I’m not a big fan of zombies, but this tense spanish movie by the Uruguayan director Gustavo Hernández is a confident and surprisingly artful take on undead chaos.
The film begins with Iris (Paula Silva) and her young daughter, Miriam (Sofía González), alone in the huge sports club where Iris works as a security guard. When Iris leaves Miriam to secure the front door, she don’t realize that outside, a virus has turned people into bloodthirsty zombies, and one of them has entered the building. When she returns, Miriam is gone.
As Iris fends off the invading zombies in her desperate search for her daughter, she makes a chance discovery: after each attack, the infected remain motionless for 32 seconds before attacking again. It’s a neat twist and one of many twists and turns that fuel the film’s action-packed finale.
Intense and bloody, Hernández’s film is ideal for horror fans who like both zombies chasing them and one last girl with guts. I was particularly captivated by moments of dreamlike beauty, including an underwater fight of bravery and a dazzling scene in which orange smoke fills a room, forcing Iris to battle ghouls through a majestic mist.
Due to a coronavirus lockdown, Jonathan (Brendan Hines) and Sara Burke (Tatjana Marjanovic) spend their honeymoon stranded at the Tony Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. Their only companions are Ty (Kevin Daniels), the general manager, and Adela (Ola Kaminska), a housekeeper.
There are worse places to spend weeks in pandemic-related isolation, aren’t there? Maybe not: when Sara consults the hotel register, she learns that another guest is registered. She and Jonathan have never seen him, but we have: He’s the guy crawling on the floor in the distance behind Sara’s back. At the end of the movie, I couldn’t help remembering a song about another ghostly California hotel: “You can leave at any time, but you can never leave.”
This entertaining and macabre film, from co-writers and co-directors Chris Beyrooty and Connor Martin, deftly combines one of my favorite horror movie filming locations – an empty hotel, in this case the real-life Roosevelt – with one of the Newest Horror Genres: The Nail Biting Coronavirus. The confusing ending is a disappointment. But I admire how the film explores the real horrors experienced by workers who were locked in hotels during the worst days of the pandemic and kept away from their families in the service of strangers.
This heartbreaking movie takes a fictional journey through cult madness with a disconcerting story about what happens when twisted ideologies convince good people to do very bad things.
In a small Spanish town, a group of true UFO believers meet in the office of their leader Julio (José Ángel Asensio) to discuss aliens, the occult, and extraterrestrial prophecies. Among them is José Manuel (Nacho Fernández), whose young niece recently disappeared in a case that has put the city in the national spotlight.
When Julio dies and a strange man comes to José with a word from beyond the grave, it slowly becomes overwhelming that what we thought were crazy but harmless beliefs are actually much more sinister.
Writer-director Chema García Ibarra has crafted a singular vision of shocking villainy, shot as a bonus on beautifully faded 16mm film. This isn’t a trap horror movie; Ibarra splits the terror into pieces. The film begins as a dark comedy but ends with a dark take on human nature, a descent that reminds us that demons sometimes look like the guy next door.
Charlie (Dan Stevens) and his wife, Michelle (Alison Brie), look forward to spending a weekend at a shared oceanfront mansion with Charlie’s brother, Josh (Jeremy Allen White), and his little girl. friend, Mina (Sheila Vand). But the night gets messy as drugs and sexual secrets turn friendships upside down. But wait: why is there a hidden camera in the ceiling? And who’s the stranger outside?
When Dave Franco’s feature debut came out in 2020, he told me in an interview that he was inspired by his own paranoia about house sharing.
“The country is as divided as it’s ever been,” he said, “but we’re confident staying in a stranger’s house because of the positive reviews?”
Since then, mistrust – of neighbors, social contracts, even the truth – has only deepened, sadly, which is why this slow-burning thriller remains unnerving. Don’t expect answers to questions – Franco is more interested in disturbing than explaining.
Sybil Pittman (Libbie Higgins) is the smiley host of “All Dolled Up,” Cleveland’s only Internet program dedicated to old dolls. But Sybil’s boss at her sad customer service job can’t stand her, and her harpy half-sister, Mitzy (Lynne Acton McPherson), berates her for being “looney tunes”.
One day, a package arrives at Sybil’s doorstep, and inside is a worn doll’s head with the name Oopsie on the back. She embellishes him as best she can by strapping him into a doll body, painting his face a garish pink hue, and dressing him in a pale blue dress.
But when Baby Oopsie starts talking, urging Sybil to kill in a way that makes Chucky look like Pope Francis, Sybil realizes her boyfriend is a bloodthirsty demon out to bring toy hell back to earth.
This playful and despicable film – from writer-director William Butler and the B-movie team of Characteristics of the full moon – will be a treat for low-budget schlock cinema fans. Unfortunately, it exhausts its welcome even at 70 minutes. But stick to Higgins, whose lopsided performance reminded me of Priscilla Alden’s frenzied dramas in the crime novel. “Criminally Insane” (1975).