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  • The Blackcoat's Daughter

    The Blackcoat's Daughter

    ★★★

    Neither perfect nor extraordinary, but February (or The Blackcoat's Daughter) should be given high praise for avoiding modern horror tropes. In place of jump scares are an unbearably sinister score, a finely-executed sense of dread, and a brilliantly understated performance courtesy of Kiernan Shipka (who steals the show from Emma Roberts).

    It threatens to burn out before suddenly coming back to life about half-way through, and I couldn't stop watching from then on.

  • Malevolent

    Malevolent

    ★★

    Malevolent starts off with some promise. Unfortunately, that promise pretty much dissipates about halfway through. It's fairly clichéd stuff from beginning to end which is papered over by some edgy editing (I really hate jump cuts), long, ponderous shots of characters and mannequins, and an almost silent, moody atmosphere.

    It holds your interest for a while but it makes almost no attempt to build a relationship between the characters and the audience. As a result, the melodrama at the end…

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  • Her

    Her

    ★★★★★

    Spike Jonze's first feature film since 2009's Where the Wild Things Are is every bit as humanist and gut-wrenchingly tender. And more. As Joaquin Phoenix's Theodore Twombly - a faux-love letter writer - struggles to cope with his own troubles of romance and L.A. life, he purchases a state-of-the-art operating system, Samantha, which he befriends and becomes increasingly infatuated with.

    What gripped me most about Where the Wild Things Are was Jonze's ability to adapt what is essentially a story…

  • The Guest

    The Guest

    ★★★★

    The soundtrack is straight out of a John Carpenter film, the central character from a certain 1984 James Cameron effort, and the final third's one that echoes The Shining. All its tongue-in-cheek pastiching aside though, what it most closely resembles (and I only put my finger on this when someone mentioned it afterwards) is Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt, but somewhat less domestic. Dan Stevens is also fantastic in a darkly nuanced central performance.