Words

REVIEW: Prey (2019)

dir. Franck Khalfoun. A Polaroid camera clicks and whirrs, the developing photos showing a clergyman, his wife and young daughter setting up home and church on an island near Malaysia. The final photo shows the church burning, posing a central mystery: what happened on this island? Best known for his 2012 remake of Maniac, directorContinue reading “REVIEW: Prey (2019)”

ANALYSIS: “Baby-dook-dook…”: THE BABADOOK and Postpartum Depression

This thing had spent months inside of me, underneath my skin, parasitically living off me, and in a fit of guttural screams, blood and body parts it burst forth into this world. It may have left my body, but it won’t leave me, following me around wherever I go. It still clings to me, evenContinue reading “ANALYSIS: “Baby-dook-dook…”: THE BABADOOK and Postpartum Depression”

HITCHCOCK’S WOMEN: The World Beyond the Window – Lisa Fremont in REAR WINDOW (1954) – PART I

Rebecca McCallum continues her series of deep dives into the leading ladies in the films of Alfred Hitchcock. On the surface, Rear Window (based on short story It Had to be Murder by Cornell Woolrich) appears to be a light-hearted tale of crime and mystery mixed with a frothy and charming romance. However, underneath lurksContinue reading “HITCHCOCK’S WOMEN: The World Beyond the Window – Lisa Fremont in REAR WINDOW (1954) – PART I”

REVIEW: Son (2021)

dir. Ivan Kavanagh. Laura (Andi Matichak) drives through the sleeting rain, the religious zeal of radio preachers merging with the cacophonous storm outside. Seeking shelter at a diner she clutches her pregnant belly, wearing only a dirtied night dress, her bare feet filthy. Unseen, two men dressed in black enter, see her, and slip wordlesslyContinue reading “REVIEW: Son (2021)”

REVIEW: My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To (2020)

dir. Jonathan Cuartas. Siblings Dwight (Patrick Fugit) and Jessie (Ingrid Sophie Schram) are trying to make ends meet: they work long hours in menial jobs, eat TV dinners and spend their evenings looking after their sickly, housebound brother Thomas (Owen Campbell). Like many carers, Dwight and Jessie will do anything to improve their loved one’sContinue reading “REVIEW: My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To (2020)”

ANALYSIS: “Fatality!” MORTAL KOMBAT and the history of video game violence

With Mortal Kombat (2021) out now on Blu-ray and digital, Lindsay Dawson looks back nearly 30 years to the fantasy fighter that influenced every game since, and how the industry went from a niche market that made toys for kids to one of worldwide respect. The original concept for Mortal Kombat was to create aContinue reading “ANALYSIS: “Fatality!” MORTAL KOMBAT and the history of video game violence”

REVIEW: Lapsis (2020)

dir. Noah Hutton. Stories centred on the anxiety of computer networks have been a part of the sci-fi landscape since the 1980s, with works like William Gibson’s cyberpunk-noir novel Neuromancer exploring the sinister side of a more globally connected world. As the internet became a tangible reality in the 90s techno-thrillers emerged as a cinematicContinue reading “REVIEW: Lapsis (2020)”

HITCHCOCK’S WOMEN: A Woman with Broken Wings – Melanie Daniels in THE BIRDS (1963) – PART II

Continuing our Hitchcock’s Women series, Rebecca McCallum concludes her two-part analysis of Melanie Daniels in The Birds. The Boy Is Mine: Melanie and Annie School teacher Annie, whom Melanie both confides in and has conflict with throughout the film, stands in contrast to her character but also serves as a potential forecast of the lifeContinue reading “HITCHCOCK’S WOMEN: A Woman with Broken Wings – Melanie Daniels in THE BIRDS (1963) – PART II”

REVIEW: Fear Street Part 1 – 1994 (2021)

dir. Leigh Janiak. Horror traditions always come in cycles, reflecting and shaping cinematic tastes through different ghoulish lenses. And whilst it’s been a while since we had a slasher revival – arguably not since 1996’s Scream rebooted the sub-genre with its cine-literate smarts – there has been an ongoing resurgence in 80s-baiting material which simultaneouslyContinue reading “REVIEW: Fear Street Part 1 – 1994 (2021)”

