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.

One Shot (2021, dir. James Nunn)

A CIA black site comes under attack: a Navy SEAL team must extract a high-value asset. A sustained firefight shot 1917-style as a single take, cheerily lifting structural elements from Aliens. Bags of well-coordinated action, with star Adkins as committed as ever: an impressive job, with modest resources absolutely maximised.

Here’s the trailer

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.