Dementer (2021, dir. Chad Crawford Kinkle)

A new care facility worker believes that one of her service users is under malign influence. Impressive low-budget horror with a Dogme-ish aesthetic. Plays its cards a little close about how much is in the protagonist’s mind or otherwise, but this is still exhilarating genre filmmaking. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Malignant (2021, dir. James Wan)

A woman is traumatised by visions of murder linked to her childhood. A schlocky prologue aside, this takes ages to get going, but when it does there’s loads of fun to be had in an Argento / Woo / Raimi mashup kinda way. A surer script and this would be a classic, but there’s still plenty to relish here.

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.

Dangerous [AKA Wake] (2021, dir. David Hackl)

An ex-con sociopath attending his brother’s wake defends a remote island from attackers. Messy action thriller with black comedy elements. It doesn’t hang together, but there’s neat moments throughout, plus a strong if mismatched cast each in their own movie.

Here’s the trailer.

Castle Falls (2021, dir. Dolph Lundgren)

A failed MMA fighter, a desperate cop, and drug dealers converge on a building set for demolition where’s there’s cash stashed. It takes ages to get going, but there’s enough lo-fi action in the last 40 minutes to keep Adkins fans happy. The premise isn’t maximised, but there’s a sense of blue-collar necessity driving matters.

Here’s the trailer.

The Protégé [AKA The Asset] (2021, dir. Martin Campbell)

An assassin tracks those who killed her mentor. While the script gets bogged down in backstory and complications, there’s a sense of unfussy confidence in the direction, action choreography, editing, and stuntwork that makes this a worthwhile watch. A decent – if to-type – cast helps. Some corners cut in production design don’t help.

Here’s the trailer.

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.

Copshop (2021, dir. Joe Carnahan)

A rookie cop gets caught between a hitman and a conman in a locked-down police station. Fun little action thriller that doesn’t focus enough to be a minor classic, even if there’s some badassery and two great performances. Almost there, but not quite.

Here’s the trailer.

Wrath of Man (2021, dir. Guy Ritchie)

A crime lord seeks revenge on the armed robbers who kill his son during an armoured car heist. Somewhat po-faced payback thriller, somehow cramming 85 minutes of high-octane action into 2 hours. What should be a lean killing machine gets drawn out by indulgence, Rashomonisms and Tarantinoisms. A shame, as there’s some good stuff lost in the mix.

Here’s the trailer.

Ida Red (2021, dir. John Swab)

Tulsa-based criminals work to raise the money to get a matriarch out of prison before she dies. Not-bad 2010-set noir drama with action elements. Does plenty of things seen elsewhere (from Heat to Hell or High Water) but has its own decent vibe, a fine cast of character actors, and some quirky moments. Swab remains a talent to keep an eye on.

Here’s the trailer.