HITCHCOCK’S WOMEN: A Woman with Broken Wings – Melanie Daniels in THE BIRDS (1963) – PART I

Whilst The Birds is often lauded for its technical feats and set pieces involving flocks of winged assailants, underneath all this Hitchcock offers another complex character study, this time of Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), a San Francisco socialite who undergoes a monumental journey over the course of the film. We see her begin as aContinue reading “HITCHCOCK’S WOMEN: A Woman with Broken Wings – Melanie Daniels in THE BIRDS (1963) – PART I”

ANALYSIS: Masculinity and Monstrous Fatherhood in THE SHINING

“Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.” Stephen King, The Shining When thinking of bad fathers, we might immediately recall the lunacy of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining (1980): breaking through the door with his axe, shouting “Here’s Johnny”Continue reading “ANALYSIS: Masculinity and Monstrous Fatherhood in THE SHINING”

INTERVIEW: Jill Gevargizian (director, THE STYLIST)

“I don’t want everyone to be sad, but I do love tragic stories: they’re beautiful in some crazy way.” Spoilers A breakout hit on 2020’s festival circuit, Jill Gevargizian’s The Stylist premiered on Arrow Player earlier this year and has now received a limited edition Blu-ray release. Here we sit down with the director toContinue reading “INTERVIEW: Jill Gevargizian (director, THE STYLIST)”

HITCHCOCK’S WOMEN: Constructing and Resurrecting the Ideal Woman – A Portrait of Judy Barton in VERTIGO (1958) – PART II

Concluding her two-part analysis, Rebecca McCallum continues her investigation into the representation of gender in Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Power and Possession Scottie believes he is following Madeline without her knowledge, but in actual fact she is leading him, albeit under the direction of Elster. On one occasion he follows her to a graveyard, linking Judy toContinue reading “HITCHCOCK’S WOMEN: Constructing and Resurrecting the Ideal Woman – A Portrait of Judy Barton in VERTIGO (1958) – PART II”

REVIEW: A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

dir. John Krasinski. As with so many 2020 releases, A Quiet Place Part II was initially postponed ‘for the foreseeable future’: in contrast however to other projects that found a home on VOD director Krasinski assured audiences that the follow-up to his 2018 shocker would eventually welcome audiences back to theatres (though unbeknownst to himContinue reading “REVIEW: A Quiet Place Part II (2020)”

HITCHCOCK’S WOMEN: Constructing and Resurrecting the Ideal Woman – A Portrait of Judy Barton in VERTIGO (1958) – PART I

In the first of a new regular series Rebecca McCallum investigates gender in the films of Alfred Hitchcock, beginning with a two-part analysis of the incomparable Vertigo. A psychological vortex with no resolution, Vertigo is an intoxicating exploration of love, obsession and the unobtainable. Set amongst the cultural landmarks of San Francisco, retired detective ScottieContinue reading “HITCHCOCK’S WOMEN: Constructing and Resurrecting the Ideal Woman – A Portrait of Judy Barton in VERTIGO (1958) – PART I”

INTERVIEW: Tyler Savage, director STALKER (2020)

“People have always found ways to reinvent or misrepresent themselves, but social media has provided a completely unprecedented opportunity to manipulate reality” A standout hit of FrightFest 2020, Blinders – now retitled Stalker and available on VOD – wowed audiences with its slick dissection of Insta-culture and how online life can distract from reality, leavingContinue reading “INTERVIEW: Tyler Savage, director STALKER (2020)”

ANALYSIS: Are we ready to play another game? Yes Gore-No?

Five strangers sealed in a filthy bedroom. The voice from a tape recorder explains their predicament and what they must do to survive. A dilapidated bed is thrown aside to reveal a grave of spent, broken syringes. The key is somewhere inside. One of their number, Amanda, is mercilessly hauled into the shards and startsContinue reading “ANALYSIS: Are we ready to play another game? Yes Gore-No?”

