• The Invisible Man Returns

    The Invisible Man Returns

    ★★★

    Hooptober #29

    In some ways, The Invisible Man Returns is more effective than the original. The horror sequences are a bit more intense, and the plot works well since this is a revenge movie. The big final set piece also works really well. Sadly the film falters a little bit due to predictability. As the titular lead goes through paranoia, meglomania, and madness, we get what we might expect following on from the first film. Vincent Price is quite impressive…

  • The Return of the Living Dead

    The Return of the Living Dead

    ★★★½

    Hooptober #28

    The Return of the Living Dead is a pure comedy, and not really about a return of the living dead. It may be meta and openly acknowledge Night of the Living Dead, but this is a new kind of zombie. They run, talk, and want to eat brains. A lot of The Return of the Living Dead is very uneven. The cast is split in two, one group being a bunch of punks, and the others warehouse workers…

  • The Haunting

    The Haunting

    ★★★★½

    Hooptober #27

    The Haunting is a classic haunted house movie. Layered in ominous narration and terrified facial expressions, the film lingers in a constant sense of unease. Voices and sounds provide most of the scary happenings, as very little is seen and almost everything is implicit. Yet it is creepy and the house feels alive, as if the dead are no longer quiet. The characters are deep, real, and distinct from one another. A lot of The Haunting is conversation,…

  • The Voice of the Moon

    The Voice of the Moon

    ★★½

    The Voice of the Moon is a just a collection of bits. It is incomprehensible and incoherent, feeling more like a mockery of a Fellini film than a genuine one. The film depicts a weird dystopia almost, where the spectacle of life has become a suburban cultural shallowness filled with rock music, beauty pageants, and television. The Voice of the Moon is perhaps about the spiritual poverty of the mass media age. It is a ridiculous comedy that possesses a…

  • 28 Days Later

    28 Days Later

    ★★★★

    Hooptober #25

    28 Days Later reinvigorated the zombie subgenre, but crucially it does what the best zombie films do: finds the monster in humanity itself. We are the real enemy. We go to war and kill each other all the time, even without a zombie outbreak. What even is normality? This is a film of monsters, sure, but the real enemies are other people. To survive, one must become a monster.

    28 Days Later is a great example of an…

  • Crocodile

    Crocodile

    ★★

    Hooptober #26

    How the mighty have fallen! Tobe Hooper has a strange career. He made a rare perfect film, 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Then after that he never made anything greater than just average. Crocodile is a straight-to-video horror flick, with just the standard setup of teens getting killed. It's rubbish. Yet Crocodile isn't really the anomaly. The question isn't how could the director of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre make something so shit. The real question is…

  • Ammonite

    Ammonite

    ★★★½

    You can also read this review at Cineflix Daily.

    Director Francis Lee made a fantastic impression with his feature debut God's Own Country a few years ago. That was a stunning, earthy movie, swept in the Yorkshire countryside and masculine tensions. Acting as both a feminine counterbalance and a continuation of some similar themes, Ammonite is Lee’s second feature, and it doesn’t quite soar as high. It has sincerity and grand ambitions, but it never reaches its stride.

    Ammonite is…

  • The Other Lamb

    The Other Lamb

    ★★★½

    With stunning cinematography and little dialogue, The Other Lamb builds an atmosphere almost entirely through its haunting imagery. This is a film of water and wind. It is filled with beautiful Irish landscapes, perfect for the empty environment the characters inhabit. Civilisation is long gone and they are isolated from the world in their little cult. The Other Lamb is a dark feminist fable, forever headed towards towards a grim ending and unpleasant sequences. Yet mostly it is a film of feeling. It is an example of minimalist filmmaking designed to provoke the senses. It may be slight, but it's very powerful.

    2020 Ranked

  • Braindead

    Braindead

    ★★★★

    Hooptober #23

    Braindead is perfect blood-bathed chaos. It's a hilarious burst of Kiwi humour, filled with super gory horror. It's beautifully done as low budget splatstick. The effects may be cheap and unconvincing, but they certainly push boundaries. This is Romero zombie gore dialled up to 11. The sheer invention and imagination that went into the gory effects gives a good enough reason to watch Braindead. Yet the farcical plot and gross-out humour keeps it all so entertaining. Once the…

  • Night of the Demon

    Night of the Demon

    ★★★½

    Hooptober #24

    Night of the Demon is a well plotted and atmospheric 50s British horror. It is startlingly tense and creepy. While there isn't a lot of depth to the plot itself, it is designed carefully and unfurls its twists in a clever manner. For the era, its special effects are pretty decent as well. Of course, if I'm watching old British horror, my long time followers probably know this means my Dad watched it with me. His verdict: 5/10. As usual, I rate things generously.

  • The Lodge

    The Lodge

    ★★½

    The Lodge is a fairly unremarkable horror effort. It plays into tropes of what I will categorise as high-end horror, by which I mean horror that doesn't want to appear crass, crude, or populist. It wants to be seen as a respectable work that touches on deeper meanings. Thus the pace is slow and heavy themes like divorce, suicide, and religion are explored. Which is fine, but The Lodge is rather a dull work. It feels clean, sterile, and cold,…

  • A Good Marriage

    A Good Marriage

    ★★★★

    As obnoxious as the lead character in A Good Marriage may be, the film is actually a pleasant and charming experience. It's easygoing and a simple comedy-drama. It's a film of marriage fantasies, and trying to find purpose and happiness in life. Through the long conversations, the film presents differing views on marriage, and whether it is desirable or outdated. There's not much to A Good Marriage, but it amused me plenty and the time passed quickly.