Director: Nick Love Starring: Danny Dyer, Tamer, Hassan, Geoff bell .UK. 1h 37m
It feels funny going back in time and finally watching this lary movie. After watching the slew of films which were created from it’s fallout, seeing the original template feels weird as I’ve seen all the parts play out in slightly different ways. Nick Love’s signature direction has conjured a tough guy world for many fans of this”English Bad Boy” subculture. But going back to see one of the early greats you can easily see what they were trying to mimic. This came just after Love’s cult favorite The Football Factory (2004) and aimed to tell a rags to riches tale littered with disgusting language and questionable characters.
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: Carl Strathie Starring: Laura Fraser, Mel Raido, Sid Phoenix, Grant Masters, Spike White, Nicholas Pinnock, Alice Lowe, USA/UK. 1h 37m
Dark Encounter is another film in a long line up, of Intricately detailed thought provoking sci-fi, drawing more towards the side of hard sci-fi and yet remaining dreamily artistic, this bold attempt to to blend a missing person case in and around the most profound alien contact, proved to be very thought-provoking, and somewhat beautifully bittersweet.
With other epic sci-fi titles out there such as Interstellar and Arrival, Dark Encounter can proudy sit among them as a strong contender. Even without going full Christopher Nolanesque and devising a complex world that falls in and on itself, with surreal curveballs and slips within time and space, there is a palatable connection between our world and another. Were the reasoning why, being slightly baffling, it still proves to be an outstanding piece of work both visually and intellectually.
Director: Rupert Jones Starring: Toby Jones, Anne Reid .UK. 1h 40m
Rupert Jones, brother of lead actor Toby Jones, has curated a chilling deep cerebral exploration of an ex-con’s relationship with his domineering mother as he attempts to reason with a new insurrection and the secrets of his past. Kaleidoscope is only shy of being perceived as disturbing, because of TJ’s amazing character portrayal of a shy man searching for love. This down to earth portail is so poignant and beautiful raw, that the mystery surrounding his latest date is ever intertwining through reality and fantasy beings to pale in comparison. Maybe the two brothers working together was one of their best moves or maybe they are both just so brilliant at what they do anyway?
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: Mike Leigh Starring: Roy Kinnear, Maxine Peake, Neil Bell, Philip Jackson, Pearce Quigley, Neil Bell .UK. 2h 34m
Political riots just aren’t what they used to be, it seems like only yesterday innocent people were being shot with rubber bullets and tear gassed for arguing against the poll tax. WIth the Tories finally getting their wish to ban protesting it feels all that more poignant to remember our rights to speak out against matters we feel are unjust and wrong.
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.
Director: Jeremy Lovering
Starring:Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech. UK, Ireland. 1h 25m
There’s nothing new about a couple going for a fun thrilled romantic break in Ireland, it’s not like the market is swamped and this is a genre movie but with crackers like From the Dark (2014), which sees a more established couple trying to revive a strained relationship while descending on a village overrun by hard to kill vampires, along with this creature feature there’s a brilliant psychological tale Travellers (2011) that involved a group of city boys running into some Irish travellers but until a few magical 360 plot spinning reveal it’s hard to know who’s the worst set of characters. So with these already out and about, for seasoned horror fans, this movie initially kicks off as more of the same, or is it? Jeremy Lovering uses these others as stepping stones and red herrings, helping to throw his audience off and In Fear manages to fool and chill constantly from beginning to end.
Director: Richard Billingham Starring: Patrick Romer, Richard Ashton, Justin Salinger, Ella Smith, Tony Way. UK. 1h 50m
This strangely hypnotic movie doesn’t really have a beginning, middle and an end, per say but there’s a strange introduction to characters, and they are very unusual creatures. Once you get over the initial shock of their squalid lives and attitudes the movie kinda meanders until a pivotal moment where everyone’s life changes, most notable the teller of the story, Richard, and his little brother Jason, who at one point would rather sleep rough than go home, but what would drive a child to do this?
Director: Jack McHenry Starring: Tom Bailey, Maureen Bennett, Alfred Bradle, Robert Llewellyn, Timothy Renouf, Charlie Robb, Jessica Webber. UK. 1h 20m
Genre bending comedy horror doesn’t get much better than this frightful mini epic. Here Comes Hell, sees a small group of gorgeous 1930’s socialites hooking up to see one of their friends’ new purchases, which just happens to be a charming haunted mansion located deep in the British wilderness. The party includes a seance as getting a psychic grandma in on your party is thought to be terribly fun.