ANALYSIS: Exploitation vs. Empowerment in I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) and PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (2020)

Please note: This analysis contains spoilers from the beginning. Trigger warning for sexual abuse and rape. As the jarring string quartet soars, adding a gut-wrenching tonality to Britney Spears’ Toxic, Cassie’s high-shine crimson heels strut towards the cabin door: but the audience’s heart is heavy, bound by lead chains in anticipation of what is aboutContinue reading “ANALYSIS: Exploitation vs. Empowerment in I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) and PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (2020)”

REVIEW: F.E.A.R. – Forget Everything And Run (2021)

dir. Geoff Reisner and Jason Tobias. Following a global pandemic one family are left sheltering in an isolated farmhouse. But when a group of violent marauders arrive to loot the building they discover they’re hiding a lot more than canned goods and paracetamol. The zombie film has taken on many guises in its 90-year history,Continue reading “REVIEW: F.E.A.R. – Forget Everything And Run (2021)”

INTERVIEW: Adam Stovall, writer / director A GHOST WAITS (2020)

“You have to have faith that you’re not alone in this world, and that if you want to see something someone else wants to see it too” SPOILERS AND SUICIDE THEME Adam Stovall has had an incredible year. After the world premiere of A Ghost Waits in February 2020 at FrightFest Glasgow his feature debutContinue reading “INTERVIEW: Adam Stovall, writer / director A GHOST WAITS (2020)”

REVIEW: Laddie – The Man Behind The Movies (2017)

dir. Amanda Ladd-Jones. As the opening montage to this intimate yet sweeping doc proves not everyone has heard of “Alan Ladd Jr”, but cinema – both Western and World – owes him an unrepayable debt. From awards heavy-weights Chariots of Fire and Braveheart to genre classics Alien, Blade Runner, The Omen and a little filmContinue reading “REVIEW: Laddie – The Man Behind The Movies (2017)”

REVIEW: Synchronic (2019)

dir. Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead. When it comes to low-budget / high-concept sci-fi Benson and Moorhead are the undisputed wunderkind of genre indies. With their triptych of Resolution (2012), Spring (2014) and The Endless (2017) they’re essentially cinematic cousins to Christopher Nolan: these are the kind of ideas-heavy, time-shuffling head-scratchers that the Tenet-helmer mightContinue reading “REVIEW: Synchronic (2019)”

REVIEW: The Woman With Leopard Shoes (2020)

dir. Alexis Bruchon. When hired by an anonymous woman a thief (Paul Bruchon, brother of director Alexis) breaks into a country villa to steal a box of incriminating evidence. But when the homeowner returns early – along with guests – the thief finds himself forced into hiding, desperately trying to escape whilst piecing together whyContinue reading “REVIEW: The Woman With Leopard Shoes (2020)”

REVIEW: The Old Ways (2020)

dir. Christopher Alender. After venturing into a ‘cursed’ cave in the jungle of Veracruz, reporter Cristina (Brigitte Kali Canales) finds herself abducted by superstitious locals who believe she’s possessed by a demon. Her rational pleas are ignored by all – including her cousin Miranda (Andrea Cortés) – and despite her protests they begin an increasinglyContinue reading “REVIEW: The Old Ways (2020)”

INTERVIEW: Adam Egypt Mortimer, writer/director ARCHENEMY

“We just need empathy: that’s what movies are for” From his debut Some Kind Of Hate through to 2019’s Daniel Isn’t Real director Adam Egypt Mortimer has established himself as a leading voice in genre cinema for thought-provoking representations of mental ill health. Now he’s back to challenge audiences again with superhero crime flick Archenemy,Continue reading “INTERVIEW: Adam Egypt Mortimer, writer/director ARCHENEMY”

ANALYSIS: “It makes her do certain things. Predator things”: Gender and Violence in POSSESSOR (2020)

Spoilers In the opening moments of Possessor – Brandon Cronenberg’s long awaited sophomore body horror – a woman walks into an upper-class soirée and brutally murders a man with a knife, stabbing him repeatedly in the throat and torso until the floor runs red with gore. It soon becomes apparent that this woman is quiteContinue reading “ANALYSIS: “It makes her do certain things. Predator things”: Gender and Violence in POSSESSOR (2020)”

