2016’s films that went bump in the night.
Subtitled “A New England Folk Tale”, this atmospheric chiller is a slow burn, with well-earned scares that sneak up on you like a mist in a moonlit forest. A 17th century Puritan family, alone on their isolated farm, is set upon by unknown forces, beginning when their infant child disappears during a game of peek-a-boo. Writer/director Robert Eggers and lead actress Anya Taylor-Joy make impressive debuts with this low-key skin-crawler. You’ll never look at a lone rabbit in the woods the same way again. (8/10)
|This does not end well.|
If you have a phobia of being trapped in a backwoods skinhead bar that is surrounded by flesh-eating dogs, this is not the movie for you. The late Anton Yelchin and his punk band are caught at the wrong place at the worst time in this intense, claustrophobic nail-biter that is all the more horrific for being firmly set in the real world. Even more disturbing is Yelchin’s fellow Star Trek alum Patrick Stewart as the white supremacist pub owner, icily dispatching his red-laced thugs as easily as he did photon torpedoes. (7/10)
|Worst away team ever.|
…The Eyes of My Mother:
A decapitated cow head, the violent murder of a mother with her young daughter in the next room, the subsequent brutal torture of her killer… that’s just the beginning of this bleak, almost unbearably nihilistic horror film, and it gets even worse. This one is extremely disturbing (it makes Green Room look like Green Acres), more so thanks to its moodily effective black and white photography and a shockingly raw performance from newcomer Kika Magalhaes as the daughter, all grown up with maternal desires of her own. (7/10)
|Oh lord, she's not sawing wood.|
…10 Cloverfield Lane:
After an unexplained cataclysm renders the Earth’s atmosphere unlivable, a woman finds herself in an underground bunker built by a survivalist who may not be the Good Samaritan he wants her to believe he is. John Goodman turns in a creepy, unnerving performances and the cramped tension builds effectively… until a ridiculous eleventh hour plot twist that may be the worst in movie history. Seriously, your jaw will drop at how fast and how far this one goes off the rails into batshit crazy territory. (Without the twist: 7/10; with the twist: 5/10)
|Stop it. Stop it right now.|
Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.