Summer of ’84 (2018, dir. François Simard, Anouk Whissell & Yoann-Karl Whissell)

A conspiracist teen and his friends became convinced a cop neighbour is an active serial killer. Solid 80s-set teen mystery/horror that’s careful to pace itself and focus on atmosphere as much as plot. Doesn’t overplay the nostalgia either; this is an impressive and well-sustained movie.

Here’s the trailer.

Enola Holmes (2020, dir. Harry Bradbeer)

Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister Enola investigates their mother’s disappearance. Handsomely-produced but wildly inconsistent Victorian teen detective romp. A strong cast and good production values help, but a weak and smug script scuppers the enterprise as a whole, despite fun moments.

Here’s the trailer.

Higher Power (2018, dir. Matthew Charles Santoro)

A self-destructive father is targeted because of his unique DNA. Awkward and clumsy low-budget oddball superhero/metaphysical drama. Functions rather better than a CG effects showcase than as a movie, despite reliable villainy from Colm Feore.

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.

Project Power (2020, dir. Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman)

Multiple parties search for the source of a New Orleans street drug, which grants a superpower for five minutes. Flashy and confident if superficial mashup of Limitless and the 70s TV show Gemini Man. Plenty of incidental fun tho, especially in the first two acts.

Two Heads Creek (2019, dir. Jesse O’Brien)

Adopted twins flee Brexit Britain searching for their birth mother, apparently living in a remote Australian township. Scattershot horror-comedy in need of a second script-editing opinion. Competently made, and with glimmers of focus and satire, making the film all the more frustrating to sit through.

Red Hill (2010, dir. Patrick Hughes)

The arrival of a transferred deputy to a remote Australian community coincides with the escape of a vengeful murderer. While the plot elements don’t quite work, this is nevertheless a well-staged and good-looking contemporary Western/horror hybrid, with a couple of mythic touches and a great villain.

Dark Waters (2019, dir. Todd Haynes)

A lawyer investigates an environmental conspiracy linked to chemical company Dupont. Based on a true story, this sober drama is deliberate and effective. Oddly, the weak link is producer/star Ruffalo, who’s simply 20 years too old to be playing the lead, despite his sterling efforts. A sturdy cast of character actors helps things along.

Abduction (2019, dir. Ernie Barbarash)

Two men work to find missing family members; an interdimensional conspiracy is revealed. Modest Vietnam-set martial arts action with an SF/fantasy twist. No dafter than, say, Doctor Strange, but interesting to see attempted at this budget level. Very competent fight choreography is the selling point here. Ignore the poster; nothing to do with the movie!

The Arrival (1996, dir. David Twohy)

A disgraced radio astronomer is convinced that alien communications are being received. Quirky SF/horror hybrid with plenty of daft ideas and enough visual interest to keep you watching. No classic, but fun.