Sorry, okay? Father Gore’s already apologising and you’ve barely begun to read.
50 titles is a lot, yes. What’s a writer to do when the year is jammed full of amazing films? Not only that, so many Best Of the Year lists seem to focus a majority of their picks on mainstream films. Here at F.S.H.G. the aim is, often, to promote lesser-known titles from around the world and, hopefully, promote them for more eyes to see.

That’s why Father Gore’s Best of 2019 couldn’t possibly have been whittled down to any less than 50. An impossible task. There are still likely titles left by the wayside in a year with tons of impressive work from a wonderful array of filmmakers worldwide.
This year was also a landmark year for Father Gore’s website. The site covered big festivals in 2019, like the internationally renowned Fantasia Festival and one of America’s pride and joy genre festivals, Fantastic Fest. It also was one of several media outlets that presented German genre festival Randfilmfest. All that means there were SO MANY films to take into the ole brain meat, which Father Gore tried his best to do.

Without further rambling, here’s F.S.H.G’s Favourite 50 of 2019. The films already written about here on the site will have links right in the titles. None of these are ranked until the last Top 10.
Sink in those teeth. Feed.

[All titles go by Canadian release date]


We Have Always Lived in the Castle

We Have Always Lived in a CastleShirley Jackson will forever be one of the great American writers of the 20th century. Her stories are as enduring as they are entertaining. Stacie Passon’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a wonderful adaptation of Jackson’s novel, drawing out all the Other-ed angst and painful sexism the author drew partly from her own experiences. Alexandra Daddario and Taissa Farmiga are on their A game here as two odd but strong sisters, flanked by the strong talents of both Sebastian Stan, in devious misogynist mode as a visiting cousin, and Crispin Glover, playing the sisters’ wonderfully confused and traumatised uncle. This Jackson tale is a great example of her human-centred work, like the small town terror of her short story “The Lottery.” Passon does justice to the author’s work by not straying too far from the source material, and also by filling the screen with lush Gothic imagery.

Bliss

BlissThe thing about Joe Begos is he makes awesome movies. The end.
Well, okay, not the end.
His previous films, Almost Human and The Mind’s Eye, were both wonderfully gruesome treats that feel respectively like supercharged ’80s nostalgia and the greasy lovechild of David Cronenberg. Only fitting that Bliss feels akin to a gory Abel Ferrara flick on methamphetamine. This vampiric journey is, on its face, an orgy of madness and violence. Beneath its surface there’s a fascinating dissection of artistic woe, and it’s the best stuff Begos has done to date.

Parasite

Parasite“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
— Karl Marx (from his rave review of Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite)

Lords of Chaos

Lords of ChaosFor those who’ve dipped into black metal, Lords of Chaos is very likely a familiar story. Jonas Åkerlund was probably always the best fit for director here, as he was the original drummer for the band Bathory, and his early directing career was in the music video format, shooting videos for artists such as The Prodigy, Madonna, The Cardigans, Metallica, Jamiroqai, Iggy Pop, The Smashing Pumpkins, Ozzy Osbourne, and more.

Åkerlund provides a penetrating look at the origins of the band Mayhem and their role in helping to launch the black metal scene into the public eye across the world. While there are many tongue-in-cheek moments providing much needed comic relief, the film is decidedly grim and, yes, downright brutal. The story’s a cautionary tale in many ways. It’s likewise a way of breaking down myths, digging into the truths and lies of Mayhem and particularly its leader, Euronymous (played to eerie perfection by Rory Culkin). A stunning, unforgettable, nasty piece of cinema.

Cat Sticks

Cat SticksFather Gore got the chance to screen Cat Sticks during the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival. Photographer Ronny Sen wrote and directed this feature film, his debut, and it is one of the most impressive works that played during the entirety of the festival. Cat Sticks is a narrative feature, though it doesn’t specifically focus too hard on plot. What Sen accomplishes is giving the Western viewer a glimpse of struggles with addiction in Calcutta, shifting from the definitively real to the, at times, slightly surreal. Striking black-and-white photography adds a richness and beauty to the often ugly tribulations of drug addicts attempting to stay alive and afloat amid their crushing circumstances.

