VFW (2020, dir. Joe Begos)

A group of veterans defend their bar from a violent drug gang. Gory, well-cast homage to early John Carpenter flicks (and by extension Rio Bravo). A game cast have fun, everyone’s in on the joke, and it’s good to see these vets have meaty roles. Doesn’t overstay its welcome, neither.

Spenser Confidential (2020, dir. Peter Berg)

A Boston ex-cop, fresh from jail, partners with his new roommate to unravel the conspiracy that led to his imprisonment. A loose adaptation of a post-Robert B Parker Spenser novel, and not a good one. A by-the-numbers comedy thriller that doesn’t do its characters justice, despite a decent cast.

The Invisible Man (2020, dir. Leigh Whannell)

A domestic abuse survivor believes her supposedly dead ex-partner is still tormenting her. Superior if contrived genre flick that uses its slightly awkward premise to make some relevant points before kicking into full-on gear late on. Not sure the climax plays wholly fair, but the movie works well, in no small part due to smart direction and its lead.

Padre [AKA The Padre] (2018, dir. Jonathan Sobol)

A young Columbian woman partners with an English conman in exchange for help with getting into the US. Decent little road movie/chase thriller with some quirky aspects and excellent location shooting. No game-changer, but a solid cast keeps things moving along.

Brahms: The Boy II (2020, dir. William Brent Bell)

A family recovering from trauma rent a rural property on the grounds where a tragedy occurred. Predictable bloodless jumpscare sequel that struggles to reconfigure its villain, rules and premise from Part I. The dependable Ralph Ineson glowers in support as a gamekeeper.

Extracurricular (2018, dir. Ray Xue)

Four high-achieving teens collaborate on a series of thrill kills; a world-weary cop investigates. Minor but good-looking autumnal horror flick with some smart ideas and fresh approaches to old situations. Works well within its limitations, and achieves its modest ambitions well.