Woe betide anyone who doesn't want to watch Brad Pitt in Ad Astra or Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: Last Blood, as the nation's distributors have decided that these are pretty much the only games in town for the next seven days. Melissa McCarthy provides a comic alternative in The Kitchen, while Nora Lum (aka Awkwafina) follows up Crazy Rich Asians with The Farewell. But, otherwise, the pickings are pretty slim.  

In 1994, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty set light to £1 million pounds on a remote Scottish island and caused such a furore that they vowed not to work together as The KLF for 23 years. The moratorium ended two years ago and Irish documentarist Paul Duane was on hand to witness the newly renamed Justified Ancients of Mu Mu invite people to send in cremated remains to help them create a People's Pyramid from 34,952 bricks, each one of which would contain 23 grams of ashes. Now, following on from What Time Is Death? (2017), Drummond and Duane have reunited for Best Before Death, which chronicles two years of the 25 Paintings World Tour, which aims to take in a dozen cities over 12 years.

He's first seen painting an underpass wall and his own head at Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham in December 2016. Taking instructions from Welsh collaborator Tracey Moberly, he poses before the slogan `Best Before Death' before submerging himself in the canal. Clambering on to the bank, he changes his jeans and muses about the broken glass everywhere. He confesses to Paul Duane that he's not a fan of documentary, as the film-maker always has an agenda and he doesn't like the fact that he's always on camera for the duration of the shoot. 

As a caption reveals that Drummond has embarked upon the 25 Paintings World Tour, which will run from 2014-2025, we see him bill sticking in front of a small crowd on a busy road in Kolkata. According to the terms of his itinerary, Drummond must remain in each destination for a fortnight and complete a series of self-imposed tasks. He is staying with artist Tandra Chanda, who seems puzzled by his requests for directions to a timber yard and a barber's and nonplussed by the query about whether it's possible to walk across Howrah Bridge banging a bass drum. Her husband and fellow artist, Pulak, suggests that the authorities will take a dim view of him marching like a mad man unless he secures prior permission. 

Cross-cut with the splendid sight of Drummond striding across the bridge in misty light thumping his every few steps is a conversation in the back of a cramped car with photographer Avijit Halder, who asks the Scotsman about his process. He explains that he had realised at art school that he was never going to create the kind of works that rich New Yorkers bought and decided to produce stuff that could be mass produced and readily available. A caption states that his art had taken the form of pop music between 1977-92, when he had worked under the names The KLF, The JAMs and The Timelords. 

One of the tasks for each city is to have some local musicians interpret the song `True to the Trail' from the 1986 album, The Men. In Kolkata, this means that the tune is played by a duo on a harmonium and tabla after they watch a video on Drummond's phone. He tells a class of school children that his next destination will be Lexington, North Carolina. But, first, he has to bake some cakes with Susmita Roy and four of her fellow students, while Tandra tries to discover the rationale behind Drummond taking the cakes and giving them to complete strangers at six different locations around the city. He assures her that there exercise will mean more if it doesn't have a motivating purpose because Why, Where, What and When are the four handmaidens of Satan.

As they walk between their chosen streets, Susmita quizzes Drummond about how he can make a living from giving away free cakes. She is also still to be convinced that she is participating in a genuine artwork, but she translates cheerfully at each destination and poses with the recipients for Moberly to take pictures. With the cake circle complete, Drummond devotes himself to making soup and the Chandas accompany him to the local market to buy vegetables. He insists on carrying the bags himself and is fends off questions from Susmita about his musical career when she declares him the coolest man in Kolkata. 

A digression sees Drummond go in search of timber, which he insists on sawing for himself by hand. Back at the Chanda's art school, he serves up the soup for whoever wants it before telling Halder that he chose to come to Kolkata because of an epiphanal moment he had experienced two decades earlier at the Temple of Kali that made him realise that he had disrespected the women in his life (as he has seven children by four different mothers). So, he decided that each stop on the 25-city tour had to have a personal significance. 

