The Devil All The Time (2020, dir. Antonio Campos)

An Ohio family is linked in different ways with a series of tragedies and crimes. Splendid adaptation of the Donald Ray Pollock novel; a brooding back country gothic noir meditating on faith and violence. Not for everyone, but there’s strong work from all concerned here. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Jaws (1975, dir. Steven Spielberg)

A coastal resort is threatened by a predatory great white shark. Peerless proto-blockbuster and inventor of the summer event movie, Jaws retains its ability to thrill and impress. Character, action, location shooting, direction and a semi-improvised approach to dialogue are counterpointed by a terrific score. Sequels of diminishing quality followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem [AKA AVPR: Aliens vs Predator 2 – Requiem] (2007, dir. The Brothers Strause)

A Predator attempts to clear an alien infestation of a Colorado town. Banal direct sequel to Alien vs. Predator, oddly combining high-school slasher tropes with full-on monster mayhem. Dumb, visually murky and nigh plotless, though a couple of transgressive ideas lurk. A franchise low.

Here’s the trailer.

Alien vs. Predator [AKA AvP: Alien vs. Predator] (2004, dir. Paul WS Anderson)

A mysterious Antarctic pyramid structure is linked to ancient alien hunting rites. Comic book-style franchise mashup with the focus on action and startling images rather than on SF horror. Not for purists, but well-resourced entertainment nevertheless with a stirring lead and great casting in depth.

Here’s the trailer.

Don’t Let Go (2019, dir. Jacob Aaron Estes)

A detective races to save the life again of his niece, who is contacting him through time from before her recent murder. Odd timeslip procedural (a cousin to Deja Vu) that succeeds if you go with its premise. Excellent performances and committed direction help no end.

Here’s the trailer.

#Alive [AKA #Saraitda] (2020, dir. Cho-Il Hyung)

A gamer teen is stranded in their high-rise apartment during a zombie outbreak. Clever, effective z-movie, adept at finding new ways to explore the sub-genre’s possibilities, and with some telling points to make about technology in everyday life. No game-changer, but offers definite evidence of afterlife in the undead.

Here’s the trailer:

James vs. His Future Self (2019, dir. Jeremy LaLonde)

A socially-awkward physicist is visited by a future version of himself. Smart little romantic comedy with SF elements. Crucially, it doesn’t overplay the time travel elements, but uses them to tell a straightforward but charming story. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer:

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020, dir. McG [Joseph McGinty])

Two years after the traumatic events of the first film, Judah finds himself still struggling to be believed. Zippy sequel that expands on, rather than rehashes, its predecessor (which it’d be useful to see immediately prior). More gore slapstick than horror flick, this is a fun and pleasantly inconsequential ride.

Here’s the trailer.

Corporate Animals (2019, dir. Patrick Brice)

A team-building weekend goes awry when colleagues are trapped in a cave. Poor entry in the office politics horror-comedy sub-genre, with a decent cast struggling with under-powered scripting, direction, and lighting choices. There’s nice Gary Sinise and Britney Spears running gags, but that’s about it.

Here’s the trailer.

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019, dir. Xavier Burgin)

An overview of black representation and industry participation in (mostly) US horror films. An excellent documentary, clear and straightforward, but with some weight to its ideas as well as being accessible to wider audiences. Plenty of clips, plus interviews with genre figures and academics. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.