Director: David Amito, Michael Laicini Starring: Nicole Tompkins, Rowan Smyth. Canada. 1h 35m
I have to admit that before seeing Antrim I had no idea what the word actually meant so I did have to Google it. Turns out that it means, “A nearly closed cavity or chamber…” Well ok, How does one make a movie about a nearly closed cavity? Somehow directors, David Amito and Michael Laicini managed to turn this notion into a retro cursed movie project and argue that the film is (loosely) based on a movie by David B. Earle titled Dining Room or There is Nothing. Believe it or not if you have ever seen any of the creepy movie compilations on YouTube then you probably have seen this short but were unaware of its title, and here is the movie in all of its esoteric glory.
Director: Scott Derrickson Starring: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Chris Coy. USA. 1h 58m Adapted from: Beware the Night – Ralph Sarchie
From the dawning of The Exorcist every possession movie attempts to become the scariest movie ever made, and yet, through the decades there’s a building up of different styles and techniques which seems to flavour the films throughout the decades and sadly Deliver Us From Evil falls into a series of modern tropes while bringing together some brilliant actors who are often underused for a plot which is apparently based on real events.
Director: Frederico Prosperi (as Fred Goodwin) Starring: J. Eddie Peck, Jill Schoelen, Jamie Farr, Bo Svenson .Italy/USA. 1h 37m
After the success of The Curse (1987), an indie effort to breathe cinematic life into the classic HP Lovecraft story The Color Out of Space. An Italian/American sequel, in name only manages to cobble together a strange blend of body horror and romance and in some respects it stands strong as a very strange orphan.
Director: Ali Djarar Starring: Danny Webb, John Game, Neal Ward, Monty Burgess. UK. 1h 1m
This Indie ghost sleuthing found footage horror plays out like a version of Most Haunted, with some hints of Grave Encounters (2013) and Devils Familiar (2020) running through, just sadly not the good bits! All the amazing ideas of a mysterious house being a portal to a Lovecraftian void created by a cult, is washed away with too much banter and not enough on screen action. but it’s a tangible tale and I’m sure if you like any Ghost Hunting TV show then you’ll get a kick out of it.
Director: Takashi Miike Starring: Takuya Kimura, Hana Sugisaki, Sota Fukushi, Hayato Ichihara. Japan. 2h 20m
Miike’s career has turned into a long line of massive remakes of Japanese Classic cinema for some time now. I’ve been racking my brain why, but I’m still unsure what he’s trying to achieve, but it’s working out for him and I wonder what’s next? He’s making some solid and faithful remakes but I do wonder if we really need them all despite their powerful impact? This just seems to be another one, however even while watching the series after the film.. I found it’s expressionary style and character depth on a different planet entirely, and yet each are ridiculously impressive but in their own way.
Director: Neil Jordan Starring: Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Sam Riley, Caleb Landry-Jones .UK. 1h 58m
Every few years vampires find themselves reinvented and they refuse to remove their fangs from our necks. Jim Jarmusch swung back with Only Lovers Left Alive, a revival of the romantic mixed with his own take on the eternal blood sucking genre, and it’s been two decades since Interview with a Vampire, the film that made millions swoon…
Byzantium switches between modern day and yesteryear through dreamy sequences and guttural gore as Gemma Arterton, often dolled up in numerous sexy outfits, and her supposed daughter Saoise Ronan play vampires who after years of running from hunters, end up in a dead end seaside town. After shacking up with a timid hotelier, Daniel Mays, they set up their own brothel in his shabby establishment.
By the time the girls have settled into their new home, the authorities are taking an interest in them, but these agents have a good idea of the monsters lurking within the innocent faces and they are highly equipped to track down these undead wenches in order to make them more dead.
The strange unsettling drama will always been known as one of the new wave of modern neon movies, at times it sets itself among vibrant titles like Into the Void (20??), and yet there’s a creepy nostalgia when remote waterfalls turn into torrents of blood, but as the girls struggle through adversity in the 19th and 20th century, with and without corsets, the compelling story of power and hunger has a heavy feminist subtext that adds weight to the already fantastic adventure. The girls are very unique from other vampires, while they are super strong and have acute senses, but their tool of the trade is a retractable fingernail which they use to kill, with this slightly feline temperament and talons the movie oozes yet another feminine thread.
