The Reckoning (2020, dir. Neil Marshall)

A young widow is accused of witchcraft in 17th century England. A real disappointment: Marshall is a talented director (and there’s flashes of editing brilliance here), but his own duff and cliche-ridden script (co-written by star Kirk) and terrible lead actor compromise matters. At least old mate Sean Pertwee turns up for some ripe witch-hunting.

Here’s the trailer.

Things Heard & Seen (2021, dir. Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini)

A dysfunctional couple and their daughter move into an old house in 1980s upstate New York: matters go awry. Patchy, overlong and over-stuffed horror/drama that struggles to fillet its source novel (All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage) to suit a movie. A couple of good moments, though, and F Murray Abraham and Karen Allen are always welcome.

Here’s the trailer.

Mortal Kombat (2021, dir. Simon McQuoid)

VFX laden film reboot of the now tired violent 90s video game where good and evil martial artists with special powers battle to the death. Checkbox ticking fan pleasing fap-along! Visually pretty in places – but the dull gaps between fights will quickly exhaust your brains and patience!

Relic (2020, dir. Natalie Erika James)

An old woman goes missing, but returns: her daughter and granddaughter try to care for her, but something is awry. Excellent sombre chamber piece that works both as a horror story and as an allegory of aging, the impacts of dementia, and of family responsibility. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Prophecy (1979, dir. John Frankenheimer)

A doctor investigating environmental harm in Maine finds that pollution is causing animal mutations. Daft, naive, though well-meaning studio eco-horror juggling post-Jaws monster mayhem, evil corporations, First Peoples legends, white saviour storytelling, and some fun effects and stunt work. A big ol’ mess.

Here’s the trailer.

Run (2020, dir. Aneesh Chaganty)

A teenager begins to suspect that her over-protective mother is hiding a secret. Smart, detailed thriller with excellent lead performances and well-handled suspense scenes. A couple of fine shock moments too, and clear focus on character throughout. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Death Ship (1980, dir. Alvin Rakoff)

A cruise vessel sinks after a collision: survivors find shelter on a ship that may be haunted by Nazi ghosts. Clumsy, dull, and poorly-directed horror/disaster hybrid. A couple of strong ideas lurk, but this is lumpen stuff that doesn’t have much in the way of focus or story.

Here’s the trailer.

Love and Monsters (2020, dir. Michael Matthews)

A young man journeys across giant creature-infested territory to reunite with his former girlfriend. Derivative but fun post-apocalyptic survival flick with a little heart. It borrows from everything from A Boy and his Dog to Mad Max 2 via Tremors, but still works. Michael Rooker offers serio-comic grizzle in support.

Here’s the trailer.

Terror Train (1980, dir. Roger Spottiswoode)

A chartered train hosting a student fancy dress party has a vengeful killer on board. Okay though somewhat tepid slasher pic, enlivened by excellent photography, a decent Jamie Lee Curtis performance, and a sense of production value. A young David Copperfield performs tricks in support.

Here’s the trailer.

Possessor (2020, dir. Brandon Cronenberg)

An assassin able to take over others’ bodies to complete her mission struggles with reality and control. Cold but impressive arthouse thriller with SF/horror elements, updating themes familiar from Cronenberg senior’s work. Great performances, though not a movie for a relaxing Friday night.

Here’s the trailer.