Tag Archives: Film

Old (M. Night Shyamalan, 2021)

Adapted from Pierre Oscar Lévy and Frédérik Peeters’ graphic novel Sandcastle, M. Night Shyamalan’s Old takes a Twilight Zone-esque premise to wickedly entertaining, gruesome and occasionally touching places…

Full review for SciFiNow

Fear Street: 1666 (Leigh Janiak, 2021)

In covering each entry in director Leigh Janiak’s interconnected Fear Street trilogy as they drop weekly on Netflix, it’s been relatively easy to be vague with plot details. That said, the fun and freaky final instalment, subtitled 1666, is near impossible to discuss without spoiling some threads left dangling from parts one and two. So, to paraphrase Fear Street author RL Stine’s better-known horror series, reader beware…

Full review for Little White Lies

Moomin-mania: Alma Pöysti on playing Tove Jansson

With Tove, a film about (part of) the life of Swedish-speaking Finnish multi-hyphenate Tove Jansson, director Zaida Bergroth and the film’s remarkable leading actor, Alma Pöysti, had an unenviable task: doing justice to a gargantuan popular culture icon in Finland and Sweden. Her Moomins books, in particular, have made her globally renowned, often in countries where the details of her fascinating personal life are perhaps not as well known…

Full interview for Curzon Journal

Fear Street: 1978 (Leigh Janiak, 2021)

The 1994-set first part of Leigh Janiak’s RL Stine trilogy saw teenagers stalked by several undead mass murderers from their seemingly cursed town’s history. It established that these homicidal outbursts across 300-plus years were the work of suspected witch Sarah Fier, a woman killed in 1666, possessing unsuspecting Shadysiders every so often from beyond the grave, as a means of revenge against the town.

Extinguishing their specific nightmare problem in part one, the surviving characters were then left on a cliff-hanger when one of their own became Fier’s latest victim of possession. The second film’s framing device sees her friends turn to the only local who might believe them. C Berman (Gillian Jacobs, selling two decades of trauma in only a few scenes) is a scarred, nihilistic survivor of the ‘Camp Nightwing Massacre’ of 1978. In its immediate aftermath she spoke of Fier’s involvement, but no one would listen. Berman was said to have briefly died, before resuscitation, while her sister was among the slain…

Full review for Little White Lies

Fear Street: 1994 (Leigh Janiak, 2021)

Pre-global pandemic, a gamble was taken with a trilogy of gory films loosely based on YA-horror series Fear Street by RL Stine, all directed and co-written by Leigh Janiak. Twentieth Century Studios (née Fox) was originally set to distribute these three interconnected movies, each set in a different time period, in cinemas across three consecutive months in the summer of 2020.

With theatrical distribution disrupted that same year, production company Chernin Entertainment sold their experiment to Netflix, with the streaming giant now releasing the trilogy across three consecutive weeks. First up is the 1994-set film, directly inspired by that decade’s slasher genre revival, and it will be followed by trips to 1978 and 1666…

Full review for Little White Lies

WITCH: We Intend to Cause Havoc (Gio Arlotta, 2019)

Back in 2012, Malik Bendjelloul’s documentary Searching for Sugar Man explored undersung recording artist Rodriguez, a Detroit-born singer-songwriter. More specifically, the film looked at the unusual degree of success and influence his music exerted in apartheid-era South Africa. Its framing device sees two South African Rodriguez fans in the late 1990s journey to find out what happened to this relatively obscure musician in light of his studio album output ending in the 1970s.

The set-up of Gio Arlotta’s music documentary, WITCH, is certainly not identical to that of Bendjelloul’s film, but the rhythms of the editing bear a strong resemblance and it does also concern a small group’s pilgrimage to track down a musical titan from the 1970s that they want to bring to more people’s attention. That the journey of the film effectively starts in 2014, only two years after Sugar Man’s success, makes an intentional influence seem plausible…

Full review for Little White Lies

Ben Wheatley on pandemic-shot horror ‘In the Earth’

“We were the first people back and – whether it’s true or not – we really felt like the eyes of production were on us across the board.”

Writer-director Ben Wheatley is speaking to The Skinny over Zoom about In the Earth, the horror feature he wrote during the first few weeks of the COVID pandemic and shot with a small crew over 15 days in the early summer, as the UK came out of its initial lockdown period.

While Hollywood blockbusters with hired studio spaces – such as Jurassic World: Dominion – were able to resume shooting in the UK last summer after they had to hit pause, In the Earth was among the very first low budget productions to get going in late June 2020. And being first off the blocks had its pressures…

Full interview for The Skinny

10 great horror sequels

One is the loneliest number in the world of horror movies. As cinemas welcome A Quiet Place Part II, we celebrate some of the best first sequels…

Full feature for the BFI

After Love (Aleem Khan, 2020)

In writer-director Aleem Khan’s debut feature, the great Joanna Scanlan is Mary/Fahima, a British Muslim convert residing in Dover with her husband Ahmed (Nasser Memarzia), a ferry captain to whom she’s been happily married for many years. In the film’s pre-credits sequence, their gentle domestic harmony is horribly disrupted, however, when Ahmed abruptly passes away in his armchair…

Full review for The Skinny