Film reviews and more

Martyn Conterio

#LFF 2021: Earwig review

★★★★☆ Lucile Hadžihalilović doesn’t make many films; Earwig being her third in almost twenty years. Yet in just three works, she has established herself as a filmmaker of uncompromising vision, the weird stories she tells focused on childhood, with strong elements of body horror. A film about a young girl with ice cubes for teeth, it’s befitting the pace of Earwig is glacial and […]

#LFF 2021: Inexorable review

★★★★☆ Fabrice Du Welz’s sixth film Inexorable continues to explore his fascination with troubled souls. Here, it’s a young woman on a mission to destroy an author and his upper-class wife, for reasons which are kept tantalisingly opaque. Marcus Bellmer (Benoît Poelvoorde) is the writer of a hit novel. Married into old money, via his publisher wife (played by […]

#LFF 2021: Sundown review

★★★★☆ After the large-scale brutality of political horror film New Order, Michel Franco returns with a low-key study in deceptive behaviour and enigmatic motives. Tim Roth headlines as a man attempting to escape his past and present, while on holiday in Mexico. Neil Bennett (Roth) is on holiday with Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and two kids, Colin (Samuel Bottomley) and […]

#LFF 2021: The Medium review

★★★★☆ From celebrated South Korean filmmaker Na Hong-Jin, The Medium is an occult shocker set in an isolated village in northern Thailand. A tropical (and therefore suitably febrile) take on the demonic possession and mockumentary/found-footage sub-genres, its creepy theatrics build to a freaky climax.  Written and produced by the acclaimed director of The Chaser, The Yellow Sea and The Wailing, Na Hong-Jin might not […]

Film Review: Rose Plays Julie

★★★★★ In Rose Plays Julie, the latest from dynamic duo Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, a child of adoption studying veterinary medicine decides to seek out her biological mother and father. Her journey of discovery and resolution in holding her parents to account makes for haunting viewing. With their regular collaborator Aidan Gillen, Molloy and Lawlor have fashioned a […]

Film Review: Prisoners of the Ghostland

★★★☆☆ Sion Sono’s debut film in the English language is an East-meets-West genre medley centred on the hero monomyth, and crucially the samurai movie’s influence on both the modern western and post-apocalyptic actioner. Meanwhile, Nicolas Cage gets to do his thing, and that’s always welcome. Prisoners of the Ghostland is an oddball movie that leaves you wondering if they […]

FrightFest 2021: The Sadness review

★★★☆☆ The Sadness is a nasty and thoroughly unpleasant survival horror film set in Taiwan, directed by Canadian first-timer Rob Jabbaz. Warning: this movie is not for the faint-hearted and requires a strong tolerance for depictions of sexual violence on screen. Jim and Kat are a young couple living in Taipei, Taiwan. The world has been suffering a global pandemic […]

FrightFest 2021: Evie review

★★☆☆☆ Emmerdale actor Dominic Brunt moonlights as a horror filmmaker. Evie, his fourth time on bullhorn duties, co-directed with Jamie Lundy, is based on the Celtic and Norse myth of the selkie, a derivative of the better-known mermaid. For Brunt, Evie is both a step up and a step back. Its gloomy beach-set scenes are atmospheric and rugged. In other words, he […]

FrightFest 2021: The Retaliators review

★★★★☆ The Retaliators is a rock ‘n’ roll ride into the freaky side of vengeance. Bridget Smith and Samuel Gonzalez Jr’s bloody thriller transgressively argues for violence as a rejuvenating force, a great problem-solver, and eye-for-an-eye revenge being a righteous act. Written by first-time screenwriters Darren and Jeff Allen Geare, The Retaliators deserves praise for its storytelling and plotting. For a good […]

FrightFest 2021: Knocking review

★★★★☆ A middle-aged woman, released from a psychiatric facility, moves into a block of flats. Settling in and finding her feet again, one night she begins to hear a thumping sound. Nobody else hears it. Is she going mad or is she on to something? The fictional feature debut of Swedish documentary filmmaker Frida Kempff, Knocking is a powerful statement on […]

FrightFest 2021: No Man of God review

★★★★☆ Amber Sealey’s chamber piece dramatises a series of 1980s prison interviews undertaken by pioneer FBI profiler, Bill Hagmaier, with Ted Bundy. The resulting film shines a light, as best it can, into the darkest place known to humankind: the mind of a serial killer. When we meet Ted Bundy in No Man of God, the affability, cocky bravado, the boyish charm displayed […]

FrightFest 2021: Post Mortem review

★★★★☆ Hungary, in the aftermath of the First World War. Travelling photographer Tomas (Victor Klem), is drawn into a frightening supernatural mystery, occurring in a remote peasant village. Armed with his trusty camera and primitive recording equipment, the former soldier goes hunting for ghosts. After the first globalised conflict killed millions, there came in its terrible wake an influenza […]