After a year stuck on the couch, 2021 welcomed us back to the theaters and finally saw the release of some films we’d been looking forward to for a long time. Big studio productions, some festival gems and a TV series all made my list of the best of the best.
Written by Jordan Peele, Candyman had been on my most anticipated films of 2020 list. We had to wait until this year to see it but it was defiantly worth the wait! DaCosta tied this contemporary take on the Candyman legend to the 1992 original very well and was able to seamlessly combine horror and social commentary into a film that is planted in the zeitgeist.
Chris Rock in a chapter of Saw?! While my co-hosts may not have loved this film, I really did! Rock gives a great dramatic performance in what is more a police procedural than the Saw universe is really known for (trick and traps skewed far to the “porn” side of torture) but I think it worked and would love to see Rock in more genre films.
When an alien invasion disrupts Liz’s meticulously planned dinner party all hell breaks loose and it’s hilarious, blood soaked and full of gore! This film is still on the festival circuit but will hopefully be available for everyone to see soon.
This Thai possession film from the director of 2004’s Shutter uses the mockumentary format perfectly as it follows a shaman who is called to help her family when her niece becomes possessed. It is currently streaming on Shudder and should not be missed.
The Purge is a franchise that keeps delivering in every film. This was my first movie back in the theaters and it left me totally speechless. It is wild, bombastic, and over the top but leaves you with a glimmer of hope.
4. Squid Game– written and directed by Hwang Dong-Hyuk
My list would not be complete without throwing out the rules and including TV! Squid Game won the hearts of the world with characters you cheered for and ones you loved to hate. In this series you laugh, you cry and hide behind the cowards veil. It earned a five star rating from me and almost everyone who consumed it this year.
When Kato, the owner of a café gets a message from his future self, he and his group of friends decide to create time loops with phones and laptops to hilarious ends that will hopefully hold financial gains. I saw this charming DIY sci-fi comedy gem at this year’s Nightstream festival. Done in a single long shot, like one of our favorites, One Cut of the Dead, it just goes to show you that creativity can always rise above budget.
This film was perfect from start to finish. As I said in my five star review, “if you want non-stop action and over the top gore you’re in the wrong place, but if it’s stellar performances, dark, intense WTF moments and a final shot that will leave you in awe, then Rose Glass has answered your prayers”.