Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson, Hannah Fierman. USA. 1h 43m
Motherhood and the church are two of the most ancient and powerful stories we have in human history. The two are often blended together in twisted tales of the rebirth of Christ or the Antichrist, or blended into complex conspiracy theories as in DaVinci Code. St Agatha pokes at the vulnerability of young women who need help when they find themselves pregnant with nowhere to go but the group of perverse sadistic nuns who run the home have darker motives for gathering such women together. Continue reading St Agatha (2018)
Director: Jamie M. Dagg
Starring: Jon Bernthal, Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, Rosemarie DeWitt, Odessa Young, Jared Abrahamson .USA/Canada 1h 35m,
For the most part this dark neo-noir thriller takes two distinctive strong men and the troubles that surround them, highlights their strengths and weaknesses, then crash them together in the mist of a brutal cash for murder in a small American town and watches the fireworks blow them apart in a spectacular and emotive fashion.
A puzzling stranger sends bloody shock waves through a close knit community, after committing three brutal cold blooded murders. In the wake of the devastation of the remote and bleak Alaskan town, a tightly wound drifter Elwood (Abbott) checks into a motel run by Sam (Bernthal) a former Rodeo star, having retired he is making ends meet with this new venture to motel keeping but he’s a deeply troubled soul. Continue reading Sweet Virgina (2017)
Director: J.D Dillard
Starring: Kiersey Clemons, Emory Cohen, Hanna Mangan Lawrene, Benedict Samuel, Andrew Crawford .USA. 1h 22m
I love the quote that goes something like, “you have to lose yourself to find yourself” and while it’s not the associated quote of this gripping horror, it seems to apply to the lead, Jenn a girl who doesn’t show much fear in her unusual castaway situation, but one who grows with the movie into something much stronger in this somewhat subtle new take to being stranded on an pewny island.
At first glance and in the opening, there’s not a huge amount going on in J D Dillards stomach churning thriller, but in reflection there’s a lot of social criticism a brilliant new monster and new heroine that with her faults is brilliant, brave and with some work could easily be the new Vasquez (Aliens). Dillard manages to make a lot happen on a really tiny island and with a minimal cast, but there isn’t a dull moment and he keeps a steady methodical pace. Continue reading Sweetheart (2019)
Director: Ti West
Starring: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Aduley .USA. 1h 39m
Without any official admission this dramatic found footage movie is obviously based on Jim Jones and the mass suicide that he orchestrated at Jonestown. In all fairness the film gives a fairly accurate playback of the terrible events which occurred in Guyana, it does have a touch of cinematic license but for me, the kick in the gut wasn’t the shocking deaths but instead the failure to really show any respect to the dead. It was never the aim to reiterate the story blow by blow, that’s what documentaries and books are for, instead the movie dives in from a found footage aspect trying to give a fly on the wall view into the largest mass suicides in living memory. Continue reading The Sacrament (2013)
Director: Bharat Jain
Starring:Darshan Apoorva, Krishna Prakash, Vijay Chendoor, Pallavi, Tanuja, Mruthyunjaya . India. 1h 44m
Without wanting to sound like a broken record, this monotonous found footage romp in the forest is very much like Blair Witch (1999), with hints of Paranormal Activity (2007), but at this stage in the game after so many films that end up mimicking the Maryland thriller, what would it take for a lost in the woods found footage, horror to not be like Blair Witch? Sadly this Indian scareless horror doesn’t offer any answers to this puzzling conundrum. Continue reading 6-5=2 (2014)
Director: Albert Serra
Starring: Eliseu Huertas, Lluís Serrat Massanellas, Vicenç Altaió . UK. 2h 28m
Albert Serra, the Catalan trailblazer, always fascinates with his interpretations and adaptations of withering classic figures. Through a dusty lense he creates lavish cultured tapestries for them to play in, sometimes seeming alive now and again they seem as fragile and shaggy relics they have left behind.
His baroque mix up of pleasure meets desire in the guise of Cassanova meets Dracula combines fantasy and fiction in a flight of fancy style, at times it’s pretty grotesque while bolsters by lots of risque blush and tickles, a truly great adventure set against an unusual Transylvanian setting. Continue reading Història de la meva mort / The Story of my Death (2013)
Director: Barry W Levy.
Starring.Ayanna Berkshire, Dani Lennon, Deborah Lee Smith, Madeline Merritt, Leah Ann Cevoli, Helenna Santos. USA. 1h 14m.
In a world filled with strange new realms of astrophysics, mechanics and conspiracy theories, Barry W Levy has strung together a bunch of entry level ideas together, probably after binge watching a year of Gaia TV and he seems to have constructed an acceptable spare time filler of a movie.
A woman returns to her childhood home to investigate the disappearance of her father by using his encrypted notebook but there’s an urgency to her mission as the area is subject to a deafening bombing sound and strange, almost paranormal activity in a certain spot found via lay lines and dowsing, although it’s just called “using the rods” in the movie. Continue reading Shasta Triangle (2019)
Director: Thomas Carter
Starring: Robert Sean leonard, Frank Whaley, Barbara Hershey, Noah Wyle, Martin Clunes, Christian Bale, Kenneth Brannah . USA. 1h 54m
In Thomas Carter‘s bold coming of age melodrama, three friends find themselves having to become men in a world being ripped apart by hitler’s iron hand, when all they want to do is dance the night away to Harlem jazz. Sadly they are children of a world that they didn’t make, but the free spirits find themselves in trouble and soon swinging to the mantras of a fascist regime.
Carter seems to have this habit of working on lots of TV shows then cracking out a startling film usually entangled into a taboo or some kind of controversy like his later hit Coach Carter (2005). Continue reading Swing Kids (1993)
Director: Jeff Renfroe
Starring:Jason Gedrick, Tamara Hope, Elias Toufexi, Sebastian Knapp, Chris Jarman. Canada. 1h 30m
Like a strange warped version of Monsters: Dark Continent (2014), blended with Jarhead (2005)and Tremors (1990), Sand Serpents doesn’t really feature a nest of deadly vipers as I expected instead the foes are more like miniature versions of the adorable Dune (1984) like sand worms but with a blood thirsty taste for human flesh.
A small group of US Army Soldiers become stranded in the remote Afghan desert, but against all odds and while teaming up with a father and daughter team from the local region they battle the Taliban and the epic worm like creatures from an unknown source, not something covered in basic training. Continue reading Sand Serpents (2009)
Director: Guy Nattiv.
Starring. Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, USA. 2h.
Redemption is the painful process etched out in Guy Nattiv’s gortty violent drama that sees a neo nazi break away from his mythical white only family in order to be a better person with the help of someone who he would normally happily attack for no reason other than the colour of his skin. Continue reading Skin (2018)