Skyfire (2019, dir. Simon West)

A luxury resort is threatened by an active volcano. Updating When Time Ran Out via bits of the Jurassic Park franchise, this hubris-tastic disaster movie is a gleeful treat, embracing the all character tropes and situations you’d expect. It’s something of a masterclass in pacing and jeopardy: huge amounts of unpretentious fun. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Rogue (2020, dir. MJ Bassett)

A hostage extraction team is hunted across the East African savannah by vengeful kidnappers, and by a lion escaped from illegal breeders. Efficient DTV actioner with horror elements maximising location shooting production values while cheerfully stealing bits of business from all over: plus a Backstreet Boys running gag.

Here’s the trailer.

Next (2007, dir. Lee Tamahori)

A Las Vegas stage magician with the ability to see into the near future is hunted by both the FBI and terrorists. High concept SF fantasy loosely based on a Philip K Dick story. The plot doesn’t really hang together, but as a series of chases, bluffs, and timey-wimey tricks, this is more than passable escapism.

Here’s the trailer.

Becky (2020, dir. Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion)

A disaffected teenager takes revenge on the neo-Nazi prison escapees who take over her family’s holiday property. Slightly too clever for its own good, the movie nevertheless gets going once its plot is clear, and delivers in terms of splattery grue, even if it’s unsure what to do with loose ends.

Here’s the trailer.

Seized (2020, dir. Isaac Florentine)

A former agent’s son is kidnapped: a series of assassinations is the price of his freedom. It starts shakily, but this DTV spin on the Taken template soon gets motoring, with plenty of well-staged lo-fi fisticuffs and shootouts, good location work, and Mario Van Peebles charismatic in his villainy.

Here’s the trailer.

The Doorman (2020, dir. Ryuhei Kitamura)

A troubled ex-soldier takes on a menial job, but soon finds themselves in the middle of a heist. Contrived action thriller happy to recycle Die Hard on a budget, but bringing nothing new to the table. A disappointment from the usually-flamboyant Kitamura, not even bothering with his usual gory glee.

Here’s the trailer.

Frozen (2010, dir. Adam Green)

Three friends are trapped on a ski-lift. And that’s it: a well-sustained little horror/suspense piece that looks great throughout and makes the most of its outdoors spin on the trapped-in-a-lift premise. Some fine tense sequences, and genuine eeww moments, too.

Here’s the trailer.

Outland (1981, dir. Peter Hyams)

A new mining post security chief on a Jupiter moon investigates a series of deaths. A weak script and iffy science undermine this great-looking SF thriller (emulating Alien and clearly influential on early James Cameron). Doesn’t really deliver on its High Noon in Space promise.

Here’s the trailer.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974, dir. Sidney Lumet)

Hercule Poirot must investigate a killing on a luxury sleeper service. Handsome if slightly stagey and camp version of the Agatha Christie stalwart. An awkward backstory and too many starry suspects make for tricky telescoping of the novel, but fans won’t mind a bit.

Here’s the trailer. And a previous review.

Downrange (2017, dir. Ryuhei Kitamura)

A carload of young adults are trapped on a deserted road by a sniper. Excellent and well-sustained horror/thriller hybrid. Act three is slightly fudged, but overall this is an impressive bit of genre filmmaking that plays fair, maximises the potential of its premise, and delivers in gore and thrills terms. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.