Good morning film fiends! Lots of goodness on the slate this week including the ace looking LIFECHANGER. Let’s dive in –

Erik Black is a broken soul due to the loss of his wife. He spends his days alone and self-medicating. All of that changes when his estranged son asks him to help him reach an undisclosed destination. There, he says, he will receive a divine message he believes will change the course of humanity. To survive they must stick together while fostering a belief in something greater than themselves.

PRODIGY, starring Tyler Roy Roberts (Z NATION), Cory Kays (LOOKING FOR ANDREW) and King Amir Allahyar (FAÇADE), on VOD December 4 and DVD January 1 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

 

400 Years Ago Sir Walter Raleigh Searched For El Dorado … Today It Was Found.
In the tradition of INDIANA JONES and TOMB RAIDER, comes a thrilling adventure in search of… the city of gold.


Vernon Wells (THE ROAD WARRIOR, COMMANDO, INNERSPACE), Christopher Atkins (THE BLUE LAGOON, THE PIRATE MOVIE) and Branscombe Richmond (CHICAGO MED, THE SCORPION KING) star in THE CITY OF GOLD, on VOD December 4 and DVD January 1, 2019.



An anguished media magnate, Jonathan Davenport, accompanies his estranged lover to the Peruvian Amazon in pursuit of a reclusive artist living in rebel occupation. Despite their philanthropic intentions, the mission proves to be the harbinger of something dark and ominous rooted deep within Jonathan.
John Charles Meyer (AVENGED), Adrienne Whitney Papp (THE RESIDENT), Riley Dandy (DOUBLE PLAY), Robbie Allen (HELLBLAZER) and Jennifer Rikert Wolski (ESCAPE ARTIST) star in a film directed by Harry Locke IV and written by Ronald A.Blum.
From High Octane Pictures, THE CITY OF GOLD on VOD December 4 and DVD January 1, 2019.

 

Anthony Peterson has 24 hours of air. A cell phone. And no way out.
In the tradition of SAW and BURIED, CARGO on VOD and DVD November 13 from Wild Eye Releasing.
A man wakes trapped inside a cargo container with only a cell phone and is given 24 hours by his kidnappers to raise ten million dollars in ransom or die.
Ron Thompson (American Me), Corbin Timbrook (The Glass Shield), Jose Rosete (”The Walking Dead: Red Machete”) and Danika Fields (”The Doctors”) star in a James Dylan film.

 

Swedish chiller THE CABIN, the debut feature for Johan Bodell, is set for a North American premiere this December.


Young American couple, Rose (Caitlin Crommett) and Harry (Christopher Lee Page) are on their way to visit Harrys family cabin. Both as a nostalgic vacation and as a way to rekindle their relationship. But they’re not the only one that decided to visit the cabin this weekend… The vacation is quickly turned into a living nightmare for Rose and Harry as they meet a vicious sociopath, who invites them into a involuntary cat and mouse game. ​
THE CABIN, scripted by Erik Kammerland and produced by Alec Trachtenberg of Coast ART Productions and KW Studios, takes you to the rural backwater of the Swedish summer, and on a ride you will never forget.
Available on VOD/DVD December 4 from High Octane Pictures.

 

The highly anticipated LIFECHANGER will be released in North America January 1, 2019, by Uncork’d Entertainment.


Written and directed by Justin McConnell, LIFECHANGER tells of a murderous shape-shifter that sets out on a blood-soaked mission to make things right with the woman he loves.
Drew has an identity problem. Every few days, has to shape-shift, or face a painful death. He has to find someone and make a copy. He takes everything: their looks, memories, hopes, and dreams. Their entire life. He becomes them, and they die horribly. Enter Julia, the object of Drew’s affection. How can he make things right when he’s never the same person for very long? How do you gain back trust when who you are keeps changing? Part psychological thriller, part body horror, Lifechanger follows one shape-shifters’ twisted quest to repair the damage he’s caused, while leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.

On a final note –  to any aspiring independent filmmakers, podcasters or film related writers out there out there reading this, let me know if you’d like me to publicize and/or review your projects, The Stricken Land is always happy to promote new talent and ideas! And as ever, please feel free to share this post and any others on here that you like, far and wide.

