What should be a standard revenge thriller takes a hard turn into the schlock, and it is all the better for it. While not perfect, The Retaliators blunt approach, coupled with Michael Lombardi’s performance, makes it an entertaining horror An upstanding pastor John Bishop (Michael Lombardi), uncovers a dark and
A slow burn narrative allows for eco-horror Gaia to come into its own by taking advantage of stunning visual storytelling. Jaco Bouwer’s film entrances you and does so much right and makes you pay attention to it.
Somewhere deep within Behemoth, there lives a great thriller. It is just a shame it never realises it and tries to become something it shouldn’t. As a result, this film made for literal pennies overstretches itself. A true shame.
An entertaining film that feels like a love letter to all the writers out there, struggling or best selling. Scare Me takes some bold decisions with its confined setting; taking advantage of a smart script & two great performances.
This quiet & bleak chamber piece works very well during its engaging opening act, & tension racked finale. However, #Settlers middle act frustrates due to the lack of answers to the questions posed, regardless, this is an impressive debut.
A muddling action film that doesn’t quite know what it is trying to be. There are glimpses of a good film living underneath Out of Death, but with such a terrible script, the only saving grace the film has is the strong turn by Jamie King,
Distant direction choices almost overshadow the Offerings dense narrative and strong cast performances. This cynical but intriguing film takes its time at fully getting to its point but remains effective in its execution.
Rife with nail-biting tension, Lonnie Chavis & Ezra Dewey are phenomenal in The Boy Behind The Door. With a simple story done exceptionally well, directors David Charbonier and Justin Powell have created a wonderful thriller.
Flippo Meneghetti’s feature debut Two of Us is a heartbreaking look at the battle to keep love together during the most trying of times. A drama that tenderly and carefully carries you along, and like Nina, makes sure never to let you go.
A psychological drama that never connects in the way that it thinks it does. A Perfect Enemy misses more than it hits, but when those hits flash before us, they do work well though the lead up to the finale is what costs the film. Successful architect Jeremiasz Angust is approached on
Rife with atmosphere & doom, this is a film that sticks to its deliberate pacing to show us the struggles of sacrificing everything for family. But it keeps its cards far too close to its chest narratively.
Yaniv Raz’s adaption of Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets shows how it was a book made for the big screen. This offbeat look at mental health in teenagers occasionally stumbles but is able to stay on its feet to be an entertaining film. Enter the whimsical world of James
Imagine a plot along the lines of Final Destination without getting to see the deaths and played out by a cast who forgot to emote. Don’t Look Back is a woefully sloppy film that has few bright sparks to speak of.
The filmed performance of Ian Rickson’s production of Uncle Vanya astounds. A beautiful yet utterly heartbreaking piece with faultless performances. It will live long in the memory. An unmissable experience
As you go further into Akos Armont’s Brabham, the more confused the film appears to get what it wanted to be. While it can be a solid introduction to the life of multi-time Formula 1 champion Jack Brabham
Damian McCarthy’s feature debut Caveat is a claustrophobic success that knows precisely what to do to creep you out. A smartly written and directed film that provides the audience with an exciting new voice.
Come & stay for the gore & the B-movie tropes as there isn’t much else going on with Skull: The Mask. A film that falls short of being great due to it forgetting that there needed to be a solid story to hold it all together.
John Huddle’s drama has its thinking cap on, and while it falters occasionally. It succeeds in being a refreshing story that allows ideas and thoughts to shine. The Philosophers surprises with just how good it is.
Caroline Williams gives the best performance of her career in Ten Minutes to Midnight. This film has a wonderful underlying story that has you come in for the horror but stay for the on point and insightful commentary.
A film with good intentions, Homewrecker just doesn’t click due to some amateur work behind the camera. A genuinely disappointing film despite the efforts of its two leads to make it something more.
#ArmyoftheDead flatters to deceive with a premise that should make it stand out. but is severely lacking in its script by being just too predictable. Neither disappointing nor great, this is a film that settles with being just okay.
And I, And I. Dir Lam Yan Yue Judy, a single mother and Peter, her intellectually disabled son, have been through 45 years with each other. As minorities, lives were half spent with forgotten dreams and helpless love. Yet, they found a temporary exit through music. A genuinely wonderful short
Stalker is hampered by a laboured & predictable middle half but is saved with a cracker of a final act. A solid thriller that visually paints a great picture, but falls just when you want it to leap. However, it is still worth your time.
