There’s no other horror movie out there, this year, as sinister as The Dark and The Wicked. It’s relentless and cruel and impossible to stop watching. Director/screenwriter Bryan Bertino has put together a legitimate gauntlet of horrors in an almost micro-setting, focusing on a sister and brother duo that return to their farm home to take care of their haunted and lonely parents. Whatever’s oppressing this family takes no prisoners and is dead-set on indulging in as much evil as it can. It’s some of the scariest stuff to ever have been put on celluloid.
Bertino has chosen to put loneliness under the proverbial microscope with his movie. It’s mostly about the demons that such a circumstance invites and how family can be the antidote and the poison that enables it all. The small family at the core of the story have all become distant from one another. The siblings went their separate ways at one point in time and looks as if they didn’t keep in touch as they probably should’ve. Their only true connection is a bed-ridden father and an emotionally disturbed mother.
What’s impressive about this setup and how each character develops around is that none of the family’s prior history is flat out explained or dumped on the viewer through exposition. The way the siblings react to each other and speak tells you enough about the distance between them.
Keeping the story so focused on just a few characters really helps drive the point home. The farm where most everything takes place seems remote, almost devoid of motion even. Night scenes are drenched in deep shadows and the knowledge of remoteness heightens the tension. It always feels as if of some impending horror is primed and ready for torture at any given time.
Cinematographer Tristan Nyby deserves a lot of praise for this as the movie’s dread factor comes straight out of carefully selected shots that play with negative spaces and different tones of darkness. This is amplified by the film’s sound design, which refreshingly opts to interrupt silence with demonic growls and hellish sounds that few horror stories opt to indulge in.
Of course, this all rests on the shoulders of a tight script that wants to play up the devilry, without leaving doubt as to the source of the evil that’s invaded the family. There’s very little time spent with traditional horror tropes such as the one where the people involved spend a good portion of the movie trying to decide if the haunting is real or not. The siblings come to this conclusion fairly quick and know they have to do whatever they can to get everyone far away from their family home and its devil. Their disagreements and unresolved issues, though, is what holds them back.
Actors Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott Jr. are exceptional in their roles as the siblings. They project the burden of family and responsibility in their body language alone and excel in presenting their characters as people that do not know how to navigate the problems they face. Their reactions to the horrors is convincing to the point one can easily relate and see themselves in their position. They transform into people that are just like us. Not special. Just ordinary with a liberally portioned side of hell.
In a way, it does remind somewhat of movies like Hereditary and The Exorcist. The evil is real, which allows the narrative to go deeper into the terror. As a result, we get a story that’s heavy and overwhelmingly oppressive at certain points. The punishment the main characters are subjected to is relentless, but it really opens up the playing field for some very intense and very scary sequences. I won’t spoil those here but get ready for horrifying stuff.
The Dark and The Wicked is also well-paced. Though it hits hard and insistently, the movie never feels lethargic and it makes good use of its hour and a half runtime with something new happening in every scene. There are no repeated instances of self-slamming doors or flickering lights. The entity likes to go straight to the hard stuff.
Bryan Bertino should have everyone itching for a hint of his next movie, whatever that may be. The direction, the writing, the performances, and the tech artistry on display is impeccable. His movie is one that continues to haunt in the days following the first watch. It’s a story that has to be endured, but the reward is an experience unlike no other.
Well, 2018 was quite a year. While I didn’t have a hard time picking my top five favorite films of the year, what I was surprised by was the “big middle” of everything I saw this year. Of the hundreds of movies I saw between theaters, film festivals, and originals thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, my average for everything I rated was a 3.461765 stars (out of 5). And while I only had a single 5 star movie (spoiler, it’s my #1), my most common rating for the year was a 4.5 (15 films) and a 3.5 (14 films). In terms of raw scores, my #36 isn’t that far off of my #6. That’s all to say we had a lot of really good movies– mixed with a few truly greats.
Because of that (call it indulgent, IDC) I’m giving you my Top 40, just like Casey Kasem back in the day.
