Part slacker workplace comedy and part haunted-house story, the latest horror saga from writer-director Ti West (The House of the Devil) is a fictional tale set during a weekend at the real-life Yankee Pedlar Inn, a rundown New England hotel that employees Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) believe to be inhabited by ghosts from a century ago. So they attempt to discover the truth amid strange goings-on during the final weekend before the hotel closes its doors. The meandering film starts slowly and with too many teases before delivering a few solid frights, and West shows a continued maturity as a filmmaker. (Rated R, 101 minutes).
There are plenty of moments both amusing and unsettling in this uneven British thriller from director Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace), about an emotionally troubled hitman (Neil Maskell) who agrees to a job with a longtime friend (Michael Smiley) to murder three men for some quick cash. But eventually the men start to come apart and the job takes some dark turns. There’s an intriguing premise here that derails into a repetitive exercise in brutality. The aggressive shock-value tactics and strange plot twists, with an ending that will leave viewers scratching their collective head, squander some fine performances and a gritty low-budget visual style. (Not rated, 95 minutes).
The most depressing film in recent memory might be this low-budget apocalyptic Irish romance starring Ewan McGregor as a chef who becomes involved with an epidemiologist (Eva Green) trying to figure out a mysterious worldwide epidemic that is gradually robbing people of their sensory perceptions. Director David Mackenzie (Young Adam) gives the film a somber, contemplative mood without venturing into hopelessness, and the script by Danish writer Kim Fupz Aakeson offers a somewhat thought-provoking examination of the fictional disease. However, the two lead characters aren’t very appealing (except to the eyes) and don’t develop the chemistry necessary to generate a lasting emotional connection. (Not rated, 92 minutes).