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  • Martyrs

    Martyrs

    ★★★★

    When it's said that Martyrs doesn't say anything, what is meant is that Martyrs verbalises its subtext and then edges into ellipsis without taking the care to check whether any of its meaning sticks. It's okay though, because the film communicates what it needs through the way it feels. Post-Hostel a bourgeois sect pays good money to study and then annihilate the flesh of the young. Unlike Hostel where the exchange between torturer and tortured is an end in its…

  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

    The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

    ★★★½

    Popular criticism would have it that because jumpscares trigger an unconscious response in viewers they are all equal, but this is not the case. James Wan, who is paradoxically seen as more artistically credible than his peers and also the ringleader of this strain of horror, earns the contradiction because he works to make the jumpscare work. He adds something out of place in the frame so as to confuse and incapacitate the viewer, which then gives the jumpscare its…

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  • The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight

    I attended this really wonderful lecture on superheroes and the War on Terror, and how a number of very important comics post-9/11 became self-critical in their examination of states of emergency and exceptional politics, and the autoimmune system that leads to the violent pursuit of 'order' becoming the greatest source of chaos. Because superheroes respond to 'emergency' situations and operate within a non-legal or extra-legal capacity to inflict sovereign violence on the enemy (the enemy itself prone to slippage e.g.…

  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

    Shifts critical-fashionably between polarities of dumb. Hereditary has a secret desire to lose itself to black blooded horror, but it is restrained by Ari Aster's smothering auteurism. The twist is that it's the latter impulse which manifests in ham-fisted cries and hollow shocks, some so shrill that the film inches towards something like a satisfying genre piece. It's kind of hysterical: Collette's gravity defying agony can't steal focus from the smug master crafting callous scenarios in his very own miniature…