Jaws (1975, dir. Steven Spielberg)

A coastal resort is threatened by a predatory great white shark. Peerless proto-blockbuster and inventor of the summer event movie, Jaws retains its ability to thrill and impress. Character, action, location shooting, direction and a semi-improvised approach to dialogue are counterpointed by a terrific score. Sequels of diminishing quality followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Alien vs. Predator [AKA AvP: Alien vs. Predator] (2004, dir. Paul WS Anderson)

A mysterious Antarctic pyramid structure is linked to ancient alien hunting rites. Comic book-style franchise mashup with the focus on action and startling images rather than on SF horror. Not for purists, but well-resourced entertainment nevertheless with a stirring lead and great casting in depth.

Here’s the trailer.

Don’t Let Go (2019, dir. Jacob Aaron Estes)

A detective races to save the life again of his niece, who is contacting him through time from before her recent murder. Odd timeslip procedural (a cousin to Deja Vu) that succeeds if you go with its premise. Excellent performances and committed direction help no end.

Here’s the trailer.

The Mummy (1959, dir. Terence Fisher)

A group of English archaeologists are targeted for revenge killings by an Egyptian priest. Dated, stage-bound, though still enjoyable minor Hammer horror movie, assembling its script from across the Universal flicks. Interestingly, the villain’s motives now appear perfectly reasonable, even if his methods are extreme.

Project Power (2020, dir. Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman)

Multiple parties search for the source of a New Orleans street drug, which grants a superpower for five minutes. Flashy and confident if superficial mashup of Limitless and the 70s TV show Gemini Man. Plenty of incidental fun tho, especially in the first two acts.

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 Debt Collector 2 [AKA Debt Collectors] (2020, dir. Jesse V Johnson)

French and Sue go to Las Vegas on the promise of a payday. DTV martial arts comedy-thriller sequel that’s a cut above. The mix of bickering and bar fights as before, though there’s some panache in the direction, the action choreography, and the chemistry between the leads. Recommended for genre fans.

Triggered (2020, dir. Alastair Orr)

A camping group of former schoolfriends turn on each other during an elaborate hi-tech revenge scheme. Smart, funny and at times brutal body-count flick that makes the most of its premise. Good playing by an unfamiliar cast helps, as does controlled direction and lighting, and excellent backwoods location work.

7500 (2019, dir. Patrick Vollrath)

A European flight’s cockpit is overrun by hijackers. Brisk single-location thriller told in more-or-less real-time, gaining much of its effect through its intensity and via a sturdy lead performance. No real surprises, but an efficient and effective drama nevertheless.

The Night Clerk (2020, dir. Michael Cristofer)

A hotel night clerk – who has an ASD – witnesses a murder via the recordings he makes of guests. Good performances aside, this is neither trashy enough to revel in its mashup of Rear Window and the likes of Vacancy, nor pacy and committed enough to its thriller elements to work in dramatic terms. Well-directed though, and not without its pleasures.