Mooreviews’ Must Watch/Might Not Have Heard of Movie Recommendations (June 10th)
To make the current quarantine life a little easier, every two weeks I’ll be throwing out some recommendations of films that everyone can access across different streaming sites!
Where can you find it: Amazon Prime
The 2018 feature debut of writer/director Ari Aster, Hereditary, instantly made him a new master of horror to watch out for as he carefully crafted a horrifying tale about lineage and grief.
After the death of a family’s powerful matriarch figure, viewers are sucked into an unsettling horror experience filled with an insurmountable amount of terrifying grief and disturbing discoveries. Aster makes Hereditary a slow-burn nightmare with relatable feelings about how different people handle death and how it can slowly destroy a family. There’re so many well-crafted moments of dream-like suspense that constantly keep you on edge and it’s hard not to become incredibly intrigued with where things are going as well as the horrifying history that’s discovered within this family. The final sequence of the film is literally one of the most terrifying horror experience you can find and offers satisfying scares that are what make Aster truly a new name in terror within the genre. Not to mention, while there’re are incredible performances from Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, and Milly Shapiro, Toni Collette’s performance is pure mastery at work. The way she evokes emotions as she makes horrifying discoveries is legitimately haunting and you can still hear echoes of people online, including myself, talking about how she was robbed of awards recognition.
If you needed any reminder that the horror genre is alive and well, Hereditary is that chill-inducing wake-up that introduces fans to a new name in horror and the performance of a lifetime from Collette.
The Strangers: Prey at Night
Where can I find it: Amazon Prime
Taking on more of an 80s slasher vibe than the 2008 original, director Johannes Roberts make The Strangers: Prey at Night an incredibly unique kind of sequel.
Prey at Night is less of a sequel to Bryan Bertino’s slow burn classic and more of a slasher re-imagining that’s a ton of fun and really well-executed. The story of a family having to survive against a band of masked killers is one that’s generally familiar, but Roberts utilizes the 80s style and personality, or lack thereof, to create a very fun and fast-paced horror experience. This film has such a vibrant style compared to the first and contains a killer soundtracks of 80s classics. The three iconic Strangers are still just as subtle and mysterious as ever and watching them essentially play with their prey is always unsettling. The main family thankfully doesn’t feel like they’re full of tropes and has heartwarming connections and conversations that make you care about them. Not to mention, there’re two incredible sequences of a neon lighted fight poolside and the entire fiery final fight that are still ingrained in my mind and elevated the film to new heights.
Where The Strangers was great because of it’s effective slow-burn and incredibly real fears, Prey at Night takes on its own style and slasher inspirations that make it an equally great sequel. It’s sort of that refreshing throwback to old-school slashers that’s great to have every now and again.
Anyone interested in a silky-smooth mystery set in L.A. find exactly what they’re looking for in Aaron Katz’s Gemini.
The film follows a determined personal assistant, Jill (Lola Kirke), trying to unravel a mysterious tragedy that happens with her celebrity starlet boss, Heather (Zoe Kravitz), as a judgmental detective (John Cho) becomes suspicious of the assistant’s intentions. There’s this complex relationship between an assistant and their celebrity client that’s set up beautifully as we see how interactions with fans and media create this divide and concern over privacy. This all sets up to a very engaging mystery as doubt is cast over what initially considered facts and all eyes are placed on Jill and her closeness with Heather. Kirke is flawless from start to finish and really puts viewers in her shoes as well as the glam and gloom of the Hollywood celebrity lifestyle. Cho and Kravitz also bring a uniqueness to their characters and really stand out. It’s the kind of mystery that immediately grabs your attention and holds it until the big reveal that’s surprising and fitting.
Gemini is that kind of hidden gem mystery that contains an intriguing premise and sleek performances that’ll please any viewer and keep them puzzled until the very end.
Striking an immensely different tone and creating an intriguing story based around the question of “what if Superman was evil,” Brightburn is horror inspired superhero take that gives the answer.
The film is pretty much the origin of Superman in a Smallville-esque town, but with an evil twist as the young super-powered being named Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) becomes influenced by the ship that brought him there. Brought together by James Gunn, plenty of Gunn relatives, and director David Yarovesky, Brightburn is both the villain origin story and horror-based superhero movie that I had been hoping for years to see. With the tattered costume that Brandon wears, the great nods to Superman, the brutal kills, excellently suspenseful sequences made possible through Yarovesky’s direction, and sense of terror that looms from Brandon and others realizing how powerful he truly is, the film is a perfect marriage between comic book and horror movies. There’s even a great post-credit scene that connects to James Gunn’s Super that’s keeping my fingers crossed that there could be more to the Brightburn universe in the future.
Frankly, I hope that there are more horror/comic combos in the future like Brightburn as it shows that these two things can work together beautifully. It’s a true must-see for anyone wanting to see a unique take on the Superman story and a brutally bloody one that will also make anyone wanting more R-rated superhero movies very satisfied.
The Addams Family
Where can I find it: Amazon (HERE)
Bringing Halloween’s first family back to cinematic form, the 2019 animated film, The Addams Family, is a refreshing horror reunion for the whole family.
The film is another great adventure with entire Addams Family and delves into their origins as they encounter the everyday normal people that live in the town below them. With the film being animated, everything is on the table for the crazy horrors and actions these characters can create. Whether it’s Pugsley (voiced by Finn Wolfhard) preparing for an important family ritual through explosions and sword fighting, Wednesday (voiced by Chloe Grace Mortez) being an absolute horror queen through hilarious cynicism and classic references, or the pure clashing of Addams Family antics with normal everyday people, this film offers plenty of horror fun for everyone. Not to mention, it offers a nicely thematic story about embracing change and differences that most people can relate to and is a great theme for younger audiences.
Frankly, so what if it’s summer? There’s no better time for the whole family to get into the Halloween spirit and The Addams Family will do that with ease.
Where can I find it: Netflix
One of the best films of 2019 is Noah Baumbach’s incredible story about a family attempting to come together in time of coming apart with Marriage Story.
The film follows a married couple, Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver), going through a divorce and attempting to maintain a healthy relationship for the sake of their son Henry (Azhy Robertson). The amount of raw emotion and realistic hurt that comes from watching Marriage Story is legitimately unreal as it touches on both Nicole and Charlie’s struggles with an unflinching fairness that isn’t afraid to show each of their ugly colors. Johansson and Driver put in career-best performances that were not given the love they deserved in last year’s award season, in my opinion, and are perfect in making the fears, anger, and love their characters are feeling completely real. It’s the kind of film that really should come with tissues because it brings out the emotion in viewers with each scene and never holds off on the harsh realities of going through divorce.
If you somehow still haven’t gotten around to experiencing Marriage Story, then you NEED to stop what you’re doing and see it as soon as you can. It’s hits the kind of emotional highs and lows that most films rarely do and you’ll never look at Johansson and Driver the same again.