Drummond's next assignment is to make a bed and he asks a hotel manager if he can build it in his courtyard. He readily agrees, as the artist explains that he will take the bed back to his room so it can be used because the art isn't the wooden frame, but the possibilities it holds. After a long day's work. Moberly takes photos of a silhouetterd Drummond using a traffic cone as a kind of loudhaler. The next day, she snaps him climbing a tree and perching like one of Kolkata's many crows because, as a child, he used to enjoy peering down on the world from a hidden vantage point to witness what no one else could see. 

Work also continues on the bed and Drummond is helped to carry it back to his room at the hotel. But the scene now switches to a quiet residential neighbourhood in Lexington, where he and Moberly attract another crowd, as he makes his American bed. As he chisels, she reads from one of his old books and discovers that he made a bed piece before Tracey Emin. She is also intrigued that he has brought his father's bible with him and he shrugs that it seemed fitting to bring one to the Bible Belt. 

The next day, he tells a passing motorist that he had lived in Lexington for three months when he was 10 and he invites her to leave her name so that she can be entered into a raffle for the bed. Another woman informs him that she only has a futon and would be glad of a single bed, as she hasn't dated in 12 years and can't see herself ever needing a double. Nearing the end of his labours, Drummond asks Duane if he had filmed the bed-making in India, as he has forgotten it. Moberly reminds him of the hotel and he seems hazy on the details. However, he is pleased to announce that a grandmother named Trish has won this bed and he carries it over to her porch, where she explains to her daughter that he is going around the world making beds in the name of art. 

As we hear that his father had been a Presbyterian minister and had come to Lexington on an exchange visit in 1963, we see Drummond setting up to bake his cakes. He is working outdoors and using a toaster oven as an experiment and is pleased with the results. However, we don't linger on this task. Instead, we see `Man Shining Shoes', as he sets up outside Old Davidson County Courthouse in the city centre. Drummond reveals that, as a boy, he had been awestruck by the shoeshine stands at Grand Central Station as he couldn't believe anyone could make money from his favourite household chore. It was only later that it struck him that the shoeshiner was black and his customers were white. In that spirit, he has chosen this specific location in Lexington, as the stone steps were once the scene of slave auctions. Yet, this remained the spot where African-Americans came in the pre-Civil Rights era looking for casual work like cutting lawns. 

One of his memories of the childhood trip was meeting people who had been born into slavery, as well as those whose families had been slave owners. But, while the political legitimacy of the happening seems justified in Lexington, Drummond had found himself in an embarrassing situation in Kolkata when he realised that none of those gathering around his stall could afford shoes. Reduced to shining his own boots, he had been reprimanded by one of the locals and was ready to quit when somebody produced some footwear to clean and he asked the owner to record his dream in a ledger. He asks a young boy what he wants to be and, when he replies he wants to be a pop dancer, he gives Drummond a demonstration of his skills. 

Back Stateside, Drummond asks Trish's son, Matthew, to drive him around the circle to distribute his cakes. The first one proves difficult to donate, as the black residents are suspicious of a white man offering them free food. When one woman demands an explanation, she readily accepts, as she doesn't want charity, but is quite happy to be part of an art project. Matthew finds the whole thing amusing and makes Drummond smile when he breaks the illusion of the documentary by asking if their banter as they drive along is like acting. He also twigs that Duane has been feeding him lines when Matthew asks Drummond about his pop career and he tells a story about meeting Michael Jackson when he walked into the wrong room at the recording studio. 

As the local band plays a wonderfully funky blues version of `True to the Trail', Drummond completes the Lexington Cake Circle and we see him gather a small crowd of curiosity seekers as he makes his soup. He is also shown paddling up Alligator Creek before we cut back to the car in Kolkata, as he explains what he was doing in the canal in Birmingham. As his father died at the age of 72, Drummond has bought enough pairs of jeans to take him from 63 to that age. His purpose in submerging himself in the water is to shrink the jeans and he hopes to repeat the feat in the Ganges. But he has a grand finale planned, as the two final cities on the tour are Jerusalem and Damascus and he hopes to walk between the two with a stop off in the Sea of Galilee. 

