Last year was probably one of the best years for film in quite some time. Throughout the entire fall, week after week, it felt like the phrase “oh, this is going to be in my top ten for sure” became incredibly common. From Bong-Ho Joon’s enthralling and mind-blowing depiction of class with “Parasite” to the box-office smashing end of the Infinity Saga with the Russo Brothers’ “Avengers: Endgame”, there were so many new kinds of stories and visions that constantly pushed genre boundaries. 2019 was especially a great year for female filmmakers as there was an onslaught of incredible films from both new and already established women in film.
Jennifer Kent’s 2014 debut feature film “The Babadook” is a hauntingly beautiful tale of a depressed mother and her young son. In a lot of ways, it’s a classic ghost story, but the deeper meaning Kent infuses takes the film to the next level. Essie Davis gives a stellar performance as Amelia, a widowed single mother facing a deep depression. Her son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), is a point of grief for Amelia since her husband died on the way to the hospital while she was in labor. Not only is Amelia left without her partner, she is left with Samuel, a constant reminder of her husband that also looks like him.
To say that "Black Christmas" is the movie society needs to take note of is a massive understatement. Directed by Sopia Takal and written by herself and April Wolfe, "Black Christmas" is a modern updating of the 1974 classic. Whereas most remakes and reboots take the safe and give us what we as an audience expect, this 2019 update is at once a loving tribute to the original but also pushes it into scary and very real directions. Lead by a standout performance by Imogen Poots as Riley Stone, "Black Christmas" has themes that are sure to resonate with young women. Riley, herself a victim of a sexual assault, is forced throughout to constantly face her abuser and the ramifications of her speaking out against him.
The fact that writer-director Ana Lily Armipour’s genre-hopping A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) ranks so highly in ITOL’s top 50 films by women of the decade list is a testament to its originality, cult appeal, and fang-sharp social commentary. Billed as an Iranian Vampire Western, and set in the fictional Bad City, it nods to a myriad of influences from classic horror and film noir, to Tarantino, comic books and David Lynch- clanking industrial images and sounds loom large and fever-dream music-sequences are woven throughout.
Year: 2019 Runtime: 82 Minutes Director: Daniel Farrands Writer: Michael Arter Stars: Mena Suvari, Taryn Manning, Nick Stahl, Agnes Bruckner, Drew Roy, Gene Freeman By Bee Garner "The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson" claims to be based on the true event that shocked America, the horrorendous death of Nicole Brown, the ex-wife of sports star... Continue Reading →
Christmas time is always one of the most emotional times of the year. It brings joy, happiness, and jolly good cheer. But it can also bring other emotions too: pain, sorrow, fear. In Bob Clark’s 1974 slasher masterpiece "Black Christmas", these emotions are all brought to the forefront in very realistic and sometimes unnerving depictions. At the core of this film is women fighting for acceptance, the right to their bodies and ultimately their lives.
Horror cinema has enjoyed a real purple patch in the last decade, and arguably the most exciting, inventive and disturbing release of the 2010s is “Raw”, the debut feature for French writer-director Julie Ducournau. The film plays out as an unholy marriage between a coming-of-age tale and a cannibal horror story, in which a young vegetarian named Justine (Garance Marillier) takes her first steps into adulthood as she begins her studies at veterinary college.
Written, directed, and edited by Amy Taylor, this mockumentary takes aim at hubris, toxic masculinity, and violence. “Hunter’s Weekend” (2018) follows two park rangers as they prepare for their annual hunter’s weekend. Lyle (Benjamin Geunther) and Victor (Christopher J. Young) are prepared for what they hope is another great experience when one of the selected hunters is found dead. “We have really strict rules about hunting other competitors.” Why would they have such strict rules? Oh, because everyone who is there to hunt hunts, actual people, like Richard Connell’s short story, The Most Dangerous Games, or the grounded Universal film, “The Hunt.” On top of that, the hunters are not just normal hunters but actual serial killers. With the death of the participant, Lyle and Victor go on the hunt (pun intended) for the killer.
Before this review can proceed, a few significant stigmas need to be pointed out. The first one is how short films are seen to be inferior to feature-length films just due to the fact that they are short. While the second one is how female filmmakers are thought to be averse to genre filmmaking; particularly the horror genre. Nothing could be further from the truth, as these statements are fatuous, demeaning and stupid. Anthologies and short films have been calling cards for many renowned filmmakers regardless of genre eg. Andrea Arnold's Oscar-winning short film Wasp (2003); while female filmmakers have been making many stellar examples of genre filmmaking -- eg. Jennifer Kent's The Babadook (2014), Mary Harron's "American Psycho" (2000), Julia Ducournau's "Raw" (2017) and many, many more.