GLASSHOUSE (Fantasia 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Kelsey Egan’s Glasshouse from South Africa is a masterclass in how small-scale fantastic allegory and its world-building potential can provide fertile ground with which to examine the stain of colonialism itself on that country’s cultural imagination. The film centers on a mother, her three daughters and her son, who have protected themselves from an airborne contagion which has ravaged society, causing a dementia-like condition in those who inhale the infected air. Although never articulating colonialism as a central thematic focus of the film, its presence is thus escapable, and Glasshouse excels in its understanding of how the mechanics of genre cinema itself allow them to strip back the specifics of history itself to get at its heart.

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WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR (Fantasia 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Low-key, dark, and emphatically superb, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair flirts with the internet horror of films like the recent Zoom indie smash Host, but where that film stayed impressively loyal to its central formal conceit, Schoenbrun dazzles with this unrestrained foray well beyond the boundaries of any particular horror subgenre and into much more abstract terrain. Swirling around the plug hole of a digital abyss, we’re never sure what lies down the drain even after the film has ended, making it the rarest of gifts; a horror movie that becomes more disturbing the more you think about it, long after it has ended.

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A DARK FOE – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

A Dark Foe follows FBI Agent Tony Cruz whose obsessive dedication to his work life is thwarted by childhood trauma and a chronic case of nyctophobia (fear of the dark). Haunted by the murder of his mother and the abduction of his sister when she was only a child, as revealed early in the film, as an adult his paths cross with the man responsible for his own tragic losses, which are simultaneously linked to a stream of vicious serial killings and a sex trafficking ring.

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BLOOD RED SKY – Review by Maitland McDonagh

So, here’s the high-concept pitch: Imagine Snakes on a Plane, only instead of snakes, the lethal pests are vampires and Samuel L. Jackson isn’t on board to declare, “I have had it with these motherfucking vampires on this motherfucking plane!” The surprise is that, unlike many movies whose bold strokes trump attention to detail, Blood Red Sky is both pretty bloody entertaining and surprisingly emotionally satisfying.

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MEANDER – Review by Maitland McDonagh

Comparisons to 1997’s Cube and its sequels are inevitable. The first film earned its notoriety by giving claustrophobic viewers nightmares and everyone else bragging rights for not squirming long after the credits rolled and Meander operates by the same playbook. But Meander is more visceral from the outset. Writer and director Mathieu Turi has built in some nasty surprises that keep it from becoming tediously repetitive–just consistently dark

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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