Hold your keys between your fingers; Push the heel of your hand up into their nose; Don’t walk alone at night; Make sure your phone is charged. These are just a few things women are told will keep them safe when they’re alone. In the end, these reminders do not matter, and they shouldn’t have to be said. Women should be given the grace of being comfortable alone, without worrying about predators.
Amelia Moses‘ Bleed With Me is a quiet and tense film about two friends who try to get away from life’s harsh realities and take shelter in a cabin in the woods. What actually unfolds is a mysterious case of blood stealing, gaslighting, and devotion. [...] While watching the film, I was struck by how well crafted it was, and of course, because the director Amelia Moses is Canadian like myself I knew I had to speak with her.
Cabins in the woods have always been a staple in the horror genre, once you see one there’s no doubt a monster or slasher is hiding in the trees waiting to prey on the residents. But, what happens when that monster lives in the house with you?
Ben Hozie’s PVT Chat opens with Jack (Peter Vack) asking Scarlet (Julia Fox) where she’s from. Her voice lilts over the black screen and answers “San Francisco.” He replies, “I’m from New York City.” Scarlet laughs in disbelief and gasps “I don’t care.” Their conversation proceeds, and by the end of it, she virtually puts out a cigarette on her subject’s tongue, boasting that he’s a good boy who loves what she’s doing to him.
Since 2017, a certain film has continued to capture the hearts of cinephiles and modern audiences alike. 20th Century Women contemplates how we as humans struggle with how we’re perceived by others, and who we actually are. Some characters stay in a state of surface-level performance, adapting to how society and specifically men see them, while others embrace that “otherness” and bathe in the idea of seeming free and passionate.
I first discovered Flo Milli when her track “Beef FloMix” went viral on Twitter after being used in several fancams—my favorite example being one of filmmaker Rian Johnson. From then on, Milli’s name had my attention. Her schoolgirl-esque voice, lilting “I like cash and my hair to my ass,” has been stuck in my head all year.
Three years after his directorial debut Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017), Jay Baruchel trades in comedy for horror, with the pulpy and stylized Random Acts of Violence (2020). Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name, the film follows Todd (Jesse Williams) a writer struggling to find the ending to his graphic novel Slasherman: a violent fictionalized tale inspired by a serial killer from the 80’s and 90’s, who’s grizzly crimes have infatuated Todd.
When the first teaser trailer for “Antebellum” was released at the beginning of 2020, the film looked like it would be a stunning sci-fi horror film about time travel. There were shots of Janelle Monáe in modern times juxtaposed with shots of her also at a plantation. It also featured shots of an airplane overhead the plantation glitching like it was part of a simulation. All these things led cinephiles and even regular theatergoers to believe this film would feature time travel in some way, or perhaps fold out to have an Inception-like plot (dreams within dreams, lives within lives).
The Canadian winter climate is harsh and unforgiving. The cold seeps beneath your skin, and burrows underneath your bones until you learn to live with it. Winter has always been a backdrop in Canadian cinema, but with The Oak Room (2020), Cody Calahan has used the frigid weather as a setting that immerses the viewer into a Gothic horror dream.
Five years ago, Sufjan Stevens’ released the tender and languid Carrie & Lowell. The album quickly became not only his most critically acclaimed project, but a staple in Gen-Z culture. While I admittedly had only listened to Stevens’ songs from the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack, I knew that Carrie & Lowell was a big deal to the gays on Tumblr—so I decided to finally give it a listen last summer.
From the beginning, the film sets up suspicious suspects: the extremely hostile owner of the site, the young drug addict groundskeeper, and the couple staying next to Paul and Wendy who seem to have relationship troubles. The film spins down a long and winding road of mysteries that are solved as quickly as they appear – in this mundane and abysmal thriller that ends with a baffling plot twist.
Kelly Reichardt begins her newest film with William Blake’s famous quote: “The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.” From this and one of its first shots – two skeletons laid in the dirt beside each other – the filmmaker makes it known that First Cow is about nature, devotion and friendship. As we watch an unknown woman uncover the bones of two men we later meet, there’s a sense of dread present. Who are these men, and how did they meet their demise?
In 2017, writer-director Karen Maine’s short film, “Yes, God, Yes,” went viral in the film community. At a brief 11 minutes, the film's message about female sexuality and religion is tight-knit and left people wanting more. The 2020 feature-length version of the story begins with a passage, rewritten slightly for the film, from Revelation 21:8: “As for the faithless and the sexually immoral – their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur which is the second death.”
Isolation has made me miss many things. I miss going to the grocery store when time wasn’t so constrained, allowing myself time to pick the right kind of pasta; I miss walking around bookstores for hours, sitting to read the first few pages of each book that piqued my interest; I miss hugging my friends. But I don’t think I miss anything more than going to the movies.
I don’t quite remember the first conversation we had, but since I met him via Obscur last year, Christian Santiago has meant the world to me. While we live in different countries and have never met in person, he reminds me of home, and the tough and passionate people I grew up with. When we met, he talked about his debut film SACERDOTISA often, and to be honest, sometimes it felt like the wait was never-ending.