Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022, dir. Sam Raimi)

Strange and America Chavez travel the multiverse, trying to stop Scarlet Witch attaining a grimoire. Raimi brings superheroic and horror-comedy skillsets to bear on a confident slice of Marvel shenanigans: the format and aesthetics are as restricting as ever, but there’s gleeful moments nevertheless.

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.

The Matrix Resurrections (2021, dir. Lana Wachowski)

A computer games designer discovers he’s in a simulation. Meta belated sequel with some fun ideas about reboots, too much clumsy cod philosophy, and plenty of decent performances. However, poor action staging, awkward recasting of key roles, and weak storytelling undo good intentions.

Here’s the trailer.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022, dir. David Yates)

With Grindelwald rising, Newt Scamander and friends try to stop a war between magicals and muggles. Plot-tastic third instalment of the inconsistent Harry Potterverse prequel series. More fan service this time around, plus a focus on getting the series wrapped up in case the projected Parts 4 and 5 disapparate. Zippy, but for diehards only really.

Here’s the trailer.

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (2021, dir. William Eubank)

An adopted documentarian traces her birth family to an Amish community: she makes a film. Otherwise-unrelated reboot of the long-running found-footage horror series. Takes its time, but there’s some okay supernatural stuff among the usual jumpscares and format contrivances (a Christopher Landon script helps). An unfamiliar cast helps.

Here’s the trailer.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021, dir. Andy Serkis)

Eddie Brock unwittingly infects a condemned killer with a symbiote. Shouty sequel which is at least brief, splashy, and has a committed central performance. Plus, it feels like a comic. Unfortunately, it’s also unfunny, nigh plotless, and wastes some considerable onscreen (mostly Brit) talent.

Here’s the trailer.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022, dir. David Blue Garcia)

Gentrifiers seeking to invest in a Texas ghost town provoke the residents. Uneven belated sequel, taking the 2018 Halloween as inspiration. Some gleeful gore and a couple of sly gags and visual moments, but Leatherface is entirely justified here, and huge chunks of the movie have neither sense nor logic.

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.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021, dir. Jason Reitman)

A struggling family inherits a remote farmhouse formerly belonging to a Ghostbuster. A film of bits, some of them entertaining and fresh. Essentially a straight sequel to the 1984 film, it starts well as an 80s-style Amblin kid-centric comedy-drama, then reprises the original, then trips over fanservice.

Here’s the trailer. another perspective.

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.