Category: Uncategorized

Worst Films of 2022

(dis)HONORABLE MENTIONS:

A lot of these had the potential to go the shitty distance, but they weren’t picked overall. That includes The Greatest Inheritance, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, Breath, Titanic 666, Deep Water, Blacklight, and The 355.

Also I decided this time to not include some documentaries, which a few of them could have battled for the number one spot. Shame on these stories meant to be derisive and full of lies: The Real Anthony Fauci, What is a Woman?, and 2000 Mules.

15) Snow Day

Why is it on the list? Not often do you have a remake of a mildly popular film from over 20 years prior. But in Snow Day, we are given a remake, while also turning it into a bad musical. I will go out and say I don’t remember a lot about the first Snow Day, I don’t think I even saw the whole thing. Nickelodeon hyped it as their own movie. Oh well. But this one has to be worse. It is a musical, but all of the songs are just sort of generic poppy sound and don’t feel like they belong in the world. They don’t move the plot forward. And of the three plotlines we have, only one of them is remotely interesting. And yes, it is about terrorizing the snow plow driver. The other two are creepy and terrible.

Worst moment? I wish I could remember any song, so let’s just pick the first one.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Musical of 2022!

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14) Firestarter

Why is it on the list? Stephen King adaptations are almost always hit or miss, and this one is a huge, huge miss. I don’t know how close it is to the book, to the previous film version, none of that matters. Because at least this version is bad. I started playing Tony Hawk Pro Skateboarder halfway through this movie, no longer able to give it my attention, and now whenever I go to play the game anymore, I think of this film. It is affecting my nostalgia, and that shouldn’t happen when its a movie from the current year. Bad effects, bad story, and something that should just be set aflame from its namesake.

Worst moment? Liar, liar, pants on fire

Any Worst Awards? Worst Remake of 2022!

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13) The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild

Why is it on the list? There are quite a few reasons to not like this movie from my point of view. The first film I thought was okay, but I haven’t liked a single sequel after it. They went to great lengths to make the first one accruate-ish for science reasons and timing. Close enough, and then threw it all away. This one takes the characters you know and maybe love, and says no you get some other people. Do you want to see some opossums fawn over a legendary character, and find him? And then mostly still not give you that character? Not me, not on my watch. It doesn’t help that the studio that made this series was dissolved after being bought, and this was going to be a TV show, that I guess wasn’t good enough. So they scrapped the episodes to piece together this horribly pointless film. As long as you can get some money out if, I guess?

Worst moment? I’m sorry. I don’t remember a single scene in this movie.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Scrapped-TV-Show-Turned-Film-From-A-Dead-Studio of 2022!

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12) Bring It On: Cheer or Die

Why is it on the list? Franchises that last 7 movies are usually remembered fondly. I think most people you ask about Bring It On will tell you they only saw the first one, maybe a random sequel. Almost all of them were straight to video, and all of them were lesser quality. It is sad, they could have done great things. So if a franchise does a direct turn, and tries a new genre? It is worth noting and checking out. Thus we have this sequel that gives us a horror film! But is it good? Nope. The deaths are poor, the acting is worse, there is barely any cheerleading in it. Hell, the ending reveals don’t really make a lot of sense. Why was this one especially bad? Because it was made for Syfy. Which has decided to intentionally make shitty films for some reason. I won’t get into that now.

Worst moment? The killer reveal.

Any Worst Awards? Worst sports film of 2022! (Worst seventh film of a franchise in 2022!)

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11) The Munsters

Why is it on the list?  Ugh. See. I understand why this movie was made. I do. I understand the point Rob Zombie made with it, and casting his wife in it. I get it. Honestly. I understand the campiness of the original show and trying to match that silliness. And yet somehow, none of that matters, because what was given to us was just a trainwreck from start to finish. I wish I could have laughed. I wish I could have cried. I wish I could have cared. But trying to match a tone, and yet still somehow missing the charm the entire time is just insulting to both us the viewers and the original source material.

Worst moment? Where the fuck are the other characters in this reboot?

Any Worst Awards? Worsts Television-Show-Turned-Reboot of 2022!

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10) The Wolf and the Lion

Why is it on the list? This is a movie that looks like it wants to be telling a true story. It isn’t. It is just a random animal story to be cute with baby animals that grow up into still cute adult animals. This is one that should probably be rated G due to how little conflict exists. Sure, she wants to keep the animals, and various groups want to take them away. At least one of the groups makes a good amount of sense to take them away. The circus one sucks, sure, boo the circus. But it felt anti-science with its narrative as well. I guess she really needed to have her cool island and wildcats to be able to play her instrument again. Sure. Okay.

Worst moment? The convoluted setup to get our character a wolf and a lion.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Convoluted Plot Set Up of 2022!

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9) The Cellar

Why is it on the list? Suggested to me purely for being terrible, The Cellar did not disappoint. With arguably only one good scene in the film, the initial disappearance of the daughter, it was filmed to the brim before and after it with just absolutely dreadful horror shit. Nothing felt scary. It felt too silly early on to create the circumstances of her disappearance. The parents didn’t feel believable. And the film just kept digging a hole deeper and deeper up its own ass with its conspiracies and ancient histories and math cults. I almost died watching this film in terms of second hand embarrassment. And I watched it alone.

Worst moment? Anytime math cults were brought up. It made me groan.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Counting of 2022!

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8) Spiderhead

Why is it on the list? This is a more well known item on this list, one that came out at some point and apparently everyone decided to watch it! I don’t know personally if anyone in particular liked this movie. If they did, it was because Chris Hemsworth had a fun look to him I bet. Miles Teller is also being pushed to us more and more as someone we should care about for whatever reason. I liked him a decade ago. As for this film, it was a movie that was already pretty bad throughout it, but got seemingly worse at the ending. I was shocked. It was laughably bad and what was meant to be pretty serious twists, and chases, and people yelling. I wrote before that this would have worked really great as a short film. This one had too much plot that felt like filler.

Worst moment? Everything in the final act.

Any Worst Awards? Worst “Twist Ending” of 2022!

