Malignant (dir. James Wan, 2021) – Experiencing visions of murders in her sleep, Madison’s fear grows when she discovers that her waking dreams are in fact reality.
An unseen patient unleashes a brutal attack on the hospital employees, who are armed with weapons that clearly aren’t enough. We do not see who or what he is, only the gruesome aftermath that hints at something unimaginably monstrous.
The macabre cold open of Malignant calls to mind old horror films in the vein of It’s Alive. Yet it is nothing quite as straightforward as a b-movie about an indiscriminate monster born to kill. There is something much more to this than meets the eye, and to draw any further comparisons may only spoil the mad ploy James Wan plans to unravel.
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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (dir. Destin Daniel Cretton, 2021) – An unprovoked attack forces Shang-Chi back to the dysfunctional family whom he once walked away from.
Shang-Chi has a lot to live up to. For starters, he isn’t as well known or talked about as the other Avengers. He has but a tenuous tie to the established Marvel cinematic universe, and a reputation to be built from scratch. There are quite some stereotypes to dispel, too, given Marvel’s history with Asian caricatures.
It is an astonishing feat for the Phase 4 film to come up tops in spite of this immense pressure of being a newcomer to an already massive franchise of 25 movies. More so, to make Shang-Chi a fan favourite in the overcrowded roster of heroes.
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Rurouni Kenshin: Final Chapter (dir. Keishi Ohtomo, 2021) – Himura Kenshin is ready to give up his life as a feared assassin, but his past soon catches up with him.
What is it about Himura Kenshin (Takeru Satoh) that has every man pointing swords and guns at him? Three movies later, the final chapter of the stunning live-action Samurai X completes the bloody picture in two parts.
First, there is The Final that marks a satisfying closure to the redemption arc for the tortured samurai, whose long-suffering journey to overcome his guilt delivers as much fight as it does heart. Then, saving the best for last, The Beginning closes the Rurouni Kenshin series whole.
This is the perfect place to start for those new to the legend. But long-standing fans will find no time wasted. Once brought up in pieces, the dark past of the protector is finally given a chance to fully unfold in The Beginning. We return to the time where the man had yet to become the pacifist with a Sakabatō (a reverse-blade) and a vow against killing.
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A Classic Horror Story (dir. Roberto De Feo & Paolo Strippoli, 2021) – Travelling in southern Italy, five strangers become stranded in the woods and fall victim to a deathly ritual.
A band of strangers travels on a camper van to Calabria. When swerving to avoid a goat carcass, they veer off their intended path in the dark and wake to find themselves nowhere near the road. Lost in a forest, they search for help. All they find is an eerie cabin in the woods that homes the remnants of a terrifying murder cult.
A Classic Horror Story lives up to its name, following a familiar narrative that stitches together the horror genre’s notorious tropes. It isn’t just the paint-by-numbers opener too. The forsaken settings scream Evil Dead and the sinister town, The Wicker Man, before the disquieting ambience starts to mirror Midsommar.
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Blood Red Sky (dir. Peter Thorwarth, 2021) – Terrorists attempt to hijack a transatlantic flight, but find themselves going up against an unexpected threat.
In search of treatment for her unknown malady, Nadja (Peri Baumeister) travels on a night flight to New York with her son Elias (Carl Anton Koch), only to be taken hostage by a group of ruthless hijackers. All she knew then was that she had to protect her child. And that she would do anything, even if it means revealing her secret that may well put herself in danger.
It isn’t long before her dark secret comes to light. Taking cues from classic genre-blender From Dusk Till Dawn, Blood Red Sky turns predator into prey, trading the ostensible hostage situation for an unexpected night of vampiric terror. That’s right, it’s stakes on a plane as the clever Internet has now branded the film.
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Fear Street Part 3: 1666 (dir. Leigh Janiak, 2021) – After returning the missing hand to the burial ground, Deena watches the true history of Shadyside unfold through Sarah Fier’s eyes.
The tale of Sarah Fier is finally coming to an end. Through the eyes of Deena, Fier herself (also played by Kiana Madeira) is ready to reveal the terrible truth behind her dark history that intertwines with that of Shadyside. Travelling further back in time, Fear Street: 1666 takes us back to where the curse had first taken hold of their hometown.
Set in the 17th century, the stage is perfect for a pagan ritual to brew amid a superstitious folk. Quick to accuse Fier and Hannah (Olivia Scott Welch) of witchcraft because of their forbidden intimacy, the town soon finds their excuse to hang the women when a preacher goes mad and commits an unforgivable crime.
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