Moberly takes her photos, as Drummond falls backwards into the holy river and struggles back to the bank steps after literally making a splash. He looks shaken, but he's in chatty mood serving up the soup in Lexington. One of the old ladies is impressed that he's also making a million stitch quilt and compares him to Martha Stewart, but he doesn't know who she is. Drummer Josh Harris from the local band admits that he had never heard of Drummond before he started playing his song and he is keen to make sense of the wider project. But Drummond insists it doesn't have a purpose of itself, as it's all about what happens in the spur of a moment and making the most of a life that's too short to be wasted in the pursuit of something as fleeting and treacherous as happiness. 

We cut away to a wet street in Hull, where Drummond's play, 40 Bunches of Daffodils, is being rehearsed, with Tam Dean Burn as Bill and Sarah Naughton as Tracey. Having seen a trailer for Duane's film, he doesn't think she should continue taking photographs. Instead, he's going to write plays about their experiences and wants her to direct them. As we see the scene unfold, we hear a drum beat and cross-cut to Drummond heading towards the Lexington courthouse. Stage Bill seems uncertain why he's doing what he's doing, but that is partly the point of the exercise and he announces that they will plug on and see what happens and perform their plays, even if they're only seen by a handful of people.

It would be intriguing to see how Drummond and Moberly get on in Beijing, Port-au-Prince, Lima. Port Said, Cape Town, Port Moresby, Jerusalem and Damascus. But, while each sojourn would bring its own fascinations, Duane is probably wise to restrict his coverage to these opening salvos of a unique tour that gives performance art a good name. Sometimes resembling comic actor Greg Davies, especially when looking quizzically at a question he considers unworthy of a response, Drummond outwardly refuses to take himself too seriously and frequently protests that he hasn't got a clue what his odyssey is supposed to mean. But don't be fooled. He has plenty of personal, political and artistic reasons for each activity and Duane teases them out of him during the course of a compelling and endlessly entertaining film, whose making Drummond attempts to deconstruct at every opportunity. 

There's a splendidly Candid Camera feel to much of the footage, as by-passers query why this large white man is doing such eccentric things in the middle of their rundown neighbourhoods. During the Kolkata shoeshine sequence, Drummond has a flash of conscience about whether he is patronising the strangers who flock around him. But their sense of curiosity and acceptance reassures him that he is helping to draw attention to their plight rather than exploiting it and confirms the thoughtful nature of the project. 

This is primarily about the process, however, and it's a shame Duane doesn't get to press the inscrutable Drummond about his sudden change of heart regarding Moberly's photographic chronicle or about the nature of their artistic collaboration. Nevertheless, Duane cannily enters into the spirit of the enterprise by repeatedly shattering the illusion of the crew's invisibility and by interacting with Drummond. as he teasingly refuses to co-operate with Duane's set-ups and slyly seeks to blame him for any stunts that seem more trouble than they are worth, fall flat or lose their spontaneity in having to be stage-managed for the camera. Given his belief in art that exists only in the moment of its creation, it's perhaps surprising that Drummond agreed to let Duane tag along. But he clearly trusts him and their give and take adds to the radical self-reflexivity of the entire enterprise.

The Philippines has a rich film tradition, although only a handful of directors, including Lino Brocka, Brillante Mendoza and slow cinema icon Lav Diaz have had any concerted exposure in this country. The pugnacious style favoured by the first two named informs On the President's Orders, a documentary by James Jones and Olivier Sarbil about Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, which is showing at Dochouse before being broadcast under the BBC's Storyville banner. Striving to put a thriller spin on its account of police chief Jemar Modequillo's bid to clean up the Caloocan district of Manila, this seeks to show that hard-nosed reportage can also be highly cinematic. 

