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 Pale Door (2020, dir. Aaron B Koontz)

After a train heist goes unexpectedly awry, outlaws find themselves pitched against supernatural forces. Fun little Western/horror hybrid that’s basically From Dusk Till Dawn with witches and horses. A strong cast of character actors helps, as does interesting detail and a couple of weird gross-out moments.

Here’s the trailer.

Bad Education (2020, dir. Cory Finlay)

A school superintendent and their deputy are revealed, in part by a student investigation, to be embezzling from the school system. Smart black comedy-drama, based on a true story. Underplayed throughout, with fine performances from seasoned hands, and a sense that maybe the right lessons are still to be learned by some.

The Innkeepers (2011, dir. Ti West)

Two workers stave off boredom listening for ghosts over their supposedly-haunted hotel’s last weekend of business. Slow-burn riff on The Shining, anchored by great central performances and a mounting sense of dread that pays off in straightforward but nevertheless-effective ways. Excellent sound design supports the visuals and script.

Donnybrook [AKA: Below The Belt: Brawl at Donnybrook] (2018, dir. Tim Sutton)

A bare-knuckle boxer, a meth dealer, and a cop’s lives intersect over drugs, money, and a fight tournament. Lean, autumnal adaptation of the Frank Bill novel. Very different to its source material in tone, but nevertheless a rewarding movie, with something to say about working-class America as well as delivering in genre terms. Recommended.

Carnage Park (2016, dir. Mickey Keating)

A bank-robbing couple on the run stray onto a psycho’s personal amusement park of murder. Grim though effective retro-horror drawing inspiration from the likes of Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Much blood in the desert dust ensues.