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7) 1Up

Why is it on the list? I generally hate it when my opinions align with people I dislike, but that is bound to happen now and again. For example, the movie 1Up. A poorly budgeted film about college esports competition. The fact that it is about diversity and inclusiveness is not the problem. The problem is the movie itself is just regular amounts of bad. A woman is treated badly by a sexist captain of their college e-sports team, so she quits and makes her own gender specific team. And eventually they have to compete (spoilers) against the original team, and winner take all, including existence at their college!  The insults are corny, the plot is a groan, the conflicts between characters is just so fake feeling. It feels like a movie to appeal a Buzzfeed quiz crowd, which makes sense, because it was made by Buzzfeed.

Worst moment? Trying to take Ruby Rose‘s character seriously as a gamer professor.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Sports Movie of 2022!

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6) Morbius

Why is it on the list? I assume people would expect this, but maybe just not this high up. Morbius is a movie I got to see early, and sang its terribleness from before day one. I sometimes sleep in a theater, but rarely is it at a 1pm showing in the middle of a great day (normally it would be at night!). Morbius has almost nothing working for it. It was a bad movie, where the scene in the credits made it worse. The confusion around what occurred at the end of Spider-man: No Way Home still seeps through these movies, because the crossovers aren’t making sense. My full review goes into a lot more details, but honestly, Morbius is so bad, the memes to mock it for being bad are also bad.

Worst moment? Thanks for meeting me, Doc. I’ve been reading about you. I don’t know how I got here … something to do with Spider-Man. I’m thinking of putting a team together. Do some good.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Superhero Film of 2022!

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5) Jurassic World: Dominion

Why is it on the list? I flash back to myself as a kid at 4 or 5 years old. I don’t think Jurassic Park is the first film I saw in theaters, but I know it is the first film I can still remember seeing at theaters. This franchise has not affected my life path at all, and I wouldn’t say any other Jurassic film is necessarily good. The entire Jurassic World trilogy is rather stinky and basic. But this one feels insultingly bad. Bringing in all of the fan service they can from the original film, instead of just smaller bits and parts like the previous movies. It seemed like a no brainer, a slam dunk even! However, it also made the mistake of needing to follow the plot of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which had its own terrible plot lines and releasing dinosaurs into the world. Did the fact that dinosaurs were now able to roam the world matter? Not at all. Instead we got a long film of bad decisions and forgettable scenes.

Worst moment?  The main plot points (clone daughter, programming locusts) don’t really excite in a dinosaur movie.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Fantasy, Worst Trilogy Ending, and Worst Adventure Film of 2022! (Worst sixth film of a franchise in 2022!)

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4) Redeeming Love

Why is it on the list? When I went to watch this movie, I didn’t even know it was some “modern version” of a bible story. It is inspired by the book of Hosea, or whatever that means. This is about a bachelor farmer, doing good at his job, praying for a woman when he goes to town, and sees the local top prostitute and takes it as his sign. He swears to save her from her life of sin, and make a real honest woman out of her, and pays a lot of money just to talk to her in her “sin den” as he may have called it at some point, I don’t remember. The entire thing felt creepy. He was slut shaming her, and deciding he needed to make her his wife, not based off of her personality or intelligence, but purely based on her looks. Strange idea of a charming romance character.

Worst moment? When he buys her freedom after she gets beat up.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Slut Shaming, Worst Bible Retelling, and Worst Romance of 2022!

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3) Blonde

Why is it on the list? Speaking of people getting beat up we have Blonde. Disguising itself as a biographical film about Marilyn Monroe, it is instead a film based on the book, Blonde: A Novel, by Joyce Carol Oates. That book is in the genre “biographical fiction” which is apparently, “a type of historical fiction that takes a historical individual and recreates elements of his or her life, while telling a fictional narrative,”. Oh, so, taking a person and some moments of their life that are famous and just sort of making it up. Inherently, I don’t hate that for a film, although I would rather it be obvious that is what is occurring. However, in this movie it just feels downright creepy. This movie, and this story, about a woman who became famous and was exploited throughout her life and just…exploits her further. Decades after she died. Making up stories that are extra worse in her life, adding more abuse and ridiculousness to it. It feels like it is done in the poorest of taste.

I am not inherently against biographical fiction. For example, one of my favorite movies, Steve Jobs, is clearly in that same genre. The conversations that take place in those press release conferences didn’t happen, but at at least indictive of real arguments and controversies that happened, and it didn’t go out of the way to give Jobs excessive praise or scorn either. It gave a realistic portrayal of the man, without stomping on him at the same time. However, in Blonde it feels like that was the main attempt. To just fuck up Monroe’s life even further for the viewer to just have to gasp, cry, and shake their head in sadness.

Worst moment? The opening forest fire scene should have told me to just turn it off, but alas.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Biographical Fiction, Worst NC-17 Big Release Film, and Worst Drama of 2022!

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2) Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Why is it on the list? Look, I am not an expert on this franchise. I have only seen two of these films, the other being Texas Chainsaw 3D. And miraculously, this 2022 iteration is still somehow the worst version I have ever seen. It is meant to be another modern sequel to an original that ignores other versions, because that is fun, and also, have almost identical titles. This one was questionable early on, as it seems our main characters were people who wanted to revitalize a dead town, buying up property and putting money into it. Is that bad? I don’t know. But in this film it is the worse that they would do that, and also, eventually, we get Leatherface showing up ready to kill zoomers and millennials who are just terrible I guess.

I need this to be clear. At some point, a party bus arrives in the town, with influencers, people having a good time, and he pops on the back of the bus. Spoilers I guess, but sure enough, he kills the whole bus, because these people are so pathetic and young and on their phones that they can’t do anything at all to help themselves. It was the biggest goddamn boomer fantasy in a movie I have seen in so long. People who were around when the first film came out probably would love this scene.

Worst moment? The bus scene. I cannot and will not stop talking about how bad it is.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Horror Movie, Worst Party Bus (see another), and Worst Movie for Boomers of 2022! (Worst ninth film of a franchise in 2022!)

