“Willy’s Wonderland” was one of my most and only anticipated movies of 2021. It is a horror/dark comedy movie revolving around the legendary Nicolas Cage who has to work in an old children’s party place in order to pay off the damages of his car. In the process he learns about the dark history of the place while also finding love in an old hobby of his.
I would go into the pros and cons like I usually do but I feel like it would take away from the overall experience of this movie. If I was to give my rating over my overall enjoyment of the movie it would be an easy 9/10. This was one of the most fun movies I have seen in such a long time and with a bigger budget I feel like it could have been my one of my favorite horror parodies ever. One could say that the lack of budget was a factor on what made this movie so entertaining and I would also agree on that. However, there were too many parts of this movie where Nicolas Cage was not the center of attention and those moments always seemed to drag to me (except with Tito, those were great). There were times where the shaky cam got a bit obnoxious and some of the strobe light effects. Either way it was still a very fun movie, especially with friends so I highly recommend if you are just having a few drinks and have some friends over or online.
This is the animated prequel to “Train to Busan”. The animation might throw a few people off but it’s still such a pleasure to watch! It has quickly became one of my favorite zombie movies and I can’t wait to show it to other people!
24. Another (2012)
Available on Crunchyroll
My all time favorite horror anime! This is a show that I really shouldn’t spoil much of but just know it’s pretty unforgiving and the story is pretty neat as well. There’s some pretty infamous deaths in the show too and if you really need a good horror anime to watch this is it since the horror anime genre doesn’t really get much better than this.
23. The Lighthouse (2019)
Available on Prime
This was one of my favorite movies of last year but I still have it pretty low since it never really scared me nor gave me a Halloween vibe. This is a psychological horror movie with Robert Pattinson and Willem Defou putting on an incredible performance. If you like old timey sailor stuff I would recommend as well.
22. Train to Busan (2016)
Available on Prime and maybe Netflix?
Probably my favorite zombie movie next to Shaun of the dead. This is a Korean film focused around a father trying to get his daughter to her mother during a zombie apocalypse. The acting is great, there are some really heart felt and sad moments, and a lot of the characters are just so likeable. This is a movie I’ve watched countless times and have yet to get tired of it!
21.The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
Available on Netflix
This was my favorite show of 2018 and is still one of my favorite horror shows of all time. At this point everyone’s watched this show and have been binging its second season. However, if you haven’t watched it and need a really good show to binge, I would highly recommend this one.
20. Byeonshin aka Metamorphisis (2019)
Available exclusively on Shudder
This movie would have definitely gone on my best of 2019 list if I had seen it sooner! It is such a great Korean horror movie and reminded my why I love the whole ghost genre so much. It even introduces a really good ghost concept that was pretty well executed. Not to mention that this was the first horror movie in years that had a moment where I was genuinely disturbed to the point where I kept thinking about it the entire night. Please watch it!
19. The X-Files (1993)
Available to rent on streaming platforms
This show will literally make you question every little abnormality that happens in your life. It is pretty old at this point and a lot of the effects are pretty out dated but it still holds up so well even now. This is another show worth binging and if you’re a huge conspiracy theorist then I would recommend it even more.
18. Cloverfield (2008)
Available on Netflix
“Cloverfield” is a perfect mix of monster movie and found footage. Probably one of my favorite monster movies if not my favorite monster movie. It’s a trip and if you haven’t watched it give it a chance.
17. Sinister (2012)
Available on Netflix
Out of all the jump scare horror movie series that came out in the early 2010s, this is my favorite by far. The concept is interesting and it doesn’t rely as much on jump scares as something like “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious”. The film revolves around an author who writes books on previous murder cases and decides to move in to the house where the murder was taken place. It’s a lot more accessible to watch now that it’s on Netflix so try it out if you didn’t watch it before.
16. 28 Days Later.. (2002)
Available to rent on streaming platforms
Another zombie type movie but it’s Halloween so why not! I’ve always enjoyed this movie when I get the chance to watch it the sequel “28 Weeks Later” is pretty great too! I have the blu-ray if anyone wants to borrow this horror classic!
15. Get Out (2017)
Available to rent on streaming platforms
If you haven’t watched or heard of this movie then you’re missing out! It’s Jordan Peele’s breakout film and it was such a treat to watch when it first came out. The story was interesting, there were great scares, the score is pretty great and memorable, and is a breath of fresh air in the horror genre! There’s a lot of subtle hints throughout the movie which adds a lot on a second viewing so if you’ve already watched it, give it another shot and maybe you’ll realize something that you hadn’t previously.
