Hunted (2021) – Little Blood-Red Riding Hood

Released: 14th January
Seen: 19th January

If you were to make a list of locations that horror movies take place in, The Woods would probably be somewhere near the top of that list. Something about being in the great outdoors, surrounded by trees and being far away from modern civilisation lends itself well to a horror scenario. Films like Cabin in the Woods, Evil Dead and Friday the 13th have all shown that surrounding a bunch of young people by a seemingly endless amount of trees and leaving them to deal with some form of serial killer can create a terrifying ordeal… you can also have films like Hunted, that work on some level but not as many as it should.

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Promising Young Woman (2021) – Promises, Promises

Released: 1st January
Seen: 8th January

“Boys will be boys”
“It’s a ‘he said she said’ situation”
“It’s a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action”
“If you really want to know the truth you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you did to this guy.”

Let’s be blunt, when women come forward with allegations about being assaulted chances are good she’s going to hear something like one of the above quotes. We have a serious problem when it comes to believing women who make allegations of sexual assault or harassment… that problem being that we don’t. Hell, we’re so bad at it that we might be dumb enough to hear the phrase “Devils Triangle” and believe the rapist that it’s a drinking game when anyone who has a cursory knowledge of Google knows it’s a threesome with two men… in a culture like this, a film like Promising Young Woman isn’t just inevitable, it’s cathartic.

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The Dry (2020) – Aussie Cinema Goodness

Released: 1st January
Seen: 6th January

The Dry Info

I hate to take you back there but at this point in 2020 my country was in… well, I’d say we were in hot water but actually we were in the literal opposite of water. The bushfires of late 2019 to early 2020 were some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Sure, we have bushfires here a lot (Comes with having lots of bush and not as much water as we should have) but it was nothing like last year. Part of the reason we have such bad bushfires here is that we are a dry country, known for lengthy periods of drought. Droughts that lengthy can do some serious damage on little towns like Kiewarra, which is the setting for the Australian crime movie The Dry.

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The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (2020) – Order In The Court!

Released: 16th October
Seen: 13th December

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Info

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Say, for the sake of argument, that you’re part of a group of protestors who disagrees with actions that’re taken by the president and decide the best way to do it is to get a large group of people to march and demand that someone listen to their grievances. Now, while this is a right of the people it is often denied by those in charge who would instead choose to ignore them… or, as a random example, send a large amount of police to instigate a riot, throw tear gas at peaceful protestors and beat innocent bystanders with clubs and shields only to then turn around and blame the very protestors who have been attacked.

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Shirley (2020) – The House On Biopic Hill

Released: 9th July
Seen: 4th December

Shirley Jackson is perhaps best known as the author of the book The Haunting of Hill House, a book that’s been adapted multiple times into films (both a beloved 1963 version and a reviled 1999 version) and into the recent hit Netflix series. She has been named as an influence on authors like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman among a slew of others. Her work has stood the test of time and now at last we have a biopic about her. The biopic happens to be a genre I’m not exactly fond of because usually they are all very similar… which is why an exception like Shirley is much appreciated.

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Fatman (2020) – Slenderman’s Crappy Cousin

Released: 18th November
Seen: 26th November

When it comes to iconography that must be handled with care, I can’t think of an image more precious than that of Santa Claus. A universal symbol of love and joy, it’s something you have to be careful with especially if you decide to use that imagery in a transgressive manner. If, for example, you plan on making an over the top slasher film like Silent Night, Deadly Night then you had better go all out and make good use of what you’re playing with.

You could also use the image of Santa for comedic value, the evil robot Santa of Futurama is a prime example of a hilarious evil Santa that plays with the iconography in fun interesting ways. One big thing with this is you probably shouldn’t go half assed when you use that kind of imagery because otherwise you just seem like an edgelord instead of being actually edgy in an interesting manner… and that, right there, is the problem with Fatman.

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Honest Thief (2020) – Honestly? Not Great

Released: 22nd October
Seen: 11th November

Honest Thief Info

Can we, as a society, just admit that Liam Neeson action films have become repetitive and stale? Is that a thing that we can collectively do? Hell, let’s be honest, they were getting stale roughly around the third time he played a character who had a member of his family taken. It’s now to the point where you could write a Liam Neeson action film using a madlib form, they all have the same basic plot and only change the minor superficial details. It’s always the same and every time it gets a little bit less interesting and Honest Thief is just another one for the pile.

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Freaky (2020) – Freakishly Fun

Released: 12th November
Seen: 12th November

Freaky Info

In 2017 Christopher Landon brought us the movie Happy Death Day, a movie that asked the very simple question “What if Groundhog Day was a horror film?”. The result was one of the most fun slasher films in recent memory, which was followed up by Happy Death Day 2U which was also a lot of fun. This filmmaker has stumbled upon a great little mini-genre that he is clearly going to milk for all it’s worth… take a classic comedy with a mystical element and turn it into a horror movie. Proof that this works? The joyfully fun film Freaky.

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The Empty Man (2020) – Yep, Empty

Released: 23rd October
Seen: 31st October

The Empty Man Info

The Bye Bye Man
The Snowman
The Slenderman

Movies that begin with The and end in Man in the horror genre have lately filled me with dread lately. With the exception of The Invisible Man, I can’t think of a good film with this combination of words in the title so imagine how I felt seeing the poster for The Empty Man. If you thought I was prepared for a long slow boring film that tried far too hard to be smarter than it was, then you know me far too well… and you also just described the film to a T.

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