Horror has rarely enjoyed so honeyed an aesthetic as in Jon Wright’s folk frightmare Unwelcome. Shot in an marketably lush Ireland, the film resembles a unusually morbid advert for Kerrygold, with increasing recourse to seventies pastiche. It’s a cliché ridden affair and somewhat meandering, particularly in the middle. That is, it’s banal until the whole thing goes Fraggle Rock in its frankly bizarre final third. Wright pitched the film as Gremlins meets Straw Dogs. In executing so potent a vision, the Robot Overlords director does a thoroughly good job in establishing why Straw Dogs was all the more effective without the addition of Gremlins.
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Sure, it’s a little more transatlantic than once was the case but there’s something very reassuring about hearing Gerard Butler’s Celtic growl in surround sound again. Like the warm burn of a Highland single malt down the back of the throat. Even in the full throttle of parodic nonsense – it takes barely three minutes for Scotland’s answer to Arnie to demand ‘haggis, neeps and tarries’ – there’s no doubting you’re in safe hands. And when the excrement hits the fan – as it always must in a Gerard Butler flick – it is exactly that sort of tartan liveability a popcorn muncher needs to guide them home and dry.
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Memories tinkle to the tune of the warmest song sheet in this, Steven Spielberg’s gorgeous tribute to his formative years. Fictionalised but painstakingly true to life, The Fabelmans is a charmer of a film. It’s absorbing and Spielberg’s most personal work to date by far, bled through with all the flavours of half a century of filmmaking. The cast too delight, bringing to life tales from a past now immortalised for the ages. In so many ways, The Fabelmans feels like the film Spielberg’s career has been building towards right from the day Firelight make a single dollar in profit back in 1964. By the same stroke, it’s a film he was not ready to make until this very moment.
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