Top 10 Nontraditional Horror Films

Is it possible to be a horror fan and not really enjoy most capital-h “Horror” movies? Well, let me back up for a second. I actually do love the body horror/splatterpunk genres (think the visceral, frenetic, transformational, oozing nastiness of The Fly, Dead Alive, or even Rosemary’s Baby). I long to be shocked and disgusted,…

“Antibirth” Review: Something is Rotten in the State of Michigan

Hallucinogenic body horror flick Antibirth is a stomach-roiling kaleidoscope of mindfuck terrors and shock-induced howls, an experience so bizarre, so brain-frying, you’ll stumble off the ride and immediately want to go again. Danny Perez’s feature film debut is a triumph of disgust and primal feminist rage, a dream fever that questions what a drug-fueled threesome…

“Left on Pearl” Review: Searing Documentary Reads Like a Heist Film

On March 8, 1971, at the burgeoning of the women’s liberation movement, several hundred young activists marched from an International Women’s Day rally at Boston Common into the city of Cambridge and ended up seizing a Harvard University building in the name of feminism. They called it “The Women’s Center.” The activists were young, spirited, and savvy, drawn…

“Only Yesterday” Review: This Coming-of-Age Captivates

If you have the opportunity to see Japanese animated drama film Only Yesterday this week, I implore you to do so, as it is a triumph of both visual storytelling and emotional resonance. Hailing from Hiyao Miyazaki’s famed Studio Ghibli and acclaimed director Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya),…

Final Oscar Predictions 2016

Another year, another Oscars. The 88th Academy Awards are just a day away and it’s a wide open race this spring for Best Picture. The guild awards have spoken… and they all disagree. With the PGAs going to The Big Short, the DGAs to The Revenant, and the SAGs to Spotlight, there’s a good chance many prognosticators this…

“The Witch” Review: A Creeping Tale of Terrorism

In what circumstances is evil created? It’s a question many terrorism films attempt to answer, but few horror stories work to understand the underpinnings of malevolence as much as they often merely present it as fact. Not so in “The Witch,” Robert Eggers’ absorbing new horror thriller that is indeed also a terrorism story –…

“The Revenant” and Traumatic Brain Injury

The question of male violence is at an impasse in the United States right now. With the growing prevalence of technology and social media, images of police brutality are now immediately accessible in a way that mounts the almost 25-year-old Rodney King video as sadly par for the course. Ruby Ridge-wannabe militants can hold an…

“Mustang” Review: Compels, but Doesn’t Go Far Enough

The crime of summer horseplay is enough to imprison the five Turkish sisters at the heart of Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s captivating but tepid “Mustang,” France’s current Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film In a small, provincial village where women sheath themselves head-to-toe in colorless drapery and keep a watchful gaze on the behavior…

Why “Maleficent” is the Rape Revenge Film That We Need

Reposted from an article I wrote for Indiewire in June 2014.  Not since I Spit on Your Grave have I seen such an intrepid and compelling rape-revenge film. I am talking, of course, about Disney’s Maleficent, the latest in a long line of revisionist fairy-tale epics to hit theaters in the last few years, though this might…

My Year of Miniseries: Wives and Daughters

I came to love the style of English Victorian writer Elizabeth Gaskell last June after completing Cranford, a seven-part BBC dramedy based on three of her novellas. As previously stated, I’m a sucker for any female-oriented costume piece set in the 19th century, and Cranford‘s sweeping tale of an intimate, gossipy 1850s country village in…