The Top 40- 11: (if you skip these to get to the top ten I won’t be offended)
40. Operation Finale – Oscar Isaac leads a Mossad team to take down Adolf Eichman (Ben Kingsley) are you kidding me?!? Had to see this. File under: Jews kicking ass. 39. Overlord – the corollary to #40, but a black paratrooper taking out crazy Nazi scientists doing superhuman experiments. Reminds us Nazis are the bad guys. 38. The Rachel Divide-A Netflix documentary about Rachel Dolezal, mostly in her own words, the activist who claims she is trans-racial. It’ll make you think. 37. Ready Player One– This was my 13 yr old daughter’s favorite movie of the year. It reminds us that fun Spielberg is fun. 36. Ralph Breaks the Internet – It makes the list just for the Disney princess scene and “A Place Called Slaughter Race.” 35. A Simple Favor – Heavy on style, Anna Kendrick plays up the fun angle with director Paul Feig as a mommy blogger whose new best friend disappears. There’s a fun sort of “true crime” type mystery with the comedy here. 34. Mandy– this movie feels like a relic of another time — specifically, the 80’s with definite hints of Heavy Metal — and feels like it was made under the influence of a lot of drugs as Nicholas Cage takes revenge on a crazy cult who murdered his wife.
33. BlackkKlansman – I should’ve loved this movie more, but its weird tacked-on ending sort of blew it, and only in one shot in the entire movie did it feel like this was the same Spike Lee who gave us Do the Right Thing. 32. Quincy – Rashida Jones gives us the most intimate look at her father, master composer Quincy Jones. A great watch on Netflix. 31. Deadpool 2 – It’s a Deadpool movie. It’s great. 30. Widows – It’s a high stakes, high concept heist movie with an amazing female cast and political intrigue. It’s great. 29. Mary Poppins Returns – I love Mary Poppins. And Lin Manuel Miranda. It’s not as immediately classic as the original, but who expected it to? Emily Blunt is still amazing. And it’s great. 28. Hereditary – This is the movie that stuck with me the longest. Still, thinking about this movie makes me want to turn on all the lights in my house. Also, an amazing acting job by Toni Collette. 27. Number 37 – A movie you probably never heard of! I caught this gem at SXSW and fell in love. A South African slum gangland take on Rear Window by a first time black female director. Yes please. 26. RBG – This was a great year for documentaries. This one on the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg checks all my boxes. 25. Incredibles II – This sequel to one of the greatest animated movies of all time (and one of the greatest superhero movies of all time) did some really amazing things thanks to director Brad Bird,, but the ending took it down a few notches. But the fact that this ended up at 25 tells you just how competitive this year was. 24. Blindspotting – Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal‘s tale of police violence, Oakland, and hip hop was a little too pat in its ending, but was otherwise masterful. A main reason Oakland ended up on my list of “Who won 2018?”
23. Searching – We’ve now seen several of these movies where they’re told only through what we can see on the screen of a computers. Like found footage, there are good and bad, and this is a good one. John Cho and Debra Messing deliver powerful performances in a story about trying to piece together the mystery of a missing daughter through her social media footprint, intertwined with a father losing touch with his daughter in the age of screens. 22. Bad Times at the El Royale – This might’ve ended up higher on the list if it had delivered more on substance over style, but this was still pretty amazing. And that soundtrack! 21. Minding the Gap – An amazing documentary about young adults growing up as friends in a rust belt town as skate punks and how life and domestic abuse has kept them back. Fascinating and maybe a bit too real. 20. A Quiet Place – Wow. Nothing quite shocked audiences as much as this, as well as exposed the worst theater-goers in America. Shut up or the monsters win! One of several reasons why I said Emily Blunt and John Krasinski won the year of 2018. 19. Leave No Trace – Props to writer/director Debra Granik and to amazing performances by Ben Foster and breakout star Thomasin McKenzie in this heartwrenching look at a dad dealing with PTSD who lives a solitary existence off the grid in the woods with his young teen daughter. Of course, when Child Protective Services finds out. . . well, you’re not exactly allowed to do that. And drama ensues. (18.- tie) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – There’s a debate as to whether this is a movie, as it is currently being presented by Netflix, or a tv miniseries, which was how the Coen Brothers originally pitched it. This is peak Coen in all their forms, but if this is a movie, this is where it would fall. 18. Mission Impossible: Fallout– Finally it feels like writer/director Christopher McQuarrie leveled up his directing to the level of his writing ability. The perfect summer movie, even if I liked a few other movies from the summer of ’18 a little more. 17. Annihilation – Along with Hereditary, this was the movie that stuck with me (in my nightmares). Astounding visuals and an amazing ending, and an amazing cast. 16. Avengers: Infinity War – We knew we’d get to this eventually, right? There isn’t much more to add. Bring on 2019’s conclusion and Captain Marvel.
