Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb (2020, dir. James Tovell)

A documentary covering a season’s dig at Saqqara outside Cairo, focusing on the tomb of Wahtye. Excellent, compassionate, and detailed overview of an archaeological dig, keen to emphasis the humanity of the participants and links between Egypt’s ancient past and its present. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Curvature (2017, dir. Diego Hallivis)

A bereaved woman investigates the circumstances surrounding her partner’s suicide, which may be linked to his temporal physics work. Initially-intriguing SF thriller which refocuses midway into something much less compelling. Kudos for not always doing the obvious, but a frustrating watch nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Jiu Jitsu (2020, dir. Dimitri Logothetis)

An amnesic warrior monk is Earth’s chosen defender against an alien fighter. Ambitious though slightly tatty would-be martial comic-book arts epic. Plenty of fights (though little actual jiu jitsu) and some guest stars (Cage, Grillo, Jaa) in supporting roles: it’s basically a low-budget riff on Predator, though.

Here’s the trailer.

Friedkin Uncut (2020, dir. Francesco Zippel)

A documentary on film director William Friedkin, centred on interviews with its subject. Very pleasant overview of Friedkin’s work and perspective on filmmaking, supported by focuses on his 1970s output in particular. No huge surprises, and little criticism, but a decent watch nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

The Turning (2020, dir. Floria Sigismondi)

A young teacher takes a first job as a governess to two wealthy orphans: she comes to believe their stately home is haunted. Good-looking but otherwise rote version of MR James’ The Turn of the Screw. A few well-executed jumpscares aside, there’s nothing special here, alas.

Here’s the trailer.

Haunters: The Art of the Scare (2017, dir. Jon Schnitzer)

An overview of haunts – pop-up Halloween haunted house attractions – and of those who create and act in them. A decent little crowdfunded doc that explores a horror subculture, offering insight into the needs of those who get involved, as well as some of the risks (relationship, psychological, financial, other).

Here’s the trailer.

Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America (2016, dir. Matthew Ornstein)

A documentary portrait of US musician Daryl Davis, who has made it a personal mission to befriend and understand Klan members. An interesting biography on a personalised mission to undo the Klan. Both the strengths and flaws of Davis’s approach are explored in an even-handed manner; a fascinating case study.

Here’s the trailer.

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019, dir. Xavier Burgin)

An overview of black representation and industry participation in (mostly) US horror films. An excellent documentary, clear and straightforward, but with some weight to its ideas as well as being accessible to wider audiences. Plenty of clips, plus interviews with genre figures and academics. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

In Search of Darkness (2019, dir. David A. Weiner)

An overview of 1980s – mostly US mainstream – horror movies. Sacrificing depth for breadth, this lengthy (4-hour) documentary offers annual summaries and some thematic commentary. Light on analysis, but strong on genre industry interviews, this fan service-tastic offering acts as an elegy for late directors Stuart Gordon and Larry Cohen.

Dark Stories (2019, dir. François Descraques & Guillaume Lubrano)

A woman held hostage by a bloodthirsty doll tells it stories to keep it from killing her. Superior Anglo-French anthology horror with no weak episodes. The tales tend to the EC style twist narratives, covering some unusual ground as well as riffs on zombie, ghost and vampire yarns. A solid job all around.