‘Catacombs,’ directed by Gordon Hessler

Movie, 1965 Reasonably effective ghostly psychological thriller, in which some great ideas and scenes are set up, though the pay off isn’t always on the mark. A case, I guess, of a film nearly hitting heights, but not quite delivering. While the marriage at the centre of the story and the individual characters of husband and wife are wonderfully hammed up, the quickly developing relationship … Continue reading ‘Catacombs,’ directed by Gordon Hessler

‘The Unforgivable,’ directed by Nora Fingscheidt

Movie, 2021 Story of a convicted cop-killer released from prison and trying to track down her sister, who she’s not seem for twenty years. For much of the film, the mood is gritty and grim, though there are moments and scenes which lift the mood. The set piece at the film’s climax is especially well done, so that the viewer isn’t piled with too much … Continue reading ‘The Unforgivable,’ directed by Nora Fingscheidt

‘Mr Bowling Buys a Newspaper,’ by Donald Henderson

Novel, 1943 Part charming, part disarming and quite chilling character study of a serial killer, whose modus operandi seems to be brute strength and the desire to be caught and brought to justice. The charm of the book is largely driven through the domestic feel and a London in the throes of the Second World War, and while the boarding houses and social clubs should … Continue reading ‘Mr Bowling Buys a Newspaper,’ by Donald Henderson

‘The Maiden Heist,’ directed by Peter Hewitt

Movie, 2009 Enjoyable comedy-thriller about three art gallery security guards and a plot to save each of their respective works of art from being callously sold off and shipped to Denmark. This is a film which touches on the veneration of old art and its displacement by flashier, more twinkly pieces, but which focuses right down on the relationships between the three main characters, which … Continue reading ‘The Maiden Heist,’ directed by Peter Hewitt

“The Night My Number Came Up,” directed by Leslie Norman

Movie, 1955 Solid, well-told story of a premonition of a plane crash and the gloomy unfolding of all the circumstances which rather suggest a lead up to tragedy. While this all feels very stiff upper-lip, there are some interesting characters and enough British actors to spot and to keep most people happy. The ending, it’s true, feels rushed and entirely underdone, but this is an … Continue reading “The Night My Number Came Up,” directed by Leslie Norman

“Lift to the Scaffold,” directed by Louis Malle

Movie, 1958 Hugely atmospheric thriller, in which a murder goes wrong and things spiral out of control for two couples as a result. The dreamy sequences, Miles Davis’ improvised soundtrack and some wonderful performances all give the film a detached, dreamy feeling. The escapades of the younger couple – a flower girl and juvenile delinquent – are set in opposition to the main action, set … Continue reading “Lift to the Scaffold,” directed by Louis Malle

The Hypnotist, directed by Montgomery Tully

Movie, 1957 Fairly effective, though fairly forgettable story about an experimental jet pilot, suffering psychologically, after a test flight goes badly wrong and he’s forced to bail out. His referral to a hypnotist has dramatic and unintended consequences, as characters and situations are pulled in and conspire to frame a story of murder and mayhem. Thrills and spills are scattered along the way, and show … Continue reading The Hypnotist, directed by Montgomery Tully

‘The Cry of the Owl,’ by Patricia Highsmith

Novel, 1962 Terrific psychological thriller, in which a deranged cast of characters get involved and wound up with each other’s affairs. Every one of them ends up in a much worse place than when they started. A terrific piece of storytelling, in which tragic and almost comedically escalating situations involving stalking, ex-wives and vengeful lovers are played out against a backdrop of respectable small town … Continue reading ‘The Cry of the Owl,’ by Patricia Highsmith

‘Run,’ directed by Aneesh Chaganty

Movie, 2020 Pretty solid, fairly standard psychological thriller, featuring a dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship. While there’s a degree of knowing what’s coming next, and genre tropes are dutifully ticked off, this is nonetheless well done and watchable. A new moments, perhaps, of unintended humour here and there, but a good watch for genre fans. The two main actresses are excellent throughout and rinse as much tension … Continue reading ‘Run,’ directed by Aneesh Chaganty

‘I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore,’ directed by Macon Blair

Movie, 2017 Quirky independent American film, following the adventures of a nurse, who engages the help of a heavy metal fan to investigate the robbery of her home. The quick descent and peril endured by the heroes at the hands of unrelenting and grim aggressors and an over stretched police department is both funny and fast paced – the sense of essentially decent, flawed and … Continue reading ‘I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore,’ directed by Macon Blair