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1) Pinocchio: A True Story

Why is it on the list? Pauly Shore doesn’t act much more. And he honestly hasn’t really done it in the last 20 years, mostly playing himself in films. Then Guest House happened, which also made a worst of the year list, and he decided acting is fun again. So why not voice work? Why not? Well, honestly sure, why not, I can see him doing fun animated characters. But apparently one of the worst animated flicks of the decade was his time to breakout into the medium, and it helped create a perfect storm of ghastly material.  You see, because here he is voicing Pinocchio, which is a very well known character and story, and at no point would anyone see the story and think Shore’s voice is the best fit.

Did they know we would be in the middle of bunch of Pinocchio films when this one came out? No idea, but it does hurt it further. Did Shore know that this Euro based production company would be using CGI that looks like it came from early 2000’s Nick Jr. shows? No idea. Does the fact that this story has almost nothing in common with any Pinocchio story, and feel like a last second addition? Yes, yes it does. Complete with a talking horse.

I am inherently fine with movies to be different than the source material. I try to go out of my way to avoid books to not know about the source material more. But its harder with more and more iconic stories. And so if you are going to go far away from the source, you should have great reasons to. This story is just so incredibly generic and bland that it does nothing for the Pinocchio game, nor animation, nor fiction in general. It is low effort from everyone involved, and a pain to sit through. I generally start with a disdain for stories that label themselves as a “True story” version of the events of well known stories as a crutch to tell it in a new way. Couple that with all of the other issues, and this one had no chance. Movie is so bad, most of it you can’t even tell he is supposed to be a wooden boy.

Worst moment? Just pick one from the trailer. Which immediately goes out of its way to tell a pop culture reference.

Any Worst Awards? Worst Film, Worst Voice Acting, Worst Animated Film, and despite Disney’s best attempts, the Worst Pinocchio Film of 2022!

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Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

Alice, Darling

My first thought from this title, was that Alice Darling sounds like a name, so it is a good thing that they put that comma in there. And it turns out, I was right. Here is someone named Alice Darling, she is a singer and was on Spotify. Also her album is called Alice Darling too.

I found this out when checking to see if this movie was based on a book. The title, and aura of the film, gave me based on the book vibes. There is a chance this is the fault of Still Alice, which was also based on a book.

But sure enough, Alice, Darling is not based on a book at all! It might be loosely inspired by real events from the creator, but that is as far as we will get. Speaking of the creator, it was directed by Mary Nighy, her first feature length film, and it was written by Alanna Francis, her second screenplay. That’s right. We got a movie about some women, written and directed by some women. Honestly, this happens so rarely I just feel compelled to point this out.

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Staring out of windows, being a darling, just Alice things.

Alice (Anna Kendrick) is in a relationship! Haven’t you heard? Simon (Charlie Carrick) is an artist, and has art, and does galleries with his art, and I guess he has success and makes money. He cares and provides for Alice, who still has her own independence thing going on. She has a job after all, and friends. Or does she?

Okay yes, she has a job. But it is limited, and Simon doesn’t like to see her gone so much. He also has helped change her diet to be more healthy. And he also doesn’t like it when she is with her friends so much. Her friends, Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) and Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku), haven’t seen as much from her lately. Alice cancels her plans more often, or she leaves really early from their engagements, and just isn’t there. When Tess wants to do a week long trip at a Cabin for her birthday, it takes more convincing to get Alice to join, who is very reluctant, but she does want to go.

So she does the noble thing, and just lies to Simon that it is a work thing, and she will be busy. Why does she lie to him about hanging out with friends? Why does she fear saying anything wrong to him? Why is she so distant? Well, her friends are ready to confront her and help her out through this relationship, that might be a lot more one sided than Alice realizes.

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See, she has friendship on both sides of her! Like a sandwich!

Friendship and relationships can be hard. Being in a relationship can mean spending less time with your friends, and being more involved away from them, doing less than you normally would. But is that always a bad things? Or is it normal?

That is questions I had to ask myself watching the film. Because it would be messed up if your friends held an intervention to spend more time with them, if you were just super into a new relationship. But that is one of the themes this film explores. How much is too much? How much of an emotional codependence is a good thing, depending on the stage of the relationship? And what happens if the relationship is actually really one sided, with the side being taken advantage of, or used, not actually realizing it?

I won’t use the g word here, but abuse doesn’t have to be physical. It can just be controlling and emotional damage being done. A general fear of being looked down upon. And worse, which I won’t get into.

The film did take some time getting going. The flashbacks that were often literal flashes in length, weren’t super helpful. I wish it really delved a bit more into that aspect. I think Kendrick and Carrick both did really well with their characters. It was unfortunately the friend roles that seemed to lack more. I couldn’t believe them as much, and it made a few of the bigger emotional tics jarring as a result.

If anything, this film is a real strong in its messaging of what happens if Love is actually just a codename for Control.

3 out of 4.

Best Films of 2022

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

These honorable mentions are all 4 out of 4 films from my site this last year, who didn’t make my top cut of 15. We have: Hatching, The Janes, Emergency Declaration, Unidentified Objects, Sidney, Barbarian, She Said, Brian and Charles, Navalny, The Fabelmans, Happening, and The Whale.

Also these films are ones I never got the chance to see, but based on word of mouth, might have made the list, who knows: EO, Return to Seoul, Saint Omer, The Inspection and Women Talking.

15) The Outfit

Why is it on the list? When it comes to what makes a movie just barely make the list, why The Outfit over something else in the honorable mentions? Well, for a few reasons. The Outfit is a limited cast, so we have quite a few people getting to shine and act.  A film that could have been a play, and is set in entirely one location, but somehow was not a play first. I’d argue the top four actors in this do a phenomenal job and do a lot with what they are given. And yet why is this on top of the Honorable Mention pile? I just goddamn love it when names are so chef’s kiss perfect. The Outfit is about a tailor who makes suits, dealing with the mafia, who are also nicknamed The Outfit.

Favorite moment: The part inside of the tailor’s place of business. >.>

Best Awards: Best Title Pun of 2022!

