• Maxwell J.

Best Movies I Missed in 2019

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

2020 Year in Review Posts:

Best Horror of 2020

Honorable Mentions of 2020


2020 has certainly been an interesting year, huh? With too many cultural, political, and social moments to identify, this year has been characterized by uncertainty and intensity. Threats of World War III, a burgeoning plea to rectify racial injustice, and a global pandemic and much more have marked a year fraught with turbulence.


They say that in times of great distress, great horror emerges from the shadows. Due to the particular nature of the year, however, the film industry has had to adapt to the changes in the market, causing many anticipated films to be shelved for a more profitable release. Regardless, I will contend that 2020 has been a solid year for horror. 2017, 2018, and 2019 were all excellent years for horror, so any decline may seem apocalyptic to the short-sighted fan. I’d put 2020 slightly above par with 2014 and 2015, two very solid years without too many hits.


With all that being said, what about the great movies you missed from last year? Certainly, it is impossible to keep up with all the coolest and scariest films when you have to deal with international release dates, slow distribution deals, and films taking on a stream of never-ending festival playthroughs. Not to mention that you are probably watching films from every decade on top of the latest releases; how could you have time to see them all? And you would be right! I don’t! That is why this year, I wanted to release some shorter reviews of the great movies I would have mentioned in a similar style to last year.


So, what could be on this list? Let’s find out! Scroll down to see what made my best films I missed in 2019 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.


Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (Director: David Amito, Michael Laicini; Canada)

A film about a cursed film, Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made starts as a documentary on the history of the first few times “Antrum” was screened in theaters. Then, it slips into a crackled 70s’ aesthetic before showing the full film that the faux-documentary is supposedly inspired by which follows two siblings journeying into the woods to perform a spell to bring back a beloved family pet. While the gimmick of the film is certainly present, there’s something ‘off’ about it in the most gloriously sickening way. There are many little details added in here to really spice up the authenticity of the claim that the viewer is watching something taboo, obscene, and potentially demonic. Hidden symbols in the frames, rapid cut scenes to seemingly unrelated dark and violent footage, and a peculiar dream-like atmosphere make Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made a unique must-watch for those seeking out something offbeat.


Full Review: See Here

Where to Watch: See Here


Daniel Isn’t Real (Director: Adam Egypt Mortimer; United States)

Luke, a young man with a traumatic past, calls on his old imaginary friend, Daniel, to help him navigate the collegiate environment. Things seem to be turning around for Luke with the help of his self-confident and charismatic friend until Daniel starts exhibiting increasingly strange and violent behavior. Now struggling to keep control, Luke must stop Daniel from taking over before his true intentions can be realized. Daniel Isn’t Real is a fascinating and effective film filled with terrifying out-of-body sequences, a hazy, dreamlike atmosphere, and an audacious concept. Both a sympathetic exploration of mental illness and trauma and a riveting horror film, Daniel Isn’t Real doesn’t excuse Luke’s behavior, even when he is not in control, nor does it villainize him for actions taken during these lapses in autonomy. Its commitment to character, attention to detail, and its affecting sequences make it one of last year’s best films.


Full Review: Unavailable

Where to Watch: See Here


Extra Ordinary (Director: Mike Ahern, Edna Loughman; Ireland/Belgium/Finland/United Kingdom)

A driving instructor with a tragic past and psychic abilities is asked by her crush to help with his daughter who he believes is possessed. Her “possession” turns out to be connected to a sinister plot concocted by a loser rock star hoping to reignite his fame by sacrificing a virgin to Satan. This horror rom-com is a sweet and fun tale of light supernatural horror. The characters are endearing, the jokes are sidesplitting, and the tone is pitch-perfect expertly balancing suspense, romantic chemistry, and cheeky Irish humor. Extra Ordinary is the warm blanket of a comfort horror movie we all could use during these difficult and trying times.


Full Review: Unavailable

Where to Watch: See Here


Freaks (Director: Zach Lipovsky, Adam B. Stein; United States/Canada)

A young girl leaves her house to venture out into the world only to discover that things are deadlier and far more complicated than they seem. Soon, she will have to step up in many ways to save herself and her family from annihilation. Freaks is a strange and surreal film filled with interesting ideas, bold imagery, and an imaginative story. Confined to the walls of a house for much of the film, the primary action of Freaks comes from Lexy Kolker’s Chloe, a curious, powerful, and magnetic little girl. I’m shocked at how under-the-radar this film is given its accessibility and slick production values. For fans of more reserved horror sci-fi, check out this dark fantasy as soon as possible.


Full Review: Unavailable

Where to Watch: See Here


Impetigore (Director: Joko Anwar; Indonesia/South Korea)

I have already seen Impetigore on many Best of 2020 lists and I get why. For many folks in the United States and other Western countries, Impetigore was only just unleashed upon us this summer. Unfortunately for me and my methodology, this Indonesian gem was released in its home country last year thus making it ineligible for my list for 2020. Impetigore tells the story of best friends Maya and Dini who journey to Maya’s long-lost hometown in an effort to track down an inheritance that she may be entitled to from her estranged family. It’s best to go into this one with as little information as possible. All I can say is that Impetigore is easily one of the scariest films I have seen in the last few years and both the film and director Joko Anwar deserve all the praise they are receiving. Watch it now!


