Stream it on Tubi.
Kevin (Oghenero Gbaje) and his older sister, Brittney (DeShawn White), arrive with Brittney’s fiancée, Tony (Lenny Thomas), at their parents’ waterfront cabin, only to find that their mother, father and neighbors have been murdered . That’s when they – all three black – are accosted by an angry white man (Nick Damici) with a gun.
“Are you humans or are you demons?” he barks.
“We’re on vacation,” Tony replies, his hands raised in fear.
They manage to disarm the gun-bearing stranger and lock him up in the cabin basement, but he claims he’s not alone there. Margie (Lori Hammel), a white neighbor, shows up later that night confused about what’s going on.
Or is she? When Kevin questions Margie about her identity, she erupts into accusations about “you people,” which is when the film takes its most sinister turn.
Writer-director Timothy Covell has said he wanted to make a movie set the day after a slasher movie, and he’s turned that idea into a nail-biting thriller. He’s also added a fresh social twist and dark humor, a combination that will appeal to horror fans like me who enjoy a movie about evil with no easy explanation – or way out.
Stream it on the Terror Films Channel.
Writer-director Ali Akbar Akbar Kamal said in his press notes that a fear of “unknown creatures who have unlimited power over us” inspired him to make this nerve-racking film about the possession of found images. He’s channeled that terror—an aversion he said he learned growing up in a Middle Eastern religious community—into a cautionary tale about blind faith, with zombies and occultism as kicks.
The film had me in its first minutes, when a funeral erupts into hysteria after a dead woman named Lisa (Mélie B. Rondeau) crawls out of her coffin and walks out of a small town church. Chad (Chad Tailor), an indie filmmaker returning home for the ceremony, captures the chaos on camera.
Chad returns days later to make a documentary about the unexplained events that have since taken a bizarre turn: Lisa, who now lives in her parents’ basement, uses supernatural powers to heal people. But what Lisa has in store is, of course, bad, not curative.
I don’t know what’s in the water in Harriston, Ontario, where the movie was shot and set. But I’ll have what the locals have; their enthusiasm as an extra makes the film as playful as it is macabre.
Stream it on Shudder.
In just 78 minutes, Frida Kempff’s film tells a chilling and surprisingly moving story – also a strange one – about life after the shock of death.
Molly (Cecilia Milocco) begins a new life after spending time in a psychiatric ward, recovering from a traumatic event that happened one day at the beach. She has a new apartment, somewhere in Sweden, and her neighbors are friendly enough.
But what are those muffled cries and annoying knocks? Are they supplications? And why doesn’t anyone in her building want to make all that noise? Molly’s paranoia shoots up as she tries to control the noise, and she begins to wonder if she’s being lit with gas – or with ghost lighting.
This is a horror film that is refreshingly sentimental, and Milocco gives a heartfelt performance to match. It’s one for horror fans who prefer a scary story that prioritizes sensitivity over slaughter.
‘After the pandemic’
Rent or buy on most major platforms.
What if a pandemic wiped out not some of us, but most of us? That’s the haunting premise behind Richard Lowry’s sparse thriller that channels the ghost of “Contagion” on a dime.
It’s been five years since something in the air killed 90 percent of the world’s population. Ellie (Eve James), a teen who dreams of becoming a dancer, has survived in a suburb. Lying outside seem to rot on the street with the color of candy apples.
One afternoon, Ellie meets Quinn (Kannon Smith), an emotionally distant young woman who helps Ellie brush up on her survival skills. The two form a friendship that turns into romance, and they agree to stay together to fight the hazardous materials-enabled government agents on their tail.
I’d put down money that George A. Romero would have enjoyed this low-fi riff on Covid-era America; it owes a debt to maverick director’s own infection film “The Crazies.” Too bad Lowry is throwing Ellie and Quinn’s romance on the back seat to let a cat-and-mouse survival story come to the finish line.
Rent or buy on most major platforms.
Never, ever let go of the rope. That’s a line that Solomon (Jared Laufree), a young blind man, listens to on a cassette tape his mother (Alexandra Paul) made for him before she left their remote cabin for good. She taught him as a child to tie himself to the long rope before leaving the house so that he doesn’t venture too far into the nearby woods.
One day, Solomon unexpectedly encounters Hank (Kareem Ferguson), a fighter who crashes Solomon into his cabin. That night, a wicked noise comes from the forest, and Hank begins to realize that Solomon’s isolation is a matter of self-preservation. As Hank’s curiosity about the forest grows, another rule from Mother – “If you hunt or search, do it for two: one for the forest and one for you” – is put to the test.
Daniel Robinette’s dark tale will appeal to patient horror fans who love a slow burnout and can see past the thin script and oversized score that combats the intimate setting. The cinematographer Aaron Sorgius deserves a shout out, especially for a scene that casts Solomon’s house in ghostly shades of blue and gray.