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  • Maxwell J.

Best Horror I Missed in 2021

Updated: Jan 8

2022 Year in Review Posts:

Best Horror of 2022

Personal Year in Review

Horror Awards (TBD)


Hey y’all, I am extremely excited to share my end of the year coverage from 2022. As the posts are added, I’ll be linking them on top of each article to facilitate moving from one list to another. On to the list!


Inevitably, every year a horror lover is bound to miss some of the best films released. Between personal issues, release constraints across countries, and the sheer magnitude of films being made every year, it is impossible to watch everything in a timely manner. This year, I am happy to share that there are few horror films that I missed from last year. I am still working on catching up on certain titles, but I believe these would have made the list last year had I seen them in time.


So, what could be on this list? Let’s find out! Scroll down to see what made my best films I missed in 2021 list and which films I included that make you either celebrate, question, or discount my taste in horror!


Guidelines:

1) Film genres are fluid. Movies can fall into multiple genres. Individuals can have different interpretations. That is okay!

2) Official film release dates are difficult to pinpoint due to rising popularity in movie festivals. A film’s release date will be considered its first wide release in any country.

3) This list will be integrated into the Best of 2020 List for longevity and consistency purposes and will not be updated on its own.


Benny Loves You (Director: Karl Holt; United Kingdom)

After the death of his parents, Jack struggles to piece his life together. Even when the bank comes to repossess his house and after he gets demoted at work, Jack still can’t take responsibility for himself. It’s not until he impulsively does a cleanse of his childhood comfort toys that he awakens something in the soul of his favorite stuffed animal, Benny. Benny doesn’t take too kindly to Jack throwing him away and makes it his mission to show his undying love for Jack even if it means killing to do it. If Jack wants to save his future, beat his obnoxious co-worker Richard, and win the affections of friend and office mate Dawn, he’ll have to stand up for himself and get rid of Benny for good. Benny Loves You is a delightfully charming slasher that has plenty of heart paired with plenty of guts. Strong humor, characters, and performances help elevate the film along with solid special effects and stuffed animal design. While it never quite gets scary, there are plenty of shocking moments and eye-popping gore effects to satiate anyone looking for something ridiculous. It does have some tone and pacing issues, but overall, it is a solid film that has a good future as a widely accepted comfort horror movie. Benny Loves You and all he wants is for you to watch so you can love him too.


Full Review: See Here

Where to Watch: See Here



For the Sake of Vicious (Director: Gabriel Carrer, Reese Eveneshen; Canada)

Romina has just finished her shift at the hospital and is excited to return home for Halloween Night. Her plan to take her son trick-or-treating is interrupted when she walks inside her home to find the unconscious body of her landlord Alan and a bugged out stranger named Chris. After a tense introduction, Romina learns of Chris’s intentions and why she is getting pulled into this very dangerous situation, which stems from a horrific crime committed five years ago. Things take an even darker turn when the trio learn that their situation is about to get ever more complicated when masked invaders descend upon the home. Taut thrills and extreme violence highlight the strengths behind For the Sake of Vicious. While its story asks some disturbing questions as to how far one will go to get revenge, there isn’t much in terms of substantive plot development. It’s simple and to the point. This, however, is its greatest strength. By focusing on the ultraviolence inflicted in the cramped townhome, For the Sake of Vicious draws out enough of a visceral reaction in its audience to keep them glued to the screen. Home invasions with a twist are becoming a subgenre of their own, and For the Sake of Vicious you better check this one out too.


Full Review: See Here

Where to Watch: See Here



Pussycake (Director: Pablo Parés; Argentina)

Pussycake follows the mishaps of an all-girl rock band of the same name. Bandmates Elle Cake, Sara Cake, Juli Cake, and Sofi Cake finish up a gig only to head to another one set up by band manager Pato. While on the road, their van mysteriously breaks down and they must walk through the night to get to their next show. When they arrive the next morning, the town is desolate, and their contact is nowhere to be found. They decide to split to find more information, stumbling into the realization that something terrible has happened in this town and now they have to work together to survive. A goopy, gory mess of a film in the best way, Pussycake takes its zany premise and runs with it. Awash in imaginative designs and special effects work, this sci-fi horror comedy achieves its vision of non-stop mayhem with finesse while creating exciting action sequences, solid characters, and unique world-building. It gets away from itself by the time it reaches its climax, but there is much to celebrate in this Argentinian love letter to late sci-fi genre mashups of the golden age of horror to deserve an encore performance courtesy of its leading ladies.


Full Review: See Here

Where to Watch: See Here



The Djinn (Director: David Charbonier, Justin Powell; United States)

Dylan moves into a new apartment with his father after his mother dies by suicide. Troubled by the death of his mother and alienated from kids his age due to his muteness, Dylan spends his time with his dad when he isn’t at work. While rummaging in the apartment he finds a mysterious book left by the previous owner who died allowing the two to move into the space. Inside he discovers an incantation that will allow him to grant his greatest wish: to speak again. The caveat is he must face off against a powerful entity known as the djinn if he wants his wish to come true. Indie horror continues to surprise with this nice subversion in young adult terror. Dylan is an easy to root for protagonist that has solid development throughout his nightmare of a night while drawing upon his personal demons as he fights a real one. His journey is punctuated with coming to terms with his mother’s death and re-thinking his desire to speak. Throughout the night he uses his mental acuity and quick decision-making skills to compensate for his lack of strength which makes him quite a match against his formidable foe. Younger horror fans will rejoice in this accessible and quite creepy gem of an indie film while adults will find enjoyment in the simplicity of its setup. Watch The Djinn and find your wishes for good supernatural horror coming true.


