The Manor (2021, dir. Axelle Carolyn)

A new resident in a nursing home believes the establishment has a horrifying secret. Brisk, unfussy supernatural horror with a Twilight Zone episode feel: maybe needs more meat on its bones, but it nevertheless tells a straightforward story with minimum fuss, while offering Barbara Hershey a welcome lead.

Here’s the trailer.

You’re Next (2011, dir. Adam Wingard)

A family reunion is interrupted by home-invading masked killers. Superior horror flick with touches of black comedy. Knows precisely what it is and works to fulfil expectations well: a brisk, bloody job well done.

Here’s the trailer.

Freaky (2020, dir. Christopher Landon)

An awkward teenager and a serial killer swap bodies. Superior horror-comedy, maximising the potential of its Freaky Friday-meets-high school slasher conceit, along the lines of Landon’s earlier mashup Happy Death Day. Plenty of fun, a few straightforward though relevant points made, and zippy lead performances help no end.

Here’s the trailer.

Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021, dir. Sion Sono)

A captured bank robber is forced to retrieve a kidnapped woman for a gang boss. A post-apocalyptic samurai/western hybrid, using a Mad Max/Escape from New York structure for all kinds of digressions. It doesn’t all work (the script is the culprit here), but it looks great in a neon Terry Gilliam kinda way, and everyone seems to be having fun.

Here’s the trailer.

Witch Hunt (2021, dir. Elle Carnahan)

In an alt-America where witchcraft is both real and outlawed by the Constitution, a family works to protect witches. Somewhat awkward allegory with some strong ideas that it doesn’t quite know what to do with. Worth your time, though not for everyone: not the genre pic it first appears.

Here’s the trailer.

Great White (2021, dir. Martin Wilson)

A chartered seaplane’s crew and passengers are menaced by sharks. Straightforward at-sea survival thriller typical of the subgenre. Decent location and effects work offers production value, and the flick doesn’t drag matters out. No surprises, however.

Here’s the trailer.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It [AKA The Conjuring 3] (2021, dir. Michael Chaves)

1981: the Warrens investigate a killer who may be the victim of a curse. After a fun exorcism opening, the movie settles into something more procedural than previous episodes of the now-convoluted horror-lite franchise. Fans will know what to expect: Wilson and Farmiga anchor matters with their usual class.

Here’s the trailer.

Censor (2021, dir. Prano Bailey-Bond)

In 1980s London, a film examiner struggles when a horror movie reawakens a past trauma. Stylish and confident first feature, with an interesting premise and careful use of limited resources. Vaguely Peter Strickland-ish in its approach: a descent into madness rather than story as such: there’s plenty to admire here, nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Jug Face [AKA The Pit] (2013, dir. Chad Crawford Kinkle)

A young woman, finding herself both pregnant and earmarked for sacrifice, tries to escape her backwoods community. Strong and unusual horror movie, anchored by a decent cast, some vivid ideas, and a sense of inevitability. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

In Search of Darkness, Part II (2020, dir. David Weiner)

A continuation of the documentary exploration of 1980s-made (mostly) US horror. Much more (4.5 hours) of the same, though with some deeper cuts this time around. Depth is sacrificed for breadth, and the pattern of trailer clip plus talking head per movie gets repetitive, but there’s affection on display for the genre throughout.

Here’s the trailer.