Read on for Miss Mel’s favorite 20 films of 2020, and here to take a look at Mr. Craiggors’.
Don’t forget to share your top films of the year with us in the comments, or on Twitter! Lots of overlap? Things we missed? Let’s chat!
A group of researchers in the Mariana Trench are hunted by an unknown creature. I love me some alien creature feature even if this was an average entry into the canon.
19. The Rental
A pair of couples rent a home for a few days and feel something is watching them. This was a pretty confused tone and genre and ultimately fell a little flat but was interesting along the way.
A homeless veteran is welcomed into a decrepit mansion by a woman and her aging mother. This one gets wild and a little weird but was fun with a fair bit of lingering dread.
17. The Lodge
A woman becomes snowbound in a mountain lodge with her husband’s children. This is some good atmospheric horror with some great actors and I love some isolation horror.
16. Blood Quantum
A group of First Nations people are immune to a zombie apocalypse. I enjoyed the concept but ultimately I don’t think zombie films, even socially conscious zombie films, are really my thing.
15. The Babysitter: Killer Queen
Two years after the first movie, Cole goes on a weekend vacation where the bloodbath starts again. This was fan service and much less charming and surprising than the original but it was fun to be back.
14. The Dark and the Wicked
A pair of siblings visit their childhood home to visit their ailing father. This feels like a couple other films I’ve seen before but it was a genuinely creepy ride through domestic hauntings.
13. Black Box
A single dad undergoes an experimental cognitive treatment for memory loss and finds himself questioning his identity and reality. Flatliners meets Jacob’s Ladder meets Get Out that’s a bit overstuffed and emotionally confusing at times but its characters really bring home the humanity of a fantastical story.
A woman suffering from dementia is taken care of by her daughter and granddaughter. This functioned both as a spooky psych thriller and creepy house story as well as a tale of the existential dread we have of losing our parents and our own eventual deaths.
11. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
A woman on the brink of breaking up with her boyfriend goes on a road trip to meet his parents. This is trippy and confusing as shit but is engaging and entertaining and makes me wish I had read the book first to experience it fully.
10. Vampires vs. the Bronx
A group of teenagers must protect their Bronx neighborhood from a gang of vampires. I love teen stories and I love vampires. This was a fun comedy horror film with a bit of commentary on gentrification.
9. The Invisible Man
A woman believes she is being stalked by her abusive ex-boyfriend who faked his suicide. An uncomfortable ride through the horrors of an abusive and toxic relationship that does a great job updating its premise.
A pair of woman travel to a rural village where one of them may have a dark past. International films have been killing it this year. This is creepy, shocking and unique and who doesn’t love skin puppets?
7. His House
Sudanese refugees believe something may be lurking in their new home. I was excited for this since I first saw trailers for it. This was a great combination of haunted house horror and real life tragedy.
6. Color Out of Space
An asteroid disturbs an otherwise peaceful New England farm and brings with it an alien terror. This is a wild ride of a classic Lovecraft that manages to hit on all cylinders when it comes to psychological horror, body horror, and Annihilation levels of alien-based science fiction.
5. The Platform
A man wakes up in a social experiment known as “the hole,” where food distribution is heavily stratified. This dystopian, social horror film feels like something out of a Saramago novel and is at times hard to watch for its gore and brutality but it makes interesting political statements–if confusing ones–and manages an incredibly depressing tone.
A corporate assassin infiltrates bodies to carry out hits and finds herself in a combative host. This concept might have made for a C grade thriller film in other hands, but Cronenberg delivers a psychedelic trip through the psychology of the body, identity, and how they interact to rival the works of his father.
A cosmonaut, who returned from a mission with a alien parasite, is held prisoner by the Soviet military. This film doesn’t do anything new in the genre or make any larger social or historical statements about its Cold War setting, but it’s an incredibly entertaining sci-fi horror film with charismatic humans at its core.
2. La Llorona
A genocidal former dictator is haunted by the ghosts of the Ixil people he murdered while confined to his house. Foreign language films are the future of horror. While domestic art house horror tells gripping social stories, this film–reminiscent of Beloved in the best ways–uses the tension of human tragedy to propel its horror forward.
A group of friends host a seance over Zoom during the pandemic and things take a turn. This was a delightful little project that utilized its context without relying or milking it. It’s not unique in either plot or medium conceit, but it was incredibly fresh and effectively entertaining.