LIFF 2011: THE DIVIDE review

Xavier Gens' superb The Divide basically posits that should the bombs drop and the world get blown to radioactive splinters, the scariest thing that could happen wouldn't be finding out you were screwed. It'd be finding out that given the... More »


The Whisperer in Darkness is a fan film through and through - an enthusiastic celebration of a subject a core group of believers think is just awesome (classic, literary-minded horror fiction from one of the fathers of the genre). It's... More »

LIFF 2011: MARIANNE review

Filip Tegstedt's Marianne stretches the definition of a horror movie by quite some way; there's only one recurring supernatural element and it's left very much open to interpretation as to whether the main character is imagining the whole thing, to... More »

LIFF 2011: MASKS review

So Andreas Marschall really likes his giallo? Masks, the director's second film, is so breathlessly earnest it could be a YouTube viral hit blown up to feature length. Virtually every scene is a hymn to lurid Italian psychodramas where a... More »

The Northlander: talking to MARIANNE director Filip Tegstedt

Filp Tegstedt's Marianne stood out among some pretty impressive genre productions at the Leeds Film Festival 2011 given the Swedish director's debut almost doesn't feel like a conventional horror film at all. The story of a man eaten alive by... More »

LIFF 2011: JUAN OF THE DEAD review

At first glance Alejandro Brugués's zombie comedy Juan of the Dead doesn't sound too promising. Unless you're a devoted follower of the diverse strands of Latin American cinema the idea of an unknown director shooting an affectionate tribute to Edgar... More »


There are some ideas it's hard to see how people could possibly screw up. Take horror (as in the supernatural) in the middle of a war zone. You've got potentially limitless subtext, the nightmares soldiers and civilians go through literally... More »

LIFF 2011: BELLFLOWER review

It's great when a director identifies with a film they've poured heart and soul into making, even more so when it's clearly pushed them to excel. Still, what are you supposed to think when it's a story about weak, contemptible... More »


Sometimes, with films, 'individual' means 'too bloody weird for its own good'; less distinguished or distinctive, and more so wrapped up in its own cleverness only the person who dreamt it up can properly appreciate the thing. Finisterrae is a... More »

LIFF 2011: SHE MONKEYS review

The problem with Swedish teen drama She Monkeys is there are two approaches artistic filmmakers seem to gravitate towards when they want to explore the subject of young and/or inexperienced people finding out about sex. Either they go gritty, intimate,... More »

LIFF 2011: BREATHING review

A young man desperately in need of a purpose ends up taking a job dealing with the recently deceased, collecting the dead and making them look the best they can for their final journey - in the course of which... More »

LIFF 2011: AITA review

There've been any number of films where you hear a building is one of the main characters - usually horror - The Shining, the Amityville films - but it's typically a selling point more than anything else. José María de... More »

LIFF 2011: LOVE (1972) review

If you judge a film by how well it balances its ups and downs, Karoly Makk's brilliant Love is a master high wire act, a scintillating piece of drama that's warm and compassionate but realistic with it - yet that... More »


Sometimes it's fun to watch an older film and tease out an early example of such-and-such a visual or narrative trope, whether it's to get a sense of how far we've come or to admire how far a particular director... More »

Grimm Up North 2011: THE WICKER TREE review

If you're going to mash up horror and comedy ideally your writer or director needs to have it straight what it is the audience are supposed to be laughing at. The idea of a quiet English village hiding a pathologically... More »

Grimm Up North 2011: THE THEATRE BIZARRE review

Horror's pretty dumb, right, when you get down to it? Subjecting ourselves to seedy vicarious thrills when if we took pleasure in the same things in real life we'd be clinically insane. Lots of people level this argument against genre... More »

Grimm Up North 2011: THE WOMAN review

What you get out of Lucky McKee's The Woman, a piece of ultraviolent drama that's brilliant and infuriating by turns, is probably dependent on how serious you think the director and his writing partner, novelist Jack Ketchum are being. The... More »

Grimm Up North 2011: URBAN EXPLORER review

Do you like watching stupid people die? Not the cheeriest introduction, maybe, but it's hard to see what else anyone could get out of Andy Fetscher's Urban Explorer. Four young people go creeping through the tunnels under Berlin, only someone's... More »

ETRANGE 2011: KILL LIST review

(And with Ben Wheatley's Kill List just having played at the 17th L'Estrange Film Festival in Paris, let me weigh in with a dissenting opinion.)Watching Ben Wheatley's disappointing sophomore feature Kill List feels like climbing a house someone stopped building... More »

ETRANGE 2011: REDLINE review

What makes Takeshi Koike's Redline a work of sheer, unalloyed genius is that when you get down to it, it's simply a daft science fiction cartoon about racing cars very, very fast. Seriously, the simple premise is less a compromise... More »
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