14. The Shining (1980)
Available on Netflix
It would be ridiculous not to include such an amazing horror movie in my top 50. This film was such a masterpiece and paved the way for so many different types of horror movies. I won’t go too into it in case some people still haven’t watched it. It is a bit out dated but the acting, the environment, and the paranoia is competently done. This is considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time so I’d urge anyone that hasn’t watched it to give it a chance.
13. It (2017)
Available on HBO
I enjoyed the remake so much more than the original. I recently rewatched the original to see how it held up and thought it was extremely outdated. The remake has so much more to offer and the acting was better as well. This is another movie that actually managed to get a scare out of me that didn’t involve very high pitched violins or jump scares so I put it up really high on a pedestal. It still has its flaws but it doesn’t take away from how well this was remade.
12. Rec (2007)
Available for rent on streaming platforms
My favorite found footage film ever! And it’s in Spanish! If you’ve watched the American version “Quarantine”, I apologize. “Rec” is many levels higher than “Quarantine” and deserves a lot more recognition! It is one of the few found footage movies where I actually feel like this is actually happening and it worries me that this is the most probable way of handling the situation. If you don’t mind reading a few subtitles and dealing with a bit of shaky cam then please give this movie a shot!
11. Over the Garden Wall (2014)
Available on Hulu
Not necessarily a horror movie, but a great Halloween show to watch. Especially if you’re looking for something family friendly. This is an animated show about two brothers trying to find their way home from a mysterious place. There’s a lot of overlapping themes and subtlety to this show that makes it so much better to watch multiple times. It’s also not very long so it can be binged in a day! One of my favorite animated shows and I’m also planning on rewatching it for Halloween.
10. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
Available on IMDb TV or Prime
The least Cloverfield movie of the Cloverfield movies but also the best one out of all of them in my opinion. This is a suspenseful horror movie revolving around three characters trying to take shelter from what seems to be a nuclear attack. The writing is great, the story is great, the only thing that isn’t great is the stupid shoehorned in Cloverfield aspect. Other than that this is almost a perfect movie!
9. Alien (1979)
Available on HBO
This might be the only Alien movie that I actually love! It is the perfect amount of suspense and does a great job of hiding the creature. This is exactly how a sci-fi horror movie should be done and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it.
8. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Available on Cinemax
Finally, my favorite zombie movie! This is both a great parody of the zombie genre while also being a very entertaining horror movie with some stakes. It’s also part of the Cornetto trilogy which include some of my favorite comedies so if you want a pretty dry humor zombie movie then I would recommend this!
7. The Host (2006)
Available on Prime
Not the shitty teen romance, but the amazing Korean horror genre! It was directed by everyone’s favorite Korean director at the moment, Bong Joon Ho! I think I might have mentioned Cloverfield being my favorite monster movie but I had forgotten about how great this movie was. The acting is top notch, the monster is pretty creepy regardless of how outdated the cg might look, and it’s just such a ride! It was the movie that introduced me to Bong Joon Ho and I would highly recommend it to anyone trying to look for an accessible Korean film!
6. The Act of Killing (2012)
Available on Prime
Not necessarily a horror movie but it does give me chills when I watch it. This is a documentary revolving around former Indonesian leaders who were asked to reenact their mass murders however they would like. I would also like to include the fact that they killed a million people and these leaders seem to be very nonchalant about that. Not to mention the way they choose to reenact these mass murders is fairly disturbing. If you want some irl horror then this is the documentary for you!
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Available on Disney+ maybe?
I’m not a very big fan of musicals but I do love this movie a lot! The animation, the cute heartwarming story, the great musical numbers, the characters; I can think of so many things that I love about this movie. I’m sure everyone’s heard about this movie at some point or watched it and if you haven’t, make some time for it!
4. Local 58 (2015)
Available on Youtube
My favorite Youtube mini series and probably one of my favorite things to watch if I ever just feel like giving myself a sense of paranoia or anxiety. There are 8 videos in this mini series and I’m sure there will be at least one that will have you freaking out or questioning why you’re even here. It takes about half an hour or less to get through all of them so try to give it a chance! If you do try to figure out the common theme in all of them as well and how they correlate.
3. Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999)
Available on Boomerang
I believe this is my favorite animated series next to Bojack Horseman and even though it’s pretty old at this point, this show still holds up in every way! There are some really good wholesome episodes and some others that still freak me out a bit. I think Halloween is a perfect time to revisit a few of these episodes or even binge the whole show.
2. Hereditary (2018)
Available on Prime
This would be the perfect horror movie if it hadn’t been for the last 15 minutes of the movie. Which is actually the opposite of a regular horror movie where the last 15 minutes are the better parts of them. But it still doesn’t discredit the fact that this movie is amazing! The more you look around the frames, the more you read into the story the creepier it becomes. For the majority of the movie it doesn’t hold your hand and is another reason I praise it so much. If you’ve already seen this movie then I would also recommend other Ari Aster films like “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” or “Midsommer”.
1. Thirst (2009)
Available to rent on streaming platforms!
I believe I wrote a huge analysis on this movie and I kinda wish I could write another one on it since I keep finding more stuff to appreciate with every viewing. It’s a Korean vampire movie and it is just so amazing. The development of the characters and the flaws that everyone has ties so well with all of the themes of this movie. I really wish I could spoil so much but I would rather everyone at least try to watch it once! At the moment this is my all time favorite horror movie even though the horror comes more with the mindset of the characters more than the actual vampire or monster aspect. Just an amazing movie all around!
This is probably my least favorite movie from this list but I chose to include it because it’s definitely a great Halloween movie! Crappy plot, full of tropes, and cliches but that’s not why you’re here. You’re here for the gore. The movie is over the top with its gore and there’s also a clown so, there’s that. Enjoy!
HM. Scary Movie (2000)
I would put this a lot higher on the list solely because of Anna Faris but it has aged so poorly. It get’s to a point where the majority of the humor is just offensive for the sake of being offensive. I still find a lot of this movie hilarious but I just can’t excuse how bad some of the jokes get. Still really fun and probably my favorite movie from the series.
50. American Horror Story (Roanoke 2016)
One of my favorite and also least favorite seasons of ACH. The beginning of the season is a really good parody of different horror genres including the infamous found footage sub genre and the reality tv genre. As the season progresses, however, it becomes a lot more 4th wall breaking and gets pretty unbearable. If you want to watch the first half of the season then I would highly recommend!
49. Goedam (2020)
This series of Korean short films had its pretty disturbing moments but it’s still very low on this list for a reason. It gets sooooo repetitive! There seems to be a format that every segment follows and after a few short films the viewer might get tired of the over the top disturbing movements and jump scares. However, if you want a short watch that you can quickly binge then I would recommend!
48. Jeepers Creepers (2001)
A guilty pleasure for sure and one of the only scary movies that I have enjoyed both in a comedic sense and fairly creepy concept. If you haven’t watched this movie than please catch up and if you forgot about this movie then please rewatch it! Again it’s pretty low on my list because it has its faults but it’s also not meant to be taken so seriously.
47. The Banana Splits Movie (2019)
Suggested by Queen John, I was forced to watch this movie. It’s basically an irl Five Nights at Freddies. Very ridiculous, self aware, gory, bad? This is a great movie to just sit back and drink with some friends and I’m glad this exists for some reason.
46. Slasher (Any season 2016-)
Like many of these bottom of the list movies, this isn’t anything amazing or elaborate. It goes from being gory murder mystery to just becoming a blood fest and I enjoy that quite a bit sometimes. There are times when I really just want to lay down, turn off my brain, and watch idiots mindlessly getting murdered while I try to guess which one of those idiots could have done it. It’s very cliche and the plot is basically the same in every season but again this is a horror series to turn your brain off. The gore can become a bit overwhelming on season 3 though.
45. Final Destination (2000)
Another classic that tapped into the anxieties and fears of anyone that watched it. The movie has a ton of flaws but still succeeds in its goal to make the viewer extremely paranoid. The majority of the people don’t even remember the plot but will have nightmares of the character’s deaths. Rewatching this movie made me realize that it was so much cheesier than I remember but my fear to get on planes reappeared.
44. Final Destination 2 (2003)
The sequel to the movie listed above, “Final Destination 2” tries to create an actual villain to the prior movie and make an overarching story. I put this movie above the first one because I feel like this movie has even more memorable deaths. The fire escape death actually traumatized me as a kid even though that situation was extremely unlikely. In my opinion this movie is the best in the series and with a more competent director with a better vision, the series could have thrived a lot more.
