CENSOR – Review by April Neale

Censor is a cleverly wrapped thriller that wears the classically turned up London Fog overcoat of a period horror film. However, Prano Bailey-Bond’s feature film steeps the tea strongly, setting the action during the Margaret Thatcher years in a workplace rife with sexism, and a lead actor grappling with memory repression and the ticking time bomb of a loss she carries from childhood. And not only guilt for being the surviving child in her family, but perhaps some insidious involvement in her sister’s vanishing.

Read more

THE RETREAT – Review by Maitland McDonagh

The Retreat is by no means incompetent: It’s well shot, acted and edited and manages to ratchet up the stakes in the third act, when many similarly set-up films are on cruise control and relying on escalating violence and gore to keep backsides in seats. But four decades after Friday the 13th codified the rules of stalk-and-slash it takes more than a pair of appealing lesbian protagonists to freshen up the formula.

Read more

THE COLUMNIST – Review by Maitland McDonagh

A darkly comic thriller about the perils of social-media obsession, this handsome and well-acted film covers familiar territory–especially (though certainly not limited to) for women with high-profile social media presences–with grand guignol flair. Columnist Femke writes for a popular website, appealing to readers who appreciate her sharp but non-confrontational musings about being a divorced single mother trying to get through the day and support her smart. rebellious. fledgling-feminist daughter’s war against conformist high-school culture.

Read more

KAALI KHUHI – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Kaali Khuhi is a horror delight for those willing to open their mind to genre entries that fall outside typical Western fare. Starring an impressive Riva Arora as Shivangi, she is a young child at the heart of the film’s drama and its unlikely heroine. The film begins as her grandmother falls ill, her distraught father taking Shivangi and her unimpressed mother to the small village where the old woman lies ill. Almost instantly, through her newfound best friend Shivangi discovers that the village is riddled with dark secrets, all of which lead to a mysterious, spooky room on the top floor of her grandmother’s home, marked by the presence of the ghostly, ghastly spectre of a girl around her own age marked by a signature red dress.

Read more

BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

While perhaps a footnote to the broader Max Headroom success story, the still-chilling signal hijacking in Chicago in 1987 where a Headroom look-alike took over two Chicago television stations remains one of the most notorious instances of video piracy of all time. These videos can be found on YouTube and still have a genuinely eerie quality to them, heightened only further by the fact that those responsible for the act were never identified.

Read more

AT NIGHT COMES WOLVES – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Writer/director Tj Marine’s low-budget At Night Comes Wolves is a fascinating addition to what here should perhaps be recognized more formally as a subgenre of sorts, combining male domestic violence against women – here, primarily psychological and sexual – in a fascinating and quite ambitious way with the misogyny that drives religious or spiritual cults and cult-think.

Read more

THE SCARY OF SIXTY-FIRST (Berlinale 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Dasha Nekrasova’s debut feature film follows two young women who fluke the real estate deal of a lifetime, a dream duplex on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It is only after moving in, however, that they discover that their home’s previous owner was Epstein who used it, as one character notes, as an “orgy flophouse”. They together become Nancy Drew like conspiracy theorists who fall increasingly into paranoid obsession. The Scary of Sixty-First does exactly what horror film does best: it gives us a way of speaking about the very real nightmares of the world we live in when we struggle to find the words.

Read more

CENSOR (Berlinale 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

At the heart of Censor lies Enid (Niamh Algar), an almost prissy and visibly uptight bureaucrat who works 9-5 deciding what scenes to cut from a seemingly never-ending torrent of extreme film content, set during a period where the so-called Video Nasties moral panic put enormous pressure on censors to be the social barriers between corrupting screen media and Britain’s impressionable youth.

Read more

DEMENTER – Review by Liz Whittemore

With a style that feels like half documentary and half horror, Dementer is a bone-chilling watch. The score and sound editing make your skin crawl. This film is one of the most disturbing watches of the year so far. The mystery of Katie’s past rolls out slowly. It’s a truly disturbing way to tell this story. As a Mom of a child on the spectrum, this film felt extra vile, and I do mean that as a compliment.

Read more

A LITTLE MORE FLESH – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

A Little More Flesh fits quite consciously into what we might consider a post #MeToo subgenre of horror cinema, but the film’s deliberate (and often quite beautiful) retro aesthetics indicates there is something much bigger at stake going on here. For those with a taste for game-changing indie horror cinema A Little More Flesh is funny, shocking, sad, beautiful and very, very clever.

Read more