[TIFF Review] ‘Silent Night’ Hides Grim Tragedy Within Awkward Christmas Comedy

For the most part, writer/director Camille Griffin’s feature debut, Silent Night, plays like many comedies set around holiday gatherings. It features typical awkwardness that comes from a large makeshift family coming together during one of the most stressful times of the year, attempting to cast aside grudges, secrets, or bad manners for the sake of […]

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[TIFF Review] ‘Titane’ Goes Full Throttle on Transgressive Body Horror and Dark Humor

Filmmaker Julia Ducournau broke out with a provocative debut feature that blended horror, comedy, and tenderness in a coming-of-age cannibal tale. It set the bar high for her anticipated sophomore effort, which Cannes reactions only bolstered. The reality is that Ducournau’s follow-up, Titane, continues what she started with Raw. Sexual and gender identity gets explored through provocative body […]

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[TIFF Review] ‘Saloum’ Blends Crime Thriller with Supernatural Mysticism in Unpredictable Genre-Bender

Underseen on Netflix is the Senegalese series Sakho & Mangane, a stylish crime procedural with a supernatural twist. Its creator, Jean Luc Herbulot, again displays a talent for effortlessly shifting through genres with Saloum, a contemporary genre-bender infused with ancestral folklore. The setting and its history add to Herbulot’s stylish story, which helps when the dense and sometimes […]

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[TIFF Review] In ‘Zalava’, a Demonic Possession Leads to Mass Hysteria and Paranoia

Superstition and paranoia abound in Iranian writer-director Arsalan Amiri’s film, Zalava. Set in the titular village in the northwestern mountains of Iran in 1978, the film chronicles one long day and night as the village descends into panic, fear and mass hysteria that a demon is attacking their home. What’s fascinating about the film, which […]

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[TIFF Review] Irish Folklore Film ‘You Are Not My Mother’ Finds The Horror At Home

The term folk horror inspires certain kinds of imagery: pastoral fields, shrouded woods, period pieces, and witchcraft. In North American horror, legends tend to take the form of tall tales (Urban Legend, Candyman, I Know What You Did Last Summer) or whispered myths (Wendigos, Indigenous burial grounds, etc).  In Irish writer/director’s Kate Dolan’s directorial feature […]

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[TIFF Review] Netflix’s Korean Drama Series ‘Hellbound’ Has a Great Premise, But Struggles With Its Execution

As far as TV properties go, Hellbound has a pretty awesome hook. The gist of the six-episode live-action Netflix series is as follows: What would happen if angels began appearing, informing individuals that they would die for their sins in a few days, and when the time arrived, those people were beaten to death by […]

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[TIFF Review] ‘Encounter’ Surprises With Genre-Bending Alien Invasion Paranoid Thriller

Director Michael Pearce demonstrated a keen ability to play in multiple genre sandboxes simultaneously with his feature debut, Beast, which kept audiences guessing right up until its conclusion. His awaited follow-up, Encounter, continues his streak for wildly imaginative and engaging character-driven work through a genre-bending filter. Only this time, it’s run through the setup of a paranoid alien invasion-style […]

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[Review] Edgar Wright’s ‘Last Night in Soho’ Is a Stylish, But Repetitive Thriller

There’s an infectious energy in the early parts of Edgar Wright’s new film, Last Night in Soho. The film opens with a dance number as aspiring fashion designer Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) lip-synchs to one of her many records in her grandmother’s (Rita Tushingham) country house and this effusive excitement permeates the screen. Eloise is an […]

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[TIFF Review] Screenlife Horror ‘DASHCAM’ Aims for Manic Splatstick Chaos

Director Rob Savage captured that trapped feeling of lockdown with last summer’s buzziest horror movie, Host, a Zoom séance gone wrong. It established Savage as a filmmaker who wears his horror influences on his sleeves. His latest, filmed during the second lockdown, demonstrates that once again. Savage’s follow-up feature, DASHCAM, aims to achieve Sam Raimi levels of splatstick […]

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[TIFF Review] Vampire Drama ‘Kicking Blood’ Heavier on Style Than Bite

Save for sunlight or perhaps a stake to the heart, vampires live forever. Instead of just one lifetime, they can experience many. That means that a regular staple in vampire fiction depicts the erosion of time, where pleasure and discovery eventually wane and boredom sets in. Kicking Blood adds to the existential conversation, featuring a world-wearied bloodsucker […]

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[TIFF Review] ‘A Banquet’ Tests Maternal Bonds and Patience in Simmering Psychological Horror

Existing somewhere at the crossroads of Jack Ketchum’s “The Box” and Rose Glass’s Saint Maud lies A Banquet. A strange affliction wreaks havoc on the lives of a family still on the mend from tragedy. Ruth Paxton’s feature debut favors a slow simmering atmosphere in a psychodrama that sees a family in psychological deterioration. One that can test the […]

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[TIFF Review] ‘Mlungu Wam (Good Madam)’ Haunts With Murky, Eerie Reflection of the Past

South African psychological horror Mlungu Wam (Good Madam) uses an intimate character study nestled in a possibly haunted house as an allegory. It wields one stubborn and unreliable narrator as an entry point into a cultural examination and a haunted legacy. Yet, largely thanks to its obscure ambiguity and intimate storytelling, it never feels heavy-handed […]

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[TIFF Review] ‘Memoria’ Is a Contemplative Meditation on Memory and Experience

There’s a calculated aimlessness to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria, particularly in the way that the writer/director’s first film English and Spanish doesn’t employ a conventional narrative structure (there’s no rising action or climax, for example). Instead, as its title suggests, Memoria is intent on exploring memories and memorials and, in the process, (re)creating them as experiences […]

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‘Kicking Blood’ Treats a Vampire Like an Alcoholic [Images]

Bloody Disgusting has the first stills from Kicking Blood, a dark vampire comedy that is set to premiere at next week’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). In the film… “Alanna Bale stars as a modern-day vampire who falls for a charming recovering alcoholic and resolves to quit drinking blood and become human again.” Luke Bilyk, Vinessa […]

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‘Memoria’ Trailer: Tilda Swinton Shook by a Strange Sound [Video]

“It’s like a rumble…from the core of the earth.” Pegged as a drama, the mystery in Memoria looks and “sounds” horror adjacent, which is why I figured I’d share the first trailer ahead of the Toronto International Film Festival premiere. Apichatpong Weerasethakul directs the film that the fest says features the great Tilda Swinton (Constantine, […]

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