43. As Above So Below (2014)
I was hoping that this movie would be a bit higher on the list but it just has too many flaws. It’s a found footage horror movie where the characters are exploring the Catacombs in Paris and with that description, I was already sold. It isn’t an awful movie and there is a bit of a story to be looked into as well but it leaves a lot to be desired. The story takes a while to get started, there is a lot of rpg style side quests which isn’t good in a movie, and a lot of plot holes. Still a fun movie with a fun concept so please give it a chance!
42. Idle Hands (1999)
Another classic horror comedy on this list that I really enjoy to watch. The jokes are cheesy, the kills are cheesy, and the plot is cheesy. But I love this movie! It’s so much fun and a great example of how a horror parody should be done.
41. Insidious (2010)
I feel like everyone has watched this movie and knows the impact that it had on horror movies for the beginning of the 2010s. Although jump scare horror had already been a thing, there weren’t too many horror movies that had a bit of a higher production value and a decent story. It also led for films like “The Conjuring” and “Sinister” to come out as well. People actually lined up for this movie solely for the “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” scene so I would be dumb to not include this movie on the list.
40. Paranormal Activity (2007)
Another movie that paved the way for future horror movies to come. It eventually became a huge jump scare franchise but I still have a lot of love for this movie and what it went for. Again, this is a movie that could have been a lot more had it not just became a money hungry series but great concept.
39. American Horror Story: Murder House (2011)
My favorite AHS season and a great kick off to a very mediocre series. Interesting story, somewhat likeable characters, and a few spooky moments. I had higher hopes for the rest of the show but can’t deny that this is a great season.
38. Cabin Fever (2002)
Pancakes. Watch the original please.
37. Silent Hill (2006)
In my opinion this is the best video game movie adaptation and also guilty pleasure of mine. It has great references to the video game and the score is so spot on! On top of that it even works as a pretty good movie. The concept of being in a weird alternate dimension where hell basically exists after a certain hour is so terrifying for me. If I could put this movie higher I would but it is pretty badly acted and the husband character is shoe horned in every now and then and slows the pace of the movie. A great movie for “Silent Hill” fans.
36. Dead Silence (2007)
A pretty good puppet horror movie. I actually show this to every person I know and they always love it so hopefully you guys will too. I’ve watched it like 50 times at this point so I can point out almost every flaw it has but regardless of that I still enjoy it so much that I’ll probably watch it another 50 times.
35. Grave Encounters (2011)
I was looking for this movie for so long since there are a lot of “Encounter” titled movies and I had to watch a good amount of them to find this one. This movie contains one of my favorite horror movie concepts of not being able to escape an area and also multiple dimensions and timelines. I’m usually biased with any type of “you can’t escape no matter what” plot and this did a pretty good job. It’s a pretty good found footage film and I would like more people to watch it.
34. Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (2019)
A great documentary going into the life of a homosexual actor and his struggle to try to make it into show business after staring in the notorious “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge”. It puts into perspective how difficult it was to be gay around that time and the kind of hate he got for it. It’s a really great and informative watch so give it a chance!
33. In the Tall Grass (2019)
I have mentioned in a few of these movies that one of my favorite things in horror movies is the inability to escape a certain force. Whether it be supernatural force or being completely useless in an area, it has always been a fear of mine to just be stuck somewhere with no way out. This film definitely delivers on that. The movie focuses on a couple that gets lost while looking for a young boy in a grass field. I’ll try not to spoil anymore than that but it’s a pretty trippy watch. It’s also on my top 3 favorite Stephen King movies.
32. Child’s Play (1988)
This franchise has become a very self aware cop out series at this point but I still have a lot of love for the original. The concept is great and it’s pretty well acted compared to its many sequels. In my opinion this movie still holds up so if you have some time rewatch it and maybe a few of the other sequels.
31. Ravenous (2017)
One of my favorite zombie movies of all time, “Ravenous” does a great job taking a different route in the zombie genre. It’s French-Canadian and just a really nice adventure with some pretty clever symbolism and humor throughout. It’s not hectic like a zombie movie is expected to be.
30. May (2002)
Anna Faris is in this movie which was a huge plus for me. This movie revolves around May, a socially awkward veterinarian, who tries really hard to get with the guy of her dreams. She goes to any length to get with the guy she likes and well this movie isn’t for everyone. In fact it threw me off a bit when I originally watched it. Again not for everyone but if you enjoy a different type of psychological horror then give this a try.
