Demons of Fear: “UNDER THE SHADOW” (2016)

Fear and anxiety have a way of unsettling us: sometimes bringing out our worse natures, and sometimes forcing us to find our better selves. Writer/director Babak Anvari explores this in his Iranian horror, UNDER THE SHADOW. He also shows how fear, anxiety, and war can unearth darker powers in Nature. The look of the film is simple but with a growing oppression, a sometimes claustrophobic feel. The main characters are at the mercy not only of the external unrest but also of what is lurking in their minds.

Terror Tuesday: Nicholas Winding Refn’s “NEON DEMON” (2016)

It is tempting to compare NEON DEMON to STARRY EYES, but I think that would sell both films short. Both films deal with the predatory nature of fame and are strong visually, but they each have their focus. The lead in STARRY EYES, Sarah, understands what she has to sacrifice and does it willingly. But there is, at least in the beginning, a genuine naïveté and original drive about her.

James Wan’s “THE CONJURING 2”

There is no disputing James Wan is one of the top architects of the mainstream horror movement. He has written, directed, produced, or done a combination of all three on many of the big name horror films that have come out since 2000. Being the creator of the SAW franchise is enough to cement his legacy, but one look at his IMDB shows he has many irons in the fire. He has a formula, and he works it well.