• It Comes at Night

    It Comes at Night

    ★★★

    It’s inevitable to draw parallels between It Comes at Night and the pandemic, but rather than masks and restrictions, it’s the group dynamics that are the most interesting to compare. Now, I don’t know if I’ve been especially lucky in my little bubble, but the kind of antagonism towards your neighbor seen in Trey Edward Shults felt foreign to me. If anything, the eruption of the pandemic was a time of solidarity and hands being reached out to help each…

  • Arachnophobia

    Arachnophobia

    ★★★

    When I think about formative films from my adolescence, the family’s VHS-copy of Arachnophobia is one of the strongest examples of it. Not that I remembered much from it, just being freaked out about it (and John Goodman’s outfit) so I figured now is a good time to confront my childhood fears and see how the traumatizing horror of this arach-feast holds up.

    The answer is the reassuring, albeit boring one: pretty well. A sluggish start suffers from an overlong…

  • Rift

    Rift

    ★★★★

    I do have my gripes with the term elevated horror but regardless of what you’d call this brand of… Arthouse horror, it’s a kind of film that comes with a delicate balance. In some modern horror-films I can’t help but feel the horror-elements being a bit too toned down in favor of the emotional storytelling. This is where Iceland’s Rökkur (Rift) enters the picture, a film with an incredibly strong genre-blend, functioning as a drama that still isn’t afraid of…

  • Just Before Dawn

    Just Before Dawn

    ★★★

    Basically nothing in Just Before Dawn looks real. Its cinematography is over-exposed so to make every white t-shirt or waterfall blind the viewer, while also making the look feel dim and murky. On the one hand, this is not technically good, with a stilted amateurish look yet the visual style is so penetrating that it lends a certain dream-like feel to the film. It’s so thin in its outlines which makes for a hazy mood, but also undermines the potential…

  • Good Manners

    Good Manners

    ★★★

    While it’s easy to categorize As Boas Maneiras (Good Manners) as a Brasilian, lesbian werewolf-musical it’s also quite a hard film to get a grasp on as it’s so constantly moving and shedding its own thematic skin. That’s not necessarily bad; directing duo Rojas and Dutra mines a thrilling mystique from this unpredictability, as the film floats from tender love to a suggestive child-birth and a transgressive parenthood for some great variation. It’s just that in the midst of all…

  • J.D.'s Revenge

    J.D.'s Revenge

    ★★★

    As I mentioned in my review of The Hand, the idea of being controlled by powers beyond your own mind and body is a terrifying one. Glynn Turman has the unfortunate bad luck of getting possessed by a gangster from the 40s and while there’s not much of the usual gangster-mannerisms to be found, J.D.’s Revenge mines the idea a decent amount. It’s a very expressive film, from Louis Gossett Jr.’s passionate pastor to Turman’s possession and Robert Prince’s intense…

  • The Hand

    The Hand

    ★★

    Well, there’s plenty of hand here, that’s for sure.

    Did Michael Caine not get good until he became super-old? As the leading man of Oliver Stone’s severed-horror The Hand he’s so stilted and pale for the most part and laughably over-the-top too seldom. Credit where it’s due, the film dedicates itself to the premise and there’s some spectacular gore as a blood-drenched Caine loses his hand. The film doesn’t exactly hide the fact that there’s a murderous hand on the…

  • Black Mirror: Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too

    Black Mirror: Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too

    ★★½

    There’s two stories at play in Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too and neither of them are given enough room. A fractured family relationship, forced to fight for room with a plot about a trapped popstar, a koncept big enough to be a whole feature in and of itself.

    As for the portrait of a futuristic music-industry, I’m of two minds about it. There’s certainly some realistic merit in the trapped pop-star, suffocated by the pressure of a glossy persona and…

  • In the Earth

    In the Earth

    ★★★½

    One thing the pandemic and home-staying has meant for me, is more time spent in the forest. I have the privilege of living close to a vast forest just waiting to be explored. Instead of making an isolated film, Ben Wheatley’s approach to In the Earth is to move outwards, into the endless beautiful nature. Set in a small patch of forest, the film musters all of its limited resources to make sure the setting achieves the maximum effect of…

  • Spiral: From the Book of Saw

    Spiral: From the Book of Saw

    ★★½

    Although I’ve found (guilty?) pleasure in the Saw-franchise in the past, I think less and less of it for each passing year and much of it thanks to the later sequels slamming it down completely into the ground. The 2017-resurrection didn’t do anything but give a fresher coat of paint to the series, but the news about… Chris Rock making a new film was admittedly wacky enough to spark some curiosity again.

    Rock’s ambitions are admirable; scaling the film back…

  • Bridgend

    Bridgend

    ★★★

    Although not really a horror-film, Bridgend is a dark drama draped in so much ominous feeling right from the start. The misty mountains around the small town, so haunting you’d almost expect Angelo Badalamenti’s melodies to pop up, the careful pacing accentuating the heavy sorrow over the connected suicides and a hypnotic strength as the frustrated small-town-energy explodes in a cluster of noise in the middle of the night.

    In the midst of all this is Sara (Hanna Murray), adjusting…

  • Rasputin: The Mad Monk

    Rasputin: The Mad Monk

    ★★½

    Grigori Rasputin, one of the most mythical characters in the past few centuries of history, with his magical aura and sinister influence (not to mention his legendary penis) gets the Hammer-treatment. Unfortunately, he’s turned into a partying, dancing drunk. Which I guess could be part of the idea here, to show what a bumbling lunatic Rasputin was and Christopher Lee has a lot of fun playing him, but it doesn’t make for much of a character-drama. Rasputin is neither sympathetic…