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14) I Want You Back

Why is it on the list? Look, I am as shocked as you are. I don’t think I have…ever…had a RomCom in my top 15. I could be lying, but I do not want to check. I Want You Back was likely my first 4 out of 4 in 2022, and carried by the wonderful cast that just has great chemistry with each other. I have Jenny Slate in a surprisingly big number of 3 or 4 films on my rankings, and Charlie Day is almost the opposite. But even when you can tell how the film is going to end, as per RomCom rules, this journey was certainly worth it. From hallway crying to devious plots to relationships old and new. I Want You Back is the thing to ever use those four words in succession. I swear.

Favorite moment: Suddenly Seymour…

Best Awards: Best RomCom of 2022!

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13) On The Count of Three

Why is it on the list? Well, first of all, it starts with a dark and morbid topic. Two friends both happen want to kill themselves, because of their problems in their life. So they agree to kill each other instead, at the same time. But first, why not have a great last day on Earth? Do things they always wanted, get some revenge, get some good buzzes. Whatever, because fuck the consequences. If they are going to die anyways, who cares? Well, this isn’t some strong vigilante male fantasy film, don’t worry. But it does deal with real issues, and both of the leads are completely believable in this film, and take us on an incredibly interesting journey.

Favorite moment: The therapist’s office.

Best Awards: Best Suicide Pact of 2022! (erm)

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12) Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Why is it on the list? 2022 was the year of Pinocchio, but not in the good way. Three of them were released, one of them pretty dang good, one of them basic as hell, and one of them bottom of the bargain bin barrel. In another year, maybe I wouldn’t love this one as much, who knows. But given its competition, it gets elevated on that fact alone. Unlike the Pauly Shore film, which also takes liberties with the story, Guillermo del Toro‘s vision doesn’t change the crux of the story, but instead sets it in a more realistic world view. And he makes it really sad, and so we have to think about death more now because of him.

Favorite moment: The afterworld.

Best Awards: Best Animated Film and Best Pinocchio of 2022!

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11) Dual

Why is it on the list? A lot of the reason why Dual is on here is to highlight it, because I didn’t know anything about it. It was just some random movie I decided to watch because of the leads, with no buzz or hype from the community around it. Or at least none I could see. And with this movie, I got a very unique satire, dealings with issues that could theoretically be an issue in a future where we can create perfect clones of people. The absurd rules around it just add to fun. Aaron Paul’s character is so ridiculous, despite giving the “serious trainer” vibes that it was just hilarious and worth the time commitment for the movie.

Favorite moment: The training.

Best Awards: Best Legal Proceedings of 2022!

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10) The Antares Paradox (La paradoja de Antares)

Why is it on the list? Out of films you probably haven’t heard about, this one is probably the top of the haven’t heard about list. To be honest, not even sure it counts as this year, since I saw it at Fantastic Fest and don’t know if its even been released? It is a story of a woman who works at an observatory, specifically with a group searching for signs of extra terrestrial life, and hearing a signal. But thanks to plot, things start going wrong, with her life falling apart at that same night, all while she is trying to just confirm the signal isn’t a mistake. All of the other characters are just faces on screens or voices on the phone, so Andrea Trepat has to carry this whole movie mostly on her own. I thought it was a gripping character study and a tense situation with a whole lot of shitty people and circumstances rolled into one.

Favorite moment: The rage I got over a sister and a nurse being the worst.

Best Awards: Best Bottle Movie of 2022!

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9) The Menu

Why is it on the list? Honestly, The Menu was the last film I saw to make it onto the list, just based on when I could finally see it, early in 2023 on streaming. I had hyped the film in my mind for months, just based on the actors alone. Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult just sounded like a good time. I didn’t even know what the plot was, just something at a restaurant! Instead I got to see an intense dark comedy, going to quite a few extremes, to drive home an obvious point. Rich people suck. But it isn’t a one sided coin. A lot of people suck. I know its profound, but that is where my eloquence lies. I think it did a much better job at this sort of point than say, Triangle of Sadness, which also came out this year, but meandered around the point instead of attacking it head on (which The Menu did, over, and over, and over).

Favorite moment: Tyler’s Bullshit. And the rest of his shit too.

Best Awards: Best Roast of the Rich and Privileged of 2022!

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8) The Northman

Why is it on the list? Robert Eggers has only directed three movies, all of which are at least great, and two of them have now made my top of the year lists. The Northman came out in the first third of 2022, and to me felt like one of the bigger reasons to start going back to movie theaters. As a visual medium, watching this one the large screen just really drew me in. Everything felt designed to give as authentic an experience as possible for this story, because Eggers wants accuracy in his period pieces. The plot did not go the way I predicted, and I was constantly surprised when it went more brutal, and even less brutal, than I expected. It made me want to roar in testosterone for quite a few of the scenes.

Favorite moment: That Willem Dafoe scene early on was an unexpected trip.

Best Awards: Best “Revenge” of 2022!

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7) Holy Spider

Why is it on the list? Holy Spider is a movie I didn’t even hear about, until it was put on the shortlist for Best International Features at the Oscars. It is a Danish film, about a serial killer who lived in Iran in the early 2000s. The man targeted prostitutes and considered himself a Holy Warrior, and when he was caught, he had a lot of support for doing nothing wrong. While slightly fictionalized on how he was caught, Holy Spider captures the essence of the era, with a more pro-Journalistic slant (which I love in my movies). The man who played the killer fully committed to the role and it was just so eerie thinking about how easy killing these women was. I know that Iran had a problem with the movie, and the actors who portrayed these people, so hopefully nothing really bad happens to anyone involved getting this real story out there.

Favorite moment: The “execution”

Best Awards: Best journalism Film of 2022!

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6) Aftersun

Why is it on the list? Honestly, I have a hard time describing just why Aftersun is such a treasure of a film. A dad takes his daughter on a vacation. The dad is going through a lot, but trying to give his daughter a good time, before she goes back to her mother. And it is just them trying to live the best life they can, despite not being in great circumstances. It is just dripping with raw realistic situations, that I feel like I know the actors and that this is a true story. It is bittersweet, sad, emotional, and one that also somehow brought me joy.