Full Review: Unavailable

Where to Watch: See Here


Metamorphosis (Director: Hong-seon Kim; South Korea)

A family seeks out the help of their estranged brother who may hold the key to defeating an evil presence in their house. Unfortunately, the troubled priest realizes that the demon takes on the form of different family members in a way to sew distrust and discord. The family must work together, in spite of their differences, to defeat the evil that has been tormenting them for so long. Metamorphosis is a kickass film that has not gotten the recognition it deserves. While this is true for nearly every good horror film not made in a Western country, Metamorphosis is a violent, suspenseful, and downright disturbing exorcism tale from South Korea. While it hits on many of the familiar tropes we are used to, Metamorphosis adds its own twists on the conventions and turns them just enough to give audiences whiplash throughout the film. It’s a meaty, visceral, and thrilling experience. Anyone who enjoys the supernatural is encouraged to give this film a try.


Full Review: Unavailable

Where to Watch: See Here


Rabid (Director: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska; Canada)

This remake of the 1977 Cronenberg sci-horror classic, follows Rose whose journey to becoming a top fashion designer is seemingly cut short after a nasty motorcycle accident badly damagers her face. She is given an experimental stem cell treatment, and all seems to be going well until unusual and unwanted side effects begin emerging. Rabid is a gleefully bloody and schlocky sci-fi shocker filled with excess gore and over-the-top set pieces. Laura Vandervoot gives an excellent performance as the ailing and ravenous Rose and is upstaged only by the fantastically executed special effects. The Soska Sisters do justice to the beloved original while still carving their own unique take on the tale in the process.


Full Review: Unavailable

Where to Watch: See Here


The Nightingale (Director: Jennifer Kent; Australia/United States)

After watching her husband and child’s murder and surviving multiple rapes, a female convict makes it her mission to track down the military men responsible to make them pay for their crimes against her and her family. She enlists the help of an Aboriginal guide to trek the wilderness and along the way learns about the ways in which trauma has shaped both their lives. A stark turnaround from The Babadook, director Jennifer Kent takes on this tale of revenge with confidence and grit. Deeps meditation on misogyny, racism, classism, and punishment abound and this period piece doesn’t shy away from the difficult subject material. It isn’t an easy watch for sure, and all those who may feel uncomfortable with realistic portrayals of sexual violence and infanticide should steer clear. For fans of unrelenting tales of retribution and forgiveness, give The Nightingale a try.


Full Review: Unavailable

Where to Watch: See Here


The Platform (Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia; Spain)

A man named Goreng wakes up in a vertical prison cell with a gaping hole in the middle. Every day a large stone platform descends from level to level supplying the prisoners with the day’s food rations. Goreng has many questions on how this works. How many levels are there? What happens with the platform runs out of food? Indeed, there are many questions like these posited in The Platform and more. A scathing critique on the excess of capitalism or the unfairness of socialism, depending on who you ask, The Platform is a psychological mind-bender that will exercise your critical thinking skills and flex your inner philosopher. Solid performances, horrific imagery, and abundant social commentary are aplenty in this Spanish import. Once it’s over, you’ll be hungry for more.


Full Review: Unavailable

Where to Watch: See Here


The Shed (Director: Frank Sabatella; United States)

An orphaned teenager has to deal with the constant threat of verbal abuse from his grandfather, bullying from the popular kids at school, surveillance from the local sheriff’s department, and the homicidal vampire locked in his shed. The Shed balances coming-of-age with standard vampiric tropes to create a fun and angsty teen scream. In my eyes, The Shed is unfairly maligned and rather underrated. The characters are relatable, the narrative structure is different from similar films, and the premise is charming. If you go in looking for a good time with reasonable expectations, you will come out feeling rather satisfied with The Shed’s take on vampire horror.


Full Review: Unavailable

Where to Watch: See Here


Warning: Do Not Play (Director: Kim Jin-won; South Korea)



Mi-Jung has a deadline to meet for the horror film she has worked on for years. Depleted of inspiration and getting increasingly desperate, Mi-Jung learns of an urban legend of a banned film. As she begins her research, she is shut out at almost every opportunity until she meets the director, who gives her a final warning. Mi-Jung’s quest to create the most terrifying film ever leads her down a path of supernatural chaos and terror. Warning: Do Not Play is an incredibly tense and chilling film. While unoriginal in premise, director Kim Jin-won creates an eerie and unforgiving experience of paranormal mayhem. Another solid entry from South Korea’s ever-filmography of well-executed haunters, Warning: Do Not Play will satisfy those seeking out traditional, yet pulse-pounding scares.


Full Review: Unavailable

Where to Watch: See Here





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