Jiu Jitsu (2020, dir. Dimitri Logothetis)

An amnesic warrior monk is Earth’s chosen defender against an alien fighter. Ambitious though slightly tatty would-be martial comic-book arts epic. Plenty of fights (though little actual jiu jitsu) and some guest stars (Cage, Grillo, Jaa) in supporting roles: it’s basically a low-budget riff on Predator, though.

Here’s the trailer.

What Lies Below (2020, Dir. Braden R. Duemmler)

Back from summer camp, a girl finds her mother has a perfect new boyfriend, who is probably just a little too interested in the denizens of the lake by which they live. Creepy, atmospheric and a little bit squishy. Or fishy. Take your pick.

Want another take? Here’s Xussia’s review and here’s the trailer:

Hunted (2020, dir. Vincent Paronnaud)

A female executive is kidnapped by two men: she escapes and a pursuit begins. Thrilling, fascinating riff on Red Riding Hood with folk horror and mythic as well as more straightforward night-from-hell elements. Well-sustained and managed throughout, with a handful of moments of genius. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Sputnik (2020, dir. Egor Abramenko)

1983: a Soviet cosmonaut returns to Earth harbouring a parasite. Very watchable Alien/Quatermass Experiment hybrid, balancing SF horror with a developing romance and a modernist visual sensibility. Doesn’t add much to what we’ve seen before, perhaps, but distinctive in feel and look nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Downrange (2017, dir. Ryuhei Kitamura)

A carload of young adults are trapped on a deserted road by a sniper. Excellent and well-sustained horror/thriller hybrid. Act three is slightly fudged, but overall this is an impressive bit of genre filmmaking that plays fair, maximises the potential of its premise, and delivers in gore and thrills terms. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

The Yakuza (1974, dir. Sydney Pollack)

A former detective returns to Japan from the US: an old friend’s daughter under threat. Neither quite a neo-noir, an action thriller or a study of overseas crime syndicates, The Yakuza tries to be all three with variable results. Slow, but interesting, with flashes of a darker, better, and more violent film lurking.

Here’s the trailer.

Ghost Story (1981, dir. John Irvin)

Four old men, and the sons of one of their number, are each haunted by a vengeful spirit. Straightforward (and not that scary) adaptation of the Peter Straub novel: it doesn’t gel as a whole, but there are effective sequences and some lovely moments, both in production and performance terms.

Here’s the trailer.

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008, dir. Scott Derrickson)

An extraterrestrial ambassador arrives on Earth to determine humanity’s fate. Awkward remake of the 1950s SF classic which struggles to update Cold War paranoia with contemporary environmental threats. An over-reliance on CG spectacle and contrived family drama doesn’t help. Star Reeves is good, though.

Here’s the trailer.

Airplane! [AKA Flying High] (1980, dir. Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker & David Zucker)

An ex-pilot with PTSD has to take control of a passenger jet when its crew are struck by food poisoning. Still-dazzling deadpan parody of 1970s disaster movies (and Zero Hour before them). Some gags and attitudes have dated, but the film’s commitment to strong jokes per minute astonishes. A weak sequel followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Christmas Eve (2015, dir. Mitch Davis)

After an accident, six New York elevators halt: their occupants are forced to know each other – and themselves – better. Contrived and clumsy festive ensemble movie: an unsubtle Christian message delivered via what’s meant to be Richard Curtis-style whimsy. Some moments work nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.