As we see footage of a drive-by execution, a caption informs us that 3000 suspects were shot dead in police operations after President Rodrigo Duterte declared war on drugs in the Philippines in 2016. Amidst fears that the violence was spiralling out of control, Jemar Modequillo was detailed to regain control of Caloocan and bring about more arrests and fewer deaths. He's a no-nonsense type and Captain Will Cabrales, the team leader of the Special Operations Unit, believes he can get the required results. 

A raid is planned on the home of Jimmy Aussa, who is renowned as a meth dealer. When the cops arrive in the cramped premises, a man in handcuffs claims mistaken identity. while a wailing woman desperately protests his innocence. But SOU officers they find enough evidence to arrest the man they presume is Aussa and Modequillo makes a big deal of lecturing him in front of the camera about getting drugs off the streets in an orderly manner. Cabrales is proud of the way his team has responded to the new disciplinary regulations and Modequillo gives every outward appearance of being a stiff new broom. 

In one of Caloocan's many shanty neighbourhoods, Axel Martinez and his sister, Fujiko, are leading members of a gang called M-Team and they are convinced that the police will continue to harass and assassinate. By contrast, Modequillo insists that he is trying to be reasonable and has drawn up watch lists of known users to give them the chance of confessing and serving six months with rehab or go to court and risk 20 years. A chirpy plain clothes cop goes house to house to speak to those on the list and jokingly reassures a woman who claims to be scared that she has nothing to fear. The bewildered man being ushered into a small cell with upwards of 20 others might disagree, especially when he sees jail warden Adolfo Agustin rapping the upturned palms of his cellmates with a club, as he boasts to the camera that he frequently punishes the prisoners, as he has learned that they never change unless he acts like a gangster. 

Modequillo turns on the charm as he addresses a public meeting and urges the community to support his campaign to clean up Caloocan. He avers that drugs are the evil of all evils and reminds his audience that they will be rescuing their grandchildren from future hell if they act now. In the six months since he took charge, there have been only two reported police shootings in the area and Orly Fernandez, the manager of Eusebio Funeral Services, admits that business has slowed down. In early 2018, however, Duterte announces that drug crime is on the rise and orders a renewed crackdown. 

SWAT team leader, Captain Octavio Deimos, claims that Modequillo is nicknamed `Mananabas', which means `man with a scythe', because he is willing to kill to retain control. One of the first victims of a new wave of drive-by shootings in March 2018 is Jonathan Sevilla, whose sister, Loremie, admits that he was a user. But she denies he was a pusher and is dismayed that he died like an animal and that his daughter learned of his death from a television news report. We see his body being cleaned by an undertaker, as Loremie and her niece hold a candlelight vigil and complain that there is no justice for the poor. 

The members of M-Team have no doubt that the police execution squads are roaming the city on motorbikes without licence plates. But Deimos denies any official involvement, as he wears a death's head mask to intimidate teenage boys during an armed night patrol. He tells the film-makers that he has a duty to decide who lives and dies to uphold Duterte's laws and giggles when he says he is merely sending them from a hell on earth to the real place. He is also caught on audio admitting that the police are behind the current spate of drug-related killings. Agustin has no problems with such tactics and says he will obey every order given him, while Modequillo makes a throat-cutting gesture in joking about his nickname and his need to be ruthless in order to be effective. 

Sarbil and James return to the footage of the drive-by shooting and we learn that Arnold Martin was Axel's cycle taxi-driving father and he explains over the CCTV footage that his younger brother was in the sidecar when the hit squad shot Arnold in the jaw and chest. He had rushed out to help him and hoped he could be saved, but he was too badly wounded. A caption reveals that he was on the police watch list and was one of 12 people executed in Caloocan in March 2018. But Modequillo tells TV reporters that he believes it was a gang-related killing and promises to produce answers. The film-makers ask him to speculate on possible police involvement and he concedes that there might be a black sheep among the thousand officers under his command. But he refuses to comment on open cases. 

