Who will ever forget the summer of 2021 when both the weather and Covid-19 conspired to keep us out of cinemas? When we went back to them, all they seemed to offer us was horror.
Old is a supernatural thriller from M. Night Shyamalan about a family who find themselves ageing at an alarming rate on a tropical beach. Horrific elements are leavened by the dark comedy.
You’ll also have the daylights scared out of you by Censor, set against the ‘video nasty’ explosion of the eighties, Candyman, Malignant, Boys from County Hell and Demonic. In The Night House, Rebecca Hall lives in an isolated house when she becomes aware of strange presences around her.
Retreat home to the telly and you’ll have more Fright Nights. Things Heard and Seen (Netflix) has Amanda Seyfried as an artist who’s just moved to a haunted house with her very strange husband (James Norton).
A university professor with some dodgy credentials, Mr Norton’s true nature comes to the fore when his tenure is threatened by a colleague who discovers a secret in his past. He unlocks the demons in him, thereby spiralling the film to its very odd conclusion.
The tension is built nicely throughout but I had a question. Why doesn’t Amanda hightail it out of the house the second she discovers it’s haunted? Of course there would be no film then, would there?
Neither could I ever understand why Alfred Hitchcock had Raymond Burr killing his wife in Rear Window with the curtains open. It made it a bit easier for James Stewart to see him doing the dastardly deed.
The Woman at the Window (Netflix) has agoraphobic psychologist Amy Adams witnessing a murder in similar fashion. Is it the ditsy Julianne Moore who’s been killed or is Amy imagining things because of her habit of mixing alcohol and pills? And is Julianne really ‘Jane Russell’? If so, who’s the ‘new’ wife of Gary Oldman claiming to be the namesake of the famous actress?
There are one too many twists and turns for comfort in this baroque whodunit. Mr Oldman also hams things up no end.
Amy finally conquers her agoraphobia by climbing onto a roof in the freezing cold as she tries to dodge demented knife swipes from the deranged killer. I’m sure there are easier ways to remedy this condition.
In Neil Jordan’s Greta (Netflix) Isabelle Huppert plays a woman who leaves her handbag in public places and then kidnaps the people who return them to her. Nice lady!
Why did she scare me more than a man doing this would? Maybe it’s the incongruity between her viciousness and the air of ‘defenceless little lady’ that she gives off. Mr Jordan keeps the tension at Richter level right up to the last frame where Isabelle has finally been caught. Or has she?
Wildfire is a tale of conflict between two sisters from Northern Ireland that’s intensified when one of them who’s been missing returns home.