February 07

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.

February 05

An Inescapable World of “Trouble Every Day” (2001, dir. Claire Denis)

While TROUBLE EVERY DAY’s mix of sexuality and violence is meant to shock, its almost clinical detachment at other times alienates the viewer. The end result is to create an amoral world from which there is no way out — for both characters within the film and spectators in the audience.

February 01

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” (2017) and the Case for Chaos

For fuck’s sake, even I don’t know what I’m talking about.

January 23

SPLIT (2017) Just Might Leave You That Way

James McAvoy’s character is both the best and the worst thing about SPLIT, which was both written and directed by Shyamalan.

January 19

Anna Foerster’s “Underworld: Blood Wars” (2017)

Even with expectations properly tempered to the low expectations of the January dumping ground, Blood Wars still comes off as an immense disappointment.

January 18

Indie Horror: THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT (2014)

After watching THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT, not only was my aversion to clowns solidified, but I felt the need to watch something else before going to bed.

January 17

A HONEYMOON (2014) from Hell

An alien presence turns wives into husband-killing monsters in writer-director Leigh Janiak’s feature debut, the indie science-fiction horror film Honeymoon (2014). In their native urban environment (likely New York City), newlyweds Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) seem like an average (including their quirks) yuppie couple. When they go from city to country (crossing the border into Canada in the process), the ties that bind — along with the gender roles defined by contemporary heterosexual marriage — go out the window when an eerie light shines into it, focusing on new wife Bea.

January 11

Billy O’Brien’s “I Am Not a Serial Killer” (2016)

Remember those creepy PSAs for radon that aired in the late ’80s? That’s what I Am Not a Serial Killer most resembles.

January 10

The Rich, the Poor, and “Cheap Thrills” (2013)

Innocuously tragicomic at first, this indie film escalates first to the darkly comic and finally to the abjectly horrific.

January 09

PET (2016): Caged Indie Horror

The strength of PET is in how it takes a predictable story in an unexpected and disturbing direction.