15. Upgrade – Done on a tiny budget, this movie packs a punch of a $150 million blockbuster. Brutal, fun, and thoughtful. 14. Vice– Dear Writer/Director Adam McKay, Don’t lie– you made this movie just for me to enjoy, right? Built to my tastes? The fact this isn’t in my top 10 (it would be in any other year) says a lot about the other films on this list. 13. The Favourite– Dear Writer/Director Yourgos Lanthimos, Same Question. Also, thanks for bringing back the fish-eye lens. 12. Crazy Rich Asians – I haven’t wholeheartedly loved a romantic comedy like this in ages. Just pure fun, and its stellar cast is amazing. 11. Won’t You Be My Neighbor – The movie most likely to make me cry in 2018. This is just sheer goodness. Again, how is this not in my top 10?
The answer is because those movies in my top 10 are just so great themselves. Here you go, without any further ado:
“We are alone. No matter what they tell you, we women are always alone.” A beautiful film by one of the best directors working today, Alfonso Cuaron. An ode to his maid, growing up in an upper-middle class house in Mexico City, this has some of the most beautiful and thoughtful cinematography of any film. The fact that it’s in black and white should also be telling. Even more importantly, the fact that Netflix is going to be in the mix for a Best Picture this year should have every movie studio quaking in their boots. If you watch this at home in your pajamas instead of in a theater, no one will think less of you, or at least I won’t. Just watch it.
9. Hearts Beat Loud
Without a John Carney movie musical around for me to adopt this year as one of my favorites, I went with this one. Nick Offerman owns a record shop and tries to connect with his daughter who is about to leave for college through playing music together, when she falls in love with her first serious girlfriend. She writes a great song, they put it on Spotify, it gets some notice… and more. Just beautiful performances, great music, and a movie about love and family. Also, Ted Danson as a bartender.
Wait, what? Who? This documentary about the women behind the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua is one of my favorite documentaries of the year in a year with amazing documentaries. (This isn’t the last one in my list) I first saw this at SXSW and fell in love. You will too if you can find a way to see this.
7. Paddington 2
There isn’t a better word for this film than just “charming,” or perhaps “nice” or “good.” This is comfort food you didn’t think you needed. It will heal your soul and fill you with good cheer. Also? Hugh Grant for Best Supporting Actor.
6. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Dear Sony, THIS is what you should be doing with your extended Spider-Man universe instead of. . . well, Venom. Every single one of your spider-personas in the film was perfect, but especially Spider-Gwen and Miles Morales. Peter Parker means a lot to so many of us. But it’s great that there are others who can take up that mantle: Spider-Man isn’t an everyman unless literally anyone could be him, regardless of age, gender, race, or species. This new, fresh take is so important, but so so is this animation. I’ve never seen anything like this, and I can’t wait to see more. More Miles and Spider-Gwen please! And Spider-Ham and Spider-Man Noir. Ok, just all of them.
This was another movie I adopted as a favorite ever since seeing it at SXSW. I can’t state this enough: as a father of a 13 year old girl, this is the most true depiction of what her life is like that I have ever seen. The rest of my favorites don’t seem to be getting much notice for major awards, so I’ll be pulling heavily for writer/director Bo Burnham and especially breakout star Elsie Fisher.
