The Vigil (2019, dir. Keith Thomas)

A troubled young man watching over a body is beset by a demon seeking a new victim. Interesting and effective small-scale horror film, drawing on Orthodox Jewish customs and community. The third act is weaker than what’s come before, but by then the movie’s more than earned your attention.

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.

The Turning (2020, dir. Floria Sigismondi)

A young teacher takes a first job as a governess to two wealthy orphans: she comes to believe their stately home is haunted. Good-looking but otherwise rote version of MR James’ The Turn of the Screw. A few well-executed jumpscares aside, there’s nothing special here, alas.

Here’s the trailer.

The Final Wish (2018, dir. Timothy Woodward, Jr)

A bereaved young man finds his luck has changed for the better, but at a cost. Patchy The Monkey’s Paw variant, its magpie script lifting business from all over including, oddly, The Omen. Some of it works, but we’ve seen this done more confidently before. Old hands Lin Shaye and Tony Todd help though.

The Witches of Eastwick (1987, dir. George Miller)

Three friends accidentally conjure a priapic demon. Fun loose adaptation of the John Updike novel, offering four meaty roles for enthusiastic players. Nicholson is controlled, all are having fine time, and Miller’s direction is elegant throughout. A good job done all around.

Demonic (2015, dir. Will Canon)

A group of students attempt a ritual in a supposedly haunted house; a cop investigates the aftermath. Generally-solid reworking of familiar material (including nods to The Blair Witch Project) helped no end by good playing from reliable hands like Maria Bello and Frank Grillo. No real surprises, but decent enough for fans of the genre.

Cabin in the Sky (1943, dir. Vincente Minnelli)

A shot-dead gambler tries to redeem himself, as emissaries from Heaven and Hell agree on giving him a second chance. Minnelli’s first directorial feature is a wartime Faustian black-cast curio; both of its time (at best) in representational terms yet featuring great performances and musical sequences, it’s well-worth revisiting.

Scrooged (1988, dir. Richard Donner)

A mean TV executive is visited by a series of ghosts intent on teaching him the true meaning of Christmas. A raucous, overlong, and often unfunny retelling of A Christmas Carol, overly keen to cash in on its star’s links to Ghostbusters. Inevitably, some bits work nevertheless, and the film’s become something of a Yuletide perennial despite its weaknesses.

Ghostbusters (1984, dir. Ivan Reitman)

A trio of disgraced academics working on the paranormal turn to the private sector. Still-effective horror-comedy balancing New York snark, slapstick, and Lovecraftian interdimensional terror. Great city cinematography, and some lovely delicate moments to counterbalance the widescreen mayhem. Both sequel and reboot followed.

The Frighteners (1996, dir. Peter Jackson)

A conman psychic who can see the dead has to confront an undead serial killer. Fast, funny and inventive supernatural comedy, with a great central performance from Fox and still-effective (and then-groundbreaking) CG effects work.