Much to Deimos's disgust, Modequillo is fired shortly afterwards for failing to solve any of the March murders. The M-Team have little doubt that he was merely carrying out Duterte's orders and we see footage of a large rally in Manila. We also see a uniformed Modequillo carrying a large wooden cross in an act of contrition. He hopes to be reassigned soon, while Axel vows to do whatever it takes to provide for his family now that his father is gone. He chugs beer in a nightclub. as James and Sarbil leave us to draw our own conclusions about what path he might take. Closing captions reveal that Duterte is being investigated by the International Criminal Court for the extra-judicial killings. But he is heard in voiceover declaring that he will continue with his policy to deliver his country from the drug barons, the pushers and the users. 

No one can deny that drugs are a blight upon any society, but Sarbil and James clearly concur with the unseen speaker who claims that Duterte is conducting a class war rather than a clean-up crusade. It's also evident that the president has considerable support within the Philippines for his uncompromising stance and it might have been useful to have heard from some of those backing the strategy who aren't police officers or undertakers. Similarly, the film might have benefited from more input from those innocent residents caught up in the conflict. However, their reluctance to speak on camera is understandable and it's noticeable that, against footage of him practicing on the target range, Will Cabrales remains silent after his initial contribution about the return of legal procedures.

With Sabril operating the camera, he and James capture the look and feel of Caloocan with a laudable starkness that is both noirish and detached, as they fully make the most of their remarkable access. The duo are no strangers to this kind of assignment, with Sabril having won an Emmy for his camerawork on the 2017 Frontline film about Mosul that was reworked for one of Channel 4's Dispatches reports. They try to ask difficult questions of Modequillo and his underlings, while leaving the audience in little doubt as to where they think the trail of destruction ultimately leads. Yet, they also acknowledge that dealers are exploiting neighbours by feeding their addictions. Thus, despite James, co-writer Dan Edge and editor Michael Harte sometimes struggling to impose their desired narrative structure, this is a fearless and compelling exposé that deserves to be widely seen, if only for its warnings about the dangerous consequences of authoritarian populism.

Having spent three decades as a make-up artist, Gina Hole Lazarowich makes her directorial debut with Krow's TRANSformation, a documentary about the three year-process that saw Krow Kian transition from female to male. Although there have been a number of films about transgender journeys, few have focused on this direction and the 19 year-old Kian was initially reluctant about having cameras prying into such a personal process. However, having had no transgender role models while growing up, he recognised the value of a picture that has been described as `a metaphor for happiness' by its maker. 

Never comfortable with being a girl, Kian was bullied at school in Vancouver for dressing as a boy and had to endure being called `emo' and branded a self-harmer. Fortunately, Kian could rely on the loyal friendship of Ashton Sciacallo and the support of mother Lisa Jacobsen, who was somewhat surprised when her 12 year-old daughter asked if she could try to become a model. Kian was soon in demand and concedes that it felt empowering to be a paid for being beautiful. But the bullying continued and a caption reveals that 75% of transgender youths feel unsafe at school.

Having contemplated suicide at 11, Kian discovered that it was possible to change gender after making a trans friend. However, modelling demands made it difficult to make a definitive decision about the future and it was during a trip to China, when Kian felt objectified as a female model, that he cut off his ponytail and adopted the name Krow to signify his identification as male. Ashton took the same step around this time and the pair were able to help each other adapt. But Lisa refused to discuss the issue for six months, as she couldn't understand why someone whose femininity had brought her fame and fortune would want to throw it all away. 

Statistics reveal that 57% of transgender teenagers are rejected by their family and Krow admits that it felt like losing a parent. But Lisa was seeking to ensure that he appreciated the magnitude of the step he was taking and, when the probation period was over, she accepted Krow's explanation that he had modelled in a last-ditch bid to understand how to be a girl and had realised it was not who he was. Once she heard that, Lisa came aboard and becomes tearful in confiding that a parent's duty is to help their child become themselves and not coerce them into conforming with society's expectations. 

