The Last Matinee [Al morir la matinée] (2020, dir. Maximiliano Contenti)

A rundown cinema’s staff and patrons are targeted by an eyeball-obsessed killer. Fun Montevideo-set love letter to 70s giallo and 80s slasher pics, as well as a paean to the fleapit. Doesn’t do much more than pay homage, but it’s nevertheless a brisk and stylish ride once it gets going.

Here’s the trailer.

One Shot (2021, dir. James Nunn)

A CIA black site comes under attack: a Navy SEAL team must extract a high-value asset. A sustained firefight shot 1917-style as a single take, cheerily lifting structural elements from Aliens. Bags of well-coordinated action, with star Adkins as committed as ever: an impressive job, with modest resources absolutely maximised.

Here’s the trailer

Hollow City [Na Cidade Vazia] (2004, dir. Maria Joao Ganga)

A displaced orphan escapes into the city: he wants to go home. An Angolan version of Oliver Twist after a fashion, set in the early 1990s in the context of civil war. Offers a ground-level perspective, though struggles at times to balance narrative with didactic elements. Impressive, nevertheless, and worth investigating.

No trailer online, though a subtitled version of the film is here

The Evil (1978, dir. Gus Trikonis)

A therapist and colleagues find that the old house being renovated as a facility has a demonic secret. Straightforward sub-Hell House / Hill House horror, a notch above TV movie production standards, happier with clumsy bodycount than its Twilight Zone-ish payoff. Two great Buddy Joe Hooker fire stunts though.

Here’s the trailer.

Dementer (2021, dir. Chad Crawford Kinkle)

A new care facility worker believes that one of her service users is under malign influence. Impressive low-budget horror with a Dogme-ish aesthetic. Plays its cards a little close about how much is in the protagonist’s mind or otherwise, but this is still exhilarating genre filmmaking. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Antlers (2021, dir. Scott Cooper)

An alcoholic teacher in a run-down former mining community is concerned a student is being abused. Stately wendigo horror with allegorical intent: doesn’t quite link between first peoples’ famine, monsters, and opioid-depressed communities, but there’s a quiet professionalism at work, even if Cooper’s tendency to ponderousness dulls the piece at times.

Here’s another view.

And here’s the trailer.

Malignant (2021, dir. James Wan)

A woman is traumatised by visions of murder linked to her childhood. A schlocky prologue aside, this takes ages to get going, but when it does there’s loads of fun to be had in an Argento / Woo / Raimi mashup kinda way. A surer script and this would be a classic, but there’s still plenty to relish here.

Here’s the trailer.

Halloween Kills (2021, David Gordon Green)

In 2018, Michael’s rampage continues: events have links to forty years earlier. The middle part of the new trilogy suffers from a need to keep its leads safe for part three. As a result, there’s little plot: effective and plentiful kills, fan service, and nods to survivor guilt and mob mentality don’t a complete movie make.

Here’s another view.

And here’s the trailer.

Demonic (2021, dir. Neill Blomkamp)

A woman comes to believe that her murderous comatose estranged mother is the victim of possession. Lacklustre SF horror with some okay if secondhand ideas (flicks like The Lawnmower Man, Brainstorm, and Dreamscape are touchstones). However it’s awkwardly plotted, silly rather than scary, and with a daft-looking demon.

Here’s the trailer.

F9 [AKA F9: The Fast Saga; Fast & Furious 9] (2021, dir. Justin Lin)

The Torettos and friends search for a codebreaking device. More of the increasingly-interchangeable series: 150 minutes of soapy sentimentality, decent stuntwork, and terrible physics-worrying spectacle. Director Lin does what he can with the material tho, and there’s some fun moments from seasoned character actors like Shea Whigham.

Here’s the trailer. And here’s another view.