REVIEW: The Ritual

3 Stars (3 / 5)
Trauma has been at the root of some of the best horror in recent years: Gerald’s GameIt Follows, The Babadook. New British horror The Ritual brings this subtext up above ground while paying homage to a whole coven of folk horror classics.

NETFLIX HORROR DOUBLE BILL: Gerald’s Game & Cult of Chucky

Gerald’s Game

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
2017 may be remembered as the year we remembered how to adapt Stephen King.1

We’ve even figured out how to do a quality ’90s-style Stephen King miniseries; specifically by getting rid of the sprawl.

Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald Burlingame (Bruce Greenwood) take a romantic weekend away in a last-ditch attempt to recover the spark in their marriage.…

REVIEW DOUBLE BILL: American Made & The Limehouse Golem

American Made

4 Stars (4 / 5)
Scarface, 1932 and ‘83. Goodfellas. The Wolf of Wall Street. War Dogs. American Made is just the latest film to take aim at the dark, opportunistic side of the American dream.

“Based on a true story”, as such films generally are, American Made is the story of Barry Seal, a pilot extraordinaire turned TWA lifer, recruited by the CIA in 1978.…

REVIEW: It Comes At Night goes nowhere in particular

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)
Why lay the table for a feast if you’re not going to serve a meal that can complete with the place setting?

It’s this shortcoming that ultimately prevents It Comes At Night from becoming more than just another addition to the, in recent years, surprisingly well-worn genre of post-apocalyptic drama-horror.…

CINEMATIC GRAB-BAG: Beauty And The Beast (2017) & Get Out

Beauty And The Beast (2017)

3 Stars (3 / 5)
Obligatory “tale as old as time” reference.

Disney’s original Beauty And The Beast holds a special place in my heart: it was, according to my parents, the first film I ever saw in the cinema; aged just eighteen months.

CINEMATIC GRAB-BAG: A Cure For Wellness & Patriots Day

A Cure For Wellness
1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

A Cure For Wellness is a film I wish was better.

A psychological horror with grandiose ambitions, it stars Dane DeHaan as Lockhart, a callow young stockbroker with ice-chip eyes dispatched to retrieve his company’s CEO from a remote “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps.…

LFF Days 4-6: The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Voyage of Time, Bleed For This, Personal Shopper, & A Quiet Passion

Sorry for the delay if you’re trying to stay up-to-date on the London Film Festival. I’ve been a bit lax in getting it written up.

Even so, enjoy these capsule reviews of everything I saw over the course of Days 4-6.

Blair Witch gets a bit lost in the woods

3 Stars (3 / 5)

There’s something ironic about having your phone confiscated when going in to see a found footage movie, as I did.

Initially marketed as an original project, The Woods – complete with misleading trailer footage of a very non-Maryland forest – Adam Wingard’s arboreal horror was unexpectedly revealed as a sequel to the genre-launching Blair Witch Project, which famously grossed almost a quarter of a billion off a budget of $60,000 all the way back in 1999.…

Lights Out: too self-illuminating to be truly terrifying

2 Stars (2 / 5)

Is there any fear more primal than that of the dark?

After all, what you can’t see can kill you, especially if the what is Diana, a twitchy, pinhole-eyed wraith with an attraction to the mentally ill.

Based on a genuinely creepy short that went viral back in 2013, Lights Out, the feature début of David F.…

The Witch is a theological nightmare that will get under your skin – and, just possibly, that bit deeper.

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Is there a more potent symbol in American mythology than that of the witch?

Though an export of the old world, the witch is also a symbol of modernity – a frightening sort of  progressiveness. For potions and spells read medicine and psychology; healing and hysteria.…