The Platform / El hoyo (dir. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, 2020) – Two people wake on a cell in a vertical prison, where one single food platform descends to feed the occupants of each level for two minutes per day.
At any given moment, on the same planet, there are those who live in excess and many who survive on none. Some inherit their wealth. Others are born into poverty. Unfortunately, the class divide keeps widening and we struggle to keep people from falling through the gap.
The Platform illustrates this harrowing divide in a literal analogy. The grim urban legend is told through the eyes of Goreng (Ivan Massagué), who awakes on Level 48 of a seemingly endless vertical shaft. Every day, food descends to each level on a massive platform for two minutes.
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The Invisible Man (dir. Leigh Whannell, 2020) – Convinced that her abusive ex-partner faked his suicide, Cecilia works to prove that she is not going mad and that he is still after her.
In Leigh Whannell’s re-imagining of The Invisible Man, the invisible monster is not a merely a literal depiction. More subtle than a science experiment gone wrong, the evil lies in the intangible form of abuse that is not always perceptible, but often hides in plain sight.
The gaslit victim is Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss), who shares a seemingly perfect relationship with tech mogul Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). But behind closed doors, Adrian is a different man. He undermines her, making her believe that she is inadequate and vulnerable without him.
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Color out of Space (dir. Richard Stanley, 2020) – The Gardners begin to experience a series of inexplicable phenomena after their farmhouse was struck by a strange meteorite.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft never lived to see the fruits of his labour. During his lifetime, his works were almost exclusively confined within pulp magazines. In 1937, he succumbed to intestinal cancer in poverty at the young age of 46, before his books ever saw the light of day.
Yet today, it is impossible to talk about horror without the mention of H.P. Lovecraft. His Cthulhu Mythos made a profound impact on pop culture, particularly the literary genre, influencing the likes of Clive Barker and Stephen King. In film, his stories made Stuart Gordon’s career that began with two genre masterworks, From Beyond and Re-Animator.
At the Mountains of Madness, which he believed to have done “more than anything to end [his] effective fictional career”, ended up inspiring one of John Carpenter’s best works. This long line of successors sees Richard Stanley join in with The Colour Out of Space, or as the American filmmaker would have it, Color out of Space.
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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 loved one she has left is 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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