It’s the 80’s in South Armagh, and we’re in the height of the Troubles. The IRA is a vocation, and paramilitaries make house calls, but they’re not exactly interested in cups of tea. It’s said that time heals all wounds, but in Crocodile Fever the only way to put the past to bed is to get legless with a strong spirit and a dose of black humour.
Northern Irish directors, Ryan and Andy Tohill, invite us to delve deep into the mire that is The Dig, as a small community is ravaged by an unresolved murder, a family is torn apart, and the truth is attempting to climb out of its water logged grave.
You are about to enter a world of hatchbacks, tracksuits, graffiti, and bad hairstyles, because the year is 1994 and the city is Glasgow, where the only good system is a sound system, and ecstasy is more than just a feeling. This coming of age story marches to the beat of its own drum machine, and even though it may follow a familiar rhythm, it still takes enough deviations to make it fresh for jaded ears.
Turo (Johannes Holopainen), a shy and taciturn fellow, resides in the same picturesque Finnish town that he grew up in. He rides his cost effective bike to work at the local asylum everyday. He has a crush on the girl-next-door florist. And he is the lead singer of Impaled Rektum.
With such a strongly characterising title as Satan’s Slaves you would be forgiven for assuming that Joko Anwar’s film is just another generic horror at the bottom of the bargain bin, but instead it possesses both subtle and effective scares more in line with the likes of It Follows, and House of the Devil, than any Rob Zombie gore-fest.
Frances is a girl with aspirations larger than her family, and a temper hotter than the fires that they warm themselves around in the evenings, entertaining each other by singing haunting renditions of traditional Irish songs. Her universe is small, contained, and safe, until one fateful afternoon when local law enforcement delivers a sharp uppercut to her childhood, shaking Frances’ life to the core.
Sometimes a film will require suspension of disbelief because the fiction is too fantastical, but in this case the truth is undoubtedly more bizarre. Out of Innocence focuses on preconceptions, prejudices, and misogyny, as one woman is about to become infamous throughout the nation when both Church and State combine forces to pillory a family in crisis, forcing an elastic band around your diaphragm as you struggle to draw a breath due to the heavy tension.
Embodying traditional detective drama with existential reflection, Carol Morley’s Out Of Blue truly is a combination of contrasts, red and blue, right and wrong, sober and drunk, because what may be perceived to be reality might not actually be the case in this multiverse.
In a time when there is a strong desire to erect partitions, Ali Abbasi’s adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s (Let the Right One In) Border is a bizarre but necessary tonic. Abbasi employs a disparate combination of themes, but they conjoin to demand the audience to reflect upon what it means to be human, as well as the interweaving issues of racism and discrimination in this dark fairytale, yet Border is as much a romance as it is a grim version of an Aesop’s fable.
It’s difficult to think of a country more entrenched in history, magic, and legends, than Ireland. Add to that a population with more than it’s fair share of literary horror talent, and it is frankly amazing that we don’t have more of a horror film lineage. So with the impending release of Irish horror; The Hole in the Ground, I waited with baited, but cynical breath.