Find out more about the films in this collection, and click on the link to watch one right now. Don’t forget to rate each of the films you watch, to go in the draw to win a World Movies Secret Cinema experience. The more you watch, the greater your chances of winning!
Demon Empire is a romantic swordplay movie in the Korean tradition of Bichunmoo. After losing his beloved to a village of murderous villagers who believed she was a witch, dedicated demon hunter and vagabond Yi-gwak (Jung Woo-sung of The Good, The Bad, The Weird) mysteriously awakens in Mid-Heaven a purgatorial place where spirits await reincarnation. In this mystical, limbo land, Yi-gwak finds the spirit of his lost love and begins his mission to rekindle her memories of the romance they once shared, while his spiritually stranded former friends want to kill both lovers to ensure their own passage back to the earthly plateau. (RE)
Are you ready for the first horror film to come out of Israel? Well, hang on to your yarmaulke, because this slasher movie inventively plays with the genre’s established conventions. Rabies (a misleading translation of the Hebrew word kalevet which signifies anything “bad”) starts off with the traditional youngsters getting lost in the woods, but soon escalates into a series of jolting deaths that are (or aren’t) connected by a mysterious boogeyman. Blending black humour with a genre-twisting nature (it all takes place in the daytime!), Rabies is a film that is hard to diagnose, but is sure to put the bite on you. (RE)
After the “accidental” death of a conglomerate’s CEO, the cruel tide of vicious ambition that ensues, is disrupted when it is revealed that the dead billionaire had secretly adopted a son thirty years before. Based on a Belgian comic book series, this slick and swift action movie speeds from the jungles of Brazil to the high-rise corridors of power in Hong Kong with biff, bullets and blades every step of the way. Kristin Scott Thomas adds a ruthless and bi-lingual touch of class as her corporate player does her utmost to ensure that hero Largo Winch (Tomer Sisley) remains bereft of his birthrate and his shareholdings. (RE)
From the ever-productive office of Guillermo del Toro comes the moody and startlingly original horror film Julia’s Eyes. Belen Rueda plays Julia a woman overpowered by the same degenerative eye disease that drove her twin sister (also played by Rueda) to suicide. Or so some people think. Julia believes that there was another cause and delves into the private life of her deceased doppelganger to find who or what that cause was. In a twist that echoes classic vulnerable, blind woman thriller Wait Until Dark, Julia’s investigation comes to a halt when she must convalesce from an eye operation, leaving her vulnerable to unknown forces. (RE)
Driving through the French countryside, Charlotte (Emilie Dequenne) picks up a long-haired hitch-hiker (Benjamin Biolay). That’s not quite when she falls for the leader of The Pack, but she falls for many other things and nearly gets raped, eaten and tortured for her trouble. Featuring disgusting monsters that are as ugly as a Kings Cross bar at closing time, writer/director Franck Richard, runs the full gamut from horror to hilarity and gives Yolande Moreau ample opportunity to chew the scenery as she plays the grungy proprietor of a suspicious roadside diner. Don’t eat before watching… and you better forego that late night snack too. (RE)
Cold Prey 2
Gotta love a sequel that picks up mere minutes after the first film ends. The sole survivor of the original Norwegian slasher Cold Prey (no spoilers here) is taken to a rundown hospital that is overdue to close down. With only a handful of patients, attended by minimal staff, the hospital feels more like a haunted house when the mountain man returns with his pickaxe ready to complete the mayhem he caused in the previous film. This has a new director, an almost totally new cast but this sequel has the same stylish bloodshed that made the first movie so enjoyable. (RE)
Let The Bullets Fly
After this delirious comedy of doublecrosses, Ge You, Jiang Wen and Chow Yun-fat should be dubbed the “new Marx Brothers”. During China’s chaotic 1920s, a bandit (Jiang) kills and then impersonates a politician and forces the dead man’s aide (Ge) to help him scam money out of a local ganglord (Chow). There may be trouble knowing what’s what or who’s who (especially with Chow playing a double role), but when three talented actors are having this much fun why not join in? Jiang also directs and, like his previous, more serious films, takes time to throw in a daring contemporary political allusion or two. (RE)