4. First Reformed
I sadly missed this at SXSW, and only recently caught up with it. I wish someone had grabbed me by the lapels sooner and made me watch it. What I dreaded as homework and maybe another stolid but off-putting performance by Ethan Hawke I instead found a complex narrative about faith, pain, moral imperatives, and a Christian view of our responsibility to take care of the earth. That REALLY checks a lot of boxes for me. “Will God forgive us?” Not if you don’t see this movie, she won’t.
Here it is. The big kahuna. The mothership. The single largest, most important piece of pop culture phenomenon in America for 2018. I literally de-friended a few fellow critics on Facebook because they didn’t like this movie, and when I pressed them for why, their reasons were bull$#!t and a cover for racism. If you can’t appreciate the filmmaking prowess on display here by Ryan Coogler, you have no business calling yourself a film critic.No other Marvel film has ever felt so little like it came off the assembly line. No other feels crafted quite so carefully, so deftly, with precision in every shot, in the delivery of every line. And to that, we have to give credit to this amazing cast. Michael B. Jordan is the greatest Marvel villain, and when he demands to see the Wakandan sunset, and die rather than live in chains, my heart breaks every time. “Show them who you are!” You did, Black Panther, you did.
2. Three Identical Strangers
This documentary came out of nowhere and astounded me. Sold to me as a story of three identical triplets adopted by different families who reunite by happenstance seemed like it would just be a fun little romp. Oh, cool! Nature vs. nurture– look at all the similarities between these boys even though they were separated at birth. And then. . . you find out what’s really going on. There’s a crazy twist that I still won’t reveal because not enough people have seen this. But once you find out, it will challenge everything you think you know about nature vs. nurture, no matter which side of the debate you are on.
1. Sorry to Bother You
This is the best movie of the year and the only film I gave 5 stars out of 5 to. Is it, in fact, a perfect movie? No. But, it’s so audacious in what it is trying to do that I will forgive any small problems it may have. And what this tries to do is skewer the intersection of class and race, delivering a stunning repudiation of Bay Area neoliberalism and technocracy. This is about the closest we get to Terry Gilliam, Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry doing a woke black power narrative, and it is fantastic. I heard from a lot of folks that liked this movie ok, until the ending, which they hated. To me, the ending was perfect and what made this so audacious– I, usually silent in most movie screenings, literally gasped, “What the f@$%?!!?!” As crazy as it was, it fit with the film’s themes and made me love it even more. For being that willing to reach for it — no compromises — this was my favorite of the year.
So, that’s it. What do you think? You may have noticed some pretty big snubs in there. Some of those were intentional, some of those I never got around to see. Tell us what you loved and what you think I missed, overrated, underrated down in the comments.
While I also have a top and bottom list of the movies of 2018, I love things outside of movies, too. Indeed, so much of what has happened in 2018 has been outside of movies, or blurring the lines between what movies and television even are with Netflix bringing us things like The Ballad of Buster Scruggs or Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the first of whach was originally planned as a tv miniseries, and the latter is just. . . well, what even is Bandersnatch?
So, regardless of medium, here are my Top 5 favorites of everything.
5. Educated: A Memoir
This book hit a lot of lists of the top books of 2018 (including culture critic Barack Obama’s), but it hit especially close to home for me because, like author Tara Westover, I attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Her story of growing up kept out of public education was too familiar to me, as survivalism and mistrust of public schools were something I encountered too frequently. This is the same anti-intellectual stew that spawned Glenn Beck and the Bundys’ ranch standoff/takeover of the Malheur Bird Refuge. But Westover’s memoir is a testament to what happens when this is taken to the extreme, to the point that as an adult she had never heard of the Holocaust. It’s a great read and my favorite book of the year.
4. Detroit: Become Human
Ok, there may have been “better” games than this in 2018. (God of War, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption II) But this story of a near-future where androids begin to gain sentience and their struggle for equality was my personal favorite. It almost wasn’t a video game– it was an interactive movie.