Wounds

WoundsBabak Anvari’s first feature, Under the Shadow, is one of the best films of the decade, according to Father Gore. His follow-up Wounds, an adaptation of Nathan Ballingrud’s novella The Visible Filth, is a disturbing, yucky story focused on a bartender named Will (Armie Hammer). Will finds a phone at the end of a wild night, and his journey towards returning the phone to its owner cleaves his entire life open, revealing scary things about himself. To say more is to ruin the film’s icky goodness.

The Lodge

The LodgeThe duo behind Goodnight Mommy have brought forth another unnerving vision of family with The Lodge— a story about a soon-to-be stepmom getting snowed in at a holiday village with her fiance’s two kids. A beast of a film which uses the snowy isolation to burrow deep into its protagonist’s head, and the audience’s, too. A tense, troubling ride. This killed at festivals during 2019. More people will get a chance to see it soon enough.

The Swerve

The SwerveFew films about motherhood reach the desperate, disturbing heights of The Swerve, the feature debut of director-writer Dean Kapsalis. The screenplay is a wealth of wonders, riffing on classic literature and, at the same time, exploring a neglected woman’s weary mind. Azura Skye is a subtle knockout in the lead. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of The Swerve is that Kapsalis, a man, is able to portray Skye’s character with grace, never objectifying her or holding her up on an infallible pedestal.

Koko-Di Koko-Da

Koko-Di Koko-DaA mind-bender. There are all kinds of movies that use a time loop or repetitive time cycle as a gimmick— some work well, others do not. Koko-Di Koko-Da is Johannes Nyholm’s dissection of trauma in the life of a married couple. Two parents, some time after losing their child, go on a camping trip in an attempt to reconnect, but what they find is a terrifying waking nightmare that will not end. The difference between this and other stories employing a repetitive time loop is the focus on the parents and their inability to break out of the trauma trapping them. Much symbolism is packed into this strange story, and the end, while potentially as confusing as the rest of the movie, is one of the better endings in 2019.

1BR

1BRThe way horror investigates different spaces and places is a hallmark of the genre. Many haunted houses, abandoned creepy hospitals, and other buildings have featured in the work of horror authors and filmmakers over the years, each with their own uncanny qualities. 1BR takes a look at the apartment building as a prison-like environment, one not so much filled with ghosts but with scary people. The central character, Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom), finds herself living in a strange building when she moves to Los Angeles. She’s trying to leave the small town life behind, along with a controlling father, and begin anew. She only escaped one form of control and repression to trade it in for another. A horrifying rumination on community, and an unexpected film with several unsettling performances.

Long Lost

Long LostA film that came out of nowhere. It involves two long lost brothers, separated at birth, coming back together. What occurs after this initial setup is a labyrinthine walk through bourgeois boredom, performance, and, ultimately, terror.
Don’t sleep on this one: Long Lost is a truly crazy ride.

Day and Night

Day and NightAnother treat from Fantasia 2019.
Day and Night is an emotional, depressing, and liberating view of capitalism’s personal effects. Koji Akashia (Shin’nosuke Abe) is heading home to mourn the suicide of his father, a whistleblower who attempted to expose a large car corporation’s unsafe practises. Koji has to confront family and friends while he seeks truth. What he finds is a truth that’s difficult to reconcile. The film offers an unflinching perspective on the division between good and evil, and how, too often, the lines can blur.

Midsommar

MidsommarAri Aster is a sick fuck, in the best ways. His penchant for grief-themed stories continues after his fantastic debut Hereditary with this year’s Midsommar. There were always going to be comparisons to The Wicker Man, though too many film lovers out there seem convinced this is the only folk horror in existence. Aster does so much more than play off Robin Hardy’s 1973 cult classic. His protagonist, Dani (Florence Pugh), goes through a roller coaster of emotion after her parents and sister die in a murder-suicide and she decides to go on a trip to rural Sweden with her boyfriend and his buddies. Her experience in a little Swedish village becomes truly horrific, leaving her to confront the nature of family and friendship, albeit in torturous ways.