Favorite moment: Mm-noom-ba-deh /  Doom-boom-ba-beh / Doo-boo-boom-ba-beh-beh

Best Awards: Best Drama of 2022!

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5) The Banshees of Inisherin

Why is it on the list? Losing a friend can be hard. Especially if it is suddenly and only one person knows why. Martin McDonagh has created one of the strangest period piece films I have ever seen. Stemming from a very simple plot, with simple characters, in a very small town area, it tells a story that certainly spirals out of control. I mean, you just have to believe people when they do what they said they are going to do sometimes, you know? It was a very different sort of “small town drama” movie, that was also by far more hilarious than it seemingly had any right to be. Sometimes you gotta laugh to keep yourself from the more disturbing elements.

Favorite moment: When Colm gives Pádraic the finger.

Best Awards: Best “English Language Film that you should use subtitles for”, Best Break Up, and Best Dark Comedy of 2022!

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4) RRR

Why is it on the list? There were way too many movies that were over 3 hours this year. Movies are getting longer and longer with no notable breaks. I remember complaining in 2012 that so many were just 2.5 hours. But its grown! Well, for a film like RRR, a movie right over three hours long, and one that captivated me the entire three hours. There was never a dull moment in RRR, from its over the top action scenes, to its even more over the top action scenes. The middle dance scene was a nice surprise, and just…well, its one of those films you just have to see and believe at how it can go 11 out of 10 the entire time.

Favorite moment: Too many. The solo policeman against the crowd to the jungle revenge finale. All of them are memorable.

Best Awards: Best Friendship, Best Dance Scenes, Best Foreign Film, Best Action film of 2022!

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3) Emergency

Why is it on the list? When I read the plot of the movie, I honestly didn’t imagine how serious I would be able to take it. When the “incident” occurs, that makes them question calling the police or taking things into their own hands, on paper, it sounded silly, but in the film, it made a whole lot of sense. Now another issue that can happen in these sort of films is that the difficulty of driving places will seem too convoluted and ridiculous, but honestly, it was never that ridiculous feeling. Unfortunate things of course, but given the theme and type of night, it was all within reason. I am more disappointed in myself that I didn’t see this when it first got on Amazon and I didn’t get to see it until the end of the year.

Favorite moment: When everyone gets together on the side of the woods.

Best Awards: Best film depicting American Race Relations, Best College Film, and Best Thriller of 2022!

3

2) Cha Cha Real Smooth

Why is it on the list? This is the second feature film written and directed by Cooper Raiff, who also is the main star, after his first film, Shithouse, which I did not love! In this film I was immediately drawn into the main character, and his dealings of hopelessness and lost. The backstory made sense, and it is believable for him to start being a party starter right when Bar Mitzvah season starts off. For whatever reason, every choice Raiff makes, even the bad ones, I agree with, because goddamn is he charming. But even better, one of our leads, Vanessa Burghardt, playing an autistic kid at these parties, is actually autistic. It comes across as authentic, because it is authentic. Unlike some other recent films reviewed by this site.

Favorite moment: His first accidental gig as a party starter.

Best Awards: Best Autistic Character, Best Party Starter, and Best Comedy/Drama of 2022!

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1) Everything Everywhere All At Once

Why is it on the list? Are you shocked? I don’t think you are shocked. This movie went straight to the top of my list when I saw it on St. Patrick’s Day 2022, and never left. Eventually the hype for this movie built amongst the normies, and word of its excellence spread. I for one thought that I might not have this one at the top of my list starting like, three months ago, because then the normies would win. I should be shocking people with these lists. Rarely is it an obvious title.

But goddamn it, I watched it as my final film of 2022, and it still holds up. People like it, movie critic or otherwise, because it is a universally amazing film, dealing with great themes and camera work and acting. This film is better than their first film, Swiss Army Man, which also was in my top films of the last decade. There is nothing bad about this movie, and I hope we can all celebrate it for decades to come.

Favorite moment: Rocks.

Best Awards: Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy film, Best Rock Scene, Best Bagel and Best Film of 2022.

1

Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

My Father Muhammad Ali

Growing up, my father was in the army, and not at all what one would describe as famous. Do you know my dad? You probably do not.

Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest boxer of all time, had four kids. Three girls and a boy. That was with his first wife, he did have more kids later on in different marriages as well. The boy though in this situation shared his name, becoming Muhammad Ali Jr. (and he had that name his whole life! (I am not against name changes, I support them, I am just noting the fact) ). So Jr here when growing up had one of the more legit claims to “my dad could beat your dad up” in existence.

But was that fact a positive?

I want to just jump straight into the IMDB description of My Father Muhammad Ali to help paraphrase things:

This documentary tells the story of champion boxer Muhammad Ali through the eyes of his only biological son, Muhammad Ali Jr. Muhammad Jr struggled with bullying, abandonment, addiction, family and heartbreak to ultimately find peace.

Oh, that doesn’t sound positive at all for Jr. Let’s continue then.

Son and Father
I know this is a spot for jokes, and it will sound like one, but I can actually see a strong resemblance. 

Dealings with abandonment can make a lot of sense. If your father is a celebrity, and someone who has to be away from home a lot, it makes sense. Family issues makes sense, if he has a lot of other siblings from other families, and was the youngest kid when Muhammad left his mother.

And getting to hear about Muhammad Ali from his son IS a unique perspective. I was very excited to find out how this documentary was framed and done.

However, the documentary itself was very odd. It makes sense to find Jr at a weird point of his life, and they had a crew following him around doing regular life things. There aren’t really narrators in this movie, but for some reason we do have a psychiatrist I think? Monica O’Neal is in here to talk to Jr to get him to better talk about his feelings and past and come to various conclusions to help him out. This is like a very edited therapy session for him.

And it is so strange. For example, early on Monica talking with…someone else, the director? I am not sure. Mentions Jr’s best friend and seems to imply he is a negative on his life, but I never really got that through any of the footage.

I want to add on that my uncomfortableness over this documentary isn’t because I thought I was delving deep into someone’s psyche and they were being exposed. The whole thing just felt exploitative in a way. Like the star himself was being taken advantage of by the people making the documentary, even though he himself wanted his story and anti-bullying message out there. It feels like this documentary could have been an episode on some TLC reality show about people with shitty lives?

