8. The Lodge
Following their mother’s suicide, two children struggle to accept their dad’s new girlfriend. The four travel to a lodge for Christmas, but, naturally, dad has to leave the kids alone with the woman they blame for their mother’s death. This is a bleak movie that deals with grief and trauma in several forms. Its cinematography lends to an ethereal, surreal atmosphere, and the two young performers are especially impressive in a film with such a heavy subject matter.
7. The Invisible Man
The second-best Universal monster movie remake (Coppola’s Dracula counts) came out back when we still went to crowded theaters (in fact, it was one of the first theater movies to pivot to streaming). Is the protagonist crazy, or is her invisible, Silicon Valley billionaire ex-boyfriend stalking her? The film makes sense, it’s entertaining through its runtime, the special effects sell the story, and Elisabeth Moss gives a great performance – what more can be expected of a mainstream horror film?
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Upper middle-class homemakers have been a staple of American media since the 1950s, carving out clear gender roles for women as wives and mothers who exist solely to please their family. Housewives of the 1950s suffered their shameful unhappiness in silence. Swallow gives this domestic tragedy an unsettling, post-Code era twist when its protagonist begins swallowing inanimate objects to exert control in her life. Swallow’s 1950s-inspired style and beautiful design contrast with the harsh, sickening scenes of objects being ingested – this is certainly the toughest watch on the list.
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