What Lies Below (2020, Dir. Braden R. Duemmler)

Back from summer camp, a girl finds her mother has a perfect new boyfriend, who is probably just a little too interested in the denizens of the lake by which they live. Creepy, atmospheric and a little bit squishy. Or fishy. Take your pick.

Want another take? Here’s Xussia’s review and here’s the trailer:

Sputnik (2020, dir. Egor Abramenko)

1983: a Soviet cosmonaut returns to Earth harbouring a parasite. Very watchable Alien/Quatermass Experiment hybrid, balancing SF horror with a developing romance and a modernist visual sensibility. Doesn’t add much to what we’ve seen before, perhaps, but distinctive in feel and look nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008, dir. Scott Derrickson)

An extraterrestrial ambassador arrives on Earth to determine humanity’s fate. Awkward remake of the 1950s SF classic which struggles to update Cold War paranoia with contemporary environmental threats. An over-reliance on CG spectacle and contrived family drama doesn’t help. Star Reeves is good, though.

Here’s the trailer.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978, Dir. Philip Kaufman)

A group of friends become suspicious when mysterious seed pods grow everywhere and the people they know start to act strange. Brilliant remake of the 1956 sci-fi classic, this is well crafted, genuinely disturbing in places and remains remarkably tense and downbeat.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978, Dir. Philip Kaufman)

The Andromeda Strain (1971, Dir, Robert Wise)

Based on the Crichton novel, a team of scientists battle a deadly new microbial life form brought to Earth on a crashed satellite. With a science documentary tone, sci-fact laden dialogue and shot with impeccable style, this remains a taut and interesting film.

The Andromeda Strain (1971, Dir, Robert Wise)

The New Mutants (2020, dir. Josh Boone)

A young woman finds herself in a secure institution with four other teens, each with mutant powers. Horror-infused X-Men spinoff with a young adult spin: OK as far as it goes, though it’s talky, unfocused, and doesn’t really have a plot. Feels more like a TV series pilot than a self-contained movie (two sequels were planned).

Here’s the trailer.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, dir. Steven Spielberg)

A suburban dad is drawn to a Wyoming mountain after a close encounter with an unidentified flying object. Still hugely-effective blend of heart and smarts: perhaps Spielberg’s most complete film, mixing technical excellence with quest narratives, hard SF and senses of innocence and wonder.

Here’s the trailer.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004, dir. Roland Emmerich)

A scientist warns against a new ice age: when it hits, he embarks on a quest to rescue his son. Earnest though daft ecological disaster flick: its environmental messaging gets somewhat lost in soap operatics, awkward storytelling, and contrived menace.

Here’s the trailer.

The Christmas Chronicles, Part 2 [AKA The Christmas Chronicles 2] (2020, dir. Chris Columbus)

Two years on, and an unhappy Kate Pierce is kidnapped by a cast-out elf aiming to get revenge on Santa. Sprawling grab-bag sequel, mashing up Milton, Gremlins and a hundred other properties. Messy and uncoordinated, though Kurt Russell is having fun, plus he gets another Blues Brothers-ish singalong set piece.

Here’s the trailer.

Tenet (2020, dir. Christopher Nolan)

An agent is recruited to investigate an arms dealer who may have access to technology from the future. Dazzling, confident SF thriller with more than its share of smart ideas. Glossy entertainment of the highest order: sharp suits, modernist architecture, timey-wimey shenanigans. Don’t overthink it: go with the temporal flow. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.