Movies are the only an­ti­dote to the hor­ror of the real world

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This month in film has been frankly very de­press­ing. Not the fea­tures (Happy Death Day! Stranger Things 2! Err… Jig­saw!) but in the un­fold­ing hor­ror that is the wide­spread abuse car­ried out by pow­er­ful blokes in Hol­ly­wood. You’re tired of hear­ing about it. But hor­ror reflects so­ci­ety – it al­ways has done – so I’m quite sure we’ll be hear­ing about it more in times to come. Where vic­tims have felt un­able to speak out, hor­ror is a great place to do so. It was al­ways so – the Soska Sisters’ au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal Amer­i­can Mary , for ex­am­ple, deals with a young woman abused by a pow­er­ful male col­league who takes re­venge into her own hands.

What’s emerged is a pic­ture of an in­dus­try where vic­tims suf­fered and then felt they weren’t lis­tened to and now they need to scream. We all know how male-cen­tric Hol­ly­wood is, but in the wake of this storm now more than ever it’s time to give women and those less represented a voice. The low bud­get, high im­pact na­ture of hor­ror which al­lows more cre­ative freedom is the per­fect place. I urge pro­duc­ers, fi­nanciers and fans out there – let’s make hor­ror a safe space for all dif­fer­ent voices so peo­ple can tell their sto­ries, and maybe things can change for the bet­ter.


On that, I do hope McG is feel­ing like a bit of a tool right now as he watches back his movie The Babysit­ter (on Net­flix now), with its jokes about false ac­cu­sa­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and “black lives mat­ter”. I’ve no idea if he thinks he’s be­ing satir­i­cal but against a back­drop of slo-mo bikini shots and lin­ger­ing close ups of girls mak­ing out it just feels like a ’90s ado­les­cent male fan­tasy. In­stead go and see the other babysit­ting movie, Bet­ter Watch Out , in cin­e­mas now. It’s a su­per-mod­ern twist on the home in­va­sion movie with a whole lot more so­phis­ti­ca­tion in its gen­der pol­i­tics. Okay, it might be ba­si­cally Home Alone with ul­tra-vi­o­lence, but it’s a Christmas treat.


For­eign Cu­rio Of The Month prize goes to The Bar , avail­able now on Net­flix. This is a re­lent­less Span­ish in­fec­tion hor­ror which re­minded me of [REC] (though with more laughs). A ran­dom group of strangers find them­selves bar­ri­caded in a local cafe in Madrid when a man is shot just out­side the door. This isn’t a siege sit­u­a­tion though – in­stead they’re trapped in­side with an in­fected guy and the author­i­ties have no de­sire to let them leave. It’s a char­ac­ter piece, fast-paced and funny with stand­out set pieces (a scene of the group try­ing to force an oiled-up home­less man through the too-small open­ing of a sewer will stick with you), though there’s also dis­course here about class and per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity. Also check out Witch­ing And Bitch­ing , from the same di­rec­tor, Álex de la Igle­sia. It fol­lows a heist gone wrong which leads a group of guys and a kid who might be the cho­sen one into a coven of witches who want to eat them. Magic.


De­cem­ber is upon us and it’s time to look back at the year in hor­ror – and re­ally it’s been a cracker. Annabelle: Cre­ation was sur­pris­ingly scary, 47 Me­tres Down brought sharks back with a bang, XX gave us a fe­male-only an­thol­ogy, while Thelma was a beau­ti­ful Scandi take on Car­rie. My top five though (in no par­tic­u­lar or­der) are: Raw – fu­ri­ous French com­ing-of-age can­ni­bal film ex­plor­ing dark fe­male fan­tasy; It Comes At Night – slow burn claus­tro­pho­bic in­fec­tioner where the hor­ror is other peo­ple; IT – warm, nos­tal­gic clown chiller with char­ac­ters you re­ally care for; Get Out – smart so­cio-po­lit­i­cal comedy-chiller us­ing genre tropes to talk about se­ri­ous is­sues; The Killing Of A Sa­cred Deer – cruel, black and shock­ing cau­tion­ary tale with Colin Far­rell and Ni­cole Kid­man. Here’s to a great 2018!

Bet­ter Watch Out… A Christmas home in­va­sion with a twist.

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