We see Krow's final shoot as a female with photographer Dexter Quinto before he starts the testosterone shots and Lisa notes how relaxed he is being himself rather than playing the role of pretty girl. Lazarowich accompanies Krow on his first visit to the health centre and his first trip to a gentleman's washroom in a restaurant. She also films Kas Baker and Emily Seal performing as Winter Youth at a benefit gig for trans awareness. Kas is nearly five years into his transition and Krow regards him as a useful source of information about the phases he will have to go through. He is also helped with items like packers by Ken Boesem at the local LGBTQ+ bookshop, as Krow starts applying for work as a male film extra. 

Lisa makes it plain that Krow's father left her to it and made no attempt to meet his child (even after marrying and having two more kids). Krow dismisses him as an irrelevance because he has such a strong bond with his mother. She tells Krow about a dream she often had when he was young and gives him a Christmas present painting of them walking along a beach as mother and son. All seems to be going well and Lazarowich backs away for half a year to give Krow his space.

When she returns, he is still squeamish about self-administering testosterone shots and a sequence shows Krow prevaricating for over three hours before finally inserting the needle. Kas's mother, Nancy Van Neste-Baker, reflects on the torment that he endured as a child because he also knew he wasn't a girl and used to bang his head against a wall to loud music to extricate himself from reality. She is grateful that she was able to help him when he had a change of heart after swallowing booze and pills, but she confesses that it hasn't always been easy and she is now relieved that her child is happy with the body he has covered in tattoos. Kas knows he wouldn't have made it without her backing and their bond is now unbreakably strong.

Eighteen months into transition, Krow meets Dr Chris Taylor, the surgeon who is going to perform the surgery on his breasts. He also gets a reassigned birth certificate and has an amusing conversation with Kas about the fact that he is going to go from being heterosexual to gay because he prefers men, wheareas Kas was a lesbian who is now straight because he likes girls. Kas and Ashton witness the passing of the 2016 Human Rights Code Amendment Act (Genetic Characteristics) and celebrate outside the British Columbia Parliament. 

Soon afterwards, Krow has a hysterectomy and Lisa reveals that she went home to drink a farewell toast to her daughter and a greetings toast to her son. She hopes that Krow can be a father, either by adopting or taking on a partner's kids, and he jokes that he has always liked the idea of a Japanese or Korean baby. Lisa is delighted to see him so relaxed in his own body. as are Kas's parents on his wedding day to Emily. We hear about the evolution of their relationship and see them exchanging vows, as they become life, as well as musical partners. 

Now two years and a month into his treatment, Krow is feeling frustrated after having breast surgery cancelled on a number of occasions. However, he is thrilled with the results and poses for the camera without a shirt and a look of determined satisfaction on his face. He also flashes the attitude when he reunites with Quinto for his first photo shoot as a man and he pulls it off with aplomb, even though he has to unlearn some mannerisms and expressions from his previous life. 

In what seems the blink of an eye, Krow joins the Liz Bell agency and lands a gig as the sole trans model wearing men's attire in an otherwise all-female Fashion Week show at the Louvre for Louis Vuitton. Lisa waves him off at the airport and Lazarowich is left on the pavement when he auditions, but he tells her all about it with a beaming smile. He struts his stuff with confidence and is given a huge post-show hug by Mexican model, Jennifer Espinosa, who claims he is an inspiration. In a tearful sign-off, Krow urges people to follow their hearts and their dreams and not let anyone prevent you from being who you really are. 

It's a positive end to a joyous picture that is bound to offer solace to those still at the Kian end of Krow's progression. Some may quibble that Lazarowich has sanitised things by skating over the physical toll involved in the surgery. She might also have asked Krow for some video diary entries during the low points in his transition (as there must have been some) to provide inspiration for those struggling with their passage. We might also have done with a little less Kas and bit more Ashton, who rather disappears from the story, which seems a shame when they had been Krow's only school friend. One can but hope that he is not one of the people Krow consciously opted to jettison to make the process easier. 

