• The Dorm That Dripped Blood

    The Dorm That Dripped Blood


    A by-the-numbers highly derivative slasher film that continually fails to stand alongside the films that it mimics. There must have been hundreds of slasher films released between 1980 and 1982, the majority of which are utterly indistinguishable from one another, each working from the same sets of rules and borrowed iconography. The only time it might differ is setting, one in a remote lodge, a college, an abandoned lodge or it takes places during Christmas or Halloween. These were films…

  • Candyman



    A pseudo-sequel to the original film, building upon a few original ideas and themes, and developing several of its own. It seems to have taken the subtext, the political core, of the original film and then deconstructed it and rebuilt it in keeping with contemporary political and societal issues. It's clear that this is the element that rings out the loudest, there is little in the way of scares or suspense, plenty of violence - which is occasionally shocking but…

  • The Pit

    The Pit


    An odd film that could have gone to some interesting places and explored some intriguing ideas, but it didn't. An unusual little kid with a silly haircut is picked on and ridiculed by pretty much everyone in his town. Unfortunately we don't ever feel sympathy for him, because he is both weird and annoying. This kid finds a hole, or pit if you like, in the woods in which several four foot trolls live, he starts to kick people that…

  • Greenland



    On paper this film really shouldn't work, a typecast actor in a tired and cliche-ridden spectacle-driven high-concept narrative, and yet somehow it does. It's not all that different to the thousands of other end of the world disaster films, but where it does differ makes all of the difference.

    Surprisingly this film isn't driven by spectacle, or even the promise of spectacle, its a far more grounded and humanistic depiction of mass-scale destruction. Typically these films focus on one family,…

  • Dead of Night

    Dead of Night


    A strange mixture of tones, its both sombre and oddly graphic, with a pointed allegorical core that is handled so well it almost feels larger than the films actual plot. Which I suppose is the intention of any film that wants to convey a message or provoke a reaction, to allow for substance and style to merge and compliment each other. There are times in which the film works with bold iconography, pale faced zombies, yet feels as if it…

  • Nobody



    Like a cross between Falling Down and John Wick. Neatly priming the audience to expect one thing, and then delivering something much larger and much more cathartic. Building up levels of pity and sympathy and then revealing that our hero is already more than equipped to deal with and overcome his problems. For whatever reason audiences seem that much more receptive to weak and unlikely protagonists, perhaps its easier (or quicker) to feel sympathy than it is to admire someone…

  • Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

    Escape Room: Tournament of Champions


    The PG Saw, all the traps and danger without the blood and guts. Surprisingly even with the imposed limitations on on-screen violence, it doesn't feel all that different from one of the Saw films. An ensemble of troubled characters, each struggling to overcome some kind of vice or trauma, fight to escape from a series of complicated and colourful puzzles. Without the exaggerated violence of the Saw films, the film is able to focus on elaborate puzzles and convoluted riddles.…

  • The Ritual

    The Ritual


    The woods have long been a representation of the unconscious. A place in which traumas are buried and fester and grow. A place that provides a collective solitude, offering no option but confrontation of your own worries and fears. The place at the edge of town, dark, unknowable but tempting. The Ritual takes what has so often been the subtext of films, books and folklore and puts it centre-stage. Doing so with clarity and purpose, turning trauma into terror.


  • Army of the Dead

    Army of the Dead


    Unfortunately too often this feels like an unskippable cut scene - it regularly looks impressive but you can't help but feel disconnected from it. The moments sandwiched between the fiery action sequences deliver nothing but heavy exposition and weary character traits - the funny one makes a joke, the dishonest one does something traitorous and the tough guy does something strong and commendable. The plot points seem to exist not to develop characters and their motivations, but to further cement…

  • The Cave

    The Cave


    The trapped underground in a claustrophobic network of tiny tunnels whilst being chased by monsters film that isn't The Descent. Every accolade that you give to The Descent, you cannot give to The Cave. For a film set in such incredible surroundings, with huge sprawling sets, it is somehow utterly devoid of atmosphere, let alone suspense or tension. Rather than allowing the impressive scenery and set design to subtly ramp up the atmosphere, the film is afraid to stand still…

  • Anaconda



    Big money B-movie business. A snobbish English guy, Jennifer Lopez, a Paraguayan snake hunter, a loved up sound guy and Ice Cube have to fight a snake. The snake is considerably larger than all other snakes, it kills not only for food but out of anger and malice, it also roars. Anaconda seems aware that it is pretty farfetched and doesn't ever try to take itself seriously. Luckily neither do the actors involved.

    Jon Voight is far more threatening than…

  • Insidious



    James Wan testing the waters of the haunted house genre, but doing so with the same degree of awareness and confidence that he's exude in The Conjuring films. In fact it goes in so hard with ticking as many generic-boxes and oozing creepy atmospheres that it often feels a little silly/funny. There are several moments, specifically within the final act, in which some refrain would have ensured the film remained tense and eerie, rather than loud and pacy.

    The plot…