Tagged Horror

TIFF Review: Synchronic (Moorhead & Benson, 2019)

The premise here is certainly promising: a dangerous synthetic drug that takes lives in an unusual way, altering users’ biological makeup so much that they literally fall back in time and die at the hands of whatever they find there. This also felt like a good opportunity to comment on the ongoing opioid epidemic in…

TIFF Review: The Lighthouse (Eggers, 2019)

Robert Eggers delivered a memorable frightfest when he debuted The Witch in 2015, introducing Black Phillip into our collective consciousness. His follow-up is another period horror film, sans demonic goats this time around, but one still brewing with other mysterious entities: blind seagulls, screaming mermaids, tentacled krakens, and a lighthouse beacon that dazzles (and unravels)…

TIFF Review: Jallikattu (Pellissery, 2019)

Malayalam director Lijo Jose Pellissery takes us on a frenzied spiral into the heart of darkness in his latest blood-pumping thrill ride Jallikattu. As the opening title cards explain, the Indian tradition of the Jallikattu is a spectacle in which brave participants cling to a bull’s back and try to ride it as long as…

Knife+Heart (Gonzalez, 2018)

Yann Gonzalez wants the giallo to make a modern comeback, and honestly? I’m here for it. Knife+Heart revels in all the genre’s sleazy elements, including the impressionistic uses of vivid colour, ambient soundscapes (courtesy of synthpop band M83), and that irresistible slasher/stalker element that puts all the characters in vulnerable spots as a bloodthirsty killer lurks in…

Greta (Jordan, 2018)

Grande Dame Guignol lives on! Maybe not with the same panache as the films from the ‘60s, or the same level of insanity, but a film like Greta is worth it for the camp spectacle alone. Here it is provided to us by an extremely game Isabelle Huppert, playing a spidery widow who leaves expensive-looking purses lying…

Weekly Spotlight #5: Hotel (Hausner, 2004)

In this weekly series, The Lonely Film Critic highlights an older release of interest, whether it be an oft-overlooked gem or a classic worth revisiting. This week, as the Cannes Film Festival gets underway, we highlight a past feature from one of the filmmakers competing for this year’s Palme d’Or: Jessica Hausner.

Weekly Spotlight #3: Séance on a Wet Afternoon (Forbes, 1964)

In this new weekly series, The Lonely Film Critic highlights an older release of interest, whether it be an oft-overlooked gem or a classic worth revisiting. This week we unearth a startling mix of crime and horror from the Swinging Sixties, fronted by a memorable Oscar-nominated performance.

Velvet Buzzsaw (Gilroy, 2019)

If Velvet Buzzsaw was going for incisive critique of the art world’s myriad frivolities, it doesn’t work well. The best it can do is to emulate the kind of dead air that’s generated by those who equate premium connoisseurship with maximum pretension. And even then it can only go so far without looking incompetently cartoonish—and oftentimes it…

Upgrade (Whannell, 2018)

It’s not exactly sophisticated aesthetically or thematically, being another skeptical morality play on the dangers of biotechnological advancements that seek to erase our humanity, but Upgrade is quite a likable bit of pulp. There’s a Frankenstein quality to it that appeals. Like Grey Trace’s resurrection from traumatizing disability, the film revisits key sci-fi classics such as 2001: A…

Cam (Goldhaber, 2018)

This film does a good job of fooling you into thinking you’ve pressed play on a low-rent affair, with sets that look like they were assembled on a tight budget, and a premise that feels pulled from the dark recesses of the Internet. Camming (a form of online sex work) has not been an especially…

Suspiria (Guadagnino, 2018)

A bit of a disclaimer: I am not an Argento purist, so a reimagining of Suspiria was never going to drive me up the wall. I’ve only seen the original once, and that was but a month ago. I am about as new to this mythology as you can be, which allowed me to walk into Guadagnino’s…

November (Sarnet, 2017)

Lithuanian though I am, Estonian folklore is still quite a ways away from what I used to hear as a child. For instance, the concept of a kratt—a sentient creature made from household implements and given life by the Devil—is unfamiliar to me, so seeing one kidnap a cow and fly it over to its…

The Cloverfield Paradox (Onah, 2018)

I’m not averse to schlock if it’s entertaining. And there are definitely moments in The Cloverfield Paradox that are fun in a schlocky sense, like Chris O’Dowd’s arm being… ripped? sliced? bitten? from his body, and then ending up as some sentient, disembodied Addams Family reject. Or when the Russian (of course) crewmember is somehow invaded by the worms…

Don’t Breathe (Alvarez, 2016)

A most dangerous game of “blind man’s buff” plays out in Don’t Breathe, with a group of thieves trying to avoid the wrath of a blind army veteran after breaking into his home. It’s an interesting concept, in that we’re customarily used to rooting for the person being invaded. It’s taboo to trespass on someone’s property…

The Wolf House (Cociña & León, 2018)

I don’t know all that much about the Chilean cult that haunts The Wolf House. A cursory search reveals far more than I want to know, with atrocity after atrocity being unveiled like stepping stones. It’s enough to churn your stomach. The directors of this stop-motion phantasmagoria don’t tackle this subject matter head-on, choosing instead to…