I know there is another celebrity therapist documentary from last year, Stutz with Jonah Hill. I haven’t seen it yet, but I hope it did a lot better on this concept.

1 out of 4.

Little Nicholas: Happy as Can Be

Little N-Name movies are all the rage! After all, we had Little Nemo, Little Nicky, and now Little Nicholas. Two of those three are based on comic strips in the past, Little Nemo came out first as a movie but…also was the first of the comic strips, okay. But like, a few decades later, Little Nicholas comic strip was made in France and a lot of people had a good time with it. Most of them were French, to be honest. And a lot more of them were people alive during that time period.

Hell during the 1950’s I was just busy not existing. So I didn’t know about it at the time. However, the two creators of the comic also did a lot of other things in their lives.

Like one of them was also the inventor of Asterix comics, a pretty famous European dude. And the other, did a lot of famous artwork covers for The New Yorker magazine for decades.

But with their powers combined, they made Little Nicholas, and this is their story.

 

typewriter
If you actually had to write that tiny, you’d have to jump on each letter.

 

That’s right, this isn’t just a cute story about Little Nicholas going to school, playing, and having fun. No, this is actually about the creators! Fooled you? Maybe?

René Goscinny (Alain Chabat), famous comic inventor of Asterix and other works, who had already lived a nice life. He meets up with Jean-Jacques Sempé (), another artist, who has been given a job based off of his drawings, but isn’t known for making stories well. So he wants to use René to get the stories for his work, and they can be a tag team duo, and make something great together.

And that is it. They do that. They make Little Nicholas (Simon Faliu) and people like it. They expand his universe and people like it. They even make some shorts I guess? People like that too.

But in the movie we also have Nicholas popping from the page, to talk to his creators, to find out about their lives. So we get to have a biographical film in that regard, in between Little Nicholas segments I guess that were big in the comments, like playing with friends and family members and school.

 

meeting
“Let’s make a child together,” said the straight man to another.

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this animated work. Even when I read the description, about one making the plot, the other illustrating. Based on the image, I just sort of assumed it was a guy drawing a tiny kid, and the kid coming alive, to make his plot for him to draw. A weird surreal sort of thing. Like a genie in a bottle.

So of course I didn’t know that this was a reference to a European comic, and honestly, I still barely know that it is based on a European comic. Just because it has had, as far as I can tell, no impact on my life. I don’t think I’ve seen a short, or a comic, about Little Nicholas. I am sure where it was famous, it got really famous as just one of those post World War II quaint slice of life stories. Nothing that would excite me now, but maybe something used for very young kids still today. 

The people this movie feels aimed for honestly are likely those nostalgic about the story. I think a regular kid wouldn’t love this story at all, because they won’t give a fuck about the authors and their lives. But at the same time, the art style was very nice (and going for a Little Nicholas feel), and the idea behind this movie was pretty unique. Tell the story of two animators, in the style of one of their animations, while also giving parts of the animations story as well? Nice. Can’t wait to see someone else do a documentary about Werner Herzog’s life in the style of Werner Herzog

This family film, biographical film hybrid told me a unique story in a unique way. It isn’t something I know my own kids will care about, but it is still an interesting concept overall. I hope animators always continue to try new things like this. And yes, I know I am saying that despite this being a 1950’s art style. 

 

3 out of 4.

 

Wildcat

CATS. Who doesn’t love cats? Especially Wildcats. Just ask likely over half of the schools in the USA thinking of terrible mascots for their school. I don’t know why so many boring animals have been picked to be school mascots, but so many of them are panthers, cougars, lions, or even the more generic, Wildcat, that I just have to wonder if the Big Cat industry has its claws in the public school mascot naming industry.

For the documentary Wildcat, however, it is about an actual large cat from the wild. Namely, an ocelot (well, two of them). But I am getting a bit ahead of myself. Apparently there are no real good programs out there that can take in injured or baby large cats, raise them, and successfully reintroduce them into the wild. They end up being in reserves for the rest of their life, or zoos. They don’t survive well back in their natural habitats, because they don’t know how to hunt as well, or know the dangers. They don’t have their mamacats!

So this is a story about people trying to overcome that difficulty, raise a big ole cat, and release it back into the wild.

wildcat
If he gets more tattoos, they can try and match.

This is a film about Harry and Samantha. Harry was a British soldier, and now he is still British, but done soldiering. He joined an animal reserve in Peru, which was being run by Samantha, a PhD student. The forests were a hard place to live and work, so a former soldier was a good person to help out. Well, they eventually find a young ocelot, and as part of the reserve, try to do the thing that I mentioned. Raise it to go back into the wild. But there are issues that happen, poachers and wild creatures to deal with, so it won’t be easy, and they won’t get it right on their first cat. Will it work on their second cat?

Oh also they start a relationship.

So is this just a documentary about raising an ocelot? Nope. It is also, and arguably a lot more about, PTSD! Because harry has got it, and he has got it bad. He has anger issues, depression, and more from war. Not going to lie, Harry is straight up insufferable in this film when he is having what feels like a tantrum. When he feels his lowest lows, and upset about the program not working as expected. When he becomes emotionally manipulative of Samantha, who doesn’t know how to help him. This is interspliced early on with a lot of success and cute cat videos, as one way to describe it. But by the end, it becomes a lot more about Harry and his health, than anything else.

That is the more interesting documentary of course here. I really wouldn’t care about a documentary that is solely about raising an ocelot. It having another tier towards it was a surprise overall, but still not something that felt strong with the inclusion. It was a stronger documentary, yes, but just not one that would prove to be ground breaking. It can certainly be important for those who want to see the signs and the downturn of an individual, and it leaves the documentary with some merit.

2 out of 4.

The People We Hate At The Wedding

I have had to write this title, The People We Hate At The Wedding, at least 10 times now in my life. And every time, it just feels wrong. I don’t mind long titles, but the “We” really throws me off, because who are the we? Are we the viewer, the we? Are we acknowledging that the leads in the film are the people we hate?

