Pontypool

★½☆☆ – (2008) – Radio station personnel become involved in an infection that turns people into rabid killers. If you come for the horror you’ll be disappointed in that most of this is comprised of unintriguing characters and misplaced comedy. Has much to do about soundwaves, but not much else to hold interest.

Under the Shadow

★★½☆ – (2016) – In a city under Iraqi attack, a mother must protect her daughter from a force of evil. Manages two layers of suspense, the ghost and the war, though the former could have been avoided had the protagonist left home as suggested. Not the most logical, but does pile on some gritty suspense in the latter stages.

The Transfiguration

★★☆☆ – (2016) – A young man who drinks the blood of his victims has a hard time maintaining a new friendship. Enjoyable for its quiet take on vampires, but feels a but too much like a film it mentions, Let the Right One In. This is also slow enough to add weight to your eyelids, but still serves as middle-tier entertainment.

Alleluia

★★★☆ – (2014) – A couple that manipulates themselves travel around to financially deceive others, yet their plans always end up in violence. Not easy to explain, which is great since it’s also difficult to know what will happen from one scene to the next. Pulls you along with a firm, psychotic grasp from startling start to disturbing finish.

The Devil’s Carnival: Alleluia!

★★☆☆ – (2016) – God, the devil, and their acquaintances sing through the plight of putting dark souls in Heaven. Not nearly as painful as the dull original, as this one shows signs of life. The plot tends to confuse, and the songs are repetitive, but there is progression and solid production values.

Afflicted

★★☆☆ – (2013) – A young man on vacation in a foreign land is attacked by, and gradually becomes, a vampire. Has the authentic feel of a reality show in the early stages, and the lead’s slow dissolve into vampirism is effective. By the end, however, anything insightful becomes routine, and the found footage gimmick feels unnecessary.

Backcountry

★★☆☆ – (2014) – Two yuppies go camping, get lost, and become hunted by a bear. You’re at the mercy of two characters who carry most of the film, and while they’re not completely annoying, they’re not exactly worth cheering on, either. Once a map is denied within the first five minutes you know exactly how things will pan out, but there are a few gritty moments later in the film.