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Director: Remi Weekes Starring: Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu, Matt Smith Running Time: 93 minutes


A war-torn nation. A fleeing family. A crammed boat. A daughter in the water.

Harrowing images flash across the screen as His House begins, traumas that haunt the subjects of English director Remi Weekes’ debut feature well before any ghosts get involved. Bol Majur (Gangs of London‘s Sope Dirisu) is racked by nightmares, as he and his wife Rial (Wunmi Mosaku of Lovecraft County) await asylum in a centre in England, having fled from South Sudan. The daughter of their flashbacks, Nyagak, is no longer with them. Newly distributed by Netflix, His House deals with deeply-rooted fears, the traditional ghost story used to frame a migrant experience, of what it  might cost to wrench yourself free of your home, and of the things carried over even as you try to start anew.

 

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A Halloween spent in lockdown is the perfect time to feast upon the quintessential horror classics that we all love to fear. Whether it’s the head spinning experience of re-watching The Exorcist or binge watching the good, the bad, and the very ugliest of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, we all know how to tell a safe bet from a dodgy Netflix choice just as well as we can tell a good piece of chocolate from an unwanted apple in a trick or treat bag.

 

But what about the films that have slipped through the cracks? There are many reasons why certain horror films haven’t received the attention they deserve. A lack of advertising, coming out at the wrong time of the year, or maybe because for lots of cinema goers one or two scary films a year is more than enough. For the films on this list however, the reason why you’ve probably never seen them has nothing to do with their quality. These are some of the lesser known but  better placed fright fests to satiate your Halloween sweet tooth on this spooky stay at home weekend. This list is not to be confused with an “underrated horror films” selection. That’s an interesting but separate discussion. The films on this list were generally well received critically, but they unfortunately just never seemed to get the reach that they deserved. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be bombarded with a universe of existential horror you probably haven’t yet heard about.

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Director: Ben Wheatley Starring: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristen Scott-Thomas Running Time: 121 minutes


 

Did Netflix, one wonders, agree to distribute a fresh adaptation of Rebecca out of a higher-up’s affection for the source material, or a canny belief that it would make fertile ground to grow acclaim and awards? Or having run the numbers, one might continue to wonder, did they determine that the beautiful faces of stars Lily James and Armie Hammer would be suitably alluring to get subscribers to click on them, and that the title was recognisable enough to squeeze out a week or two in the ‘Trending Now’ tab? The mind tends to do a lot of wandering while trying to take in this latest adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s literary classic, a disappointingly vacant ‘return to Mandalay’ from creative forces that seem to have spent little time in the grounds of this story on their first go around. The result feels like a perfume advert that overstays its welcome to the tune of two hours; stale and lingering.
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Director: Robert Zemeckis Starring: Octavia Spencer, Jahzir Bruno, Chris Rock, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci Running Time: 106 mins

When I first saw the trailer for Robert Zemeckis’ new adaptation of The Witches, I couldn’t contain my excitement and immediately sent it round to friends and family. This got reactions varying from lukewarm to stone faced because my loved ones all felt that no one could beat Anjelica Huston’s turn as the Grand High Witch from Nicolas Roeg’s version of The Witches released in 1990. I hadn’t seen that version and so I approached Zemeckis’ film unspoilt by the comparison. Unfortunately, I still didn’t love it!

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The Halloween season is usually a time we’re glued to the big screen here in the fair city of film. Unfortunately the current status of Covid-19 here in Ireland means that all cinemas are shut for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean we can’t show some of our favourite cinemas some support. At the IFI, the online IFI@Home player is going strong, with the IFI Horrorthon currently in full swing on the online platform.

Meanwhile, Element Pictures have launched a new online shop, so that the adoring patrons of the Light House Cinema and the Pálás can acess some great new gifts and give the venues some much needed revenue. You can now buy Gift Vouchers for the cinemas, exclusive locally designed prints and greeting cards and more on the new Light House Shop.

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There is a richly talented animation industry in Ireland as well as a base of film fans who appreciate the unique artistry the filmmaking format has to offer.  With the support of animation industry folks and local groups, the Dún Laoghaire-based Dublin Animation Film Festival has a strong tradition of celebrating the best of animation at home and abroad. The tenth edition of the festival is set to stream online in the coming days.

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Last night the 2020 edition of the Irish Film and Television Awards took place. Some of the best Irish films in recent years and a number of exciting talents making waves at home and abroad were celebrated on an online evening affirming Ireland’s prominent place in the international film industry.

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The Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality, incorporating Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company and Smashing Times Youth Arts Ensemble, is dedicated to the promotion, study and practice of the arts and equality.

Based in Dublin 7, the centre operates as an  arts space and digital hub for artists, activists, communities and the general public across Ireland and internationally, providing a resource service and a training and networking agency in relation to using high quality creative processes and collaborative arts practice to promote human rights and equality for all.

This Sunday, they’ll be hosting a documentary screening on Unsilencing Black Voices in Ireland as part of the Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival, part of a series of events taking place from Friday 16th – Sunday 25th October 2020.

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