The Prey

The PreyWho doesn’t want to see a bunch of martial arts ass kicking crossbred with an action-thriller plot? Crazies, that’s who!

The Prey comes straight out of Cambodia. A cop, Xin (Gu Shangwei), tracking international criminals accidentally gets rounded up in a surprise bust, placing him smack dab in the middle of a remote jungle prison overseen by a twisted warden (a delightfully deranged Vithaya Pansringarm). What follows is a mix of an undercover cop story with elements of The Most Dangerous Game. Steady adrenaline, a dribble of Marxism, and awe-inspiring cinematography make this Jimmy Henderson joint must-see.

The Golden Glove

The Golden GloveFatih Akin could’ve done any number of films as a follow-up to his awesome 2017 feature In the Fade. Nobody expected him to adapt Heinz Strunk’s novel The Golden Glove, based on the life of German serial killer Fritz Honka.

Honka murdered four women between 1970 and 1975, hiding dismembered pieces of their bodies in his small loft. He was an alcoholic who frequented a pub named The Golden Glove, where he would meet his unfortunate victims. Many critics have been harsh on Akin, insisting there’s no point to the nastiness and ugly behaviour captured in the film. Father Gore posits that Akin has made the correct type of serial killer picture, simply for the fact it doesn’t try to explain Honka or his motivations— in part, this is because Honka himself didn’t really have an explanation, and his severe alcohol abuse was even considered a mitigating factor in his crimes. Why do people want to see a glossed over, shiny depiction of a serial killer? They are hideous aberrations, most of whom live like animals and treat the human race in the same way. Why do people insist on finding some ‘reason’ behind the crimes? Many times, there is none, at least not a sensible one, only the lack of a soul in those who commit such crimes.

If there had to be an adaptation of Strunk’s novel, it needed to be made by Akin. The Golden Glove is an uncompromising, fly-on-the-wall perspective of Honka. Most of the time it’s disgusting. Sometimes it’s darkly funny. Come for the madness, stay for Jonas Dassler’s unrecognisable physical transformation into a wretched human of psychologically monstrous proportions.

The Deeper You Dig

The Deeper You DigA husband+wife+daughter team are responsible for the odd magic that is The Deeper You Dig, a low-budget film that uses its strengths to a serious, spooky advantage. The screenplay looks at the life of a lonely dude intersecting with that of a mother and her daughter, in the most tragic way. There’s bits of the occult in here, maybe a reference to Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, and three solid performances from the leads (the happy family team!). This will pull you down the rabbit hole of despair, grief, and guilt. An inventive, imaginative piece of cinema. Hopefully the family keeps making films, because their creative energy shines in every frame of this little chiller.

The Nightingale

The NightingaleJennifer Kent’s debut feature The Babadook blew many of us away, and rightfully so, but her latest, The Nightingale, is a wholly different beast. Kent takes on the intersectional history of Australia, looking at the plight of an Irish woman and an Aboriginal man in the early 1800s.
This won’t be for everybody. There are several graphic rapes depicted, as well as lots of terrible violence. In the hands of another filmmaker, the story might not be treated with the dignity Kent instils in her leads. In spite of the awful violent acts the audience witnesses, The Nightingale is important cinema: it refuses to look away, to pull punches, and continually insists on showing the resilience of humanity and its hideousness.

Incredible Violence

Incredible ViolenceIt isn’t often Father Gore gets to champion a genre film coming from his homeland, Newfoundland and Labrador, a patch of rocky land on the far East Coast of Canada. Thankfully, over the past few years, genre film is having its moment on the island (one of those moments is the film Father Gore wrote, New Woman), and G. Patrick Condon’s Incredible Violence is one of the films leading the charge.
Condon combines the idea of found footage horror with the latent anger of a frustrated filmmaker into a metafictional exploration of what constitutes horror and exploitation. Actor Stephen Oates plays a fictional version of the director. He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place, having blown all the money he was given to produce a film for a shadowy studio. What does he do? He locks a cast of people in a remote house and turns real life into cinema. The vicious, and occasionally hilarious, results aren’t what he expected, but they’re certainly worthy of a life on film.

