Firestarter (2022, dir. Keith Thomas)

A girl with pyrokinetic powers is on the run from the authorities. Perfunctory second adaptation of the Stephen King novel, unsure quite what to do with the source material. At its best, it apes the previous version, no classic itself. A throbbing John Carpenter score helps some.

Here’s the trailer.

Day Shift (2022, dir. JJ Perry)

A down-on-his-luck LA vampire hunter races against time to save his family. Splashy hybrid of horror-comedy and buddy thriller: From Dusk Till Dawn and John Wick are key influences: the plot is an excuse to hang a series of fun fight sequences on. Scott Adkins and Snoop Dogg (it’s that kinda film) pop up for good measure, and there’s even a Hellzapoppin gag.

Here’s the trailer.

Nope (2022, dir. Jordan Peele)

A Los Angeles horse trainer thinks his ranch is home to a UFO. Splendid SF parable, playing with all sorts from Hollywood lives to obsession with spectacle and fame via an M Night Shyamalan-ish genre pastiche. Loads to appreciate, both on first and (especially) repeated viewings. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Prey (2022, dir. Dan Trachtenberg)

1719: a young Commanche woman determined to become a hunter combats an alien presence. Smart, thrilling riff on the Disney/Pixar princess archetype: this is Brave or Moana meets Apocalypto, basically. A lean, effective thrill ride blending action, gore, and character-focused storytelling well, with a few neat nods to the wider Predator franchise.

Here’s the trailer.

Choose Or Die [AKA Curs>r] (2022, dir. Toby Meakins)

A young programmer finds an old computer cassette: it proves murderous. Awkward cursed game horror flick, with too many ideas iffily handled. Uncovincingly shot in the UK but set in the US. Some good performances and neat moments – plus a Candyman-ish social conscience – underline missed opportunities.

Here’s the trailer.

The Batman (2022, dir. Matt Reeves)

A reclusive vigilante meets his nemesis. Skilful if lengthy revisiting of the caped crusader, here early in his career and focused at least in part on actual detective work. Impressive and never less than proficient throughout in a Seven-ish kinda way, if not exactly necessary. A confident walk down a well-worn path.

Here’s the trailer.

X (2022, dir. Ti West)

A porn shoot in a remote Texas location goes awry. Smart, effective late 70s-set horror that’s playful, gleeful, and respectful of the genre in equal measure. Nods along the way to everything from Psycho to The Shining via Texas Chain Saw Massacre while doing its own thing: X continues West’s mastery of the slow burn.

Here’s the trailer

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022, dir. Sam Raimi)

Strange and America Chavez travel the multiverse, trying to stop Scarlet Witch attaining a grimoire. Raimi brings superheroic and horror-comedy skillsets to bear on a confident slice of Marvel shenanigans: the format and aesthetics are as restricting as ever, but there’s gleeful moments nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer

Last Night in Soho (2021, dir. Edgar Wright)

A struggling new-in-London fashion student hallucinates that she’s in the 1960s. While there’s bags of confidence and style in this psychogeographic timeslip giallo-ish flick, and some fine performances, the storytelling’s awry: a rushed third act flails to get matters both properly set up and then clarified.

Here’s the trailer.

Shark Bait [AKA Jetski] (2022, dir. James Nunn)

Students on spring break are menaced by a great white when their stolen jetskis malfunction. Solid little group jeopardy thriller with horror elements, maximising its well-worn premise through decent direction and not-bad production values. Achieves all of its intentions.

Here’s the trailer.