1. Titane – My favorite film of 2021! I’m sure it will end up on everyone’s list in the Swampflix crew because it’s very “Swampy”; it just fits the mold of movies we love. What initially seems to be a wacky film about a homicidal woman who was impregnated by a car turns out to be a movie about gender identity and unconditional love.
2. Willy’s Wonderland – My favorite version of Nic Cage is the silent and violent Nic Cage that gave us Mandy, which I wholeheartedly believe is one of the best films of all time. He does it again in Willy’s Wonderland, but this time, he’s fighting against a crew of Chuck E. Cheese style animatronic characters possessed with the souls of satanic cannibals. It is a high energy ride from beginning to end, and I really dug it.
3. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar – This was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a very long time. It felt like a throwback to those late 90s/early 2000s comedies that were just pure stupid fun. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo are my new comedy queens, and I hope that they get to make a ton of sequels. I am forever grateful for having this movie come into my life during this god-awful pandemic.
4. Malignant – A new horror icon is born! This felt like a b-horror movie from the 70s or 80s with a dash of nu metal horror from the aughts. The nightmare that the film opens with morphs into a completely unexpected plot twist that literally made me scream. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
5. The Night House – This is one of the most unique horror films that I’ve ever seen. There are subtle hints dropped here and there that are enough to give you some explanation of all the spooky stuff happening, but nothing prepares you for the ending. It’s so damn smart.
6. Pig – The second Nic Cage movie on my list, but it’s miles away from being in the same bucket as Willy’s Wonderland. He’s such a complex actor! Pig is a very quiet “revenge” film that tugged at all my heart strings and reminded me how beautiful a perfect meal could be.
7. Swan Song – There aren’t many LGBTQ+ films with elderly main characters, which is a pity considering these individuals have been through hell and back in their experiences. Swan Song is a film that focuses strictly on its main character, an elderly gay hairdresser portrayed by Udo Kier. Kier is best known for playing supporting roles, but he is a force to be reckoned with in this lead performance.
8. The Woman in the Window – Yes, the reviews are terrible, but I just couldn’t stop watching this trashy Hitchcockian thriller. It’s a total blast! I had so much fun and found so much comfort watching this movie. It reminds me so much of silly thrillers from the 90s; it’s just missing Michael Douglas.
9. Saint Maud – The ending of Saint Maud had everyone talking, and it was indeed worthy of the attention. However, what really stuck with me was the relationship between Maud and Amanda. I still go back and forth in my mind trying to figure out what it really meant. Such a haunting film for so many reasons.
10. Gaia – The only eco horror film that I watched in 2021. Gaia was so good that I felt satisfied with keeping it that way. It’s an atmospheric masterpiece. Plus, there’s spooky mushroom people!
11. The Power of the Dog – What a wonderful yet unnerving film. I went into this not expecting much, and I was completely blown away. I guess I’m into Westerns now?
12. False Positive – The second-best pregnancy horror of 2021 (the first being Titane). It has a very interesting way of exploring how scary it is to be pregnant with no control over your body. Also, I can’t believe how amazing Pierce Brosnan is at playing a villain.
13. Old – I love trying to figure out the puzzles in M. Night Shyamalan movies, and I wish the world could be blessed with a few of these every year. Old delivers exactly what you’d expect from a Shyamalan movie, and that is 100% a good thing.
15. Mandibles – This goofy French buddy comedy about a really cute giant fly is just as fun as it sounds. It’s a total gem of a movie that offers some big laugh out loud moments.