The Evil (1978, dir. Gus Trikonis)

A therapist and colleagues find that the old house being renovated as a facility has a demonic secret. Straightforward sub-Hell House / Hill House horror, a notch above TV movie production standards, happier with clumsy bodycount than its Twilight Zone-ish payoff. Two great Buddy Joe Hooker fire stunts though.

Here’s the trailer.

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.

Antlers (2021, dir. Scott Cooper)

An alcoholic teacher in a run-down former mining community is concerned a student is being abused. Stately wendigo horror with allegorical intent: doesn’t quite link between first peoples’ famine, monsters, and opioid-depressed communities, but there’s a quiet professionalism at work, even if Cooper’s tendency to ponderousness dulls the piece at times.

Here’s another view.

And 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.

Demonic (2021, dir. Neill Blomkamp)

A woman comes to believe that her murderous comatose estranged mother is the victim of possession. Lacklustre SF horror with some okay if secondhand ideas (flicks like The Lawnmower Man, Brainstorm, and Dreamscape are touchstones). However it’s awkwardly plotted, silly rather than scary, and with a daft-looking demon.

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.

The Suicide Squad (2021, dir. James Gunn)

Convicted DC supervillains are recruited to undertake a covert mission. Splashy flip splattery slapstick action comedy sequel, developing into a Ghostbusters variant. Some poetic moments help, though the crowded cast needs more time to breathe than can be given here.

Here’s the trailer.

The Forever Purge (2021, dir. Everardo Gout)

The purge extended in near-future Texas, a group makes a run for the Mexico border, pursued by murderous vigilantes. While a few changes are rung in the dystopian franchise‘s fifth outing, it lacks the focus of earlier, better instalments, and descends into well-meaning preachiness at times.

Here’s the trailer.

Monster Hunter (2020, dir. Paul WS Anderson)

An army ranger is transported to another dimension, where she must battle giant creatures. Okay and often handsome video game franchise adaptation, efficiently-enough riffing on everything from Aliens to Beetlejuice via Starship Troopers: well-tailored for an international action market, if a touch po-faced in execution for the most part.

Here’s the trailer.