Alex Noyer’s film utilises its horror graphically well. Yet it shines most when it explores what is under the pools blood left behind with a story full of tragedy, desperation wrapped around PTSD and addiction – A must-see film.
A practical effects-laden joy. Psycho Goreman is everything a genre fan would love but can also go beyond a niche B-movie to be a schlocky film that will entertain everyone. Siblings Mimi and Luke unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord who was interred on Earth millions of years ago after a failed
A relentlessly compelling action packed thriller, your are invested right from that unbelievable opening sequence. Any minor faults are so readily forgiven, a joy of an action film made for the big screen.
Shock Wave is a terrific spectacle of a film that harkens back to the classic 90’s action thrillers. With an awful lot to love about this entertaining film, it becomes a wonderful surprise of a movie.
Thomas Gullestad is a revelation here in the WW II drama The 12th Man. It is a harrowing and grueling film that never lets up or lets you out of its grip until the final scene—an underseen gem of a movie that fully deserves a chance.
John Berardo’s Initiation is a welcome addition to the genre, an excellent slasher has something to say, working best when it centres itself in the world of realism. A film that has its cake & eats it. Watch this great horror immediately.
With brutal action, The Swordsman becomes a film that capably mixes itself as an entertaining martial arts action film inside a compelling historical drama. A confident and well-executed film that does everything right.
Chino Moya’s hauntingly bleak debut feature Undergods is an ambitious trio of tales expertly interwoven film. A vision that makes him a filmmaker to look out for. A very impressive movie. A collection of darkly humorous, fantasy tales about ill-fated characters and doomed fortune: in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic Europe, K
Eirik Svensson’s has created a compelling and moving humanist tale here with Betrayed. A film that is a haunting reminder of the pain of your own community and friends deserting you and at times condemning you to a horrible fate. Based on True Events. The Nazi agenda knew no borders. As the
Max Strands feature debut is a thriller that does an awful lot right with its minimal style and two great performances. However, it stretches itself too thin just when you are fully compelled. However this is still one to catch.
An abysmally dull affair, Robin Hood: The Rebellion never does anything of note other than frustrating its audience with some terrible action & meaningless dialogue. A shambolic film that should be avoided for your own sanity.
Michael Burn’s Peaks and Valleys is a wonderful character study of two people who find each other at the right time. With memorable performances in a gorgeous setting, this is a drama that captivates you from beginning to end.
Powell Robinson & Robert-Patrick Young’s Threshold works best when it focuses on its two siblings simply trying to reconnect. Despite the painfully rushed ending, it shows moments of beauty and allows the viewer to enjoy the overall journey
Brad Helmink and John Rauschelbach’s film is a tremendously effective thriller that does everything possibly right. A slow-burner that reels you in, this is a must-watch film that deserves to find as wide an audience as possible.
With an overbearing score and a script that simply cannot get to grips with what supernatural influence it wants to take from, The Darkness never gets going. Resulting in a flawed, disjointed film that fails its audience in almost every way possible.
A wonderful documentary about the auteur Ann Hui. Keep Rolling is an exploration into her storied career that links in perfectly with her personal life. For those unfamiliar with Hui, this remains an open & appealing introduction to the filmmaker.
An interesting & satisfying documentary that doesn’t quite delve into our subjects as much as you would want it to. Yet, you are invested to the piece thanks to some wonderful visual choices from Vreeland.
The Virtuoso is held back by an uninspiring script that hampers itself from the start; a premise that could have had legs is wasted to become a standard assassin thriller. Given only a time, a location, and a cryptic clue, the methodical hitman (Anson Mount) must identify his mysterious foe
Danny Madden’s fantastic feature debut Beast Beast is bold with its perfectly built tension and a final act that hits you like a train, becoming an unmissable and urgent film for young adults in a modern world.
With two fabulous performances from Tsai Chin and Hsiao-Yuan Ha, Lucky Grandma weaves a delightful tale that delivers the laughs and knows when to pull at your emotions to bring us a charming film that showcases the value of family.