Full Review: See Here

Where to Watch: See Here



The Innocents (Director: Eskil Vogt; Norway/Sweden/Denmark)

While everyone is on holiday, Ida’s family is moving to a new apartment complex for her father’s job. Already frustrated at the attention her non-verbal autistic sister Anna gets from her parents, Ida sets out to find friends of her own. She makes one in Ben, a loner with some underlying rage. The two get along well enough to play together, their favorite game which involves testing Ben’s superpowers. It’s evident, however, that Ben isn’t faking. As the summer rolls on, a small group forms based on their burgeoning powers, including Aisha who finds a way to communicate with Anna. Not having powers is the least of Ida’s worries, when what begins as simple childhood fun turns into horror after playtime sours. Quite possibly the most unsettling and disturbing major indie releases of the year, The Innocents lives up to the exact opposite of what its title suggests. Boldly asking viewers to think of the cruelty of children beyond the realm of typical bullying and self-involvement, and put childhood under a microscope. The Innocents works so well because of the grim realism of dynamics between the children of the apartment complex. Throw in some exceptionally terrifying sequences, beautiful cinematography, and grounded performances from stellar young actors and you have a successful coming-of-age horror film. You won’t feel so innocent after finishing this Nordic gem.


Full Review: See Here

Where to Watch: See Here



The Stylist (Director: Jill Gevargizian; United States)

Loner hair stylist Claire longs for a life she feels she can never have. She dreams of a loyal group of friends who love and care for her in combination with the freedom from the social anxiety that paralyzes her so. When she isn’t dreaming of this fantasy, she spends extra time at the salon attending to patrons who stay late and then killing them once their hair is perfect. Everything is going well for Claire until she gets a message from one of her regulars, Olivia. Olivia asks if Claire can do her a last-minute favor and style her hair for her wedding. This sets off a chain reaction of events that send Claire down a spiraling path of obsession and insanity. The Stylist is a gripping and uncomfortable watch. Visually appealing and fantastically acted by the ferociously talented Najarra Townsend, The Stylist ensnares its viewers with a fascinating story about the terrors of loneliness and unchecked childhood trauma. It all leads up to a jaw dropping finale that knocks the wind out of viewers after learning to love and root for Claire. You always want what you can’t have, but thankfully you can easily stream this gem on a variety of streaming platforms.


Full Review: N/A

Where to Watch: See Here



The Swarm (Director: Just Phillippot; France)

Virginie tends to her struggling locust farming business to keep her family afloat. Things have been rough since the death of her husband and her children’s concerns about the business do nothing to make it easier. Tormented at school for having a “freak” mother obsessed with locusts, Laura voices her frustrations often while Gaston retreats inward to spend time with his pet goat. Karim, a helpful farmer, does his best to assist Virginie, which she often declines. It’s not until Virginie discovers a new way of caring for her locusts that her situation might improve. More of a dark and depressing watch than a scary one, The Swarm takes viewers on the implosion of a family unit as Virginie makes the hard decisions to keep her family afloat. There’s little pleasure taken in watching the family crumble or watching Virginie break down from unexpressed emotions about her husband’s passing. Her grief, resentment, and indomitable will to prove to others that she can do it on her own becomes her downfall. Sharp cinematography, realistic effects, and a pervasive, grim atmosphere elevate this horror drama to new heights showcasing the true power of insect terror when taken seriously. You’ll bug out for this French feature; all you need to do is scroll back into the recesses of your Netflix watch queue and give it the chance it deserves.


Full Review: See Here

Where to Watch: See Here



The Trip (Director: Tommy Wirkola; Norway)

On the precipice of their rocky marriage, director Lars and actress Lisa venture out to Lars’s father’s lakehouse for a quiet weekend away. Their peace will be interrupted by each other, however, as they both discover they have plans to kill the other. While they squabble, they eventually break way to an even more disturbing twist on their weekend getaway that neither could have predicted. Boisterous horror comedy with plenty of twists to keep the most cynical viewer engaged, The Trip is a Norwegian delight of a movie. Director Tommy Wirkola’s iconic sense of humor and taste for action seamlessly blends with the initially unassuming story. Noomi Rapace and Aksel Hennie have impeccable chemistry as the bickering couple. Their desperation, irritation, and eventual care for each other shine through the twisty script. Horror fans have plenty of memorable gore set pieces and chase scenes to keep them satisfied while those seeking more laugh out loud comedy will find themselves equally satiated. Quite possibly the most unexpectedly fun film of the year, this Netflix acquisition is one hell of a trip that you must go on as soon as possible.


Full Review: N/A

Where to Watch: See Here


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