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Carmilla review – blood lust and mystery mark a superior gothic drama | Film

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An atmospheric gothic-tinged period drama, this adaptation of an 1872 novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu flirts with vampiric blood lust but is most satisfying when it delves into the superstition and repression that squeeze the breath out of life for young women like Lara (Hannah Rae) and her uptight governess Miss Fontaine (Jessica Raine). When Carmilla (Devrim Lingnau), a mysterious young woman injured in a carriage crash, joins the household, she unleashes something that could be evil, or could just be female sexuality. But in the eyes of Miss Fontaine and the rural community, the two are pretty much interchangeable. Earthy candlelit interiors and closeups of squirming bugs play tricks on the audience – we are not quite sure whether we are watching something budding or decaying as Lara falls deeper into Carmilla’s thrall.

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Honest Thief review – Liam Neeson does Taken once more with feeling | Thrillers (film)

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Liam Neeson was 56 when Taken came out in 2008, launching his vengeful vigilante phase. Twelve years on, he’s still churning out serviceable action thrillers like this one, despite that screen persona spilling over into a controversial 2019 interview. Neeson stars as Tom, the honest thief of the title, also known – much to his irritation – as the In-and-Out Bandit. Tom’s late-in-life bank-robbing spree has netted him $9m, but he decides to go straight for the love of a good woman called Annie (Kate Walsh), and that’s when the trouble starts.

Tom and Annie are just two divorcees in cosy knitwear, trying to make a go of things, but Tom’s good intentions fall foul of a pair of corrupt FBI agents, Nivens (Jai Courtney) and Hall (Anthony Ramos), who decide to take the money and frame him for murder. That means Tom must make use of whatever weapons he has at his disposal – fists, guns, explosives, cupcake delivery trucks – to get the truth out.

The corny romance plot is actually rather sweet, but Honest Thief still lacks the elegiac tone that made Robert Redford’s recent film, The Old Man & the Gun, a richer take on a similar storyline. Tom quaintly refers to Annie as “my ladyfriend” but is in every other respect indistinguishable from an action hero half his age. It seems there’s no time for reflecting on lost loves while barrelling through Boston in a hot-wired car.

In fact, this film’s real propulsive, emotional motor is nothing to do with a woman, but rather the age-old entanglement of lawman and outlaw. Tom and his pursuer, Agent Meyers (Jeffrey Donovan), are divided by circumstance yet united by the kind of unshakable integrity that lesser men – like Agents Hall and Nivens – could never begin to understand.

• Honest Thief is in cinemas from 23 October.


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Scientists Think These Are The 10 Scariest Movies

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I’m already hyperventilating.

It’s the scariest time of the year—Halloween, of course—and for many thrill-seekers that means binging on the most frightening horror films out there.

UK broadband company broadbandchoices recently conducted a scientific study tracking the heart rates of 50 people watching over 120 hours of beloved horror films in 5.1 surround sound.

You can check out the results of the entire study here. For now, here’s the top ten films that triggered the highest average heart rate in the participants.

10. The Visit (2015) – 79 BPM

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Universal / YouTube

M. Night Shyamalan’s unsettling fright-fest about two children visiting their grandparents for the first time is packed with enough jump-scares to keep you up at night.

9. The Descent (2005) – 79 BPM

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Pathé / YouTube

Not gonna lie: I recently saw this nightmarish tale of six women trapped in a cave system, and it still keeps me up at night.

8. The Babadook (2014) – 80 BPM

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Entertainment One / YouTube

Australian director Jennifer Kent’s debut feature is one of the scariest films in recent memory, as well as a devastating look at the trials of parenthood.

7. The Conjuring 2 (2016) – 80 BPM

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Warner Bros. / YouTube

But wait—where’s the first one? Oh, we’ll get to it.

6. It Follows (2015) – 81 BPM

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RADiUS-TWC

David Robert Mitchell’s first feature became an instant horror classic off the sheer strength of its premise. It’s all in the title, really: It follows. And it never stops! How terrifying.

5. Paranormal Activity (2009) – 82 BPM

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Paramount / YouTube

Pro tip: If the trailer for your movie mostly consists of people freaking out while watching your movie, you’ve made a pretty scary movie.

4. Hereditary (2018) – 83 BPM

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A24 / YouTube

What’s scarier than family? That’s the question that Ari Aster’s terrifying debut feature posed—and, trust me, you’re gonna want to sleep with the lights on after this one.

3. The Conjuring (2013) – 84 BPM

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Warner Bros. / YouTube

Remember when I said we’d get to this one? James Wan’s first entry in The Conjuring franchise packed more jump-scares than a thousand haunted houses.

2. Insidious (2010) – 85 BPM

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FilmDistrict / YouTube

Another one from James Wan, with a script written by Leigh Whannell (who directed this year’s incredible and frightening The Invisible Man). Strong Poltergeist vibes from this one, to the point where it’ll have you hiding under your bedsheets.

1. Sinister (2012) – 86 BPM

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Summit Entertainment / YouTube

I mean—how could Sinister not be at the top? Have you seen it? I’m getting chills just thinking about it. (But if you haven’t yet and you like scary movies—go see it and have a scary good time.)

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Iconic Halloween Movie Checklist

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“One, two – Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four – better lock your door.”

  1. Check off all the horror movies you’ve seen:

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