Dementer (2021, dir. Chad Crawford Kinkle)

A new care facility worker believes that one of her service users is under malign influence. Impressive low-budget horror with a Dogme-ish aesthetic. Plays its cards a little close about how much is in the protagonist’s mind or otherwise, but this is still exhilarating genre filmmaking. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Malignant (2021, dir. James Wan)

A woman is traumatised by visions of murder linked to her childhood. A schlocky prologue aside, this takes ages to get going, but when it does there’s loads of fun to be had in an Argento / Woo / Raimi mashup kinda way. A surer script and this would be a classic, but there’s still plenty to relish here.

Here’s the trailer.

Halloween Kills (2021, David Gordon Green)

In 2018, Michael’s rampage continues: events have links to forty years earlier. The middle part of the new trilogy suffers from a need to keep its leads safe for part three. As a result, there’s little plot: effective and plentiful kills, fan service, and nods to survivor guilt and mob mentality don’t a complete movie make.

Here’s another view.

And here’s the trailer.

F9 [AKA F9: The Fast Saga; Fast & Furious 9] (2021, dir. Justin Lin)

The Torettos and friends search for a codebreaking device. More of the increasingly-interchangeable series: 150 minutes of soapy sentimentality, decent stuntwork, and terrible physics-worrying spectacle. Director Lin does what he can with the material tho, and there’s some fun moments from seasoned character actors like Shea Whigham.

Here’s the trailer. And here’s another view.

Dangerous [AKA Wake] (2021, dir. David Hackl)

An ex-con sociopath attending his brother’s wake defends a remote island from attackers. Messy action thriller with black comedy elements. It doesn’t hang together, but there’s neat moments throughout, plus a strong if mismatched cast each in their own movie.

Here’s the trailer.

Castle Falls (2021, dir. Dolph Lundgren)

A failed MMA fighter, a desperate cop, and drug dealers converge on a building set for demolition where’s there’s cash stashed. It takes ages to get going, but there’s enough lo-fi action in the last 40 minutes to keep Adkins fans happy. The premise isn’t maximised, but there’s a sense of blue-collar necessity driving matters.

Here’s the trailer.

The Protégé [AKA The Asset] (2021, dir. Martin Campbell)

An assassin tracks those who killed her mentor. While the script gets bogged down in backstory and complications, there’s a sense of unfussy confidence in the direction, action choreography, editing, and stuntwork that makes this a worthwhile watch. A decent – if to-type – cast helps. Some corners cut in production design don’t help.

Here’s the trailer.

Don’t Breathe 2 (2021, dir. Rodo Sayagues)

A blind veteran protects a child from home invaders. Undeniably stylish and well-made horror/thriller sequel, though one with daft plot developments and a grimy aftertaste that takes it into torture porn territory. Nevertheless, director Sayagues is a talent: let’s hope there’s a more balanced script next time out.

Here’s the trailer.

Copshop (2021, dir. Joe Carnahan)

A rookie cop gets caught between a hitman and a conman in a locked-down police station. Fun little action thriller that doesn’t focus enough to be a minor classic, even if there’s some badassery and two great performances. Almost there, but not quite.

Here’s the trailer.

Wrath of Man (2021, dir. Guy Ritchie)

A crime lord seeks revenge on the armed robbers who kill his son during an armoured car heist. Somewhat po-faced payback thriller, somehow cramming 85 minutes of high-octane action into 2 hours. What should be a lean killing machine gets drawn out by indulgence, Rashomonisms and Tarantinoisms. A shame, as there’s some good stuff lost in the mix.

Here’s the trailer.