

    Deep Rising

    ★★★★

    damn near as close to a great, unabashedly gooey and aquatic monster movie as we’ve seen in our lifetime. genuinely evocative and exhilarating, slipping effortlessly between self-states of Gothic maritime haunted house elegance and action B-movie bombast. so well-paced, sticky and downright ferocious that you easily forget about the dated CGI or just about any other minor indiscretion herein. shit just absolutely rips, plain and simple.

  • Censor

    Censor

    ★★★

    sorta abandons its most interesting threads - would love to see a version of this that’s just snuff film production cult conspiracy, and with the trauma flashbacks dialed back significantly - in service of a fairly obvious Elevated Horror exercise but nevertheless it’s pretty, well directed and performed, not to mention genuinely weird when it wants to be. obviously the film-within-a-film meta stuff should be much more degraded than it is, but we’d say the rest of this is fairly…

  • The Village

    The Village

    ★★★★

    finally have enough galaxy brain within us to ~ really ~ appreciate Shyamalan for the weird, brilliant formalist that he is (at least, in his best and most personal work; along which THE VILLAGE certainly is). this is just front-to-back elegance, save for the Adrien Brody performance and some attempts at comic relief that don’t quite belong in a story so thoroughly somber, and it stirs the soul in a way that is truly pure and unlike so much of…

  • Evil Dead Trap

    Evil Dead Trap

    ★★★★

    a genuinely nasty piece of work - chock full of imaginative gore gags, torture, rape, and even body horror - that also doubles as a brilliant CAT III era answer to the giallo boom, this has some serious self-reflexive voyeur energy that sorta propels it into abstraction from the get-go; so much gnarly and (for better or worse) unshakable imagery throughout. a real treat for those of strong stomaches and general sensory processing; never does this feel even remotely comfortable,…

  • Communion

    Communion

    ★★★★

    absolutely delightful; an unholy fusion of cursed Spielberg-wannabe familial coziness, cosmic mumbo-jumbo and a genuinely unhinged Christopher Walken. doesn’t work in most traditional respects but instead operates on its own totally zonked frequency, which is of course just the greatest thing ever. 

    hysterical and horrifying in (almost) equal measures, as the rubber extraterrestrial fantasies alternate aggressively between terror, sexuality, and amusement to further taint the domestic drama. the catch is that this thing is cursed from frame one, so much so that Walken’s descent into conspiracy paranoia seems like a single fluid gesture. alien spacecraft dance parties seem so much like our jam, to boot.

  • Jakob's Wife

    Jakob's Wife

    ★★★

    in which Stevens displays honest improvement over his equally goopy yet utterly insufferable previous outing; this isn’t anything particularly revelatory and sure, it could be a bit leaner, but it looks good (that set dressing! that ethereal deadly sun-lighting!) and Crampton reliably sinks her teeth into what’s ultimately a weird, welcome vehicle for the starlet. 

    there’s a genuine joy in watching her and Fessenden play off one-another and when this gets messy, it goes hard and hysterical enough to remind…

  • Invasion of the Flesh Hunters

    Invasion of the Flesh Hunters

    ★★★★

    80’s italo-schlock collage. absolutely rips in spite of the constant, often aggressive hopping between genres and influences (not to mention that weird pedo subplot, which obviously this could do without); the set pieces really work when and where it counts, and the whole thing is shot in that same distinguished psych-out style that graces the best trash of its era. can’t complain too much.