THE NIGHTINGALE – Review by Sheila Roberts

Jennifer Kent’s masterful writing and direction foster empathy for the plight of all the characters, both good and bad. She avoids the usual cathartic violence and exploitative storytelling tropes of revenge thrillers we’re accustomed to, and elicits strong, compelling performances. She takes an unflinching look at Colonialism — how racism and gender violence affect us, how they have always been used as weapons of war to marginalize and destabilize a vulnerable society, and why compassion is so essential.

Read more

THE NIGHTINGALE -Review by Leslie Combemale

Chilling, haunting, bracing, repulsive, heartbreaking…these are all apt descriptors of various parts of writer/director Jennifer Kent’s sophomore feature. It may be excruciating to watch, but it is also spectacularly good, and likely to remain on the top of my best of 2019 list. But I’m not watching it again to make sure. If you are as a viewer triggered by scenes of rape, torture, and murder, move along. This is not the feminist revenge drama you’re looking for.

Read more

CULTURE SHOCK – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The spirit of empathy makes Culture Shock an unforgettable and important horror film. There is no subtext here; it would take some determined, dedicated ignorance to miss how the film’s title refers to the immigrant experience, where desperate people trying to change their lives for the better are forced to accept a new culture at the expense of one’s original one, shattering their sense of identity and self.

Read more

COYOTE LAKE – Review by Roxana Hadadi

The thriller Coyote Lake takes the conceptual frame of vigilante justice and places it over a mother-daughter story about familial control and abuse, a combination that nudges at themes of religious obsession and misandry. The result is a tense experiment that considers the extremes of revenge but that overall doesn’t stray too much from a recognizable depiction of maternal manipulation.

Read more

WOMEN FILMMAKERS AT MONTREAL’S INTERNATIONAL FANTASIA FILM FEST – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Breaking with past bad habits, the presence of women-made movies at genre film festivals around the world is now becoming an assumed norm rather than a curious anomaly. The 2019 iteration of Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival is a case in point, a fiercely independent and originally programmed festival that defines ‘outside the box’ curatorial thinking to the point that it has earned a strong international reputation for taste-making and trend-setting on the global film genre scene.

Read more

HEAD COUNT – Review by Liz Whittemore

This script by director Elle Callahan and Michael Nadar is something special. Right off the bat, I noticed nods to It Follows, one of the most unique genre films in a long time. But once Head Count’s weirdness takes full hold, you’ll find it’s completely its own creation. You will be just as spooked/confounded as the characters.

Read more

HEAD COUNT – Review by Marina Antunes

On the surface Head Count looks like countless other horror movies: a group of college kids rent a house in the desert for the weekend and before the holidays are over, a bunch of them are dead. We’ve seen it before and we’ll certainly see it again but what makes writer/director Elle Callahan’s feature film debut interesting is that she’s far more interested in establishing a mood and tone while the scares feel almost secondary.

Read more