Spread the Word!
Ian

 

Overlord (USA 2018) Dir: Julius Avery
Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the war and horror film genres should be natural bedfellows, and given that World War II is indelibly etched into both British and American popular culture it’s surprising that the many cross genre films that have been attempted have all been execrable dross (special mention for Michael Mann’s 1983 effort THE KEEP, but even that’s a very mixed bag.)

Step forward OVERLORD, the latest offering from JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot stable. The trailer promised much, with FURY levels of war violence mixed in with the Nazi super soldiers trope topped of with AC/DC on the soundtrack. Thankfully, director Julius Avery’s Ronseal approach to his film means we pretty much get what we were promised. The tight narrative sees gentle farm boy turned paratrooper Boyce (Adepo) and his comrades dropped into occupied France on the eve of D-Day to take out a German radio tower located in a nearby town.

They soon discover something very nefarious going on in the German base involving human experiments conducted by the sinister Dr Schmidt (Erich Redman) backed up by rent a villain Nazi Commandant Wagner (Asbæk).

OVERLORD knows that it’s b-movie schlock albeit backed with a decent budget and studio backed marketing, and it and wisely chooses to revels in the fact. With that in mind the script takes care to avoid any incongruous humour, and the cast play the whole thing straight. Thus  we avoid tipping into IRON SKY territory with proceedings kept just the right side of ludicrous, as Avery cranks the cartoonish level of violence all the way to eleven.

Unlike the current glut of spandex drenched bore-a-thons bunging up the multiplexes, OVERLORD doesn’t lose sight of the story it is telling and never feels like it has neglected its narrative in favour of spectacle. Sure, it may come in for criticism from some quarters for its theme of Nazi human experimentation, but these are Indiana Jones style comic book nazis, and while Avery’s film riffs off old school exploitation it never reaches ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS levels of bad taste either.

This is a solid action horror that, while containing no surprises, certainly won’t disappoint its intended audience either. And on the face of it who ever went to see an action-horror mash up featuring Nazi super soldiers expecting Shakespearean levels of character development?

Halloween (USA 2018) Dir: David Gordon Green

Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle

The 1980’s saw saw the horror genre dominated by the slasher movie; cheaply produced, formulaic shockers revolving around gormless American teenagers being despatched by mysterious masked killers using inventive but increasingly contrived methods of dealing death.

John Carpenter’s seminal 1978 independent horror flick HALLOWEEN was the film that really kicked off enthusiasm for the sub genre, despite coming four years after Bob Clark’s proto slasher BLACK CHRISTMAS, the tale of an all female sorority house terrorised by a mysterious killer. Carpenter’s efficient, stripped down chiller perfected the formula in the tale of escaped mental patient Michael Myers who returns to his home town fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night, intent on reliving his crime. It quickly became the most financially successful independent film on record at the time, and led to a slew of imitations as well as a series of inferior sequels, both direct and retconned, the last of which, HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION (2002)  saw the series surely reach its nadir in the scene featuring rapper Busta Rhymes karate kicking Myers through a window.

Thankfully no such incongruous nonsense intrudes on David Gordon Green’s retconned sequel for production outfit Blumhouse. Picking up the story in real time, forty years after Myers’ rampage in the first movie, the script by Green, Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley wisely ignores the convoluted sequels. Which means no familial connection with Laurie Strode (Curtis), who hasn’t perished in a car accident, no Jamie Lloyd and no Thorn cult thank goodness, (the point in the series where it really jumped the proverbial shark in this reviewer’s humble opinion.)

With all that baggage out of the way (I like to think of the previous sequels as different timelines) the film is free to forge its own path, which, with a few caveats I think it does successfully. The story picks up with Michael incarcerated back in the Smiths Grove Mental Institute where he has been under close observation by the shifty looking Dr Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), a protege of the now deceased Dr Loomis. Frustrated that Sartain has made no progress with his studies of Myers, the authorities order that he be transferred to a much less ‘comfortable’ institution. In a last ditch attempt to reach Michael, Sartain allows access to two investigative journalists (Rhian Rees and Jefferson Hall) putting together a podcast (how 2018!) about the 1978 murders, but they too are unable to penetrate Myers’ wall of silence.

