Developing a reputation as an emerging creative force in UK horror, writer-director Katie Bonham returns with fourth short Mindless, a challenging, claustrophobic and affecting work that feels informed by the distinct style that she’s making her own, while also feeling like a natural step forward in terms of craft.
In my experience, the best and most engaging sci-fi to emerge over the last few years has sprung from simple, if unusual, premises.
Johannes Roberts’ The Other Side of the Door is a maddening tangle of contradictions. Amidst its flashes of creativity lies a frustrating dependence on genre clichés that ultimately hampers its effectiveness a little too much for it to elevate itself too far above average.
A girl runs panicked through the woods, her clothes soaked in blood. She stumbles upon a clearing where her friends have all been brutally murdered. After a brief confrontation with the creepily-attired killer, she escapes, wounded but alive.
Spiritual possession gets the indie treatment in Anguish, a dark, atmospheric horror-drama that aspires to the more minimal art-house leanings of recent unexpected genre hits The Babadook and It Follows but never really matches either in terms of scares, story or craft.
Jon Mikel Caballero’s Ashen starts charmingly enough – eight year old Em is getting ready to celebrate her eighth birthday with a party when her dad asks her to wait in a cupboard while he attends to something. She idly speculates in voiceover about what he might be up to, then turns her attention to the comic book he’s left her to read while she waits. What’s he doing that’s so secret? And why has he chosen this particular comic to give to Em?
While many of the contributors to Southbound also lent their talents to the first two entries in the V/H/S franchise, this latest release is a different kind of anthology entirely.
For a feature debut, Tyler MacIntyre’s Patchwork is a remarkably assured piece of work. Displaying an effortlessly tight grip on both its humour and its gorier inclinations, this bizarre reimagining of Frankenstein is one of the funniest horror-comedies to come along in a long time, and manages to maintain both an endearing 80s throwback spirit and a fresh, contemporary ingenuinity.