Russian Raid [AKA Russkiy Reyd] (2020, dir. Denis Kryuchkov)

A former soldier hires mercenaries to help him with his revenge plan. Interesting if not wholly successful attempt to remake/localise Gareth Evans’s The Raid. It starts slow with some lazy sub-Tarantinoisms, but gains confidence and panache over time, plus Ivan Kotik is an unusual action star in the making.

Here’s the trailer.

Honest Thief (2020, dir. Mark Williams)

A retired safecracker tries to confess so he can live a guilt-free new life, but matters go awry. Contrived thriller with a little less action and a touch more character work than typical Neeson genre efforts. No gamechanger, but fine while it’s on. That sounds like faint praise: it kinda is.

Here’s the trailer.

Things Heard & Seen (2021, dir. Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini)

A dysfunctional couple and their daughter move into an old house in 1980s upstate New York: matters go awry. Patchy, overlong and over-stuffed horror/drama that struggles to fillet its source novel (All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage) to suit a movie. A couple of good moments, though, and F Murray Abraham and Karen Allen are always welcome.

Here’s the trailer.

Without Remorse [AKA Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse] (2021, dir. Stefano Sollima)

A special forces soldier seeks revenge on the agents who kill his wife. Sub-par military actioner intended to be a franchise-starter. A terrible script, lacklustre action, and variable playing (only Jodie Turner-Smith stands out) plus that European backlot aesthetic. A couple of visually-interesting moments, but that’s it.

Here’s the trailer.

Run (2020, dir. Aneesh Chaganty)

A teenager begins to suspect that her over-protective mother is hiding a secret. Smart, detailed thriller with excellent lead performances and well-handled suspense scenes. A couple of fine shock moments too, and clear focus on character throughout. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

The Silencing (2020, dir. Robin Pront)

An alcoholic bereaved father is suspected of being the serial killer who might have taken his own child. Autumnal thriller with a downbeat tone and some good ideas. Perhaps a touch brisk in its storytelling, but unusual moments and interesting details make it worth your time.

Here’s the trailer.

Promising Young Woman (2020, dir. Emerald Fennell)

A med school dropout seeks revenge on those who failed her best friend. Uneven black comedy with plenty to address about consent, bystanders, and those who pretend that they’re good guys. It doesn’t all work, but it’s worth your time, plus Mulligan is great.

Here’s the trailer.

Possessor (2020, dir. Brandon Cronenberg)

An assassin able to take over others’ bodies to complete her mission struggles with reality and control. Cold but impressive arthouse thriller with SF/horror elements, updating themes familiar from Cronenberg senior’s work. Great performances, though not a movie for a relaxing Friday night.

Here’s the trailer.

Beneath (2013, dir. Larry Fessenden)

A mismatched group of graduating high-schoolers are trapped on a boat on a lake by a ferocious fish. Fun little Jaws emulation with some mythic touches. Well-sustained given its premise, small scale and its limited resources, and played commendably straight, tho really for genre fans only. Mark Margolis pops up in welcome support.

Here’s the trailer.

Die Hard 4.0 [AKA Live Free or Die Hard] (2007, dir. Len Wiseman)

John McClane and a young hacker track down a cyberterrorist. Fourth time out, the franchise has been retooled for pan-generational appeal, with muted levels of violence/language to suit. That said, it’s an entertaining analogue v digital thriller, with all digi-tropes present and some panache in the action design.

Here’s the trailer.