Piercing

PiercingNicolas Pesce’s trajectory as director is interesting, starting with his skin-crawling The Eyes of My Mother, and continuing on with his upcoming version of The Grudge. In between, there’s Piercing— a weird and erotic depiction of a twisted BDSM-esque relationship that develops between a sex worker and a psychopath. The source material is a novel by Ryû Murakami, which Pesce follows and often departs to craft his own tale. A lot of twisted stuff. Beneath it all is a story about abused, traumatised people, and a look at how those people can either perpetuate traumatic abuse, or use it to advantage.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on FirePortrait of a Lady on Fire is stunning to look at, and wholly engaging once the performances suck you into their characters’ world. The story is a timely one, especially in a day and age when bigots foolishly assume the LGBTQ community only popped up a few years ago. Céline Sciamma does wonders with the screenplay, though her directorial eye deserves most of the praise. Her vision of two women in inescapable circumstances may be set in the late 1700s, but its message is timeless, its power undeniable.

Ready or Not

Ready or NotSamara Weaving for President!

Ready or Not is an excellently twisty story about a newly wed woman whose wedding night with her in-laws transforms from a welcome to the family into an all-out, desperate fight for survival. So much bourgeois insanity, plus solid performances. The dark comedy mixes well with the horror, as well. All of which combines to make a film you don’t want to miss. Big body count, big laughs, and a gigantic performance from Ms. Weaving.

Harpoon

HarpoonHarpoon is an unexpected dose of hilarious horror. A clever, dark view on relationships, focused on a love triangle gone wrong at sea. Say no more.

Gwen

GwenFather Gore is unabashedly Marxist. So when a filmmaker tackles Industrial Revolution-era class politics along with misogyny, it’s a must see! Director-writer William McGregor does an astounding job here, capturing Wales like never before. Eleanor Worthington Cox and Maxine Peake give intense performances to draw us into a desperately violent world of hard men and even harder women. Gwen is an unexpected historical horror that creeps up on the viewer, complete with images that will likely linger in the mind longer after the story’s finished.

Starfish

StarfisThere are unique films, and then there’s Starfish. This is one wild, innovative ride. Al White’s debut feature, starring Virginia Gardner, goes from apocalyptic flick to semi-H.P. Lovecraft riff, jumping into a weird and wonderful animated sequence, all to tell the story of a young woman coming to grips with the end of her own personal little world. Go in knowing nothing more and it’ll provide many surprises.

The Colour Out of Space

The Colour Out of SpaceNic fuckin’ Cage, baby!

Richard Stanley’s latest is one of Father Gore’s favourite H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, if not the top favourite. A strange and crazy experience, naturally, given both the director’s imagination and Cage’s delightfully controlled mania. Plus there’s Q’orianka Kilcher, Joely Richardson, and even Tommy Chong. You’ve got to see it.

Holiday

HolidayThere are ways to switch up the norm, then there’s the way Isabella Eklöf wields Holiday. Victoria Carmen Sonne plays Sascha, a drug trafficker’s younger girlfriend who’s holidaying with him in Bodrum. From there, things get ugly. Much violence, much aggression. But all is not as it seems, and Eklöf uses what one expects from this type of tale to her advantage. A breathtakingly gorgeous, unbearably uncomfortable film that’s as brutal as it is necessary.

The Ranger

The RangerA damn fine ’80s slasher made in the 2010s. Not only is this a fun slice-and-dice, it’s got feminist themes and punk rock! Jenn Wexler takes us on a nasty run through the woods with a bunch of mostly annoying punk rock assholes who don’t respect the outdoors. They run afoul of The Ranger‘s eponymous slasher. The only genuinely cool punk among them, Chelsea (played to vulnerable yet powerful perfection by Chloë Levine), must either fight and survive or die.

