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.
There will be very little between Fried Barry; you will either love this film or hate it. A non-stop ride that takes no prisoners and does even less to explain itself. Jarring and intelligible, this is one for those who love chaos in their sci-fi.
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
Second Sight has made a package that shows the true joy of physical media with their new release of Julia Ducournau’s 2016 film Raw. A special edition release that is worthy of the film that it accompanies.
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
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.
Jordan Downey’s atmospheric The Head Hunter is a beautifully shot piece that does so much right with so little that you are left begging for more. A thriller that knows what its intentions are and executes them perfectly.
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.
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.
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, 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.
Tove is an engaging glimpse into the bisexual life of Tove Jansson, known for the wonderful Moomins. Zaida Bergroth’s biopic is a personal take on Jansson and one that enchants you early on, thanks to Alma Pöysti’s careful performance.
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.
Marley Morrison’s feature debut, Sweetheart, takes ahold of you with its striking charm and sharp dialogue. Coupled with strong performances, this is as entertaining as it is relatable.
Dramarama gets everything right and becomes the coming of age story that others strive to be. A film that surprises with how strongly it connects causing you to reminisce to your younger days when you were on the cusp of university. A terrific film.
While Firebird is a very earnest film, it never allows itself to go through the gears of creating something as emotional as it thinks it should be. By doing this, Peeter Rebane’s film comes across as underwritten and fails to have us fall for the characters on the screen.
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.
My First Summer is such a delicate film full of tenderness and love that you can’t help but fall head over heels with it. From the absorbing script to the beautiful cinematography and the standout performances from its leads. Katie Found’s debut feature is one to cherish.
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.
The Greenhouse is a film that is ambitious, and you can see how much heart Wilson-White has given to it; this is a film that stays with you long after you have finished watching it. A hauntingly beautiful picture.
Phil Connell unfurls a wonderful picture with Jump, Darling, showing a great deal of poetic beauty throughout, thanks to two fantastic performances from Thomas Duplessie and the late Cloris Leachman.
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.
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.
Exploitation cinema has been around for a very long time; how long? Well, Shogun’s Joy of Torture was made in 1968, and it has been given the complete Arrow Video treatment in this wonderfully depraved Blu Ray release.
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.
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 Kent’s The Nightingale is an extraordinary bold film that is never afraid to go where others dare not. Coupled with performances that will live long in the memory, this is a film that needs to be seen.
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.
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.
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.
In January ARROW presents an exclusive selection of the outstanding entries from its HORROR LOCKDOWN SHORTS contest, short films delivering slick, sharp scares, delving into oft-uncharted and bizarre worlds,
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.
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.
Skyfire (天·火) harks back to a simpler time when disaster movies ran the summer market. This flawed but entertaining Chinese film has a lot of charm with some great action set pieces. Skyfire (天·火) is the epitome of a summer popcorn flick.
The Last Video Store is a wonderful look at persistence and love of a format that appears to be on its way out. If there were more places like this little store on a side street in Bristol, we would be the richer for it. This was meant to be
Attila Hartungs debut feature FOMO is a scathing look at over the top masculinity and the lasting effects of abusive use of social media. Teenage friends Gergö (Yorgosz Goletsas), Patrik, Bandi and Ábris are into three things: partying, sex and their online following. One night, at a drunken house party,
We reach the tail end of our Hellraiser series with number 8 in the franchise Hellraiser: Hellworld. Released an unthinkable and almost impressive 92 DAYS after Hellraiser: Deader was released. Honestly, I can imagine people renting out Deader and then three months later going back to Blockbuster (we had an
Nothing will quite prepare you for the awkwardness and pain you will have for these characters and for women overall after viewing Force of Habit. Filmed by seven directors (Kirsikka Saari, Mila Tervo, Elli Toivoniemi, Jenni Toivoniemi, Reetta Aalto, Anna Paavilainen and Alli Haapasalo. We follow a multitude of characters
As In Search of Darkness states, the 80s was a booming time in the horror genre. There is a very good reason why the last 20 years has been rife with remakes from that period. Due to political frustrations at the time and a myriad of other fears of things
We are in the back end of our Hellraiser series and it sure as hell isn’t getting better. This time out we effectively return to the plot of Hellraiser: Hell on Earth. Being creative isn’t for everyone it seems. Welcome to Hellraiser: Deader Remember how we are left with Kirsty
A Dim Valley is a wonderfully dreamy exploration in what can only be described as a slow mythic folk drama. A film with many more layers than you would imagine. That’s boosted by the final two acts wasting no time in its intentions. Professor Clarence (Robert Longstreet) and his two
