It’s a minor miracle that any movie gets made at the best of times. This is all the more true when the filmmaker attempts something as ambitious as crafting an apocalyptic fantasy on a micro-budget.
For Sharon Lewis, the process of adapting Nalo Hopkinson’s novel Brown Girl in the Ring was a nearly two-decades long journey.
Continue reading “Brown Girl Comes Into Her Power in a Dystopian Future”
Personal Shopper, directed by Olivier Assayas, begins with the presence of a ghost. Maureen (Kristen Stewart) wanders through an empty house. Doors slam in the distance, things creak. She speaks a name and we see a flicker of something in the shadows behind her, though it’s not entirely clear what.
It’s a perfect set up for a horror movie — the woman alone in the house, the strange sounds, the ghost — and yet, Personal Shopper confounds the viewer by breaking with the expected tropes. Yes, there are ghosts (or something resembling them), but they are mostly harmless, just whispering figures in the dark.
Continue reading “Haunted by Grief: A Review of ‘Personal Shopper’”
Directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska, The Lure (Córki Dancingu) is a musical horror mermaid story, in which two sisters — Silver and Golden — journey out of the ocean to join a disco troupe in 1980s Poland. As they partake in the cabaret and explore the human world, Silver becomes fascinated with the bassist and begins to fall in love, much to the disdain of Golden, who has more interest in consuming men than loving them.
Continue reading “‘The Lure’ Blends Deadly Mermaids and Disco in a Unique Rendition of a Classic Fairy Tale”
Horror Noire (directed by Xavier Burgin) is a phenomenal documentary on the history of Black horror — from the silent film era to the present day, examining the racist underpinnings of early horror and how genre films have evolved over the decades to begin positioning Black characters as heroes.
“We’ve always loved horror. It’s just that horror, unfortunately, hasn’t always loved us,” explains novelist Tananarive Due near the beginning of the doc.
Continue reading “Horror Noire: The History of Black Horror”
Near the opening of Prevenge (directed by Alice Lowe), a very pregnant Ruth enters a reptile shop and discusses the kinds of animals available. The shop owner’s behavior is unsettling — his passion for the creepy crawlies a little too enthusiastic — even when he sees he’s making Ruth uncomfortable. Without context, the viewer is left with the unsettling feeling that something awful is about to happen to this poor, flinching woman — then bam, the scene shifts into another direction entirely.
Continue reading “The Bloody Great Black Comedy of ‘Prevenge’”
“A village girl travels to the Lao capital, Vientiane, to care for her rich cousin who has lost her sight and gained the ability to communicate with the dead.”
Dearest Sister, directed by Mattie Do, can best be understood through the complicated familial relationships that are at its core, which blend love and betrayal within the situational reality of class structures. Nok (played by Amphaiphun Phommapunya) exists in an unsettled position throughout much of the film. When she arrives at her cousin’s home, she is an outsider — the camera peering with her into the home as the servants ignore her and the husband continues to speak English, a language she doesn’t understand. The scenes provide an intense feeling of isolation, which continues even as she is introduced the next day to her cousin Ana (played by Vilouna Phetmany).
Continue reading “‘Dearest Sister’ Dives into the Horrors of Family Relationships”