Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
Alas movie lovers, it’s been a tough six months hasn’t it? It may not be the biggest thing affected by Covid19, but for those of us whose idea of a fun time is a dark cinema with a large popcorn and soda combo the lack of awesome new flicks has been, for want of a better word, sucky.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s been some really good movies popping up on streaming sites in 2020, as Hollywood does their best to keep us entertained while we’re staring at our four walls or the carpet, trying to figure out what that stain is (when did I have Bar-B-Que?). But ask any horror fan and they’ll tell you, even on a not bat-shit-crazy year, it’s slim pickings, and finding that golden ticket is much harder than Charlie Bucket makes it seem. Side note: Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory will definitely be on my next list of Top 5 Scariest Kids Movies. Stay tuned!
That said, it hasn’t been a complete loss and there have been some truly entertaining horror and thriller films released in 2020 (so far) that are definitely worth viewing. Here are my TOP 5 HORROR/THRILLER MOVIES OF 2020 (SO FAR):
I know most people dismissed this movie just on the premise of Kirsten Stewart playing the lead part. But that’s doing a disservice to both a solid sci-fi thriller and an actress who delivers (when she’s in the hands of a competent director).
Admittedly this movie is derivative of other similar films like Aliens, The Abyss and Leviathan, but that doesn’t take away from this being a decent thriller with some seriously claustrophobic moments, a frightening location ( which is worse – being trapped deep beneath the ocean or the vastness of space?) and creatures that would make HP Lovecraft cream his knickerbockers. If you’re a fan of deep sea horror Underwater isn’t a bad way to go. By that, I mean the movie, not actually being thousands of feet below sea level.
Honestly if I had to choose I rather get chest-bursted by a Xenomorph than implode in my freaking scuba gear. Yeesh!
#4 The Wretched
It’s not easy to make witches scary. You’ve seen one, you’ve pretty much seen them all. But The Wretched does a great job of reinventing the wheel with some of the best mix of practical and special effects I’ve seen in these types of movies in a while.
A throwback to the kiddie horror movies of the 80’s like The Witches, The Gate or even Monster Squad, The Wretched tells the story of a young boy who discovers an evil witch has followed him home from the nearby woods, and he has to do whatever he can to stop it from destroying friends and family alike.
The movie does a great job of balancing the kid stuff with the very adult horror, giving us a story that isn’t out to make you dig beneath the surface for any deeper meaning. But just sit back, relax and enjoy some good old-fashioned horror.
#3 The Hunt
I have no idea why people were making such a big deal about getting this movie banned, as I must’ve seen at least half a dozen films with a similar premise. A group of people wake up in an unknown location, with a cache of weapons and no explanation as to how or why they were chosen, only to have to fight for their survival.
Push aside the stupid political aspect (liberals hunting conservatives YAWN!) and just have yourself a gay old time (oops! shouldn’t have said gay, don’t want to offend the conservatives) with this fun-if-you-let-it-be horror/thriller film.
A couple of things I enjoyed here was the fact they established early on no one was safe by putting some big named actors in the mix, only to brutally and hilariously kill them early on. Then there was the pace. Once we’re introduced to the protagonist we’re rooting for (the movie takes a minute to thin out the herd) The Hunt turns into a fast-paced, how crazy can it get, horror comedy with a lot of praise having to go to actress Betty Gilpin (GLOW).
In this movie she’s a mix of Villanelle from Killing Eve and Erin from You’re Next and she’s awesome from the beginning all the way through to one of the best knockdown-drag-out-chick-fights ever brought to the screen.
#2 The Lodge
Damn I love me some psychological horror! The Lodge tells the story of a soon-to-be stepmom who gets stuck with her fiancé’s kids in a rural lodge in the middle of a snowstorm.
Now I know what you’re thinking – this is just a rip-off of The Shining – but I promise you The Lodge is very much its own film. It’s the kind of horror that unnerves instead of going for the obvious jump scares.
I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen this unsettling, suspenseful, taut movie bit I will say if you’re a fan of the directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s previous movie, Goodnight Mommy, you won’t be disappointed with your stay at The Lodge.
#1 The Invisible Man
Whenever I think of this movie, I can’t help but laugh out loud at how badly Universal Pictures screwed up their Dark Universe project. All that money spent on all that crap, only to have Leigh Whannell (Saw/Upgrade/Insidious) and freakin’ Blumhouse Productions of all things, show them what can be done with a little money and a lot of talent.
This updated take on The Invisible Man turned out to be one of the best films of 2020 so far, period! With Elizabeth Moss doing what she does best (balancing strength and vulnerability) and Leigh Whannell making audiences super paranoid just by lingering too long on an empty room/doorway/chair (I’m never reaching for my pillow when it falls off the bed ever again).
Grossing $129 million dollars on a budget of $7 million, I bet the execs over at Universal which they could turn invisible so no one can see the shame on their faces. Because let’s face it – the real reason Tom Cruise was running in The Mummy was to try and get away from that god-awful movie!
Not a bad group of genre films, considering the insanity of 2020 (so far…). And here’s to hoping the rest of the year brings us an even better batch of horror movies, so when the aliens/meteor/velociraptors/or whatever else hits us in the next half of the year, we can say;
“Hey! At least the movies didn’t suck!”
So that’s my list. What are your top horror/thrillers for the year so far? For my Top 10 Horror Movies of the Decade you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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