Last Seen Alive [AKA Chase] (2022, dir. Brian Goodman)

A woman goes missing at a truck stop: her estranged husband searches. Perfunctory thriller that’s unsure what to do with its Breakdown-ish setup, opting for linearity over complexity: there’s never doubt that Gerry Butler – for it is he – is anything other than a good guy. Stops rather than ends: a bit of a disappointment.

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.

The Contractor (2022, dir. Tarek Saleh)

A discharged veteran with money problems reluctantly takes on a private contracting job. Terse thriller with action elements: the cast’s good, the action is handled in a no-nonsense manner, and there’s a pleasing downbeat tone. No surprises, but a decent programmer with subtext about post-military lives.

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

Death On The Nile (2022, dir. Kenneth Branagh)

Hercule Poirot joins a wedding party in Egypt: murder follows. This second Branagh Agatha Christie adaptation suffers like its predecessor from plasticky production values, over-direction, and a too-serious approach to the material. It livens up eventually, but the Ustinov version is still way more fun.

Here’s the trailer:

Blacklight (2022, dir. Mark Williams)

A veteran FBI agent becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving the murder of a politician. Straightforward thriller with a couple of minor plot wrinkles and some decent lo-fi action and stuntwork. No game-changer, but works well enough within its self-imposed limitations.

Here’s the trailer.

KIMI [AKA Kimi] (2021, dir. Steven Soderbergh)

A tech home worker with agoraphobia and anxiety comes across evidence of a murder. A confident, contemporary Rear Window for the Alexa generation. A lean, assured, confident thriller, doing a simple thing impeccably in 90 minutes. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

A Violent Man (2022, dir. Ross McCall)

A troubled lifer gets a new cellmate and an unexpected family contact. Claustrophobic prison drama – almost entirely set in a single cell – working well to maximise star Fairbrass’s trademark physicality. A touch long and repetitive maybe, but impressive and well-sustained nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Rituals [AKA The Creeper] (1977, dir. Peter Carter)

Doctors on a weekend wilderness get-together are picked off one by one. Unusual post-Deliverance backwoods horror/thriller with a military angle. Starts straightforward enough, but takes an existential route: a superior early example of the subgenre.

Here’s the trailer.