Doctor Sleep (dir. Mike Flanagan, 2019) – Years after surviving the horrors of the Overlook Hotel, Dan Torrance meets another young child with the Shine, who draws the attention of the dangerous True Knot.
Welcome to the Overlook Hotel, the impeccable choice lodging that has warmly welcomed guests for decades and counting. Of its rich history, perhaps the most well-known of its stories was the stint with infamous caretaker Jack Torrance, whose dedication to his morals and ethical principles had certain left its mark.
Thirty years has passed since his sudden descent to madness. What had happened to the hotel and his surviving family? Stephen King has answers, though his story had gone on from a different place. Hotel Overlook had after all been destroyed in King’s novel, yet left intact in Stanley Kubrick’s film.
Continuity aside, King had not been shy about renouncing the adaptation. How then does one connect the writer’s vision with the filmmaker’s visual legacy? Director Mike Flanagan takes on the daunting task of putting the sequel to screen, winning over the one man whom Kubrick once failed to please.
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Midsommar (dir. Ari Aster, 2019) – A visit to Swedish village’s midsummer festival gradually devolves into a series of chilling rituals.
Dani (Florence Pugh) is in a bad place. She has just lost her whole family to a horrific murder-suicide, and the only relationship she has left is with her estranged boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor). She holds fast to the tenuous connection for fear of being alone, joining him and his friends on their midsummer vacation in Sweden.
There, Christian’s friends make clear their disdain for her presence, adding to Dani’s grief. Her anxiety heightens as she tries to hide it. But her emotional dependence on an unappreciative partner leaves her visibly vulnerable, as though without him, she may fall.
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Vloggers often seek out decidedly dangerous thrills in the constant chase for views. Some perform stunts on skyscrapers, others stage elaborate ploys. Backpacking adventurer Laurel Rhodes (Abigail Wilson) finds her own special draw in going on hidden trails alone.
Trouble is eventual, and happen it does when she takes a wrong turn and ends up in a derelict cabin. Strange markings on the wall tease a malefic ritual in the making. But in face of the cold rain outside, Laurel chooses to take the risk of staying.
Directed by Dan Robinette (Tethered, Nervous Breakdown), Psycho Path promises more than just a madman in wait. The twist remains effective in his hands, even if dedicated horror connoisseurs might have an inking towards the ritual in question.
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The Dead Don’t Die (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2019) – Zombies rise in the quiet town of Centerville, pitting its citizens against an unexpected apocalypse.
Auteur Jim Jarmusch lets none of his dark wit obscure what his latest film truly is – a tragic ode to the quiet death of humanity.
Calamity befalls the once peaceful Centerville, where farmer Miller (Steve Buscemi) has reported his poultry missing. Police trio Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray), Ronnie Petersen (Adam Driver), and Mindy Morrison (Chloë Sevigny) soon discover two mutilated corpses at the town’s diner, then two open graves at the cemetery.
“This is all gonna end badly,” Petersen mutters as he identifies the responsible culprits in no time – zombies. He repeats the words, convinced that the town’s destruction is but inevitable.
Consider his mantra a big, pessimistic hint at what Jim Jarmusch may just be saying with his latest elegiac work. Indeed, The Dead Don’t Die is far from the typical cautionary tale. It is an irate, bitter rebuke against the hordes of us, responsible for the mess that is the world today.
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The Perfection (dir. Richard Shepard, 2019) – Strange events unfold when musical prodigy Lizzie encounters the former star pupil of her school.
A deceptively simple thriller slips in slick blood across genres. Avoid trailers at all costs.
Art demands perfection and thrives on competition. This endless pressure to be the best can manifest dangerous demands. In Whiplash, it coerces hurtful abuse out of two musicians in their strive for the ideal.
Borrowing the same note, The Perfection sees the same ghost haunt cello prodigy Charlotte (Allison Williams), whose promising career was cut short upon her mother’s illness. When she meets the new star pupil of her former school Lizzie (Logan Browning), she is driven to violent jealousy… or so we are led to believe.
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Brightburn (dir. David Yarovesky, 2019) – A ship crash-lands on Earth, bringing with it a child who proves to be something far more sinister.
Brandishing the violence that Superman is capable of, the reimagined mythos however squanders the more interesting questions of the ‘why’ and ‘how’.
Kal-El, an all-powerful hero who can as easily save humanity as he can, destroy. Thank Krypton for Jor-El, who shares his faith in humanity with his son, just as his foster parents Jonathan and Martha Kent showed him every reason to use his powers for good.
His family pushed him upon the path of good, believing that Man deserves salvation and hope. But what if he had chosen different?
Away from Kent Farm in Brightburn is the very antithesis of the Superman we know. Finding out who he truly is, Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) sees himself as superior to mankind, and ravages the planet that he believes to be weak.
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