#100DaysOfHorror 2020 Part 7
A few Grimmfest films here, but first a big new film and a big old one. Definitely variety, in terms of genres and styles, which is what I really appreciate about horror cinema; and this batch includes some truly unusual titles. Without further ado: #100DaysOfHorror 2020 Part 7, counting down #40 to #31.
#40 Spontaneous (dir Brian Duffield, USA, 2020)
I know this one isn’t exactly billed as a horror, but it certainly felt like it to me. Existential dread, exploding teenagers, and certain intimations of mortality… yeah, horror! Weirdly fun, but the mixture of tones messed with me. Read more in my full review.
#39 Pet Sematary (dir Mary Lambert, USA, 1989)
Now this was great. My thirteen-year-old son chose to watch Pet Sematary, out of the shortlist I offered: I showed him all the trailers, and he said he wanted to see “the one with the creepy cat”… I did warn him it was going to be both sad and scary! Miles better than the modern reinterpretation: that one was all about child zombies, but this older film reflected the sense of grief throughout the book.
#38 Anonymous Animals (dir Baptiste Rouveure, France, 2020)
Striking role reversal as a clever and moving storytelling device. I was captivated by this film, and talking to my boy about it the next day, he asked if he could see it too; and when he did, declared it was the best horror film he’d ever seen. I don’t think either of us had seen anything quite so serious before, while at the same time beautifully filmed. Read more in my full review.
#37 Stray AKA Tvar (dir Olga Gorodetskaya, Russia, 2019)
Dismal film from Russia about an idiotic pair who foster a feral child who’s not really a child. Nice gothic production, but essentially annoying. Read more in my full review.
#36 The Special (dir B Harrison Smith, USA, 2020)
I admired the writing, the way the cinematography complements the themes, and the special effects. I loved the ending. When I interviewed Smith and some of the others involved, I got to realize something about how I only have my own perspective and don’t consider that of the people making a film when I watch one. Perhaps that’s part of my autism, but maybe it’s the same for everyone, who knows. Read more in my full review, and deep-dive interview with the team.
#35 Unearth (dir Dorota Swies and John C. Lyons, USA, 2020)
Terrific rural family and eco-message drama, which transforms into a definite horror for its final act, with baby steps towards it beforehand. Very enjoyable, but an unsatisfying ending. Oh, and I knew I recognized the lead actor, but wasn’t sure where from until I looked it up: he played Riley in Buffy! Read more in my full review.
#34 Don’t Look Back (dir Jeffrey Reddick, USA, 2020)
Very, very disappointed in this, admiring as I did the ideas that went into Final Destination. But I guess I wrote a decent review because Reddick emailed to thank me for my “constructive criticism”! (I just hope he wasn’t being sarcastic.) If you haven’t seen The Ranger, I’d recommend it: the actor who plays the ranger himself is in this as a detective. Anyway, read all about it in my full review.
#33 Caveat (dir Damian McCarthy, UK, 2020)
When I was only about half an hour in, I thought: this could be my favorite film of the year. Well, it’s in my top ten, for sure; and considering how many I’ve seen, that says a lot for a little rural horror from Ireland. However, I can’t tell you why I loved it for another few days… look out for my full review then.
#32 An Ideal Host (dir Robert Woods, Australia, 2020)
More sci-fi horror, this time of the comedy-variety and distinctly Australian. A lovely mixture of fun and gory, while also finding opportunities for social commentary. Read more in my full review.
#31 The Deep Ones (dir Chad Ferrin, USA, 2020)
The film I enjoyed the least from this ten: some Lovecraft fans seem to like it for its affection and playful use of tropes; I just found it cheap and disrespectful. Oh well. There haven’t been many duds this year. Read more in my full review.
Alix has been writing for Ready Steady Cut since November 2017. They cover a wide variety, including genre festivals, and especially appreciates wit and representation on screen.