This is one of those games where the choices you make affect the outcome of the game, and you get to choose the fate of a revolution. Will your quest for equality for androids be violent, or non-violent? What are the consequences for the other characters you’re playing as?
This hit me right in my social-justice and robot-loving heart, and also had beautiful gameplay featuring a spectacular cast of actors.
3. Sorry to Bother You
Spoiler Alert: this was my favorite movie of 2018. First time director Boots Riley delivers a searing indictment of capitalism and racial expectations, exposing a sort of gonzo form of racial exploitation that is a perfect intersectional skewering of the nexus of race and class.
It’s very rare for a movie to surprise me, and this made me literally say to the screen, “What the f@#$?!?!“
This was the only film I gave five stars to all year, and it’s something you have to see to believe.
2. Hannah Gadsby – Nanette
I had never heard of Australian comic Hannah Gadsby before this year, so imagine my shock in watching a Netflix special in which she announces her retirement from comedy and then proceeds to deconstruct what comedy is, blow it up, and put it back together again– all told against the backdrop of a heartbreaking childhood story of coming to terms with her queer identity. I never thought anything could make me feel such a rainbow of emotions over such a short period of time. This wasn’t just a comedy special — in the same way Childish Gambino’s “This is America” wasn’t just a music videos. Those were pop culture grenades tossed into the heart of the beast that blew everything up.
1. The Good Place
More than anything else this year, The Good Place ruled my heart and mind. I have not anticipated a broadcast television show like this in a long time, and in between seasons and episodes so many binges of previous seasons.
The best thing about this show that is sorta about the afterlife but kinda mostly about ethics but really just about us dirtbags here on earth and how we treat each other is how it keeps reinventing itself almost every six episodes or so. The show’s writers seem to be laboring under the idea that at some point the network is going to figure out the scam they’ve been running and pull the plug, so we’d better get through as much of this plot as possible. Where most shows would drag out their premise, this races through multiple setups in a single season. It’s refreshing, it’s smart, but it’s also stupid.
This season’s episodes “Jeremy Bearimy” and “Janets” deserve ALL THE EMMYS, especially for acting from Janet herself, D’Arcy Cardon. If you saw them, you know why. If you didn’t see them, what are you waiting for?! To Netflix! To Hulu! Begin the binge now!
It’s the best show on tv– fight me. It’s the best thing from 2018– let’s be friends and watch it together, will you please? It will make you laugh and feed your soul. Also, it has its own official podcast, hosted by Marc Evan Jackson, who plays Shawn, who ends every episode asking, “What’s good?”
The Good Place. It is good. And the best for 2018.
So, Who Won the Year?
I also like to look back at the year look for threads, throughlines, trends that indicate something. Invariably there are big winners and losers in the year. I want to quickly celebrate the top winners.
Honorable Mention: Nicholas Cage
Despite being somewhere between an internet meme and a pariah, Nick Cage still gets some pretty amazing work this year. His starring role in Mandy is like a cocaine-fueled horror fantasy made in the 80’s and then set to age for three decades soaking in LSD. But then he also showed up in the cartoons in some of the most unexpected places: as Spider-Man Noir in Into the Spider-Verse and as Superman in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. We’re glad to see him working.
Other honorable mentions: Donald Glover, Streaming Services, Steve Carrell, Mahershala Ali, Dolph Lundgren, Michael B. Jordan
This was a good year for cults in movies and tv. Mandy, Bad Times at the El Royale, Wild Wild Country, and Hereditary. Also, the bizarre stories about real life sex cult NXIVM that involved Smallville‘s Allison Mack. So, way to go, cults? At least you have some diversity here– Jesus, Satan, new age, but all of them were big on sex, So, sex cults. Way to win 2018.
4. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski
These two not only had an amazing year, but they did it together. Blunt killed it as Mary Poppins, Krasinski brought Jack Ryan back, and then you have their on-screen duo in A Quiet Place. That movie was such a revelation– mostly about how terrible mainstream movie audiences are at making noise. But in a year when almost every top-grossing film was a sequel, franchise, or remake, A Quiet Place was a true original. Thanks to both of you. You won the year.
3. Comicsgate and the Alt-Right
Now hear me out. I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but the alt-right actually accomplished a decent amount this year, and it’s completely unacceptable. James Gunn is still fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Chuck Wendig was fired from Star Wars/Marvel comics. And, they raised a lot of money through crowdfunding for various ventures.
These guys aren’t playing around. And as long as they keep weaponizing things like offensive tweets, we will lose great creators from our favorite genres.
2. Asian Movie-going Audiences
Look, America, we need to understand that most movies aren’t being made for us anymore. We can decry as braindead anything like The Meg, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Skyscraper, Aquaman, Rampage, or Venom, but those movies kill overseas. There are very specific motifs and types of shots that work there that we as American audiences just aren’t picking up. This is going to have reverberations for years to come.
What’s the major difference? You can make a strong argument for diverse casts and female leads — giving us hits like Black Panther or The Last Jedi — but those movies generally just sort of do ok overseas while overperforming in the US.
That says something comforting about our country and culture at this time. But it says some things that should maybe be concerning that we won’t get complex stories like these in the future while we spit out more Venoms.
Perhaps the biggest irony in all of this is the alt right crusaders who don’t want diversity in our movies, shows, and comics will find common cause with the globalists who will continue to churn out lots of braindead action movies starring heroic dudes. Sigh.
But let’s talk about Black Panther for one moment. It’s arguably the most culturally salient and important piece of pop culture of the year, with Infinity War not far behind. For all their evils as a corporate overlord, we got something truly important for a lot of people to see — an authentically black superhero story that deals with identity, a history of violence and oppression towards the African diaspora, and that leaves us remember that “in times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.”
When the box office receipts went off the charts, you gave back– founding an actual charity to do the work of STEM education and scholarships like T’Challa and Shuri wanted. Thank you, Disney. For an evil corporation, you sure gave us a lot of what we loved this year. You win.
[tie] 1. The City of Oakland
Speaking of Black Panther, one of the most important pieces of the film is how director Ryan Coogler brought his Oakland roots into the film. That moment when you realize the voiceover from the beginning of the film is of young Erik and his dad N’Jobu (“Tell me a story of home.”) and the entire basis for Killmonger’s wrath is based on the economic oppression of being raised in poverty in Oakland and what he had to do to escape it. It ends with a hopeful note in the same building, that future children will not have to face such hardship. “Who are you?”
I already mentioned my love of Sorry to Bother You, but that film is not possible without Oakland as a backdrop. The same is true of another of my favorites, Blindspotting, which takes a similar look at poverty, gentrification, and violence. And then we have Bodied, the rap battle movie produced by Eminem, which plays a major part in the film, but whose setting is split between Berkeley, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Still, Oakland as a force is in that film.
And then there’s real life. The Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship. A white woman calls the cops on a black family having a cookout at an Oakland city park at Lake Merritt and becomes known as “BBQ Becky.”
And then heartbreak. The Oakland Raiders plan to leave for Las Vegas looking for more corporate pork and handouts.
To understand what is going on in Oakland in film and culture is to understand a microcosm of what is happening in so many cities across the country facing gentrification and economic pressures that are displacing historically black populations. It is why I recommend to everyone they see each of these films I mentioned here and think about what is actually happening.
Ocean’s 8 topped the weekend box office with the best opening for the franchise (not adjusting for inflation). With an estimated $41.5 million, the film outperformed estimates. It also earned $12.2 million at the foreign box office bringing its total to $53.7 million for the $70 million budgeted film. It will face tough competition as Incredibles 2 opens this coming week and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom the weekend after that.
The film earned a “B+” CinemaScore from the audience and was 69% female and 69% aged 25 years or older. The 11% that was 18 years or younger gave the film an “A” CinemaScore. We’ll see what the legs are but the film could be counter programming for the over the top summer films.