Gnarly thrills and gnarlier music. Some crazy deaths. Jeremy Holm kills, figuratively and literally, as the Ranger, and always a treat to see Larry Fessenden, regardless of how long.

The Irishman

The IrishmanMartin Scorsese’s (at times too) lengthy story of gangsters and unions and politics, alongside the personal life story of Frank Sheeran, is a stunning piece of work. Indeed there are bits of fat that could’ve been trimmed. Ultimately it’s a great film told be a master of storytelling. The Irishman feels like it’s Scorsese, and De Niro, and Pesci, and Pacino (et al), looking back at their own careers, just as much as it’s about Sheeran looking back at his odd criminal path.
Although these artists have made SO MANY MORE great works, they’ve made very famous films about mafia men. There’s a duality in a lot of softer moments of The Irishman, where we see these ageing actors and an ageing director looking back over what they’ve done, considering their mistakes, and taking stock. No, they don’t have anything in common with the gangsters they portray, but all humans make mistakes— some bigger, more murder-y than others, definitely— and Scorsese has long been a filmmaker concerned with morality: ours, society’s, his own.

Hagazussa

HagazussaHagazussa is a disturbing and provocative film. A heady cocktail of centuries old misogyny, a bit of unnerving antisemitism, dark eroticism, and, believe it or not, more. Sometimes you see a debut from a filmmaker that’ll leave you stunned, and this is one of them. Lukas Feigelfeld made this as his graduation film, so it’ll be interesting to see what he does next as a followup. Aleksandra Cwen’s central performance as the tortured Albrun is hypnotic, as are the visuals Feigelfeld provides, ranging from surreal horror arthouse stuff to the impeccable photography of the film’s Austrian locations.

Bit

BitThe vampire flick can always use a nice, fresh injection. Bit is about a trans teen girl on summer vacation in L.A., where she runs into a group of queer feminist vampires. This time women are making the streets safer for other women, using their vampiric abilities to take out men who prey on them.
All doesn’t go so well after a while— everybody loves power.
Brad Michael Elmore’s got imagination and it brings this vamp horror to great heights. People can bitch about so-called PC culture all they want, Father Gore wants more of this inclusive-type horror. It makes for new and compelling stories, and isn’t that what everyone’s always complaining about? Well, here’s new, and it’s damn good fun.

The Wind

The WindThe Western + the horror genre hasn’t yet been overused, like other sub-genres. Any time there’s a new entry it’s always worth checking out, no matter if it’s good, simply for the fact it’s a unique sub-genre unto itself. Emma Tammi’s debut feature The Wind is Gothic Western to its core, the very definition. A couple predictable moments aren’t enough to topple this film. Tammi directs with a keen eye for building tense frights, using Teresa Sutherland’s chilling, if not devastating screenplay. Caitlin Gerard slays the lead. Well worth the time, all around.

Ode to Nothing

Ode to NothingThis was another unexpected film. Ode to Nothing looks at poverty, loneliness, and the existential line between the living and the dead. A woman called Sonya who’s taken over the slowly dying family embalming business is giving up on her own life, except one day she meets a corpse that might change all that. Pokwang plays Sonya with a raw power that gripped Father Gore from first to last. There are difficult, if not universal issues tackled, and the general reckoning with death we all must face is confronted with care and some laughs by extra talented director-writer Dwein Baltazar.

Knives and Skin

Knives and SkinThere’s no way to adequately describe Jennifer Reeder’s latest, Knives and Skin. Some have called it Twin Peaks crossed with a teen drama. Others, like Father Gore, use the term magical realism to peg its aesthetic. No matter how it’s written about or interpreted, Reeder’s film is in its own realm, and, lord, is it ever a beautiful thing!