An enjoyable romp that knows not to take itself overly seriously, though it wouldn’t hurt itself to do so to make it a stronger film. A very watchable live-action sequel that keeps true to its anime roots.
Writer-Director Lawrence Michael Levine’s Black Bear mesmerises with its three devastatingly good leads. This film is full of ambiguity that keeps you engrossed and unable to look away as these characters destroy themselves.
A touching tribute to an outstanding producer, Laddie: The Man Behind The Movies is a documentary that should be appreciated by all film fans. While it is far too short, it remains an enjoyable journey. Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies is the story of Alan Ladd Jr., the Oscar-winning producer and
While being a solid flick, Forget Everything And Run loses itself as it it unveils itself as a standard post-apocalyptic jaunt. A film that takes all too familiar footsteps & regretfully never tries to make its own path.
As The Oak Room begins, you never expect it to be as thoroughly engaging as it eventually becomes. Cody Calahan’s film is assumedly effective in a lo-fi movie that strikes you with its simple premise and striking visuals.
The Banishing – ★★★
A solid ghost story, with some great performances, Christopher Smith’s The Banishing gets so close to being a tremendous, however it fizzles out all too soon before the end credits.
Gillian Wallace Horvat’s wonderfully uncomfortable yet sharp debut feature I Blame Society, is a film that gets under your skin and once it gets going takes zero prisoners. We have a film that is as fantastic as it is creative.
The high hopes of Neil Marshalls The Reckoning is quickly dissipated by a run of the mill story with woeful dialogue and one of the most overpowering scores in recent times. This is one that sadly needs to be avoided. Set against the Great Plague’s backdrop and subsequent witch-hunts against women, Grace
With a powerful and relatable storyline, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is a look at small-town America that gives it all the respect it deserves, allowing the film to keep its heart. Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) feels trapped – with no father present and an eccentric family to care for, he
Siberia is a film that will disappoint those wanting an intriguing thriller, but if you stick around for a doomed romance plot, then there is something worthwhile here. Sadly there isn’t much else to grasp onto.
Samuel Van Grinsven’s debut feature is a superb cautionary tale for young gay men, Sequin in a Blue Room is film at its best. This is an essential watch. Sequin (Conor Leach) explores his burgeoning sexuality through an obsession with anonymous, no-strings sexual encounters. That is until he finds his way into The
Portal has high aspirations, and for that, it should be commended and ably brings the audience in with it. Sadly it never keeps up its end of the bargain, and those expectations that the audience had are never met.
A short, yet interesting look at the long running series that is perfect as a starter introduction to the 30 year plus franchise.
Available on Arrow Player now as part of their stories section.
Welcome to your new favourite cult midnight movie. For the Sake of Vicious is a film that wears its bloody heart on its sleeve and, after a tense opening half, let’s loose in ways that will have you clapping away in glee.
Willy’s Wonderland is a stupid film, not a fun horror. It is a pointless film trying to piggyback on a tired videogame. Utterly terrible and devoid of anything worthwhile. Toss into the forget immediately pile. I wish I could.
Red Rage throws everything at the wall, and in some cases, parts stick, but far too often, it slides down said wall as slowly as possible, and never bothers trying to clean up its own mess.
If you want to know the quality deep within Steven Seagals Mercenary For Justice, there is a line in the film that goes, “Yeah, that’s it for you poophole”, and in a weird sort of way, that sums up the film perfectly.
Sven Huynrecht’s Torpedo U-235 is a contemporary submarine film that ticks all of the boxes you need. This is a film that will surprise you with just how good it is. This is a highly rewatchable flick.
Johnny Martin’s Final Days take its time with its story but wisely uses that time to build up a great sense of desolation for the survivors as the action becomes more and more intense. While not reinventing the wheel, this is a surprisingly solid film.
We have a film that totally misreads what audience it should be targeting and by trying to go more mature, Shortcut never convinces its audience enough. This is a film that needs to be aimed at younger audiences to be more effective.
As we reach the end of BFI Flare, we highlight the absolutely fantastic shorts that the festival had on offer. Blurred lines of love & friendship between women are explored in these poignant and beautiful films.
As we reach the end of BFI Flare, we look at the shorts section. Second up is For the Record, traversing a wide range of subjects, this inspiring selection of short-form documentaries is guaranteed to provoke & inspire.
