The story of an online sensation: a clown you can pay to scare your children. Solid documentary (which flirts with the extent to which it might be fictional, an art project, or something else) that explores memes, contemporary media folk devils, coulrophobia, parenting, “behavioural services”, and more.
A group of strangers find themselves being hunted. Okay The Most Dangerous Game variant with a few plot wrinkles, not all of which work. Stronger on splatter gore moments than as the intended satire, but there’s some fun to be had, and Betty Gilpin is great in badass mode.
A secondhand laptop brings danger to a group of friends. An OK sequel which adopts the same all-on-one-computer-screen real-time thriller approach as the 2014 original, though is otherwise separate. A more complicated story this time around, and effective enough, fully exploring the limitations of its premise.
A young woman struggles with memories of her recent cult commune experience. Excellent austere thriller with horror elements, with a storming cental performance and lots of interesting detail. It’s left to the viewer how much is real, which makes for tense and sometimes unsettling viewing. Recommended.
Teen friends are terrorised by someone assuming the online identity of a dead classmate. Effective real-time horror-thriller, told via a single laptop screen. Plays straight with its material. Some sly subversion of teenage neuroses, but there’s some commentary here about cyberbullying, and about revenge fantasies in the digital age.
A Fed and a cop become obsessed over a mass murderer who reappears each Halloween. The movie starts well, though gets bogged down by Act 3 because it can’t finesse its tricky reveal while still staging multiple splattery deaths and referencing all the horror films it can think of. Over-edited, flawed, but not uninteresting.
A bereaved patrol officer investigates the cover-up of a child’s death, and the police killings that ensue. Flawed but fascinating horror/procedural that explores cop-on-black murder and the need for justice through genre-heavy allegory, drawing on J-horror and found-footage elements as well as from Candyman. Worth your 90 minutes.
A bereaved teen, left alone on an island as part of a rehabilitation exercise, finds that he is not alone. The film goes to absurd lengths to contrive its location and scenario, and then has little productive to make of the results. Thin stuff with some debts to the TV show Lost. For Blumhouse completists only.
Three friends accidentally conjure a priapic demon. Fun loose adaptation of the John Updike novel, offering four meaty roles for enthusiastic players. Nicholson is controlled, all are having fine time, and Miller’s direction is elegant throughout. A good job done all around.
A young woman comes to believe her son is not who he claims to be. Smart, well-acted, and great-looking paranoid horror/fantasy with a strong central performance and the skills throughout to do a simple thing well. Lots to enjoy and to admire here. Both director Cronin and star Kerslake are ones to watch. Recommended.