Girl on the Third Floor

Girl on the Third FloorTravis Stevens has helped produced some awesome stuff. Only right he finally shows us what he’s got in that head of his, offering up Girl on the Third Floor as his first of hopefully many examples. The story puts Don (played by C.M. Punk a.k.a Phil Brooks) in an old house he tries to renovate, only for the house’s ghosts to make that far more difficult than he’d imagined. A gooey, disturbing, grim film, but also one with a glimmer of feminist hope, too. Nasty and funny. Sarah Brooks, Tonya Kay, and Trieste Kelly Dunn each do great work, as does Brooks. Stevens clearly has an eye for the grotesque and the gorgeous alike.

The Platform

The PlatformAnother one where the less you know the better. This deals with class in a way that’s very heavy-handed. In spite of that, The Platform has a vicious weight to its premise, and the further it goes on, the wilder it gets, only to come to a conclusion that makes us realise what the ‘good fight’ is really all about when it comes down to the reality of class struggle.

Daniel Isn’t Real

Daniel Isn't RealAdam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real centres on Luke (Miles Robbins), whose mental illness hides nefariously as an imaginary friend, growing into an imaginary adult alongside him until Daniel (Patrick Schwarzenegger) is grown, too. Then life takes a much darker turn for the worse.
Mortimer does well looking at things we still don’t talk enough about, from this latest film to his previous Some Kind of Hate, choosing to use horror as a vessel for conversation. There are freaky visuals, as well as a stellar cast, and the story, based on Brian DeLeeuw’s novel, will dig in its hooks.

Jade’s Asylum

Jade's AsylumMay not be a more surprising 2019 film than Jade’s Asylum.
The eponymous Jade (Morgan Kohan) goes on a trip to Costa Rica with an emotionally abusive boyfriend and his buddies, where her psychological breakdown occurs— or, is it actually a breakdown? Lines blur between what is and isn’t real. Maybe. Wink, wink.

Possum

PossumFucking harrowing: enter at your own risk(!!!).
Sean Harris needs to be cast in more leading roles. What an actor.

This Teacher

This TeacherIslamophobia is all too real, no matter what neo-Nazis and right-wing asshole politicians want you to believe. This Teacher is unsettling. Hafsia Herzi plays a young Muslim woman on vacation in America and her trip devolves into a true nightmare, as one microaggression after another spirals into a potentially dangerous situation. Herzi gives a strong performance, commanding the viewer never to forget the toll hate takes on those who become objects of white hatred.

Body at Brighton Rock

Body at Brighton RockMaybe others felt Roxanne Benjamin’s Body at Brighton Rock had a messy protagonist. They’d be right. And that’s part of the point: let female leads be messy, let them make mistakes, and let them learn, just like we allow for the same with male leads. This film feels like a neo-Western in ways. Creepy, nerve-wracking, and a simple, effective thriller.

Knife+Heart

Knife+HeartThis has sleaze, romance, the gay porn industry of the 1970s, Giallo-inspiration, and more horror goodness. A producer, Anne (Vanessa Paradis), finds her life spiralling out of control when her editor/lover leaves her, so she dives into an ambitious film with her close friend, and at the same time gets wrapped up in a murder investigation after one of her actors is murdered. There are few slashers that rise to the level of art, but that’s exactly what Knife+Heart does with dark humour, brutality, bitter romance, and some truly excellent performances. It’s more Giallo than slasher, yet the elements of both are there, combining into something glorious.


The following entries are officially
Father Gore’s Top 10 of 2019,
from 10 down to his most favourite at #1.


10) Into the Dark
Culture Shock

Culture ShockA Mexican woman pursues the American Dream, only it isn’t what she thought it’d be, and it’s not quite what the audience thought, either. “Culture Shock”— part of Hulu’s Into the Dark series— may be technically an episode of a TV anthology series, that doesn’t make it any less of an actual film with its runtime of 91 minutes. This is an important, timely sci-fi/horror story, digging into Trump-era American politics and America as a whole for its racism and xenophobia. Gigi Saul Guerrero is a kick ass director and has been a rush of fresh blood in genre filmmaking over the past few years.