Given intimate access, Lazarowich wisely steps back and allows Krow's genial personality to shine through. His overall lack of regret at his past is refreshing, as so many documentaries on this topic (understandably) dwell on the psychological traumas involved in transitioning. Of course, he is fortunate in having the looks that enable him to continue with his previous career within a world in which models are forever being told how fabulous they are. But, while Krow doesn't often let the mask slip, Lazarowich manages to capture the moments of denial and doubt in revealing the courage that Krow has had to summon in order to be true to himself. It's in these sequences that Krow and Lazarowich make their most valuable contributions to educating and/or encouraging the audience.

Since making his directorial debut with Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy (2011), Canadian Rob Heydon has been dividing his time between various projects as a producer. He returns to calling the shots with Isabelle, a humdrum horror scripted by Donald Martin that will be available to download from your usual provider on 30 September. Borrowing from infinitely superior works that make its shortcomings all the more evident, this is worth watching solely for the performance of Sheila McCarthy, who has amassed almost 130 credits since debuting in 1982 and who is still best remembered for her wonderful performance in Patricia Rozema's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987).

Pianist Larissa Kane (Amanda Crew) is heavily pregnant when she and lawyer husband Matt (Adam Brody) move into a new house in Saratoga Springs. His cop father, Clifford (Booth Savage) can't wait to be a grandad, but warns his son that everything will change once the baby comes. The morning after she and Matt have sex for the first time in months, Larissa starts to haemorrhage while chatting to new neighbour, Ann Pelway (Sheila McCarthy) and is distraught to learn that she lost the baby after flatlining for a minute on the operating table. 

Matt asks hospital chaplain, Fr Lopez (Dayo Ade), to offer Larissa some consolation. But she is only interested in seeing her son and is less than impressed when Dr Karl Neidorf (David Tompa) tries to reassure her that she has to expect nightmares after she dreams that baby Colton opens his eyes on the morgue slab in the dead of night. She is also angry with Matt for sleeping peacefully when they return home and she blames him for forcing himself on her the night before her miscarriage. 

As she wanders around the empty nursery, she gets a shock when she sees Isabelle (Zoë Belkin), sitting morosely in a wheelchair in the window opposite. Neighbour Ruth Stanton (Alison Brooks) assures her that she has nothing to fear from the Pelways. However, she is so spooked by the sight of Isabelle when she thinks she hears a baby crying upstairs that she looks her up online (as you do) and she discovers that Isabelle has spina bifida and was left paralysed and mute after being offered to Satan by her father, Frank. She says nothing of this to Matt when he gets home late, but Larissa does confide that, during her fatal minute, she saw some hands reaching up to pull her towards eternal flames. 

Following another night nursing a teddy bear she seems convinced is her baby, Larissa appears to forgive Matt and promises to bake his favourite cake. No sooner has he driven away, however, than the incessant sound of crying from the cot prompts Larissa to throw herself from the upstairs window and Matt asks Fr Lopez if she could be possessed after informing Dr Neidorf that his wife had tried to commit suicide after her mother died when she was 16. He arranges for Lopez to see Larissa, but she refuses to let him into the house and sneers back that she is going through hell and he can't help. 

Next door, Ann is also suffering and she self-harms in a room filled with candles in a bid to seek forgiveness for having failed her daughter. However, Matt knows nothing of this when he Skypes sister-in-law, Jessica (Krista Bridges), and she flies in to take Larissa to meet Pedro Salazar (Michael Miranda), who specialises him helping people prepare for death. He urges her to let go of Colton, as he is ready to leave the world. But he also warns her to remain vigilant against a malevolent female spirit who wants to possess her.

