Candyman (2021, dir. Nia DaCosta)

A troubled artist invokes an urban legend. Both a direct sequel and a reboot to the minor 90s classic (while borrowing also from the David Cronenberg version of The Fly), this version has effective visuals and strong gore moments, but isn’t remotely scary. A problem for a genre pic, its good intentions notwithstanding.

Here’s the trailer

Resident Evil [AKA Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City] (2021, dir. Johannes Roberts)

A young woman returns to her hometown: a zombie-like outbreak occurs. This 90s-set series reboot draws from the franchise’s early video games. And that’s about it. A murky and confused action/horror flick with little clear idea about what to do with the property, or why bother.

Here’s the trailer.

Bull (2021, dir. Paul Andrew Williams)

A gangster’s lackey returns after a decade presumed dead to get revenge. Excellent, bleak, driven thriller/horror hybrid. Strong on blending blue-collar realism and genre thrills, so much that its potential excesses are entirely justified in-world. The best movie of its kind since Dead Man’s Shoes or Killing Me Softly.

Here’s the trailer

Goblin (2020, dir. Chris Lee)

A dysfunctional family is menaced in their new suburb by a carnivorous folkloric creature. Perfunctory semi-professional monster flick, stretching what The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents might have done in 25 minutes to bare-bones feature length. For subgenre completists only.

Here’s the trailer.

Slapface (2021, dir. Jeremiah Kipp)

A boy being raised by an abusive brother conjures a witch. Patchily-effective horror that doesn’t quite pull together its supernatural and abuse drama strands. Nevertheless, it looks good, maximises its resources, and has an effective central child performance. Plus the great Dan Hedaya pops up in support.

Here’s the trailer.

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (2021, dir. William Eubank)

An adopted documentarian traces her birth family to an Amish community: she makes a film. Otherwise-unrelated reboot of the long-running found-footage horror series. Takes its time, but there’s some okay supernatural stuff among the usual jumpscares and format contrivances (a Christopher Landon script helps). An unfamiliar cast helps.

Here’s the trailer.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021, dir. Andy Serkis)

Eddie Brock unwittingly infects a condemned killer with a symbiote. Shouty sequel which is at least brief, splashy, and has a committed central performance. Plus, it feels like a comic. Unfortunately, it’s also unfunny, nigh plotless, and wastes some considerable onscreen (mostly Brit) talent.

Here’s the trailer.

Hellbender (2021, dir. Toby Poser, Zelda Adams & John Adams [AKA The Adams Family])

An isolated rural home-schooled teen discovers she is from a line of witches. Smart, austere Catskills-set horror that looks good, is well-contained, and riffs engagingly on Carrie in doing so. An impressive, minimalist feature: recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

The Deep House (2021, dir. Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo)

A vlogging couple explores a submerged supposedly-haunted house. Technically proficient but dumb-as-wet-rocks underwater jumpscare horror flick (with found footage and real-time elements), that’s wholly uncertain what to do with its premise. Mercifully brief and good-looking, though.

Here’s the trailer.