9) Homewrecker

HomewreckerThere’s no film in 2019 with a performance Father Gore loves more than he adores the dual performances of Alex Essoe and Precious Chong. Essoe plays a meek woman with a nice life, at least on the outside, and Chong is an older, lonely, and possibly deranged woman determined to form a lasting bond. Their clash in Zach Gayne’s Homewrecker is legendary. Chong and Essoe contributed to the screenplay, making their characters feel all the more real.

8) Sator

SatorJordan Graham’s second feature Sator is such an impressive feat— he’s all but a one-man film crew. There are similarities between this film and Hereditary, in that they, at least partly, examine the effects of hereditary mental health issues in families. There’s a wholly different aesthetic and eerie quality to Graham’s Sator, something that’ll burrow beneath the skin quickly and thoroughly.

7) A Good Woman is Hard to Find

A Good Woman is Hard to FindAnother you don’t need to hear much about, except that Sarah Bolger’s performance is a stunner, along with Edward Hogg’s great supporting performance and Abner Pastoll’s keen direction. A lean, mean revenge thriller that subverts gendered expectations.

6) Darlin’

DarlinPollyanna McIntosh brings The Woman back after the film of the same name, which followed Offspring, in her directorial debut, Darlin’. Much to say about misogyny and sexism here, specifically re: religion. McIntosh eviscerates the patriarchy, directing Lauryn Canny in an excellently raw performance as Darlin’ herself. Definitely much rightful anger towards male control and religious hypocrisy. Love to see it!

5) Happy Face

Happy FaceFor his film Happy Face, Alexandre Franchi put out casting calls to actual support groups for people who are facially different. He was able to find people who wanted to be on film and their personal experience shines through the story. All their tales of isolation, rejection, and pain of every kind, both corporeal and existential, lend such important reality to this piece of fiction. Franchi avoids any sense of exploitation by the way he centres these people in the plot: it’s as much about them as actual human beings as it is about the semi-fictional characters they play.

4) Luz

LuzAll you must know about the dreamy fog of Luz: 1/3 Lucio Fulci, 1/3 David Lynch, 1/3 Lars von Trier while simultaneously announcing Tilman Singer as a distinct artist in his own right.

3) The Lighthouse

The LighthouseSomehow, some way, Robert Eggers managed to make two of the decade’s great horror films. The Lighthouse is a mesmerising followup to The Witch, offering as much period piece detail, and, this time, a heavy dash or two of surrealism + mythology. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson play so well off each other it’s a shame they’re not already doing another film together. This has it all: creepy mermaids, nightmare visions, a tentacle or two, queerness, and a pair of powerhouse performances.

Now, go ‘head: spill yer beans.

2) Depraved

DepravedMary Shelley’s Frankenstein has long been a piece of Father Gore’s darkened heart. Larry Fessenden is also a favourite. Imagine the two should clash together in a post-modern retelling that focuses on the way bad parenting, on the level of generations, can corrupt absolutely. Depraved‘s new Dr. Frankenstein-like character is a former field doctor whose time in the Middle East irreparably shaped him with PTSD that leads him to attempt terrifying experiments in his Brooklyn loft.
Yeah, that’s right— you know you want it.

1) In Fabric

In FabricYou either really dig Peter Strickland’s work, or you probably don’t, which is fine, too. Father Gore thinks he’s an auteur filmmaker, whose eye for the Gothic transcends genre (see: The Duke of Burgundy). His best work to date, and the site’s #1 film of 2019, is In Fabric. Its plot concerns several people who come into close contact with a dress that proves to be haunted, or cursed, or maybe it’s the deviously recurrent, putrid essence of capitalism that will, eventually, kill us all? You decide.

One thing’s for sure, this is a singular slice of cinematic bliss. Strickland pulls out every stop, giving homage to Giallos along the way. The film boasts unforgettable performances from Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Sidse Babett Knudsen. This will haunt your dreams, and it’ll probably make you chuckle a good bit, too.

Comments

Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s