Feeling empowered, Larissa pounds on the Pelway door and tells Ann to make Isabelle stop staring at her. When she goes up to her room, however, Ann is pinned to the wall by an empty wheelchair and Isabelle only reappears when her mother drives away at some speed. Next door, Larissa is overpowered by a foul stench and is aghast to see Isabelle's eyes flash demonic red as she cradles Colton's bear in the nursery. However, Matt has a hard time accepting her story when he finds her compulsively cleaning to remove an odour he can't smell. He wonders how long they can keep going on like this and Larissa derides him for feeling sorry for himself when she is enduring a nightmare. 

Frustrated after Larissa wakes him up to check the house for intruders, Matt finds the online article about Isabelle and confides his fears to his father (but doesn't ask him about the case, when he's a cop). Following Colton's funeral, Larissa starts packing his belongings away and fires a gun into the mirror when she finds Isabelle parading around the bedroom in her wedding dress. She is still in shock when Matt comes home and informs him that she is a terrible person, as she did nothing to help her father as he sat in a fume-filled car in the family garage and kept living while their infant son died. They make love under Isabelle's wrathful gaze and she slips into the bed when Larissa goes to the bathroom. 

Disturbed by his wife's behaviour, Matt consults Pedro, who reveals that the evil spirit has realised that Larissa's life force is weak and is trying to drive her to suicide so that she can assume her existence. Pedro explains that Matt has to catch Larissa at the gateway between Life and Death to save her from Isabelle and he arrives home just as she has taken an overdose of her pills. Unwilling to have his wife committed, Matt goes to the Pelway place to show Larissa that there is nobody at the bedroom window. However, he finds Isabelle's suffocated corpse and is so busy calling the cops that he fails to notice the changed expression on Larissa's face. 

He also misses the fact that Larissa's eyes are now glowing red. But, from her vantage point in the wheelchair in Isabelle's room, she can see that her husband is making love with her rival and she is powerless to do anything to stop it. Meanwhile, Ann's body is found in her car and her spirit creeps back into the house to keep Isabelle company. Realising what has happened, Ann tries to apologise to Larissa. But Matt has also discovered that Isabelle is on the loose and he races across to the Pelway house and tries to throttle Larissa while pleading with her to choose life when she reaches the gateway. 

At that moment, a cop bursts in and shoots Matt when he refuses to stop assaulting his wife. A gunshot sparks a cut to black and we return to the hospital, as the nurse informs Matt that Larissa flatlined and may suffer from some residual damage. However, she also breaks the news that he has a healthy son and mother and baby return home to begin their new life. As she looks up at the window next door, however, she see a grey-faced Isabelle leering down at her. 

Technically proficient, but dramatically derivative and rushed, this struggles to generate any sense of mystery or tension, while ignorantly trivialising the traumas of stillbirth and postpartum depression. It hardly helps that the baby bump that Amanda Crew has to lug around looks so fake or that Mark Korven's score treats the mundane and the melodramatic with equal over-emphasis. Pasha Patriki's camerawork is also ploddingly predictable, while Diane Brunjes's editing lacks edge. 

Saddled with some dismal dialogue, Crew looks fitfully distressed. Yet, while she hardly gives an expressive performance, she seems markedly more invested in the material than the coasting Adam Brody, whose high-flying lawyer displays a numbing lack of curiosity, even after he discovers the diabolical shenanigans that took place on his doorstep. Required to do nothing but stare like Linda Blair in William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973), Zoë Belkin is suitably unsettling. But she looks faintly ludicrous when hovering and it's a shame that Martin and Heydon couldn't find more for Sheila McCarthy to do, as the picture plateaus following her abrupt exit. 

Essentially, she's asked to do little more than channel her inner Piper Laurie from Brian De Palma's Carrie (1976). But this is very much a patchwork picture, with threads ripped from the likes of Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (1968). Jennifer Kent's The Babadook (2014) and Ari Aster's Hereditary (2018). And, as for the last reel twist, it feels like something a novice might have concocted rather than an experienced writer who received the first of his 50+ credits 31 years ago.