29. Searching (2018)
Not necessarily a horror movie but it is suspenseful and very well thought out. Since it’s not strictly horror it goes a bit low on the list but it’s one of my most recommended movies. It’s about a father looking for his daughter who has gone missing for some time. The viewer only gets the point of view of electronic devices around the house so it’s up to the viewer to put certain hints together. It’s a great watch and if you’re wanting something with a bit of mystery and suspense I would highly recommend!
28. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
Wallace & Gromit is one of my favorite animated shows of all time and this series special has become a tradition for me. It’s very cute and I always appreciate a great Claymation movie. It’s free for Prime users so if you haven’t watched this before give it a chance!
27. The Ritual (2017)
This was my most recommended movie for a while since it had been the first Netflix horror movie to actually be pretty decent. My opinion of it has gone down a bit at this point but I still enjoy it a lot. The forest setting and the weird lore behind the cult there is makes for a creepy vibe. It’s on Netflix and isn’t that long of a watch so try it out.
26. The Witch (2015)
A very chilling and well made horror film. It had some wicker man vibes and the old timey setting makes it so much more unsettling. Just really great movie all around. (From the director of “The Lighthouse”)
Thank you guys for reading this far! I’ll be coming out with the next 25 in the next few days. Hopefully y’all can find at least one movie to watch from the list to enjoy your spoopy month! If there are any movies that you would recommend to me or you would have put on your list let me know!
“Dr. Sleep” is a horror film directed by Mike Flannigan, known for his other works like “Haunting of Hill House”, “Gerald’s Game”, and “Hush”. I’m actually a really big fan of “Haunting of Hill House” and the other two I mentioned weren’t awful so I was kind of excited for this guy directing a sequel to the Shining. I won’t go too much into it in case anyone hasn’t watched it but if you enjoy a decent horror film with a good amount of “The Shining” fan service I would recommend.
I’ll say some of the scares definitely got me and the use of some of “The Shining” references were pretty well done. The actors that they got to play a lot of the old cast did a great job as well. There were some pretty goofy moments as well and I enjoyed it for a good amount of the movie.
This movie dragged out so much! There was a point where the person I was watching it with had to ask how much longer the movie was going to be and we were barely half way through it. They were definitely enjoying it more than I was too so it wasn’t just me thinking that it was taking forever to get going. Some of the effects were a bit goofy and a lot of “The Shine” references were also shoe horned in for like no reason besides it being like “oh look this was in the last movie do you guys remember that!?” I feel like if the movie would have been cut down at least 20 minutes it would have been a bit better for me. There were certain things that could have been developed as well instead of padding with other scenes too.
That’s really all I have to say about this movie. It wasn’t really bad but it dragged out so much.
“May” is a psychological horror film directed by Lucky McKee a director that I’m not too familiar with besides his other movie “All Cheerleaders Die”, which I didn’t enjoy too much. This movie had been on my watchlist for quite some time so I was pretty excited to watch it with some friends (Especially since Anna Faris was in it). So this film revolves around May, an animal surgeon who seems to be pretty confused on how to be social. She finds what seems to be the love of her life and a lot of weird chain of events come from her trying to get him to fall in love with her. I won’t be going into spoilers but I’ll be mentioning a few broad things that I liked and disliked about the movie.
Overall I was pretty positive about this movie. One of its main goals was to make the viewer feel uneasy and awkward at times and I feel like I definitely got that vibe throughout the whole movie. The way they made the main character still relatable and easy to sympathize with at certain times made the film a lot less painful to watch. Ana Faris’ character was actually the perfect fit for her and I honestly just love seeing her in anything she’s in. The boyfriend character wasn’t just the stereotypical douche that just drops May for no reason, which made the movie feel weirdly believable. Overall this film acting wise and character wise was great. A lot of the themes that were being presented stayed fairly consistent throughout the film as well which helped a lot. The main down sides I have with the film is that it kinda dragged a bit. After about the halfway point my friends and I could already guess where the film was going and we waited quite a while for it to finally get to that point. There are a few scenes that could be a bit too disturbing for the average viewer and could even be labeled gore porn but I feel like every gore scene still had its meaning behind it. The cheesiness of the film also helped it in my opinion. Anyways this is a pretty great psychological horror and it was presented in a really unique way than most horror movies. I would recommend for anyone trying out a different type of horror.
