It’s taken a while to see the light of day, but before he helmed Ouija: Origin of Evil, Mike Flanagan wrote and directed supernatural chiller Before I Wake. Lacking the sting of his other work, it’s a frustrating film that ultimately can’t utilise its intriguing premise to its full potential.
Without question one of the year’s most talked about genre releases, The Love Witch, a years-long labour of love from writer, director, producer and costume and set designer Anna Biller, is fully deserving of the hype it has been steadily amassing since it first began turning heads on the festival circuit last year. Unflinching and totally convincing in its commitment to its atmosphere and retro visual flair, this is a hugely entertaining piece of work that is both an effective homage to sixties and seventies horror and a smartly observed riff on long-standing genre gender politics.
Marcus Dunstan, writer of later Saw franchise entries and director of the under-rated The Collector and sequel The Collection, sticks to the claustrophobic framework that has worked for him in the past on third feature The Neighbour.
Just when you thought Mike Flanagan’s Hush was going to provide 2016 with its freshest take on the home invasion subgenre, Adam Mason’s Hangman offers a bolder reinvention still. Ratcheting up the tension with real ingenuity, this is bold, accomplished stuff that feels disquietingly voyeuristic and genuinely terrifying.
Few people have cleared a steeper hurdle with their feature debut as a director than Fede Alvarez. Having helmed 2013’s Evil Dead, he overcame the standard-issue swathes of remake/reboot cynicism to deliver one of the most convincing revivals the horror genre has ever seen. With follow-up Don’t Breathe, the gore takes a back seat in favour of suspense, and his growth as a director is self-evident.