#100DaysOfHorror 2020 Part 8
Watching 100 horror films for the first time in the 100 days leading up to Halloween, and this batch includes a few new favorites.
#30 Possessor (dir Brandon Cronenberg, Canada, 2020)
Every year, there are two or three films that I decide I have to buy as soon as they’re widely released: here’s the first of this year’s. Possessor is an incredible film, a piece of art about the nature of self and the value of work. You can see Cronenberg’s heritage here, and yet he has presented his own identity; ironic, considering the subject of the film. Read more gushing praise in my full review.
#29 The Unhealer (dir Martin Guigui, USA, 2020)
I came to The Unhealer for Lance Henriksen and Natasha Henstridge, and I stayed for the story. The core of the plot – tables being turned on teenage bullies – may well be a familiar one but there are several interesting elements that add dark twists to the story and the outcome is an entertaining watch. Somewhat too gory for a teen audience, which is a pity considering the subjects are teenagers, but that’s not inappropriate for the plot. Some of the writing feels a little dated, some a little cheesy, but overall a tense and engaging film. Read more in my full review.
#28 Saint Maud (dir Rose Glass, UK, 2020)
Another impressive film: a directorial debut from a British woman, a female-centric film about religion and mental decline. I left the cinema trembling, and wasn’t able to write about it for a couple of days. I don’t know how I could have coped with the content if I had still been a Christian. Not sure I’ll buy the film, but I definitely want one of the red posters. Read about why it shook me up in my full review.
#27 Rent-a-Pal (dir Jon Stevenson, USA, 2020)
Beautifully written thriller about the horror of loneliness and what it can do to a person. Set in the nineties, and using the technology of that time as part of the storytelling device, yet there is no science fiction. Impressive actors, especially Kathleen Brady, who plays the lead’s mother. Read more in my full review.
#26 Death Ranch (dir Charlie Steeds, UK, 2020)
I’ll happily watch Death Ranch again and again. Seventies-set grindhouse glory with a strong sense of how-dare-you-do-this-to-us payback. About three young black people versus a cannibalistic Ku Klux Klan cult, Death Ranch is exciting, colorful and – oh yes – violent. Read about what it was like to make in my interview with Charlie Steeds, and about the film itself in my full review.
#25 Exhibit A (dir Dom Rotheroe, UK, 2007)
Be My Cat: A Film for Anne (dir Adrian Tofei) is one of my favorite found footage films, and I learned recently that Exhibit A was a strong influence on that film. When I found it was available on Amazon Prime, it was an easy choice to watch next. It’s very bloody real, so even though the story could be described as a crime thriller, it certainly felt like horror. It is – as Tofei puts it – “a deep human drama” about a man’s mental decline in the face of debt and a sense of pressure from his family. The ending is truly shocking, especially because it feels like the viewer is actually there.
#24 Chop Chop (dir Rony Patel, USA, 2020)
I really wanted to applaud a new director, but this one was just a confusing muddle. If only Patel had had the budget for a bigger team and a longer duration, which would have accommodated more background and coherence. Never mind: keep going! Read more in my full review.
#23 Held (dir Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, USA, 2020)
This was incredibly frustrating; not the film itself, but the way my access to the screener failed when I got halfway through. The film was so gripping at that point, but I had to wait a week for access to be extended. It was worth it. Gripping psychological horror with some satire included (but I won’t say more on that front, as it would give away some surprises). What I can tell you is in my full review.
#22 Spare Parts (dir Andrew Thomas Hunt, Canada, 2020)
Sci-fi beat-’em-up fantasy with lots of shocks and gore, especially ideal if you are into rock chicks and chainsaws. No sense to it, minimal background; but hey, not every film needs those. Daft, fast-moving fun, and why not? Read more in my full review.
#21 Heckle (dir Martyn Pick, UK, 2019)
Fascinating to see Steve Guttenberg in an odd little slasher, but unfortunately it’s not an exciting film. The story – about a comedian being stalked by a disgruntled fan – was perfectly decent, but the film just plodded somehow. Read more in my full review.