Because the title feels like something that the character should be saying. But at the same time, it is clear from the poster, that the main characters are the characters that should be hated. Are they hating on even more characters? Are they aware they they should be hated for their behavior?

I think it might be a better title if We was replaced by You. Then it has more of a documentary feel. We know we are watching and supposed to hate them. It is a movie showcasing them!

It turns out that my grumbles towards the title, despite loving the three leads, was just the start of my issues.

 

people
Hey look, it’s those people we all agree we hate.

 

Donna (Allison Janney) and Henrique (Isaach De Bankolé) got married and had a kid in London, named Eloise (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). But their relationship didn’t last, so they broke up and Donna went back to America, where she got married again (Andy Daly), and had two kids, Alice (Kristen Bell) and Paul (Ben Platt). They would get to see Eloise when she visited once a year, and got to do American cuisine like Taco Bell. They were an okay family, but Eloise was rich, and Alice/Paul were not, and it seemed to just get worse over the years.

So now that they are adults, and miserable in their lives. Alice is in a strange relationship with her boss (Jorma Taccone), who is rich, but also, you know, married. Ben is in a relationship with Dominic (Karan Soni), who apparently wants to experiment with a more open relationship. Their mom, Donna, is single again. And she doesn’t really talk to any of her kids.

But they all get an invite to Eloise’s wedding. She will pay for a lot of the trip too, but she wants her whole family there. However, her extended family is upset with her, or the situation for various reasons. And when miserable people conglomerate together, where they feel more miserable, then you’re gonna have a bad time.

 

more people
Here are more people. Should we hate them too? 

Comedies can be hit and miss, depending on the subject matter. Wedding movies are similar. For example, six years ago we got Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (oh hey, something else starring Pitch Perfect alumni). It wasn’t loved overall, but I had a good time with it and laughed a long with. Unfortunately with this film, I just could never care about their experiences. 

The protagonists are in sad situations, but none of them feel relatable. So I don’t care about their downward trend then eventual growth throughout the film. Instead it is more of a “well, miserable people deserve to be miserable” sort of attitude I had. “Oh no!…anyways”

It just feels like absolutely no joke landed. I don’t know if it is because of how unoriginal the story felt, or if it was just poorly paced or what. I do know that I wasn’t shocked at any point of the film. Once it was fully set up, it was predictable where would be by the end of the movie. 

There are no stand outs from the cast. It is nice that they let Ben Platt be gay on screen, which hasn’t happened a lot. But the movie itself is as forgettable. Just like the actual phrasing of the title. 

 

1 out of 4.

 

A Life on the Farm / Chop & Steele

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What’s this, a double review? Yes, I sometimes review more than one thing, if they are part of a series, for special reviews. But here are two unrelated documentaries showing at Fantastic Fest. Or maybe, they are related?

You see, with A Life on the Farm, it is about some old VHS tapes made in the 1990s, about Charles Carson. He was an old man with a farm, in England, who decide to start filming what can only be described as promotion films about his farm, and life on it.

With Chop & Steele, it is about a fictional duo named Chop & Steele. But the people who play this fake body building champion duo, Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, are actually friends for decades who have made history pranking local TV news stations and collecting VHS tapes. You know, tapes they have shown at their Found Footage Festivals on tour, with audiences laughing about the absurdity of things people filmed from television or in their own homes.

One of those VHS tapes they found, being the A Life on the Farm series, which was one of their biggest hits. And hey, that is the other documentary! Boom, connection, let’s talk about both.

banner
Oh my god, so many skeletons on this farm. 

Charles Carson is the archived star of A Life on the Farm. He has won people over through his edited shots and set up scenes around his farm, using very limited technology at the time, and doing it at his old age when most people would assume he would know very little.

But more importantly, because like him for the things he did. Like, having his dead mother, pre burial, on a wheel chair around the farm, filming her saying goodbye to the land. A lot of folks would be creeped out by a dead body, but not him. He is death positive, and just wants to ensure that they get to pay their last respects.

In terms of the footage, I bet the actual unedited stuff is great, especially with a nice MC putting it in better context, and with a group of folks. But a documentary about the footage, its history, and it being broken down, did not make it seem more exciting. It just felt weird and uncomfortable split up this way, not the jolly interesting time I was hoping and expecting.

C&S
These guys are swoll. 

Now, in this documentary we can learn more about Nick and Joe. It is how they got started, their first festivals, and their first pranks! Like pretending to be an expert Yo-Yo expert, while not being an expert Yo-yoer. And more importantly, their Chop & Steele persona, which got them real big and famous because…they were sued over it!

Yep, a parent company of a TV station, once they found out they were a prank team, sued them for Fraud and more. They wanted it to be settled, and to apologize to the station, but the pair of course did not, and wanted to go all the way with it. It did become a talking point on other morning news shows, noting that this just shows that journalists didn’t do their first job. And also, eventually it did lead them to getting to America’s Got Talent, which was a claim they made to get on the shows!

But honestly, a lot more is just about the duo and their lives. Their friendship. Their direction in life. What their future plans on. Is it acting, or writing, or splitting up eventually? It brings a lot of heart into this documentary, much more than I expected about a few pranksters. And much more than I expected after watching the former documentary in this review.

It breaches a lot of good topics, while also being funny in its own right. I can’t wait to see what Nick and Joe do in the future, and if they plan on going any new direction with their antics, or if they dial it all in and retire.

1 out of 4. / 3 out of 4.

Sextortion: A Hidden Pandemic

Sextortion is a combination of two words, Sex and extortion. Extortion is usually getting money or other benefits through threats. Sextortion then, is either getting sex through threats and violence, or even, using sex as the threat, to get more things.

Neither is great, no matter who it happens to. But in particular, Sextortion: A Hidden Pandemic, is going to talk about this practice happening through the internet. Why is it happening? How is it so popular? And why it is specifically targeting the youth of America.

It is a very hard documentary and subject to talk about, but generally one of those that can help save lives. After all, if people know what to be on the look out for, and know what is going on, then you know, the bad guys might get caught? Or at the very least, your loved ones can be better protected.

