Zombeavers is a film about murderous, undead beavers, and very few people would go to see a film about murderous, undead beavers expecting a subtle cinematic masterpiece. What the film’s knowingly ludicrous premise does call for is cartoonish gore, hordes of mutated rodents, and as much “beaver” innuendo as possible. Luckily, first-time director Jordan Rubin delivers on all these counts.
Almost three years ago, the world-famous Scarlett Johansson donned a black wig, applied a blood red slick of lipstick, and drove a grubby white van around the equally grubby streets of the Scottish city of Glasgow, where she accosted unsuspecting men and invited them to join her. The footage from this somewhat surreal hidden-camera experiment is utilized to masterful effect in Under the Skin, the eerie, utterly unique new film from Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer.
Eleven years after Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever, and five years after Ti West’s Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, horror’s tiniest serial killer is back, with a new installment from Kaare Andrews, a director probably best known for his 2013 ABCs of Death segment.
Officially a prequel rather than a sequel, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero attempts to provide an origin story for the virus, while still delivering enough laughs and gore to keep fans of the previous two films happy. However, like its predecessor Spring Fever, this latest strain of the franchise lacks the infectious inventiveness and sheer bite that made Roth’s first film a cult classic: in horror terms, think mild rash, rather than full-on flesh-eating fury.
After the success of 2012’s The Woman in Black, Britain’s iconic Hammer studios continue their recent return to horror production with another supernatural thriller, John Pogue’s The Quiet Ones. Like its predecessor, The Quiet Ones boasts both an atmospheric, distinctly British period-setting, and a pale, earnest young man who becomes entangled in dark forces beyond his control.
Despite its strong sense of location and more than capable cast, Hammer’s latest venture feels a little unsure of its own identity, relying far too heavily on intrusive, Paranormal Activity style forays into found footage. This is a shame, as underneath all the unnecessary camera-dropping and ten-a-minute scares, there’s actually quite an intriguing film here.
Have you ever wondered just exactly what you’d be prepared to do in exchange for $100? How about $1000? Or $10,000? In his compulsively watchable debut, Cheap Thrills, director E.L Katz pushes this speculative game to the limit, submerging the film’s characters and its audience into ever-more squalid depths of humiliation, nastiness, and eventual horror. Uncomfortable to sit through, and yet impossible to turn away from, Katz’s stomach-churningly addictive film is an assured first feature, confirming the director’s place as a talent to watch out for in the future.
On the outside, the English-language debut of French director Marina de Van looks like a traditional supernatural thriller, complete with a requisite “creepy” kid, and mysterious telekinetic powers. On the inside, Dark Touch is a heartrendingly sad, unflinchingly intimate exploration of the trauma of abuse: a horror movie that draws its nightmares from the sordid, squalid corners of real life. While de Van is possibly best known for her 2002 art house self-cannibalism shocker In My Skin, her latest feature proves that her ability to viscerally assault and disturb audiences remains undeterred.
Depicting on-screen characters as they slowly succumb to terror is probably one of the most effective ways to frighten an audience. In Fear – the taut, tense debut from British director Jeremy Lovering – exploits this principle to the max.
Roosevelt’s often-quoted observation that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” feels particularly apt when watching Lovering’s thriller, as so much of the film’s unsettling atmosphere comes from watching the terrified reactions of the characters themselves, rather than from any overt “jump” moments or obvious scares.
After gaining international acclaim for their 2011 hit Rabies, Israeli directing duo Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado return with a new feature that’s part police procedural, part gritty revenge drama, and part laugh-out-loud comedy.
With its blend of murder, torture and dark humor, Big Bad Wolves takes a number of risks, and in lesser hands the story could easily have come across as glib or insensitive. Luckily for audiences, Keshales and Papushado haven’t set a foot wrong. The pair’s second collaborative project is a rare beast: a film that manages to be shockingly brutal, heartbreakingly poignant and hysterically funny all at once.
I’ll admit, I was initially skeptical when I heard that a US version of the Mexican horror movie, We Are What We Are, was in the works. Jorge Michel Grau’s original film was a blisteringly powerful saga of cannibalism, poverty and alienation, and I was afraid any remake would prove to be a pallid, bloodless imitator of the previous film.
I’m happy to report that Jim Mickle’s We Are What We Are has proved my preconceptions about remakes wrong on every level: the film is poetic, innovative and utterly unforgettable.
Nine years after Seed of Chucky, everyone’s favorite flame-haired, dungaree-clad “Good Guy” doll returns, and this time round, he’s all set to massacre a brand new family. Directed by Chucky creator Don Mancini, this latest chapter in the adventures of Charles ‘Chucky’ Lee Ray marks an attempt to ditch the overt splatter-comedy of Bride and Seed, and return the franchise to its horror roots. Chucky’s back – and he’s scary again.