In a post-apocalypse America, a female scavenger is trapped inside her upturned vehicle by a marauding creature. Single-location thriller – with sustained flashbacks – which almost deserves its running time except for a groan-worthy and well-telegraphed climax.
Month: October 2018
Imitation of Life (1959, dir. Douglas Sirk)
An actress finds stage fame against adversity, but is troubled by success. Broadway melodrama typical of its director, dealing with issues of race, gender and of class, while also working to present a star vehicle. Of its time, but fascinating, and hugely enjoyable.
Gothika (2003, dir. Mathieu Kassovitz)
A criminal psychiatrist becomes incarcerated in her own asylum when her husband is murdered. Glossy-but-daft horror with a strong cast working with a weird mash-up of genre influences that don’t really gel here.
Apostle (2018, dir. Gareth Evans)
A kidnapped daughter leads her brother to infiltrate the cult responsible. That sets the scene for an escalating series of events that has more in common with Evans’ VHS2 segment and the game Resident Evil 4. Recommended, but be prepared for madness.
Pyewacket (2017, dir. Adam MacDonald)
A teenager, unable to communicate with her widowed mother, summons a demon to kill her. Lo-fi, deliberate, autumnal horror, with a keen focus on dysfunctional relationships, that finds an interestingly indie way to approach old tropes.
Coco (2017, dir. Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina)
A boy desperate to become a musician finds himself trapped in the afterlife. Sprightly quest narrative drawing on Mexican folklore; superficial similarity to The Book of Life dampens its impact, though this is a decent Pixar effort in its own right.
Red Sparrow (2018, dir. Francis Lawrence)
A Russian ballerina is recruited by her uncle into an elite spy training programme. Good-looking but deathly slow melodrama which pretends the Cold War is ongoing. Plenty of solid character actors with silly accents in European cities doing double-crosses.
Tomb Raider (2018, dir. Roar Uthaug)
A bike courier/heiress follows clues left by her missing father to a forbidden tomb. OK series reboot with plenty of action, chases and the usual set-piece puzzle lair supernatural finale. Nothing new, but competently done, with a good central performance.
Another perspective required? Here’s Xussia’s review.
#Screamers (2016, dir. Dean Matthew Ronalds)
An internet start-up keen for shocking content is sent a series of intriguing scare videos. Found-footage jumpscare horror that works pretty well for its first hour despite unlikeable characters, but which fails to deliver with a workable resolution.
Forty Guns (1957, dir. Sam Fuller)
Three brothers arrive in a Western town dominated by a woman with a gang of forty hired guns. Splendid revision of aspects of the story of the OK Corral gunfight, with a strong female presence and a focus on the possibilities of widescreen visual storytelling.