Watched Happiest Season (2020)

A very happy Christmas coming out story. It’s not quite The Family Stone (2005). Lacking the annoying family dynamics that makes the latter so suited to Christmas. The siblings here are plagued with secrets, that gives the revelations when they come, a bitter taste. Don’t worry it’s all in keeping with the season.

Watched Host (2020)

A lockdown Zoom call does the impossible, and manages to hold my interest for an hour. A group of friends accidentally summon a demon when they perform a seance online. A tight script, and strong performances, make the most of the technical restriction. Strong enough to get director Rob Savage a three picture deal with Blumhouse Productions.

Watched Shirley (2020)

The longline is probably something like “famous horror writer finds inspiration for her new book when, with her husband, she takes in newlyweds”. For me it’s in love with the idea of the writer as tortured masochist. Elisabeth Moss is unflinching as the grisly wordsmith. Michael Stuhlbarg matches her as the domineering husband. It’s an internal film, making physical the interior psychology inherent in a book. Think a swim in the shallow waters of Darren Aronofsky’s 2017 film Mother!

Shirley movie

Watched His House (2020)

The trauma carried by refugees forms the basis for this low budget ghost story. A couple escaping from the ravages of war torn South Sudan, land in a hostile town in England. Their struggle to adjust is hampered by the ghosts of impossible choices. Performances are brilliant, as is a tight screenplay. I’m interested to see what’s next for first time writer director Remi Weekes.