Meanwhile, original final girl Laurie Strode lives a solitary life in a fortified compound, two failed marriages behind her and an estranged daughter and granddaughter testament to the PTSD she has suffered since her fateful encounter with ‘the Shape’ four decades earlier. When the bus transporting Myers mysteriously crashes, Laurie’s warnings are dismissed as paranoid ravings by her family, and the stage is set for history to repeat itself on Halloween night…

The essential problem with the HALLOWEEN series is the same one that bedevils all slasher movies, and that is the in built limitation of the central idea; a madman stalking a bunch of luckless victims is essentially a one film deal. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But money talks, and inevitable sequels follow put together by luckless directors for hire in which the only real way they can try and put a spin on the story is to explore the character and motives of the mad killer protagonist, which only serves to demystify them, thus diluting their scare factor (the recent ALIEN prequels are also guilty of this with the xenomorph.)

The new film sensibly avoids going down this route, leaving Michael as the enigmatic, relentless force of pure evil that Carpenter originally envisaged. He doesn’t want to rape, or torture. He doesn’t want money and can’t be bought off in any way. Michael Myers doesn’t seem to have or need a motive and that’s what makes him truly frightening. He’s a flesh and blood version of THE TERMINATOR.

Leaving alone any exploration of Myers’s character means that the film’s focus is instead on Curtis’ Laurie Strode and the long lasting psychological scars left on her and her family from her ordeal all those years ago. Pretty much from the first moment she is on screen, it’s clear that this is going to be Curtis’ show and she clearly relishes Laurie’s transformation into a paranoid backwoods gun lady reminiscent of T2 era Sarah Connor.

The rest of the cast portray characters that essentially exist either as inevitable victims, or to give us an insight into either of the two main protagonists. Through daughter Karen (Judy Greer) we get a glimpse of growing up under the care of the helicopter mum from hell, while exposure to Myers seems to have unbalanced Dr Sartain (in the same way as was hinted in Donald Pleasance’s manic portrayal of Dr Loomis.) Granddaughter Allyson (Matichak)  has little to do other than fend off teenage suitors and run around a lot. As a character she lacks any real depth, so it’s difficult to empathise with her, and unlike the girls in the original it never feels like she is in any real peril. This is a minor quibble though, and Matichak at least gives her all to an underwritten role that ultimately has to play second fiddle to Curtis.

Inevitably a prisoner of the constraints of its own sub genre, HALLOWEEN is part sequel, part remake and part tribute movie to the original with a plethora of nods to the 1978 film, and even a little Easter egg for fans of the underrated HALLOWEEN III SEASON OF THE WITCH in the form of the Silver Shamrock masks. But that said, this is still a solid addition to the franchise that both looks and feels like a ‘true’ sequel to John Carpenter’s original low budget masterwork, while managing to tread the fine line between celebrating its source material and wallowing in nostalgia.

As is traditional for the smasher movie, the end leaves the story wide open for a sequel, and given its more than healthy box office take, the temptation for Blumhouse will likely prove irresistible.

Let’s just hope they resist the urge to cast any rap stars in it.

https://youtu.be/ek1ePFp-nBI

Good morning film fiends, and happy Bonfire Night to all my fellow Brits! I’ve got four great previews to put on your midnight movie viewing lists and cheer you all up on these cold winter nights! Let’s take a peek –

Teenagers are kidnapped and made into living scarecrows who are left to die in crop fields in an exceedingly frightening stoner-horror throwback in the vein of JEEPERS CREEPERS and Scream. SCARECROWS, from director Stu Stone, rise from the cornfields 11 December from Uncork’d Entertainment.
While on a hike to find a secret lagoon, a group of friends have no choice but to pass through an ominous cornfield. Unbeknownst to them, the farm owner despises trespassers and has vowed to kill anyone who crosses his land by turning them into living scarecrows, leaving them to rot in his fields. Once one goes up… it never comes down.


SCARECROWS, starring Hannah Gordon (HURT), Mike Taylor (PURE) and Umed Amin (A SIMPLE FAVOR) and co-written by Stone and Adam Rodness, premieres on VOD December 11 and DVD February 1 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

In the tradition of SUSPIRIA, and featuring horror icons Caroline Williams and Debbie Rochon, BLOODY BALLET arabesque’s onto November 13 from High Octane Pictures.
When a beautiful ballerina dancer, Adriana Mena (Kendra Carelli, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2), lands the lead role in the upcoming Nutcracker performance, she’s forced to face her demons as jealousy and tension begin to provoke the supernatural.
A giallo film –  a horror-thriller that blends the atmosphere and suspense of thriller fiction with elements of horror fiction and eroticism – in the vein of Dario Argento’s and SUSPIRIA and Sergio Martino’s TORSO – BLOODY BALLET is a tour-de-force for rising filmmaker Brett Mullen, who co-wrote the script with Matt Cloude.  