As we reach the end of BFI Flare, it is time to highlight the absolutely fantastic shorts that the festival had on offer. Throughout today we will be breaking down the seven categories and all of their films. First up is the Beginnings and Endings section. If you miss out
Kourosh Ahari’s The Night is a throwback of a horror that allows for its ample tension to build, coupled with a great script and two fantastic performances, this is a film that never lets you settle.
Charlie Says lacks the substance to keep itself moving and when the script has so little depth to it, the whole movie struggles and becomes a laboured piece. A disappointment that missed its chance to say something of note.
Sylvester Stallone returns for Escape Plan 3, which is far better than the sequel but still languishes from the original. This serviceable action jaunt isn’t the best film, but it never tries to pretend to be.
A heartwarming love letter to a more physical world, An Impossible Project is a wonderful documentary by Jens Meurer. A film that both digital and analogue lovers can enjoy and one that they will find hard not to smile throughout. For some, digital is all they know and has totally
Hu Guan’s The Eight Hundred is a tour de force of a war film that showcases heroism at its finest. This brutal film, likes the soldiers in the Shang warehouse, gives no quarters. An awe-inspiring film.
Demon is a film that, if given a 30-minute runtime, would be an exceptional look at racial bias and male mental health. Sadly it goes on for too long with too many terrible performances worsened by a plot that doesn’t do enough—a true shame.
Jake Mahaffy’s Reunion utilises its slow-burn storytelling to compel its audience. This complex tale occasionally trips itself up, but with a killer finale, it makes it a film that is worth the build.
Jennifer Tiexiera and Michael Seligman’s P.S. Burn This Letter Please is an astounding documentary that captures its audience early and never let’s go. Full of important stories and experiences, this is an essential watch.
Cured is a film that celebrates the struggle for LGBTQ rights in an era where a simple line in a book stole their freedom for decades. This film has a direct motive in highlighting and educating its audience, to which it does so tremendously.
Sacrifice is a horror that forgets that it is trying to tell its audience a story and instead focuses on giving us beautiful shots and imagery. With an able cast who do their best, they are hindered by an underwritten script.
Lava finds Buenos Aires in a state of chaos as giant snakes, cats and witches start taking out people one by one. This entertaining, albeit all too short feature, is a lighthearted adult animation that will bring the chuckles and you asking for more. Débora, a lonely tattoo artist, endeavours to
Silk Road sees documentarian Tiller Russell venture into dramatic fare with a story that should be right up his alley. Yet by altering this true story, some of the emphasis is lost, hindering itself from the get-go.
While Fukushima 50 comes from a more fact-based background, it can pinpoint how close Japan was to total disaster and how a small group of plant workers became heroes. An emotionally rewarding film of heroism.
Lost in what direction and story it wants to tell, a film that could have so much promise as a drama or a horror. Instead, this mishmash doesn’t go far enough with either subplot to make itself felt.
Phil Sheerin’s bleak Irish drama is held together thanks to its four leads and some superb direction. The Winter Lake slightly lacks in its plot development; however, those wanting a low key mystery drama are in for a treat.
Anthony Scott Burns moody and lo-fi science fiction film has echoes of Cronenberg as it stylishly engrosses yet at the same time unsettles. A terrific movie that is a gem ready to be discovered by audiences.
Jill Gevargizian continues her upward trajectory as a filmmaker with her strong feature debut The Stylist. Led by the empathetic yet murderous Najarra Townsend, we are given a film that expands upon her 2016 short tremendously.
It may not seem it at first, but Natasha Kermani’s Lucky is an angry film that challenges its audience while still wearing its heart firmly on its bloody sleeve. A sharp film that makes it’s presence felt.
A decent homage to the well worn hill billy films. Butchers has the potential to be far more better than it ends up being floundering by being just too predictable with its story and plentiful clichés.
Laurence Gough’s second feature is a film that you cannot predict, and from the tense and harrowing opening, the audience will not be able to peel their eyes away from the screen. A true gem of a picture.
We have a film striving to take a big step away from its predecessors, and it is all the better for doing so. Wrong Turn is an intense, well-written horror that puts its solid stamp on the genre.
