Kelli’s Top 10 Picks
Bella Thorne stars as a young woman seeking out the father that assaulted her mother when she was a kid. She’s learned that he’s threatening her mother and she’s begun a journey to put an end to it. But things may not be as they seem. When she arrives she discovers something disturbing and becomes the target of two brothers who desperately want the cash her father has hidden somewhere on his property.
9: The Wretched
A defiant teenage boy, struggling with his parents’ imminent divorce, faces off with a thousand-year-old witch, who is living beneath the skin of and posing as the woman next door.
On a secluded farm in a nondescript rural town, a man is slowly dying. His family gathers to mourn, and soon darkness grows, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over the family.
In director Eric Bress’ (interview) Ghosts of War, set during WWII, a squad of soldiers is sent to guard a mansion taken from the Nazis. You would think it would be an easy job, lounging around in a gorgeous house filled with food and wine, but you’d be wrong. When the squad arrives to relieve another group of soldiers, which are more than happy to leave the sprawling manor turned outpost as quickly as they can and get back to the rough conditions of the battlefield. It doesn’t take long for the new soldiers to realize that something is very wrong with the place when strange noises and paranormal activity begin to plague them. Soon the group is locked in a fight for survival. As if fighting Nazis weren’t bad enough, they now must also find a way to survive some seriously pissed off ghosts.
Omari Hardwick (“Power”) stars as Marquis T. Woods, a man who escaped his abusive father and the Kentucky mountains to become a big city lawyer with a beautiful family. When he gets the call that his father has died he and his family board his Cessna plane and head to the place he’s tried so hard to forget. Unfortunately, a terrible storm hits and the plane crashes. When he wakes up in the home of a strange couple he finds himself a prisoner and has no clue as to what happened to his family. He soon realizes that his rescuer (Loretta Devine, interview) is skilled in the ways of Hoodoo and that his life is in serious danger.
Director Richard Stanley’s (interview) Color Out of Space is an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s tale. It centers on a family living on a remote farm surrounded by ancient hardwoods. Their troubles begin when they are awakened by a strange noise and incredible lights of amethyst hues that fill the night sky, then the crash of a meteorite in their yard. The event makes the local news the next day but after a severe lightning storm, it is not long before an unseen alien menace begins to spread slowly in the form of flowers at first, then the farm’s animals begin to mutate and people’s minds are altered.
Directed by Brandon Christensen, Z follows Elizabeth (Keegan Connor Tracy), a mother whose 8-year-old son has a new playmate, an invisible friend named Z. As her son’s behavior becomes more menacing she begins to wonder if Z is real.
2: Come Play
When Oliver, a young boy, reads a story online about misunderstood monsters he has no idea that is about to unleash one, putting himself and his parents in the path of a relentless entity hellbent on dragging Oliver back to its world.
Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister (Harriet Dyer (NBC’s The InBetween), their childhood friend (Aldis Hodge, Straight Outta Compton) and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid, HBO’s Euphoria).
But when Cecilia’s abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House”) commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turn lethal, threatening the lives of those she loves, Cecilia’s sanity begins to unravel as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
Writer-director Leigh Whannell’s film is fresh new take on a Universal Monsters classic that we all know and love. The updated spin puts actress Elizabeth Moss in the lead role that she delivers with protection.
Dan XIII’s Top 10 Picks
Struggling comedian Brandon is determined to get through one final show. As the night progresses he starts to relate to his subject matter and slowly wins over his crowd. His final bit was killer, but was anyone left to appreciate it??
Greg’s Top 10 Picks
10: Get Duked!
An anarchic, hip-hop inspired comedy that follows four city boys on a wilderness trek as they try to escape a mysterious huntsman.
9: Scare Me
In the film, Fred (Josh Ruben, CollegeHumor), a frustrated copywriter, checks into a winter cabin to start his first novel. While jogging in the nearby woods, he meets Fanny (Aya Cash, “You’re The Worst” “The Boys”), a successful and smug young horror author who fuels his insecurities. During a power outage, Fanny challenges Fred to tell a scary story. As a storm sets in, they pass the time spinning spooky tales fueled by the tensions between them, and Fred is forced to confront his ultimate fear: Fanny is the better storyteller. The stakes are raised when they’re visited by a horror fan (Chris Redd, “Saturday Night Live”) who delivers levity (and a pizza) to the proceedings.