Read review and watch interview
Thoughts of sadistic torture and bloody revenge are probably normal when someone rapes and murders your child. In this grisly and disturbing Quebecois thriller, surgeon Bruno Hamel (Claude Legault) takes steps to make his vengeful fantasies a reality, by kidnapping the perpetrator (Martin Dubreuil) for 7 Days but finds that acting on his vengeful impulses is not as liberating as he had hoped. Graphic violence offers a visceral experience, but the film also confronts with its tale of self-degradation when a man takes the law into his own hands. You’ll never glibly quip about “the punishment needing to fit the crime” again. (RE)
A secret intelligence organisation takes a “she’ll never be missed” street junkie off the streets of Paris and makes her over – cosmetically and psychologically – with the aim of creating a perfect killing machine. France’s favourite purveyor of the fantastique, writer/director/producer Luc Besson, pumps up La Femme Nikita’s comic book sensibilities by getting quality actors Jean Reno, Tcheky Karyo and nouvelle vague icon Jeanne Moreau to strut their stuff, while Anne Parillaud brandishes guns and her thighs with equal aplomb in the title role. Often copied, but never bettered, this classic piece of ‘90s assassination chic has aged well like vintage wine. (RE)
Directed by one of Hong Kong’s most versatile directors, Wu Xia shows Peter Ho-sun Chan (Perhaps Love, The Warlords) at the height of his powers as he blends the martial arts with a murder mystery. Takeshi Kaneshiro is the nosy detective and Donnie Yen is the strong silent type who knows a lot more about the rising body count in his llocal village than he lets on. Fans of the ‘70s, post-Bruce Lee, kung fu boom get an extra treat with a cameo by aging but still active Jimmy Wang Yu (aka The One-Armed Boxer and The Man From Hong Kong). (RE)
Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of a series of murders at her esteemed Swedish boarding school, Sara (Rebecka Hemse) decides to write an essay about the grisly historic event. But as the other fun-loving students prepare commemorative parties, Sara’s dedicated research peels back decades of deceit about the killer and his subsequent suicide by drowning. Meanwhile, a new killing spree begins that echoes the deadly events of a century past. Made with surprising restraint, Drowning Ghost layers the standard Americana elements of the slasher genre with a distinctive Scandinavian atmosphere that is as bleak as it is bloody. (RE)
Loosely inspired by a well-loved Finnish folktale, Jade Warrior sees a humble blacksmith (Tommi Eronen) confronted by the re-emerging memories of his past life in ancient China when he loved the warrior woman Pin Yu (Zhang Jingchu of Seven Swords and Rush Hour 3) and he had to fight a world-threatening demon. Now in present day Finland, the blacksmith sees that history can repeat and that fighting demons is not going to be a one-off affair. In an ambitious mix of two cultures, this Chinese/Finnish production manages to successfully juggle disparate elements to create a highly entertaining adventure.
If [Rec] (or the American remake Quarantine) left you with more questions than answers, then [Rec] 2 will fill the gaps. Dr Owen (Jonathan Mellor) and a SWAT team follow in the footsteps of the first movie’s reporter to investigate a killer virus in a quarantined apartment building. Visually harrowing, this film continues with the first-person camera POV used so effectively in the opening installment of this Spanish franchise (next up: [Rec] 4: Apocaylpse releases in Spanish cinemas this October). [REC] 2 cranks up the gore and action to ‘11’ to create an exhilarating experience.
While it’s not uncommon for students and instructors to have bad dreams before going back to school, in the title role of Cecilie, Sonja Richter plays a schoolteacher who has nightmares that are right off the scale in terms of vividness and horror. Unable to face school, she consults a psychiatrist with a parapsychology bent to help her delve into the supernatural cause of her nasty nocturnal visions. Some scenes may have a familiar “ring”, but there’s some unique Danish chills too. Powerhouse songs from Denmark’s pop band Kira and the Kindred Spirits give the film some extra kick. (RE)