Now, right off the bat you're going to notice that not everything I'll be talking about necessarily came out in the month I saw it, or even in 2017. January for instance is a month where I always look at everybody's "best of the year" lists to catch up on things I may have missed. I'm also not planning on being too in depth about each film, especially since a lot of them we talked about on Werewolves. Just a brief "hey, I liked this because" or something. So, with all that said, let's get to it.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
I initially caught on to this one because I'm a fan of Emile Hirsch. He plays the son of a coroner who works along side his father. The two of them are brought a Jane Doe to autopsy (in case the title didn't clue you in to that), and as they work, strange things begin to happen. Initially, I thought this was just another Blumhouse-esque ghost movie jump scare-a-thon, and to be perfectly honest, I'm sick of those. Jane Doe was a pleasant surprise though, some genuinely creepy moments, great claustrophobic atmosphere, and a twist that I actually didn't see coming. Don't want to spoil it either, just believe me, it's a good one.
Beyond the Gates
This is one for those of us who grew up in the 80's and 90's. Two brothers come back home when their father suddenly goes missing. He apparently does this sort of thing on occasion, only this time it's been longer than usual. As they begin to pack up the video store he ran, they come across a strange board game called, you guessed it, Beyond the Gates. Things start to get weird when they start to play it. The board game they play is reminiscent of things like Nightmare, where you have a vhs tape that plays along with the game. If you remember those, and like 80's horror, this one is right up your alley. It has it's pacing issues, but is worth the watch for the nostalgia alone.
The Eyes of My Mother
Ok, so this is probably the most disturbing thing I've seen this year, as for as good of a year it's been, I haven't seen a lot of extreme stuff. That's not to say this is an easy watch, it just isn't as bad as stuff I've seen in the past. It's also hard to talk about the plot without giving things away. The story revolves around Francesca, who we are introduced to at an early age. She lives on a farm with her family. Her mother is a surgeon, who teaches her in depth about anatomy, death, and all sorts of things little girls probably shouldn't have such an understanding of. A stranger approaches the farm, and ends up attacking her mother. Her father comes home while the attack is occurring, and he manages to subdue the guy, but not before he kills the mother. They chain the guy up in the barn, and Francesca proceeds to remove his eyes and vocal cords with her mother's surgical instruments. The torture goes on for years as the movie progresses to Francesca growing to adulthood with a rather "less than normal" understanding of how to interact with society. I'm just going to leave it at that, but holy shit does this one get dark.
Train to Busan
Zombie movies. Infected people that act like zombie movies. You're tired of them, I'm tired of them. There are a million of them out there. At this point, the best we can hope for is putting a zombie in a different locale, somewhere we haven't seen them before. That was the only reason I was initially interested in Train to Busan, because if I've seen zombies on a train before, I don't remember it. With almost no expectations going on, I was blown away by how much I loved this movie. Yes, it's a zombie movie, but it does just a few things differently to distance itself from the pack. It's thrilling, nail biting, at times even scary, and surprisingly even heartbreaking. If you'd told me I would be shedding a tear at a zombie movie before I saw this one, I would have laughed at you. This is one of those that I was catching up on from 2016, and it ended up being one of the best last year had to offer. We did an episode of Werewolves on it as well, if you want to hear more about it.
Despite not having cared for a film here or there, I still call myself a fan of M. Night Shyamalan. I think his older stuff is his best, obviously, but there's no denying he has a distinct style to his films, and I dig it. We all know what Split is, so I won't be going into the movie itself, and again, we talked about this one on Werewolves. What I will say is, holy shit, this is probably my second favorite Shyamalan movie to date. Right behind Unbreakable, which I maintain to this day is a superb comic book film. Split was either going to be amazing, or a trash fire, depending on who was cast as Kevin. Let me tell you, I knew James McAvoy was good, I had no idea he was this good. And that after credit scene?! Damn did I get excited when I saw that. Can't wait for what's coming next.
That's it for January. I saw other stuff, but these were the best of the bunch. I'll give honorable shouts to The Hollars and I am Not a Serial Killer, the latter of which we covered on Werewolves. Next up, February!