I Am Not A Serial Killer
One of the best movies of the year is also incredibly underrated, understated, and…under-appreciated? Hm, that’s pretty much the same as underrated. What other ‘under’ prefixed verbs would work? Undervalued? Nah, that’s pretty much the same. Under-attended? That one’s a bit better. Whatever, anyway, “I Am Not A Serial Killer” is the dark comedic thriller about a diagnosed sociopath trying not to kill people. Then he finds an actual serial killer in Christopher Lloyd. Shot on super 16mm, injected with a low key sense of twisted wit, and coupled with some surprisingly vulnerable performances, “I Am Not A Serial Killer” was my surprise of the year.
There have been some amazing documentaries this year, but this isn’t the “Best Movies of the Year list. My personal favourite documentary in 2016 has to be “Mad Tiger.” The chronicling of the dissolving hyper punk band “Peelander-Z” is just as harrowing as it is fun. It displays a good amount of humanity, but it never loses that endearing and vibrant aspects of the band’s personality. It’s a colourful but somehow grimy gem of a documentary.
Under the Shadow
“Under The Shadow” is so immaculately crafted that it almost slid under my radar. There’s no cerebral debate for me here. It’s just written off as a constant. Usually, this list is for films that are flawed, but passionate endeavours. Not this one. “Under The Shadow” tells the story of a mother and daughter attempting to live in their apartment building in a war ravaged 80’s Tehran. If that wasn’t bad enough, a paranormal force haunts their existence.
Beyond The Gates
Director: Jackson Stewart
“Beyond The Gates” is a retro horror tale about two brothers attempting to save their father’s soul from a haunted VHS board game. It’s a good natured tale of sibling companionship with a slick direction and some fucking wonderful gore. There’s also a creepy shopkeeper played by Jesse Merlin that deserves every oscar there is. Yes, even best documentary short film.
Autopsy of Jane Doe
Director: André Øvredal
Some movies fall on their own sword. They forget to focus on the mechanics of filmmaking and it results in a hollow shell of potential. “Autopsy of Jane Doe” solely focusses on the mechanics and produces a wonderfully crafted film. Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch perform to their fullest as a father and son working on a supernatural body. It’s a slick and effective horror film curated by passion….and Brian Cox. There’s not much more to ask for.
Writer: Hideaki Anno
“Shin Godzilla” has an odd charm to it. It harkens back to the 1954 “Godzilla” where the monster was more of a construct for political satire than a fun excuse to see Kaiju destruction. Acting more as a Godzilla procedural, “Shin Godzilla” reinvents the character as a lumbering force of nature. The character’s been redesigned a few times, but it’s nice to see such a thoughtful and distant departure. The last time they tried that we got whatever the hell Ronald Emmrich’s Godzilla was.
The Eyes of my mother
Well, I didn’t see that coming. “The Eyes of my Mother” is one of those movies in where I had no assumptions whatsoever. There were no expectations with its atmospheric trailer, black and white photography, and amorphous plot. It’s a psychological marination in loneliness, obsession, and dread. It’s not an easy movie to sit through, but the disturbing imagery is merely a bonus. The spinal cord of this film’s horror is in it’s maddening ideas. I’d take physical pain over going crazy any day. “The Eyes Of My Mother” has both. Woohooo…ugh….
What about “Train to Busan?” That’s supposed to be the best crazy Korean genre movie of the year.
What about it!?!?! I’m a “The Wailing” guy! A soft around the edges and uninspired small town cop investigates a demonic possession. That’s a fairly trite plot, right? Well, hold on. As it turns out, “The Wailing” is a gorgeous two and a half hour horror epic that’s somehow never boring. It’s ripe with so much character, drama, Korean folklore, corkiness, and plot shifts that “The Wailing” is one of my favourite movies of the year. With all that in one film, it does occasionally stumble, but there’s so many glorious things to ingest.
Found Footage 3d
Writer/Director: Steven DeGennaro
It’s fun to deconstruct tropes, but some films can get overly cynical and lose its identity. However, when done well, a film can simultaneously be an editorial and a prime example of said tropes. “Found Footage 3D” is exactly what its title says it is. A group of filmmakers go into the woods to produce their own found footage movie and their gimmick is that it will be shot in 3D. Little do they know, the behind the scenes footage becomes its own horror movie. It’s a bit of an infinite fractal of where does the movie begin and the spoof end, but it’s entertaining through out, with some genuine scares, and surprisingly endearing characters.
Swiss Army Man:
Well…”Swiss Army Man.” Some films can transcend words and defy thought. “Swiss Army Man” is one of those films. A thermodynamic miracle of story telling, “Swiss Army Man” is like stumbling on the hope diamond that just happens to have your name engraved on it by millions of years of carbon compression. I dare you to watch this movie and use a word other than immaculate to describe it. Yeah, it’s about a farting corpse talking about masterbation, but it’s a perfect movie about a farting corpse talking about masterbation.
The Monster, Train To Busan, Tickled, Beware The Slenderman, Baskin, The Corpse of Anna-Fritz, Operation Avalanche, Don’t Breath, Johnny Frank Garret’s Last Words, Lights Out, The Trust, Don’t Think Twice, Blood Father, The Lobster, Hush, Frank and Lola, Nocturnal Animals, The Witch
Shitty Crazy Shit:
Yoga Hosers, The Alchemist’s Cookbook, Yoga Hosers, 31, Yoga Hosers, Everything DC did in 2016, Yoga Hosers, Cabin Fever, Yoga Hosers, Anti-Birth, Yoga Hosers
Best Movies of the Year That Aren’t As Crazy:
Manchester By the Sea, LaLaLand, Arrival, Krisha, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Midnight Express, Moonlight, Hell or High-water, Handmaiden, Captain Fantastic, Green Room, Kubo and the Two Strings, A Monster Calls, The Nice Guys.