This tense Canadian horror thriller, about hotel guests attacked by a deadly virus, never mentions Covid. But – and this may be the fate of contagion movies now – it’s hard to read a movie about the viral spread that turns people into panting ghouls like being about anything else entirely.
The film opens with Naomi (Yumiko Shaku), a pregnant woman fleeing from her husband in Japan, sitting in the hallway of a hotel with other people searching for air. She crosses paths with Val (Carolina Bartczak), a mother whose plan to take her daughter and escape her abusive husband becomes a little easier when he transforms into a weak, hissing monster. It turns out that this is not a conspiracy theory: the epidemic has sinister origins.
I don’t want to say more, because in just 79 minutes, director Francesco Giannini, in his first solo feature, presents his film with strong central female characters and the stuff of fierce twists.
It is too early to say to what extent coronavirus horror films will influence horror. “Hall” and the demonic Zoom-call image “Host” – the scariest movie of all time, according to a new study – makes me think it will. The jury is out on “Corona Zombies”.
Stream it on Hulu.
You don’t have to remember the 1980s to appreciate the spooky drama of Prano Bailey-Bond, his first feature film about the fear of Video Nasties in Britain. The honest to God moral panic swept across the country, leading to the banning of 72 films.
Enid (Niamh Algar) spends his days watching extreme movies, not for fun but for the UK government. She’s a censor and we’re in the 1980s, which means it’s her job, under a Thatcher-era law, to cut or ban films she considers insane.
But emotionally grueling work doesn’t quite suit Enid, who struggles to cope with the disappearance of his sister, Nina (Amélie Child Villiers), when they were children. Enid believes that Nina is still alive, a belief that gains traction when Enid sees an actress in a movie that could pass for her adult sister. As fact, fiction, and his horror movie missions collide, Enid’s grip on reality takes a bloody, surreal turn.
The film is an 84-minute VHS-style jackpot, from the gritty cinematography of Annika Summerson to the thrilling score of Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch. Better yet, as a bizarre exploration of a woman’s emotional outcome, it’s a story of heartfelt substance.
Stream it on Amazon Prime Video.
Charlie (Adam Halferty) just wants the world outside his house – his late father’s house, in fact – to go away. He ignores his sister, Betty (Jessie Rabideau), when she shows up at the front door with her fiance, Benjamin (Ryan Kattner) and a plan to sell their father’s former Crown Victoria, the one in which he sits. ‘has committed suicide.
But Charlie pays attention to the strange letters slipped under his door that lead him to his uncle Pete (James Russo), who Charlie believed to be dead. Even stranger is Pete’s message to his nephew: “This thing is going to destroy you just like it did your father.”
What does it mean to let go of grief, and if the grief doesn’t let you go? What if sorrow was a monstrous figure in a black robe staring at you with red eyes? These are the questions that in 85 bizarre minutes consume Matthew Goodhue’s deeply disturbing film about siblings and memory. It’s a compact, intense and touching horror storytelling. Too bad the awkward Benjamin is making his way to the front of the final.
Stream it on Shudder.
The mock horror documentary has fallen out of favor since the heyday of found footage of the 90s. It’s a shame, because a fictional scary story told through the conventions of non-fiction cinema can be, like ” Hell House LLC “, even more terrifying.
Here is to fill that gap this spooky Thai film directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun. He follows a film crew traveling to a rural village to document Nim (Sawanee Utoomma), a female shaman whose body is home to a good spirit revered by the locals.
The team members start by filming beautiful scenes of religious ceremonies, but things take a dark turn when they catch Nim’s niece Mink (Narilya Gulmongkolpech) attacking people and bleeding spontaneously. It is then that Nim realizes that the source of his niece’s extreme behavior is not the challenge. It’s demonic.
It’s a simmering film, a welcome relief from the tendency to think big with stories that merge religious belief, family ties, and the supernatural. At more than two o’clock it ends up overtaking its welcome, ending in excessive chaos. But the final scene, just an interview with Nim, is scary.
Rent it or buy it on Vudu.
When the police find Will (Emmett Spriggs) hiding at his grandfather’s house the day after his mother and sister were murdered, it is clear that something terrible has happened to the terrified young boy as well. Why did Will look into the security camera at the police station and say “spirit of death” in Mohican? And who was the Native American who accompanied him through the snowy woods that night?
Fast forward and grown-up Will (writer-director Steven Grayhm) returns to his childhood home after his father’s death. When homicide detectives (Nate Boyer and Tamara Austin) come to town to investigate a series of murders, Will’s past begins to unfold in a way that no human investigator has a chance to defeat.
Despite a title that makes the Hardy Boys feel like the case, Grayhm’s feature debut is a slow-burning thriller that skillfully weaves issues of mental illness and family trauma into an uplifting tale set on a sacred land. Logan Fulton, the director of photography, makes the Massachusetts countryside look like both a winter landscape and a hellish landscape.