2016 MOST SURPRISING MOVIES I WATCHED (IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE)
Brace yourself. Before going into any further detail, let me just say this movie made me suuuper uncomfortable. In the theatre, the final few minutes were oppressively loud, an overwhelming tide of choral singing, overlaid with profoundly occult events. I felt pressed back into my seat by the absolute intensity of The VVitch’s final revelation, nor could I look away…. What I mean to say is, I literally did not like it. The movie is an excellent work of filmcraft - it fully transports you to pilgrim America, with an accented historic dialect of English so precariously familiar that you’re drawn into a kind of hypnotic trance just to unravel the dialogue. Plausibility settles on the movie like a winter chill before the threat of supernatural danger starts to impinge on Thomasin & her family’s life-in-exile. All told, your suspension of disbelief gets strung tight and high in The VVitch — maybe I just got too involved to step back from those final moments, as a viewer — to a depth that its lore and superstitions will follow you beyond its ending. Horror might be the wrong word — The VVitch is more of a Fear movie. And while I certainly won’t be subjecting myself to that deeply intimate fear again anytime soon, I highly recommend bearing witness it at least once.
Brace yourself. Patrick Stewart as a brooding confederate Neo-Nazi will shatter your Picard fantasies. Perhaps as a follow-up to Blue Ruin, Green Room should come as no surprise — film auteur Jeremy Saulnier has a penchant for a Coen Brothers’ style starkness in his presentation of violence in everyday environments. The premise? A run-down punk band trapped in the green room of an evil club. It’s deliciously simple, conquering its sequence of events with a steady hand and a vicious realism. Never overtalkative — just enough to characterize the individuals among the increasingly queasy negotiations that begin to take place, once the band witnesses a murder — Green Room is more of a Home Alone for grown-ups, a grimly exciting what-if scenario of common-sense survival strategies inside destructible man-made environments. To say nothing of being Anton Yeltsin’s final (and a very effective one, at that) performance, Green Room is slashy thrills in sober-headed clarity.