Caroline Williams (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE II, HALLOWEEN II), Debbie Rochon (MODEL HUNGER, DEATH HOUSE), Katie Carpenter (THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE), Brett Wagner (THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS), and Rob Springer (BOMBSHELL BLOODBATH) star in BLOODY BALLET out November 13 on VOD and December 4 on DVD.

 

Christmas is under siege from a horde of evil elves in Jamaal Buden’s frighteningly fun ELVES, on VOD and DVD this December!
The Holiday Reaper, a ruthless killer that terrorized a small Texas town, has been caught. While celebrating, a group of friends find an elf inside a magical toy box.  When a freak accident kills one of them, they discover a group of elves have been scattered throughout town, each representing one of the seven deadly sins. It’s a race against time to survive the elves’ wrath before Christmas ends.
Horror staples Justin Price (THE ELF) and Khu (DARK MOON RISING) produce.

Lisa May, Deanna Grace Congo, Stephanie Marie Baggett and Amy Jo Guthrie star in ELVES, on VOD and DVD December 4 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

 

Award-winning Hitchockian suspense thriller NUMBER 37, filmed in Cape Town, releases in select theaters throughout November and On Demand November 20 from Dark Star Pictures.
In a gritty homage to perennial Alfred Hitchcock favorite REAR WINDOW, director Nospiho Dumia’s film focuses on the residents of a block of apartments in the down-and-out Cape Flats neighborhood–which, with its petty thugs, crooked cops, violent loan sharks, and troubled pastors, soon reveals itself to be a very different place from REAR WINDOW’s Greenwich Village of 1954.

Set in a rough section of Cape Town, NUMBER 37 follows Randal Hendricks, a small-time crook who becomes wheelchair-bound in a drug deal gone wrong, and his hard-working girlfriend Pam Ismael. To distract Randal during his homebound days of limited mobility, Pam gives him a pair of binoculars. While idly surveying his block, he accidentally witnesses a dirty cop being executed by his gangster neighbor Lawyer. With a loan shark breathing down his neck, Randal decides to blackmail Lawyer, and enlists the help of both his girlfriend and his friend Warren. When the plan goes horribly awry, Randal’s options get more and more restricted—and not even local detective Gail February, investigating the death of her partner, may be able to help him.Irshaad Ally, Monique Rockman, Ephraim Gordon, Sandi Schultz, Danny Ross, David Manuel, Elton Landrew, and Deon Lotz star in a Nosipho Dumisa directed film, scripted by Dumisa, Travis Taute, and Daryne Joshua.
NUMBER 37 is available on demand November 20.

On a final note –  to any aspiring independent filmmakers, podcasters or film related writers out there out there reading this, let me know if you’d like me to publicise and/or review your projects, The Stricken Land is always happy to promote new talent and ideas! And as ever, please feel free to share this post and any others on here that you like, far and wide.

Spread the Word!
Ian

Now its thirteenth year, Mayhem is Nottingham’s premier (only?) film festival dedicated to horror, sci-fi and cult cinema. Held every October at the excellent Broadway cinema, this year I managed to squeeze in the time to get to four showings, only a couple of days after getting back from Grimmfest in Manchester. Apologies for the lateness of the review, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind October, so writing time has been on the lean side. Anyway, enough of my prattle, let’s launch into my thoughts on this years Mayhem offerings –

Nightmare Cinema (2018) US Dir: Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Alejandro Brugués, David Slade, Ryûhei Kitamura
Mickey Rourke, Richard Chamberlain, Elizabeth Reaser

