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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I BLAME SOCIETY – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

We find ourselves in a critical space where words like “mockumentary”, “#MeToo”, and “horror-comedy” seem like unavoidable go-tos, which while not exactly inaccurate, somehow feel collectively a little too milquetoast when it comes to the quite dark and unequivocally magical feat that Gillian Wallace Horvat has accomplished with this low-budget indie treasure.

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Filmmaker Nora Unkel on A NIGHTMARE WAKES and Mary Shelley – April Neale interviews (EXCLUSIVE)

A Nightmare Wakes presents a visual journey of Mary’s writing process, replete with demonic and disturbing visions and extraneous personal drama that adds to her overall melancholia. Director Nora Unkel reveals the nightmare that inspired Mary, a failed pregnancy; a complex love affair with Percy and a blending of her reality with dreamt possession and bloody imagery where we are unsure at times of what we are witnessing.

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REUNION – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

New Zealand director Jake Mahaffy’s Reunion shows a very different take on the horror genre in an intimate, at times even suffocating horror-melodrama about an adult woman trapped in a fraught entanglement with her estranged mother. Emma Draper plays the troubled, pregnant adult daughter who returns to her now-dead grandparents’ home that’s is filled with shocking secrets.

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