Dear friend,

this past week I made full use of the 7-day trial for Shadowz external link , a streaming platform specialised in horror films. Sort of a French Shudder, but only accessible in Belgium as a channel for Amazon Prime. And since I’m not going to renew Prime (which I only subscribed to to be able watch American Fiction before the Oscar ceremony), Shadowz won’t be renewed either. To be honest, anyway, there’s not a whole list of interesting films in their catalogue left for me to watch; a lot of them are shorts, but they are listed in the same way as full-length features, which is quite annoying and maybe just a trick to give the impression of a much wider choice. Anyway, it gave me the opportunity for a week of horrors:

  • The Innkeepers by Ti West: pre-X and pre-Pearl, West directed a character-heavy ghost story, not super-spooky and quite slow to get going, but really enjoyable;
  • Dashcam by Rob Savage: I liked Host and I didn’t like at all The Boogeyman, but this was almost unwatchable for me - due to its insufferable main character, lots of bad taste, and the ‘found streaming’ gimmick that takes away all context and only leaves us with a car crash after a car crash after a car crash; difficult to be The Blair Witch Project when you have ‘viewer comments’ all over your film, and an outrageously chatty protagonist; worst end credits ever;
  • Broadcast Signal Intrusion by Jacob Gentry: in the ‘old tech is creepy’ sub-genre, another film (a bit like Censor) that starts very intriguing until it doesn’t really know what to do with itself, and ends up nonsensical (though I might have missed something);
  • Scanners by David Cronenberg: would I have liked it as much if it had been shot by a different director? Probably not, but this felt odd, awkward and great;
  • The Last Thing Mary Saw by Edoardo Vitaletti: sure, it’s not The Witch and its first act seems to last forever, but finally its atmosphere and its silences won me over; a great first feature film for Vitaletti, hopefully the beginning of a long career;
  • Sisters by Brian De Palma: after rewatching Dressed to Kill a few weeks ago, Sisters confirms that I don’t love De Palma like I used to;
  • Psycho II by Richard Franklin: well, the rumours that this is not such a bad idea as it would sound are true; I got a bit impatient after I guessed early one of the plot points, and I didn’t like at all the very ending, but it’s a decent low-key thriller; this one is not on Shadowz, I rented it on Apple;
  • Dèmoni by Lamberto Bava: I didn’t finish this one. Nice monster effects, but the awful acting (or maybe just 80s acting amplified by an Italian dubbing over English dialogue) made it really difficult to stand.

In the non-horror category: finally the ‘Italian sensation’ of last autumn, C’è ancora domani arrived in Belgian cinemas. The debut as a director of beloved comedian Paola Cortellesi was harder to watch than I had anticipated (dealing with domestic violence in post-World War II Italy), and I’m not sure its narrative misdirections actually hold up to basic scrutiny, but I appreciated the effort to lighten up the subject with humour (though the ‘dancing’ scene is really awkward).