The Batman (2022, dir. Matt Reeves)

A reclusive vigilante meets his nemesis. Skilful if lengthy revisiting of the caped crusader, here early in his career and focused at least in part on actual detective work. Impressive and never less than proficient throughout in a Seven-ish kinda way, if not exactly necessary. A confident walk down a well-worn path.

Here’s the trailer.

X (2022, dir. Ti West)

A porn shoot in a remote Texas location goes awry. Smart, effective late 70s-set horror that’s playful, gleeful, and respectful of the genre in equal measure. Nods along the way to everything from Psycho to The Shining via Texas Chain Saw Massacre while doing its own thing: X continues West’s mastery of the slow burn.

Here’s the trailer

Last Night in Soho (2021, dir. Edgar Wright)

A struggling new-in-London fashion student hallucinates that she’s in the 1960s. While there’s bags of confidence and style in this psychogeographic timeslip giallo-ish flick, and some fine performances, the storytelling’s awry: a rushed third act flails to get matters both properly set up and then clarified.

Here’s the trailer.

Shark Bait [AKA Jetski] (2022, dir. James Nunn)

Students on spring break are menaced by a great white when their stolen jetskis malfunction. Solid little group jeopardy thriller with horror elements, maximising its well-worn premise through decent direction and not-bad production values. Achieves all of its intentions.

Here’s the trailer.

Scream [AKA Scream 5] (2022, dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett)

25 years after the original Woodsboro killings, a new series of murders. Cheerily meta sequel / reboot / remake, better with the self-aware jokes than with real suspense, despite a couple of inventive moments. Hard to care about the new cast or the murder-mystery element though, which robs the movie of impetus.

Here’s the trailer.

Candyman (2021, dir. Nia DaCosta)

A troubled artist invokes an urban legend. Both a direct sequel and a reboot to the minor 90s classic (while borrowing also from the David Cronenberg version of The Fly), this version has effective visuals and strong gore moments, but isn’t remotely scary. A problem for a genre pic, its good intentions notwithstanding.

Here’s the trailer

Resident Evil [AKA Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City] (2021, dir. Johannes Roberts)

A young woman returns to her hometown: a zombie-like outbreak occurs. This 90s-set series reboot draws from the franchise’s early video games. And that’s about it. A murky and confused action/horror flick with little clear idea about what to do with the property, or why bother.

Here’s the trailer.

Bull (2021, dir. Paul Andrew Williams)

A gangster’s lackey returns after a decade presumed dead to get revenge. Excellent, bleak, driven thriller/horror hybrid. Strong on blending blue-collar realism and genre thrills, so much that its potential excesses are entirely justified in-world. The best movie of its kind since Dead Man’s Shoes or Killing Me Softly.

Here’s the trailer

Goblin (2020, dir. Chris Lee)

A dysfunctional family is menaced in their new suburb by a carnivorous folkloric creature. Perfunctory semi-professional monster flick, stretching what The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents might have done in 25 minutes to bare-bones feature length. For subgenre completists only.

Here’s the trailer.

Slapface (2021, dir. Jeremiah Kipp)

A boy being raised by an abusive brother conjures a witch. Patchily-effective horror that doesn’t quite pull together its supernatural and abuse drama strands. Nevertheless, it looks good, maximises its resources, and has an effective central child performance. Plus the great Dan Hedaya pops up in support.

Here’s the trailer.