The film follows a group of veterans hanging out at their local VFW when a young woman, “Lizard (Sierra McCormick),” runs in with a bag of drugs stolen from a dealer. The veterans feel obligated to protect the girl and when the dealer’s people come for the drugs it’s an all-out fight for survival, but the group is not going out without a fight.
7: Peninsula (Train to Busan 2)
Set four years after South Korea’s total decimation in Train to Busan, the zombie thriller that captivated audiences worldwide, acclaimed director Yeon Sang-ho brings us Peninsula, the next nail-biting chapter in his post-apocalyptic world.
Jung-seok, a soldier who previously escaped the diseased wasteland, relives the horror when assigned to a covert operation with two simple objectives: retrieve and survive. When his team unexpectedly stumbles upon survivors, their lives will depend on whether the best—or worst—of human nature prevails in the direst of circumstances.
6: The Grudge
In writer-director Nicolas Pesce‘s The Grudge, a curse born in Japan is simultaneously unleashed in the U.S. Those who encounter it are consumed by its fury and met with a violent fate.
Directed by Natalie Erika James who co-wrote the film with Christian White, Relic‘s official synopsis reads as: “A daughter, mother, and grandmother are haunted by a manifestation of dementia that consumes their family home.” The synopsis does not do the film justice.
“Seventeen-year-old Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton, Blockers, HBO’s Big Little Lies) is just trying to survive the bloodthirsty halls of Blissfield High and the cruelty of the popular crowd. But when she becomes the newest target of “The Butcher” (Vince Vaughn), her town’s infamous serial killer, her senior year becomes the least of her worries.”
Sarah Paulson (“AHS”) stars as Diane Sherman, a mother consumed with her desire to protect her teenage daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen) who is bound to a wheelchair and suffers from a host of other medical problems. But everything is not as it seems and Diane is hiding a dark secret. When her daughter begins to uncover the truth and tries to escape Diane’s world is thrown into chaos.
See Synopsis above.
1: The Platform
Set inside a vertical prison system with one cell per level. Two people per cell. One only food platform and two minutes per day to feed up to down. An endless nightmare trapped in The Pit.
Joseph’s Top 10 Picks
10. Hunter Hunter
This thoroughly gripping film about a family living off the grid and protecting themselves and their territory from a wolf goes into the dark, wholly unexpected places and features a hair-raising climax that is not for the faint of heart.
Director Joe Badon’s sophomore follow-up to 2017’s The God Inside My Ear is a mind-blowing cinematic odyssey that mashes up elements of everything from psychodrama to kaiju cinema to supernatural horror to melodrama and far beyond.
Go into this riveting science fiction/horror hybrid knowing as little as possible about it and give into its baffling, often chilling mystery as it simultaneously unravels realistic family drama.
Indonesian director Joko Anwar follows up his terrific 2017 chiller Satan’s Slaves with another winner: a creepy, rural-set supernatural offering with an EC Comics feel about a woman trying to uncover secrets of her past.
A young woman unsure about her marriage begins swallowing dangerous objects — and that’s only the start of her problems in this artistically crafted film featuring an incredible performance from Haley Bennett.
Fans of classic Hammer horror films and gothic horror should love Neil Marshall’s 17th-century tale of a woman (Charlotte Kirk in a terrific performance) accused of being a witch.
One of the most tense, gripping films I have seen in ages, this film about a kidnapped preteen and his friend’s attempts to free him had me squirming in my seat and shouting advice and encouragement at its young protagonists throughout the film.
This Canadian occult chiller is a dread-filled coming of age story about a teenage girl, hidden from their small community by her mother, discovering her supernatural powers and making the most of them.
Director/co-writer Natalie Erika James’ first feature film (a U.S./Australian coproduction) fulfills the promise of her earlier excellent shorts in this tale of three generations of women dealing with the horrors of dementia and the supernatural terrors in the eldest mother’s house.
Stars Julian Richings and Sheila McCarthy put on an acting clinic in this outstanding, creepy Canadian horror-comedy as two grieving grandparents who go to extremes to bring their young grandson back from the dead.
To qualify for our Top 10 list, the films must have been released between January 1st and December 25th, 2020.
We would like to thank all filmmakers, writers, actors, cast, and film crews for working so hard to entertain us. We don’t know what we’d do without you!