Five strangers are each drawn in turn to a deserted old picture house where they are met by a mysterious projectionist (Rourke), who proceeds to play them each  a tale that delves into their deepest fears…
The horror anthology movie has a long and storied history beginning with the classic Ealing horror and granddaddy of creepy doll films, DEAD OF NIGHT (1945) through to the now classic Amicus productions of the 70’s like THE UNCANNY (1977) and DR TERROR’S HOUSE OF HORRORS (1974) up to THE TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1982) and the EC comics inspired CREEPSHOW (1982)  and TALES FROM THE CRYPT tv show (1989-1996.)
Joining this illustrious roll call comes NIGHTMARE CINEMA, and like all anthology flicks it lives and dies on the strength of each of its constituent segments.
The two stand outs in the movie are  Brugués’ The Thing in the Woods and Slade’s This Way to Egress. The former is closest in spirit to the aforementioned CREEPSHOW movies in style and content, smartly combining the mad killer in the woods slasher trope with an alien invasion plot all drenched in a good helping of cartoonish gore.
The latter is an adaptation of a Lawrence Connolly short story from his eponymous collection. Shot in stylish monochrome, this segment convincingly portrays the fraying, and increasingly warped and terrifying mental state of a young mother (played by Elizabeth Reaser, currently starring in Mike Flanagan’s superb THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE in Netflix) while on a visit to her psychiatrist. Of all the segments Egress most deserves the epithet ‘nightmare’ and it’s worth giving the movie a watch for this segment alone.
The weakest has to be Ryûhei Kitamura’s demonic possession fable Mashit. Lacking a likeable central character is this segment’s biggest flaw, and the derivative story adds nothing to the possession sub genre. A missed opportunity.
Of the remaining two segments, Mirare, directed by Joe Dante and Dead by Mick Garris, the former  is classic Dante, a pitch black comedy about body confidence and plastic surgery featuring a demonic performance by Dr Kildare himself, Richard Chamberlain. While entertaining enough, it does feel rather lightweight and predictable in its denouement when compared to the other segments. Garris’ contribution feels meatier, being a study of maternal love taken to supernatural extremes, but lacks the pace of what has gone before, and thus feels rather laboured in places.


As I said earlier, the inherent weakness of the anthology format is inconsistency, a problem which bedevils NIGHTMARE CINEMA and prevents it being a wholly satisfactory watch. Mickey Rourke also feels underused as the menacing and otherworldly Projectionist. All in all though, NIGHTMARE CINEMA is great fun for horror fans a laudable effort and a, welcome addition to the anthology horror sub genre. Whether it is able to breathe new life into the format and act as catalyst for more films of this type to be produced remains to be seen.

Release details for Nightmare Cinema are tbc.

 


Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) US Dir: Sonny Laguna, Tommy Wiklund
Thomas Lennon, Jenny Pellicer, Barbara Crampton, Michael Pare, Udo Kier, Matthias Hues

Recently divorced comic book artist Edgar (Lennon) returns to live with his parents. Finding an old sinister looking puppet in his late brother’s room, he soon discovers it is one of the creations of Andre Toulon, a hideously disfigured Nazi war criminal responsible for an infamous series of murders in the town thirty years before. With an upcoming auction of memorabilia at a convention commemorating the Toulon murders, Edgar sees the chance to make some ready cash, but he reckons without a strange and evil force reanimating the puppets…
A gloriously retconned reimagining of the beloved 90’s straight to video classics from cult favourite Charles Band’s legendary Full Moon Pictures, PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH boasts a script by S. Craig Ziegler of BONE TOMAHAWK fame, so expect zero subtlety in this splendidly off the wall exercise in bad taste horror comedy. Complete with practical effects galore and competitive scenery chewing between genre legends Barbara Crampton, Michael Pare, Matthias Hues and the incomparable screen legend that is Udo Kier, PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH glories in its own sense of low budget schlock and insane level of cartoonish violence. Make no mistake,  this movie knows exactly what it is and what it wants to do, and it wants you to know it too.
Highlights include a ‘Baby Fuhrer’ puppet, a decapitated man urinating on his own head and a gory puppet ‘birth’. If there’s a taboo you can think of in these neo censorious times, then this movie wants to break it, usually with a buzz saw or a flamethrower.


Directors Wiklund and Laguna apparently secured the rights from Band on the condition that they made the film as a separate ‘reimagined’ entity divorced from the Band’s own established PUPPET MASTER series, thus opening up the possibility of a brand new series of Puppet Master films. Fingers crossed!