” I’m never merciful, and knowledge is a fatal thing.”
The story often stops and starts, falling over its own timeline, the girls seem to spend a lot of time sandboxing, falling in love with sick boys, updating their fries, struggling with the school system and the bittersweet gothic backstory determines why the girls hate men so much. But with such a long play time it seems to take a long time to describe what we have already guessed, and yet we still don’t really know where they are intending to go.
Certainly one for those who like a bit of mysticism and pretty visuals as much as a compelling story but don’t expect to have too many memories of the film other than pretty visuals as it frustratingly loses its personality along the way.
Related: Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), Enter the Void (2009) Lists: Vampire romances Vol 1, Neon Cinema Spotlight: Sam Riley, Caleb Landry Jones
Director: Gore Verbinski Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Ivo Nadi, Celia Imrie, Mia Goth. USA/Germany. 2h 26m.
Gore Verbinski’s hellish story of entrapment in a world filled with mysteries and a strange folklore is full of disturbing quirks, but not enough to really step the film into the realms of greatness but instead it just comes off as a bit weird. The plot follows a young executive, Lockhart (DeHaan) who, after a misdemeanor at his firm, is sent to retrieve the company’s CEO, who is currently staying in a rehabilitation centre in the Swiss Alps. During this trip there’s hints of a sinister chapter from his childhood that still influences his life, but once he enters the secluded grounds of the wellness centre a dark fairytale atmosphere begins to take over.
Written by Ira Levin who gave us such classics like Rosemary’s Baby(1968), Stepford Wives (1975) and, The Boys from Brazil (1978), but the biggest influence on the story is Thomas Mann’s 1924 novel, The Magic Mountain (German: Der Zauberberg) . A book which does feature in the movie, those with a keen eye may spot it, is already considered to be one of the most influential works of twentieth-century and centres on a man unravelling a complex story from the backstories of key characters that he meets in a similar spar in the Alps. The war that’s faced in the novel is a World War, whereas Lockhart’s war is initially within him.
Director: Matt Winn Starring: Mischa Barton, Robert Knepper, Andrew Buckley. USA. 1h 24m
Quietly unassuming but a strangely profound thriller, that draws on all the good aspects of the Descent (2005) mixed with all the horrors of Storage Wars !!?
Matt Winn sets his chilling horror mystery in the basement of a complicated system within a self storage unit. With a set up that begins like an episode of Steve Wilkos show. Ella (Barton) is attempting to discover if her future husband is cheating on her. After suspecting that his lock up is holding nasty secrets, Ella entices her bestie, Molly (Atack) to help her gain access to the unit, using a lock pick and borrowed card key, which they discover will change their lives forever.
Director: Tom Gliserman Starring: David Bunce, Rob Dalton, Susan Cicarelli-Caputo, Ron Komora, .UK. 1h 29m
For a long time, a majority of Lovecraft’s cinematic works were so underground that the biggest films were fan made efforts like this, although despite it’s challenges I personally found the aesthetic approach and storytelling to be exactly what the story calls for.
Based on a short story of the same title by American Mythos writer H. P. Lovecraft, The thing on the doorstep is part of the Cthulhu universe but has heavy undertones of a PI film Noir. Originally written in August 1933, and first published in the January 1937 issue of Weird Tales. Now captured by Tom Gliserman in a fan funded effort, and commonly found quite cheaply on a number of streaming services, so there’s no excuse, give it a shot, and see if you’ll join the numerous fans who still revel in the heady atmosphere.
How far can one man go into different realms before he literally finds himself? Site 1 unwraps with Matthews Phillips (Page), arriving at a secret location with a set of specific rules flashing up on the screen, his attempt to take part in a curious experiment. His personal intention is to discover the whereabouts of his brother who “went in before him”. While adhering to the rules Phillips ends up performing an elaborate ritual, but what is the aim and what is he letting himself into? After entering the home he finds a recorder, which alludes to more serious instructions which allude to a break in reality and the need to adhere to certain constraints in order not to slip through the crack himself.