Available exclusively on Shutter (or rent it please)
“Metamorphosis” is a Korean horror film that was directed by Kim Hong-sun who has made other pretty good movies like “Traffickers” and “The Chase”. The film centers around a family of an exorcist basically being cursed by the devil and they have to find a way out of it. That may sound very cliche but it seems to have taken a different twist with it. It was recommended by a friend and hoped that I would finally find a horror movie that would spook me. Luckily enough, this has been the best horror movie that I have seen in 2020 so far.
I won’t be going into spoilers since I really recommend people to watch this and I don’t want to ruin anything. Before I begin praising this movie I would like to mention some of the flaws it has. For the most part the only thing that took me out of the movie was the amount of horror movie cliches that came with the movies. There were tons of jump scares and the story, for the most part, was pretty generic for a horror movies. Of course neither of these things made the movie bad in my opinion and the pros that this movie definitely made up for it. The practical effects and makeup were very disturbing to look at, the acting was great, and even the cliches that were shown were done amazingly. There were actually reasons to be in suspense and some of the scares were actually freaking me out and it usually takes a lot to scare me. The film basically does its job and it does it great so if you’re looking for a fresh take on an exorcism movie I would highly recommend it.
My Rating: 7/10 (maybe 8/10 if I give it another watch)
I’ve been recommending a lot of pretty serious and even depressing films for this little segment. So I’m gonna recommend one of my favorite parodies ever, “Black Dynamite”. I was trying to keep these recommendations to movies people may have not heard of but it appears a lot of people only know the show and not the movie. “Black Dynamite” is a comedy that parodies blaxploitation films from the early 70s and it does such a great job. This movie is completely self aware and it had me laughing in almost every scene. For people that think that this movie was made to offend, try to think of it more as it was made to poke fun at the idea of this type of movie (that’s kinda what a parody is). It has characters spitting out exposition, it has over acted scenes, and the action is over the top as well. Usually I would be the one to judge against these types of movies, but once again, that’s the whole point behind this movie. It’s to make fun of these common cliches. Hope you guys enjoy this recommendation too!
I checked Imdb and I gave this movie a 10 apparently soo
Available to rent on streaming services. It’s only $1 on Amazon.
“Waves” is another film that I am recommending to go along with the theme of African American movies. Although the director, Trey Edward Shults, isn’t African American, the majority of the cast is African American. If you read through my top 10 films of 2019 you would see that this was actually in my top 5 and there’s I still think it’s a pretty great movie. It tackles a lot of issues like the pressures of having to act a certain way when growing up in a black household, abortion, forgiveness, and redemption. A big reason I really think this movie is so amazing is because it let’s you see both sides of the issue and you can even sympathize with either. One pattern I’ve been noticing with the films that I give positive reviews in is that if the themes you are going for are going to be presented with have depth and a purpose, it makes it a lot more relatable and interesting. The soundtrack for this movie is great and fits the movie very well, the acting is great, and it’s one of my favorite redemption films if you can even consider it a redemption film. This movie was EXTREMELY SNUBBED AT THE OSCARS and I feel like it deserves a lot more recognition. Enjoy! Also it has some pretty sad and deep moments so get ready for an emotional rollercoaster.
I’ve noticed that Netflix is recommending a lot of black directed films so I thought I would also recommend some of my favorite black directed movies. “Moonlight” is a film directed by Barry Jenkins who has also made “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Medicine for Meloncholy”. Although this film is pretty darn amazing, it is mostly known for being the movie that screwed over “La La Land” for the Best Picture Award at the Oscar’s. After that, nobody really watched this movie since everyone was pretty upset that “La La Land” didn’t actually win best picture. I won’t go into too much about this movie since I really want more people to watch it.
This is a coming of age film revolving around Chiron, a young boy who is confused about his sexuality while also having to deal with his drug addicted mother. My absolute favorite thing about this film is that all of the characters and have so much depth to them. Nothing is presented on a surface level and there’s so much to get out of this film. For example, this movie could have easily presented the mother to only be a stereotypical drug addict and that’s it. But the film goes beyond that and shows her trying to put in the effort throughout the movie, even though she is extremely manipulative and abusive for most of the movie. Chiron could have easily just been written to be a stereotypical gay character, but they went above and beyond and wrote him to be someone genuinely confused and overwhelmed at times about how he truly felt. This is important when making a movie about this subject because coming out isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially when you been brought up from an African American traditional mindset (not trying to be offensive in any way, I understand that Hispanic traditional families are also very homophobic as well). To summarize my thoughts, I just love how real a lot of this movie feels and how well it was acted. Without spoiling too much of the film I would just say this is one of my favorite movies of all time and probably one of the only good movies on the “Netflix Black Lives Matter” section.