Release details for Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich are tbc.

 

Mandy (2018) US Dir: Panos Cosmatos
Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Richard Brake, Linus Roache

Logger Red Miller (Cage) lives with his artist girlfriend Mandy Bloom (Rise borough) in 1983 California. Mandy encounters the members of a hippie cult called the Children of the New Dawn who proceed to kidnap and burn her alive right in front of a bound and incapacitated Red. Left for dead, an enraged and grief stricken Red sets out in single minded pursuit of the cult and its leader, the deranged Jeremiah Sand (Roache)…
So far, so run of the mill revenge fantasy, right?
Wrong.


It’s difficult to do justice to Panos Cosmatos’’ warped, psychedelic headfuck of a movie using mere words, this is a film you have to experience in order to get a true feel for its sheer batshit levels of craziness.. So if demonic quad riding bikers on a bad acid trip, chainsaw duels and Nicolas Cage going full Nicolas Cage against the son of Ken Barlow from Corrie are your thing (and why wouldn’t they be?) then check out this acid fuelled Lynchian nightmare fantasy. Plus, it’s got Bill Duke in it, which is always a reason to watch a film in my book. This one can legitimately be called an instant cult classic..

Mandy is available on Amazon Prime and also on DVD and Blu-ray.

 


The Devil’s Doorway (2018) Ire Dir: Aislinn Clarke
Lalor Roddy, Ciaran Flynn, Helena Bereen

In 1960 Ireland two priests, Father Thomas (Roddy) and Father John (Flynn) are sent to investigate claims of a weeping madonna statue in a Magdalene Laundry, a bleak workhouse-like institution for ‘fallen women’ run by the Catholic church. But as they investigate, they discover something much darker and evil has infected the home…
Nearly twenty years after the damp squib that was THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT opened the floodgates on the found footage sub genre (although its true progenitor is Ruggero Deodato’s 1979 mondo splatter epic CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST), it finally feels like a film has come along that really makes good on the format’s promise. And that film is Irish filmmaker Aisleen Clarke’s THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY.
Put together on a shoestring budget, the film is cast iron proof that done well, horror does not need big name stars or expensive effects in order to both tell a compelling story and send an icy chill down the spines of audiences. Rather than ‘found footage’, the central conceit of the film is that what is being shown to audiences ‘has been suppressed by the Catholic Church for 58 years.’ Presented as historical record captured on 16mm film, the grainy and ethereal quality of the film stock adds a sense of authenticity, compounded by the story of the real life horror behind the Magdalene laundries in Ireland.Indeed, the idea for the film grew from Clarke’s interest in the laundries and the research she carried out for an unmade documentary on the institutions.
Another big catalyst in the films development was the discovery in 2017 of a mass grave of infants at the site of a former laundry in Tuam, County Galway. Clarke skilfully weaves these horrific aspects into the narrative while simultaneously avoiding any hint of exploitation or an anti religious hatchet job.


Instead the focus is on the inherently fallen nature of the human condition and the corruption that can infect and eat away at institutions. In one particularly memorable scene the Mother Superior (Helen Bereen in a standout performance), icily asks of Father Thomas if he is aware of ‘how many of these babies fathers, were Fathers?’
The film has all the tropes of the demonic possession/religious horror sub genres present and correct; the priest grappling with a crisis of faith, flying furniture, scary looking kids, officious nuns and levitating girls, but even if it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel in this regard, then it does a more than efficient job of scaring the bejeezus out of the viewer (Father Thomas’ first encounter with the possessed Kathleen (Lauren Coe) is genuinely terrifying).
The film also wisely opts for subtlety rather than the Grand Guignol excess of THE EXORCIST and its many imitators, trading spectacle for offscreen hints at the evil present in the bleak surrounds of the home, both in its temporal and supernatural forms.
That being said, when it comes to staging shocks, Clarke proves admirably adept at ramping up the terror without the benefit of a huge effects budget, and the climax of the films last five minutes or so is pure nightmare fuel. Period set horror is one my favourites sub genres (no comforts of modern living here!), and  I doubt you’ll see a bleaker or more effective indie horror this year, nor one made all the more thought provoking for the horrific real life history that influenced it. Essential viewing.

The Devil’s Doorway is available on Amazon Prime and also on DVD and Blu-ray.