BEST GENRE FILMS OF 2017
(Directed by Jordan Peele)
Hands-down one of the best critically reviewed films of the year, and one of the most highly regarded. Not to mention one of the most profitable movies, that kicked off another superlative year of genre for Blumhouse productions. It was rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for a while, and the only person who seemingly had a bad word to say about it was Samuel L. Jackson (who whinged about another Brit actor in the lead role of a US film). The directorial debut of comedian Peele, so it was a surprise to find “Get Out” was such a confident and well-crafted horror film.
Although sometimes oddly described as a comedy/horror (it has some gallows humour and some funny moments but not overtly so), it’s the disconcerting tale of an unassuming African American (Daniel Kaluuya) meeting his white girlfriend's parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods. It all goes horribly menacing pretty quickly though for some really disturbing and unsettling scenes. The plot channels films like “The Stepford Wives” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, along with more contemporary themes. There are great performances from Kaluuya, Allison Williams, and Catherine Keener, along with some blood and violence. What really sticks though are some of overall ideas and visual horror. After watching the film, you won’t be able to hear the term “The Sunken Place” without suppressing a shudder. And never has a teaspoon been so scary. We look forward to seeing more horror tales from Peele, who is currently in the process of rebooting “The Twilight Zone”.
(Directed by M. Night Shyamalan)
After years in the cinematic wilderness and critical/financial failures like “After Earth” and “The Last Airbender”, one-time genre director Shyamalan clawed his way back into people’s good graces with “The Visit”. Happily though he really knocked it out of the park and became “exceptional” once again with this (*slight spoiler*) unexpected sequel to “Unbreakable”. With a chilling (if wholly unrealistic) central concept, it enabled James McAvoy to give a barnstorming performance and incorporated one of the coolest young actresses of the moment to confront him.
When three girls are kidnapped by Kevin Wendell Crumb (McAvoy), a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder, they have to try to escape before his most homicidal persona emerges. From that simple framework, Shyamalan films some superb set-pieces with his leading man shifting from a kid’s personality to that of a severe woman. Anya Taylor-Joy becomes a strong adversary to his madness and it all gets surprisingly dark at times, with moments of real dread. The medical and abuse themes are sometimes questionable, but overall this is a simply mesmerising return to form for Shyamalan and arguably his best work since the aforementioned “Unbreakable”. In many ways, this is a twisted comic-book movie based around the emergence of super-villain. The fact that Crumb exists in the same universe as David Dunn (Bruce Willis), and that they will meet in the upcoming “Glass”, is just the icing on the cake.