“Da 5 Bloods” is a film directed by Spike Lee, a director I’ve never really been a fan of and have really only watched one decent movie from him which was “BlacKkKlansman”. When I saw Netflix advertising the living heck out of this movie I knew it would be hard to avoid it. Having “BlacKkKlansman” being his most recent film and pretty good I thought I would give it a chance. I hated this movie. In fact it is probably one of my least favorite movies that I’ve watched this year. Before I have a ton of people calling me racist, maybe try looking at the movie from a much more objective view.
Why this movie was awful
Themes and Story
First off, I will admit that this concept is actually really interesting. Learning that a lot of African Americans had to be put in the front lines during the Vietnam war was actually pretty upsetting and I would have enjoyed getting to explore this subject a lot more. There was a very sad moment that actually hit me quite a bit and it was around the time that Martin Luther King Jr. was announced to be dead over the radio. It made it even more sad because that scene could have been so much more. The characters could have been a lot better showing their emotion, the radio lady took me out of the movie as well, and the resolution in this scene was a little too cheesy for my taste. A big theme that I usually see in Spike Lee’s movies is how African Americans struggle and are constantly oppressed by the U.S. In this movie that theme is present but it’s so pandering. There was a point in the beginning where they are showing a flashback of our main characters going through a helicopter crash and only one person dies. This person was white and I wasn’t going to think too much of it until the frame has a close up on the only white person on that helicopter being dead and immediately goes back to the main characters who seem to ignore this event. I actually rolled my eyes during that part. The very few other white characters were also extremely 1 dimensional only being: 2 cliche American hating villains, 1 comedic relief, and 1 love interest. That is all. When you want to present a theme like black oppression it would make more sense to give the only white people more depth. Maybe if the racism of the villains was a lot more subtle, I could relate a lot more. Because even though there are a decent amount of people who are openly racist, the majority of racist people don’t really make it so obvious. Comparing it to “Parasite”, a film that doesn’t deal with the same issue in this movie but tackles complicated social class issues, the rich people are never really seen to be cliche awful people. They have flaws and are definitely sheltered from any inconveniences because of their privileges but they are still seen as human beings which adds to how believable the movie is. But when you pander, give no depth to any character, or present a certain race as one dimensional characters, it makes the theme a lot weaker to me. To add on to this, I don’t think Spike Lee has any idea what subtlety is. I’m not saying that every movie has to be deep or be extremely artsy or complicated but everything is extremely on the nose. For a movie that was supposed to be tackling a lot of difficult issues, it presented every issue on such a surface level. Not to mention that this movie had no idea what it wanted to be. Sometimes it wants to be a heartwarming friendship adventure, sometimes it wants to be a period piece, sometimes it wanted to be a war movie, and other times it wanted to have like this found footage documentary style. It failed at all of those things. I could go on and on about how bad Spike Lee handled this premise and themes but I think my point was made.
I was actually surprised that this TWO AND A HALF HOUR LONG MOVIE did not have a single good shot or scene to me. At least nothing caught my eye. There was a thing the movie did where it changed the filter of the scene to show the viewer when it was the past and present and it was pretty awkward. Usually there would be an abrupt cut between time periods and it gave me a vibe that this film might have been rushed. The cuts were also sloppy and made it pretty irritating to watch in every scene. There were points in the movie where the past period filter was being incorporated for the present and I want to say that this was a way to show how both timelines were becoming intertwined and possibly even foreshadowing about future events to come. However, even that came off very sloppy and the transitions between time periods were also messy.
Not a single character seemed convincing to me in this movie. I mentioned before that all of the white people were portrayed as one dimensional, but even the main characters were one dimensional. There was a comic relief, an uptight guy, a crazy guy, a money hungry guy, and caring son. For the whole movie, the main characters will consistently be these roles and have the minimum amount of character development. So I guess I can blame this more on the script and the director since actors are only told how to act and it is up to the director to make sure the actors get the proper emotions across. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that these actors can not show emotion and when they do it comes off either under acted or over acted.
My Rating: 2/10 (solely because the idea was actually pretty great)