INTERVIEW: Mark Towns, Editor SAINT MAUD; CENSOR

“Editors are literally the invisible man: the audience never know what was scripted and was created in the cutting room” Spoilers for SAINT MAUD Mark Towns knows a thing or two about crafting the perfect scare: after racking up awards for his documentary work, he’s gone on to cut together some of the most celebratedContinue reading “INTERVIEW: Mark Towns, Editor SAINT MAUD; CENSOR”

INTERVIEW: Graham Hughes, writer/director DEATH OF A VLOGGER

“Once you can no longer tell the difference between truth and reality, atrocities can be committed” A breakout hit at FrightFest 2019, indie-shocker Death of a Vlogger has rapidly gained a cult following among genre fans for mixing genuine scares with incisive social commentary. Here we sit down with multi-hyphenate writer-director-editor-star Graham Hughes to unpackContinue reading “INTERVIEW: Graham Hughes, writer/director DEATH OF A VLOGGER”

INTERVIEW: Sam Ashurst, writer / director, A LITTLE MORE FLESH

I describe my stuff as being arthouse meets grindhouse. With his big beard, slicked back hair, dark tee and matching suit jacket, Sam Ashurst looks every inch the cult leader, an impression bolstered as he starts to speak. “I’m definitely a weirdo,” he smiles, staring down the barrel of the webcam; “I’m trying to useContinue reading “INTERVIEW: Sam Ashurst, writer / director, A LITTLE MORE FLESH”

REVIEW: Embryo (2020)

dir. Patricio Valladares. Opening with a stunning time-lapse of the night sky spinning overhead, radio chatter informs us that two tourists are missing and a suspicious couple are wanted in connection with their disappearance. The scene cuts to shaky-cam found footage of a woman apparently fleeing, before cutting again to intertitles explaining that Snowdevil MountainContinue reading “REVIEW: Embryo (2020)”

REVIEW: Woman of the Photographs (2020)

dir. Takeshi Kushida. Kai (Hideki Nagai) spends his days alone: between retouching photos for fretful female clients, attending the local all-male bath-house and evening meals for one (shared with his pet preying mantis), his is a solitary existence. But when he encounters injured influencer Kyoko (Itsuki Otaki) on a woodland walk his cloistered life isContinue reading “REVIEW: Woman of the Photographs (2020)”

REVIEW: Dead (2020)

dir. Hayden J. Weal. Marbles (Thomas Sainsbury) is a stoner medium: with a concoction of weed and his dad’s cancer meds he can see ghosts, and though this normally allows him to bring comfort to the bereaved and score a few bucks on the side, things go awry when recently-killed cop Tagg (director Weal) tracksContinue reading “REVIEW: Dead (2020)”

REVIEW: Stranger (2019)

dir. Dmitriy Tomashpolskiy. When a team of synchronised swimmers go missing from their pool mid-performance, Inspector Gluhovsky (Anastasiya Yevtushenko) begins an investigation to try and uncover their fate. It’s a thrilling setup for Tomashpolskiy’s weirdly elliptic, genre-bending head trip which, in less ambitious hands, could have been a straight-laced procedural. Instead things unfold as ifContinue reading “REVIEW: Stranger (2019)”

REVIEW: Held (2020)

dir. Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing. When Emma (Jilly Awbrey) and Henry Barrett (Bart Johnson) check into a secluded getaway for some much needed marriage time, it’s clear that not all is well. Aside from the creepy taxi driver who drops Emma off and the mysterious space beneath the kitchen units, there’s also a distanceContinue reading “REVIEW: Held (2020)”

REVIEW: Nail In The Coffin – The Fall and Rise of Vampiro (2019)

dir. Michael Paszt. Back in the 90’s, Canadian bruiser Ian Hodgkinson arrived in Mexico City not speaking a word of Spanish and quickly established himself as an unlikely legend in Lucha Libre Mexican Wrestling. Painted in goth makeup and going by the name “Vampiro”, his is an incredible story, in the truest sense: both remarkable inContinue reading “REVIEW: Nail In The Coffin – The Fall and Rise of Vampiro (2019)”