Dropping to second place was Solo: A Star Wars Story which earned an estimated $15.15 million bringing the domestic total to $176.1 million. The film also earned an stimated $11.3 million overseas to bring that total to $136.1 million for a global total of $312.2 million. The film has yet to open in Japan which happens on June 29. Expect this film to struggle to make it to $400 million worldwide.
Deadpool 2 slid to third place with an estimated $13.7 million to bring its domestic total to $278.7 million. Internationally the film added $18.5 million to bring that total to $376.6 million and a worldwide total of $655.3 million.
Fourth place say a new film, Hereditary which is the movie buzz right now. Driven by a strong word of mouth, the film earned an estimated $13 million beating projections. With a budget of just $10 million, everyong must be happy. Interestingly, the film received a “D+” CinemaScore from audiences. The audience was 58% male with 74% under 34 years of age.
Capping of the top five was Avengers: Infinity War which earned an estimated $6.8 million to bring its domestic total to $654.7 million. It added $10.9 million internationally to bring its worldwide total to $1.998 billion. It’ll be the fourth film ever to top $2 billion.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opened in 48 overseas markets bringing in an estimated $151.1 million. It opens in North America on June 22 and rolls out in 21 overseas territories over the month. China is on June 15, Australia and Brazil June 21, Mexico is June 22, and Japan on July 13.
In other comic film news….
Black Panther dropped a few spots to come in at #22 with an estimated $137,000. The film has brought in $699.4 million domestically and $1.346 billion worldwide.
We’ll be back in an hour with an even deeper dive into 2018’s comic films.
Movies don’t normally scare me. Real life scares me enough. There have been some great films with horror elements this year: Annihilation still has some of the scariest moments of the year and A Quiet Place was magic.
Hereditary makes them look like church. Literally, I had too sleep with the lights on the night after seeing it. I’m still disturbed thinking about it.
One of the best things about it is how it blends so many different scary elements into a single narrative. It’s what makes the film hard to explain in terms of its plot and basic premise without spoiling things because you’re really not quite sure what’s going on, what’s real and what isn’t real, until almost the very end.
It also depends on things that are truly scary rather than just cheap jump scares. The scares are earned and come from character and building on the breadcrumbs that the script leaves ever so subtly on its way. In fact, most of the movie you’re just wondering if maybe this poor family just has bad mental health issues and that’s what’s causing all of these problems.
Central to this concern are the family’s parents played by Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne. Her mother has just died, and the family is all dealing with their grief in different ways. Youngest daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) is not only the only one who seemed too have a positive relationship with the matriarch, but is also exhibiting strange, disturbing behavior of her own.
Collette also befriends a woman named Joan (Ann Dowd) at a grief support group. When Joan teaches her how to contact spirits from the other side, then things really start going haywire.
But aside from the supernatural elements, this is also just a portrait of a family in crisis and how they deal with death and grief. Oldest son Peter (Alex Wolff) is mostly in denial, turning to drugs to numb the pain and also just because he’s a normal teenager who gets high with his friends.
As the family increasingly is at each others’ throats, with mother and son blaming each other, the father is caught in the middle trying to keep it all together. And this is where Collette and Byrne shine.
Believe the hype when it comes to Toni Collette. She is the heart of this movie and we follow her mostly. We’re also left with the same impression her husband is. . . maybe she’s just cracking under the stress of what this family is going through, and these supernatural things are just imaginary? Is everyone just going crazy?
Since so much of the horror is therefore based in reality, it makes the film layered and scary on so many more layers than most other scary movies. And as the final pieces come together in the end, you’re left with a chilling choice: go back and watch it again to pick up what you may have missed, or say “Nope!” because no way are you watching something that scary and disturbing ever again.
Hereditary is that perfect summer counter-programming movie. An antidote to blockbuster fatigue, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Make sure you have friends to talk about this movie with afterwards and a well-lit place to sleep the night after. Seriously, this may be a movie to check out in the middle of the day. It is just that scary.