Braden R. Duemmler’s What Lies Below is a stylish sci-fi horror driven by its three exceptional leads. With a great premise with a multitude of interesting elements, this is an atmospheric film not to let sneak under your radar.
Despite a strong performance from Danielle Harris, Skin Collector is held down by it’s laugh out loud bad script. With some great ideas, this should be far better than it eventually ended up being. Such a disappointment.
Jennifer Harrington’s feature is a stylish horror with a great premise. It’s problematic opening half is far outweighed by its excellent second. Shook offers a scathing look at the effects of social media on today’s influencer crazed society. A film that has so much potential, but just doesn’t quite hit
A heartbreaking tale of losing one’s innocence during Soviet occupation, by a regime that cares as little for you or its soldiers. It struggles to remain compelling despite some particularly strong performances.
A film that has its moments, but is seriously held back by some of the disinterested cast and CGI effects that time forgot. Anti-Life could be so much better than it ends up being. A real shame.
Broil brings with it an interesting premise and a sprinkling of great moments. Yet struggles with this potential. In the end actually needing more runtime to flesh itself out. However, this is still a film where much reward can be found.
Lara Jean Gallagher’s feature debut takes us on a slow journey filled with mystery and questions as it has the viewer sink into its interesting mood. Sadly it leads itself astray, but not enough to lose the audience.
Greta Bellemacina’s Hurt By Paradise is a whimsically charming piece that floats through its running time by rarely giving its audience something to grab onto to fully embrace both of the leads.
Director William Olssen’s Lost Girls and Love Hotels presents a bleak character study of a person trying to numb their senses to forget their past. A film about loneliness and yearning to forget.
A documentary, that could be interesting, but turns out that it is a documentary that thinks it has something to say when in truth it has nothing of note to convey. An utter waste of time.
Mark Sheridan’s Irish horror has elements that work tremendously, leads Elva Trill & Ed Murphy are particularly strong. Sadly Crone Wood just fades away by trying to do too much in the short runtime it has.
White Lie is an intricate character study that racks up the tension as we follow a character getting further backed into a corner because of her actions. Kacey Rohl is breath-taking as the complex Katie.
Writer/director Roderick MacKay brings his audience a compelling thriller in The Furnace, thanks to a stand out performance from Ahmed Malek and a landscape that shows the brutal Australia desert at its best.
Indonesian horror The Queen of Black Magic will surprise you by just how good it is. A visually appealing film with some great scares to set a solid benchmark for the genre for the rest of 2021.
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon is not a good movie, but it’s total lack of quality makes it unintentionally hilarious. With the final 20 minutes causing me to almost throw up from laughing. If that isn’t a reason to watch this film, I don’t know what is.
Yoshihiro Nishimura’s Tokyo Dragon Chef is a toned-down version of his previous bloody work, but this reined in style only enhances his joyful work. An utter joy for fans of his work and a handy introduction to those who haven’t seen his films.
Guy Moshes LX 2048 starts so promisingly but begins to teeter off the edge by the final act. Such a shame as James D’Arcy commands a film that poses interesting questions, without ever truly trying to figure out the answers.
Summer of ’72 is a strong showing from feature debut writer-director Philip Harder. His film tries to balance two main themes at once. Just getting away with it thanks to some stunning visuals and stand out performances from Natalia Dyer and Marchánt Davis.
Seized is a low budget action thriller that ticks all the boxes for fans. Scott Adkins and Mario Van Peebles shine in a film that brings you in for the action, but makes you stay for the fantastically ridiculous dialogue.
Synchronic is a brilliant film that takes what could be a standard drama or thriller and evolves it to become a high concept sci-fi that easily surpasses films of its ilk with far greater budgets.
Blind has the story and a lead that could have it be quite an interesting horror film. Yet it flounders in areas that it most certainly should not. A stylish looking film that offers nothing else.
Saw meets The Greatest Showman while also meeting My Little Eye. In Søren Juul Petersen’s feature debut horror The Ringmaster starts off so promisingly before petering out by the films end.
Jump straight into Valhalla: Legend of Thor as blind as possible. this is an absolute treat of a film that grounds our Nordic Gods in ways that we have not seen in quite some time. This is a film that is very much worth your time.