REVIEW: Relic (2020)

dir. Natalie Erika James. Following the disappearance of her elderly mother, Kay (Emily Mortimer) returns to the family home with daughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) to search for her. But when Edna reappears, disorientated and reluctant- or unable – to disclose where she’s been, the multi-generational triptych are left circling each other with growing distrust asContinue reading “REVIEW: Relic (2020)”

INTERVIEW: Matt Glasby, author of “The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film”

Author Matt Glasby knows his horror. An international film journo with credits at Total Film, GQ and SFX, he’s spent plenty of time in the dark, and – with the publication of his new tome “The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film” – it shows. Here we sit down to discuss allContinue reading “INTERVIEW: Matt Glasby, author of “The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film””

REVIEW: AV The Hunt (2020) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition

dir. Emre Akay. In our hellish political landscape it is often remarked upon how Hulu’s adaption of The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-) is less dystopia, more current affairs. Perhaps not surprising, as Atwood herself confirmed that her novel was based on historical real-life events such as the Salem witch trials. So too here director Akay takesContinue reading “REVIEW: AV The Hunt (2020) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition”

REVIEW: Dark Stories (2019) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition

dir. François Descraques & Guillaume Lubrano. Taken hostage by a homicidal doll, Christine (Kristanna Loken) tries to bide her time by telling scary stories. As a set up for a horror anthology it’s a cracker, the framing device as freaky as the five tales within, whilst directors Descraques and Lubrano ensure a good spread ofContinue reading “REVIEW: Dark Stories (2019) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition”

REVIEW: Two Heads Creek (2019) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition

dir. Jesse O’Brien. Opening in a British council estate, the signs of ugly nationalism are immediately evident. From St George flags to flyers exhorting “Immigrants Go Home” it’s an amped up tableaux emblematic of the toxicity that continues to blight our national discourse. In the middle of this maelstrom of hate is Norman (Jordan Waller),Continue reading “REVIEW: Two Heads Creek (2019) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition”

REVIEW: The Swerve (2018) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition

dir. Dean Kapsalis. Holly (Azura Skye) is alone. Not physically you understand, since she shares a home with her selfish husband and their mono-syllabic children, but in all the ways that matter. Seen only in terms of social capital by those around her (a wife to share a bed; a mother to make the meals)Continue reading “REVIEW: The Swerve (2018) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition”

REVIEW: Aquaslash (2019) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition

dir. Renaud Gauthier. Aquaslash is a film built around a singular image: a water slide with blades built in that shred the riders like some fancy kitchen gadget dicing root vegetables. So focused is director Renaud Gauthier on this – admittedly – compelling concept that the rest of the film only functions as a preludeContinue reading “REVIEW: Aquaslash (2019) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition”

REVIEW: Dark Place (2019) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition

dir. Kodie Bedford, Liam Phillips, Robert Braslin, Perun Bonser & Bjorn Stewart. Anthology films tend to hit and miss, but this collection – focusing on the post-colonial experiences of Aboriginal Australians – is all killer, no filler. Unified under a single thematic banner the stories branch off into numerous sub-genres, from revenger to supernatural andContinue reading “REVIEW: Dark Place (2019) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition”

REVIEW: They’re Outside (2020) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition

dir. Sam Casserly & Airell Anthony Hayles. YouTube psychologist Max Spencer (Tom Wheatley) specialises in “fixing” broken people. Though derided by professionals in his field, this does little to dissuade his self-confidence as he promotes his invasive brand of pop miracle cures in search of an ever greater number of clicks. The most recent vulnerableContinue reading “REVIEW: They’re Outside (2020) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition”

REVIEW: The Horror Crowd (2020) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition

dir. Ruben Pla. In many ways The Horror Crowd is the perfect festival film: not because it’s flawless or breaks new ground but because it so accurately captures the camaraderie of the horror community it’s guaranteed to invoke a glow of affection in any genre fan, particularly at a time when many will be seeingContinue reading “REVIEW: The Horror Crowd (2020) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition”


Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: