The Invitation

★★☆☆ – (2015) – A couple is invited to a reunion where cult members introduce them to their way of life, but (at first) don’t press their agenda. An incredibly slow builder that sprinkles in enough intrigue throughout to hold attention. Has a few brushes with suspense, but ends with a purpose that’s shattered by the overall lack of human emotion.

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.

Resolution

★★☆☆ – (2012) – A junkie’s friend attempts to detox him in the house where he’s squatting, but finds trouble of the strangest varieties. Seems to confuse on purpose, which is fine since the quirks are easy to sit through. The main problem is how tiring the druggie becomes only moments into the film. Odd, but hardly gripping.

13 Tzameti

★½☆☆ – (2005) – A repairman becomes involved in a dangerous ring of Russian Roulette. Gets off to a painfully slow start before reaching the core of the story 45-minutes in. After that, even the highlights are repetitive and nothing about any single character is ever explored.

Blue Ruin

★★½☆ – (2013) – A young man returns home after killing the person who murdered his parents, and finds trouble with a vengeful family. Has a few scenes with stomach twisting shocks, and there’s always a need to see how things pan out. Not always on point, however, as some events lean toward the predictable/illogical side.

Deadgirl

★★½☆ – (2008) – A deceased young woman who’s not really dead complicates the lives of derelicts and their bullies. Though there’s a lot of confusion in the rules at hand, enough twisted and violent acts occur to mark this as a success. Would have worked much better if any single character weren’t so despicable or weak.

In Fear

★★½☆ – (2013) – A couple on their way to a hotel become lost in a never-ending maze while tormented by strangers. Though the plot is hardly airtight, and the characters aren’t drawn well enough to root for or against, there is an overall aura of tension throughout and a need to see how everything will pan out. Often unique and stirring.

The Most Dangerous Game

★★½☆ – (1932) – A man who’s stranded on an infamous island is hunted for sport by the island’s owner. Only runs 63-minutes, but seems to take forever getting to the hunt. While most of this consists of lumbering dialog, the final third does have great atmosphere and innovative camera work.

The Babysitter (1995)

★½☆☆ – (1995) – Various men (and a young boy) obsess over a girl on a night she’s babysitting. The narrative structure is a total mess, as most of this is told through snippets of fantasy, all of which comes across as an uncomfortable form of creepy. Every character is a drab loser with unclear intentions, rendering this a useless bore.

Mother!

★½☆☆ – (2017) – A secluded married couple are visited upon by people who come in droves for no discernible reason. Starts off well enough when gradually introducing strange characters and events, but hits a wall midway and loses all traces of logic and meaning. Though it does feel like we’re watching a nightmare unfold, the outcome isn’t nearly as powerful as intended.