You read Kevin’s best-of list, now it’s time for Lou to share their favourites from 2021!
Malignant is a movie of bad taste, silly writing, ridiculous twists, out-of-place action sequences, and the kind of nonsense that gives the horror genre a bad name. And I truly love it. I can’t think of a better time I’ve had in the cinema this year than yelling at James Wan’s latest, an indulgent and daft horror with endless rewatch value for the sheer amount of fun that everyone seems to be having here. Stupid? Yes. Awesome? Also yes.
And now, the opposite of fun. Antlers was a film that I liked on my first viewing, despite some issues with the handling of the Wendigo storyline, but that I’ve come to love since. There’s something so refined and so effective about Scott Cooper’s trauma-horror that’s really stuck with me; the brilliant performances, especially from Jesse Plemons and Keri Russell, elevate this out of misery-porn territory and into something painfully and vulnerably human.
I came into Censor ready to love the absolute shit out of it, and it still managed to exceed my expectations. Prano Bailey-Bond’s feature-length debut is one of those outstanding horrors that manages to marry meta-commentary on the genre with an actual story of its own, and Censor blurs the lines between the two to an almost unbearably unsettling level. The history of horror as well as its modern iteration is on display in this video nasty about video nasties, and that’s a balance that I wasn’t sure anyone could actually pull off.
Judas and the Black Messiah
This was out this year for us here in the UK, so I’m counting it on this list – and holy shit, does Judas and the Black Messiah deserve all the praise it’s gotten. It’s a confident, stylish, and unusual approach to the biopic that centres a pair of career-best performances from Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya (no small feat for either actor) in a disturbing and prescient retelling of Fred Hampton’s assasination. Unflinching and morally complex, it’s an Issues movie that still manages to bring the great character work to match.
In The Earth
I know that In The Earth was a pretty divisive film – for some people, not much more than a loud, ominous pile of nothing – but for me, it’s exactly the kind of creepy rural nightmare that I love. The mix of folklore and technology, the old and the new, against the unforgiving forest backdrop is a great premise in the first place, but throw in that brilliant soundtrack and a fabulous turn from a sinister Reece Shearsmith (is there any other kind?) and you’ve got something borderline-hypnotic in its horror brilliance.
What films are you already in love with from 2021? Let us know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this article and want to see more stuff like it, please consider supporting us on Ko-Fi.
By Lou MacGregor
(header image via The Guardian)