The Mortuary Collection is a wonderful horror anthology series from writer/director Ryan Spindell. This is an anthology that will entertain you thoroughly, with something for everyone inside. Sam (Caitlin Brown) answers the help wanted sign outside the mysterious funeral home of Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown). During Sam’s interview. She queries
A criminally stupid film, Hellraiser: Hellseeker is the first truly unforgiveable addition to the franchise that should be forgotten from your mind as soon as you finish watching it. Spoiler, there will be a lot of the film given away here, but it might be better to know this stuff
I Am Not A Hero is essential viewing for audiences to fully grasp the events of what happened during the first wave of COVID-19 inside our hospitals. Focusing on the Belgian Erasmus Hospital in Brussels, three filmmakers stayed from the early beginnings of the pandemic until the last day the
Do you know what is a great horror film? The Blair Witch Project. I am a little tired of people saying that it isn’t a good film. To what standards is it not a good film? Is it due to it not have the stereotypical jump scares that people are
Four years after the utterly wasteful Hellraiser: Bloodline, Dimension Films decided to have another crack at the Hellraiser franchise with Hellraiser Inferno. Detective Joseph Thorne (Craig Sheffer) is investigating the gruesome deaths of the serial killer The Engineer. Who leaves behind what looks to be the finger of a child
Alan Sorkin has conjured up a bonafide crowd-pleaser with The Trial of The Chicago 7. While it skirts around with the facts at times has its heart firmly in the right place. A must watch a film. Peaceful anti-Vietnam War protests during the Democratic Parties National Convention in 1968 had
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, may have not had the same level of surprise as the first film. But it is still nonetheless wholly effective in its message and enhanced greatly with the inclusion of Maria Bakalova. In Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, spelt the end of the franchise as we knew it. Away from its compelling origin and into the standard slasher fare that studios knew how to market. Trying to continue from where we left off, Pinhead is still in his sexy torture pillar. Or known
Michel Franco’s New Order is punishing film. Unflinching and unforgiving this is a cautionary tale for societies. Marianne’s (Naian Gonzaléz Norvind) wedding at the spectacular family home is besieged by several unexpected incidents: the registrar is late; social disturbances delay guests en route, and former employee Rolando turns up seeking
Oh, what could have been, Hellbound: Hellraiser II had everything going for it, except a coherent story. The ultimate in missed opportunities to truly kick on an intriguing franchise. Following up straight after the events of the first Hellraiser, Hellbound finds Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) trying to explain to doctors what
Right off the bat, I have to state that I am not going to bother talking about the Alfred Hitchcock 1941 version of Rebecca. I have seen comparisons left, right and centre. This iteration deserves to be viewed instead on its own merits. With comparisons made only to Daphne du
We start our Hellraiser series with the first of the franchise, the rest of the reviews will be split into two or so films at a time. But the first (and best) Hellraiser deserves its own singular review. Clive Barker created an unrelentingly dark film in Hellraiser and one that
Yemi Bamiro explores the rise of Nikes Air Jordan’s and the effects of having a chokehold on supply vs demand in the fascinatingly balanced One Man and His Shoes. A sportsman with once-in-a-generation talent, Michael Jordan was held up as a symbol of Black progress; he had his own phenomenally
Cartoon Saloon has created another mesmerising picture with Wolfwalkers that proves that hand-drawn animation is not in the past. It’s the mid-17th century and the Irish city of Kilkenny is occupied by Cromwell’s forces. Robyn (Honor Kneafsey) and her father Bill (Sean Bean) arrive from England. His job is to
Abel Ferrara and frequent collaborator Willem Dafoe join forces in Siberia, a film that explores experimental cinema to its fullest. Clint (Willem Dafoe) lives in a snowed-in wooded area of Siberia. Tending to his small desolate bar. Isolated from the rest of mankind until they visit him he gets by
Robi Mitchell delivers a wonderful feature debut with Every Time I Die that demands your attention throughout. An understated film that rewards the audience by the final act. Sam (Drew Fonteiro) takes up an offer from his friends to stay at a remote lake house when he is tragically murdered,
Lovers Rock is the second part of Steve McQueen’s Small Axes series following on from Mangrove. Boy do we have a completely different film this time out. It’s a Saturday sometime in the 80s. Samson preps his sound system for Blues dance while Martha (Amarah-Jae St.Aubyn) shimmies down her drainpipe.
Ammonite succeeds solely by the sheer force of its leads performances and brilliant cinematography, despite an underwhelming script and direction from director Francis Lee. Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) is a self-taught paleontologist who also runs a shop selling what she finds on the nearby beach in Lyme Regis. Her work
After Love takes us on a touching journey of loss, with a career turning performance from Joanna Scanlan. A feature debut from Aleem Khan that shows us a talented filmmaker who will be one to watch. When Ahmed Hussain passes away suddenly in his Dover home, his loyal wife Mary
Gianfranco Rosi sends us to the borders of Middle Eastern countries where conflict, trauma and rehabilitation are now the norm, in his poignant and important documentary Notturno. A young couple smoke together whilst overlooking the city at night; fragile plastic tents in muddy refugee camps bellow in the wind. Female