Unfortunately, the people who generally need this sort of message. Like, preteens and teenagers, usually aren’t getting it from any sources. From parents, nor from schools (mostly thanks to parents), so they remain vulnerable and exploitable, even if their parents know all the knowledge to stop it. A documentary that can cross both bridges would be wonderful, and hopefully, informative.

sexy court
Don’t worry, it is also full or artistic drawings, you know, if you like art.

So what specifically is this documentary about? Honestly, most of it is about one specific case set in Virginia. Of a guy, who happened to have some big connections, being caught pretending to be a teenager on social media. He would flirt with girls, convince them to take a naked picture or something, because his camera is broken, or he will go next. Then the threatening would begin. Now he would release the picture everywhere, unless he gave them more.

I guess one thing you learn about child pornography rings, is to get accepted into them, you can’t just upload old CP to their servers. They already know about that stuff. They need you to produce fresh new content. And one way to do that is through, you know, this method above. Because once you have trapped a teenager, they will be potentially be too scared to do anything else but comply. They wont want to tell their friends or parents, because of shame, and their goal is to reduce the amount of people know immediately. And that really sucks. And the guy they caught and put on trial and you know, convicted, did that a lot.

What is surprising to me is how much of the movie is about the trial, or similar ones, and how little is about the actual process and ways to prevent it. I mean, it is there. Sure. But it feels like it was there just because it had to be. And the focus was on the trial. This trial I cared so little about. I care that the guy was arrested and put away, but I don’t need to know every aspect of the trial or research into catching him. This documentary wanted to get into that True Crime aspect a lot more, maybe to cast a wider net.

And in terms of usefulness, there was probably a little bit of useful information here? But the documentary isn’t set up in a way that it will be appealing to preteens and young teenagers, who need to hear it the most. Parents might watch this, and might try to do something about it, but the message will likely still get muddied.

On a final note, I think it is disingenuous to throw pandemic in the title here. Ridiculous even. I don’t want anything turning Pandemic into some buzzword to get attention. From the title, I don’t know if it is implying this is more important than the non-hidden pandemic, or just trying to ride its coattails, but it does NOT need to. It is already about a serious topic. It can stand on its own feet.

2 out of 4.

Razzennest

Here is an interview with the director of Razzennests, Johannes Grenzfurthner!

Razzennest is a snazzy title, and something that really makes me crave pizza. Makes me want to seek out that razzle dazzle. That is all of the double z words I can think of in a short span of time, I apologize for not being able to make that introduction joke go longer.

Razzennest might be a German word meaning Rat Nest, or it can be something very different on who you ask.

Regardless of who you ask on translating Razzennest, the film itself is a film that cannot be translated into any other film for comparison. It is a film unique on its own, and we shall see why in a moment.

chicken
This is a cock. 

The Thirty Years War (which lasted about 30 years) took place in Central Europe in the 1600’s. It involved the church, of course, people getting kicked out of windows, and just a lot of religious inspired death. Razzennest is about that war, kind of.

The imagery that starts the movie, landscapes, broken buildings, statues, fill the screen, until we hear a voice. Whose voice? Why Babette Cruickshank (Sophie Kathleen Kozeluh) of course. Because she is introducing us to the director’s film commentary of the film, Razzennest. Strange names aside, you would have been confused (if you didn’t read this description first) and thought there was a mistake, but do not worry, this is intentional. Because while you will see the film Razzennest with your eyes, you will quickly see the real Razzennest was not just the friends we made along the way, but the fake director commentary on top of it.

Because director Manus Oosthuizen (Michael Smulik) is an asshole, and has a vision, and hates dumb questions and mispronounced names. And the beginning of the commentary is full of conflict and angst. But unfortunately, darker forces are afoot in their commentary room, and things will only get weirder and scarier from there.

Also featuring the voices of Roland Gratzer, Joe Dante, Jim Libby, Anne Weiner, and Bob Rose.

cave
This is a hole in the ground. 
Razzennest is a HARD film to talk about, because honestly, just mentioning the type of film it is feels like a spoiler, even though that happens immediately. It almost felt like telling people to “get ready for the fake trailers” in front of Tropic Thunder. Just let it happen. But I also know it would be hard for me to talk about anything else, than the commentary track, since that is 95% of the film.

Yes, it still has visuals. But the visuals were clearly chosen to not be distracting, but aiding instead. Real footage of places in Europe, of old destruction, of old structures, of nature, and former battlegrounds. But there are no characters on that screen. There is not other dialogue, or interactions. It is just scenes spliced together, sometimes aggressively, to enhance the commentary story. It often matches the tone and uncomfortableness in some ways with the commentary, clearly being extremely deliberate with the editing so that it is an enhancer, not a hindrance.

In terms of the dialogue, you know, the 95% of the film, it has a pretty varied cast of characters with distinct enough voices and mannerisms to not confuse the viewer. Without knowing exact amounts, the first 1/3 of the film is meant to just be uncomfortable, awkward, and a bit silly and funny. But there are hints of what to come. And damn it, I can keep at least that part a secret still. After all, this is a Horror Comedy, not just a Comedy.

The film’s goal is to both make fun of the pretentiousness of arthouse award winning indie films, while also, at the same time, being one itself. It is punching across, not down or up. It was done on a shoe string budget, with an idea that Hollywood would never try out, because it would be a hard sell for audiences.

I had to go back into my memory banks, the only experience I had that was similar to this was Sounds Dangerous!, which was a Drew Carey audio show attraction at Disney World. The audience was given headphones, and were mostly in the dark, to experience this audio story telling device, with many sound cues to make the audience get all weird feeling. It was unique, and yet, Razzennest is clearly unique-r.

Razzennest is adding complexity to it, by having visuals, by making it meta, and by both deconstructing a genre while partaking in the genre at the same time. There is really nothing like Razzennest, and I honestly can’t imagine too many things being like Razzennest in the future either. Unless this sort of film starts to take off, like Found Footage films did after The Blair Witch Project.

I fully recommend checking out this movie if it is ever in your vicinity, although I realize that will likely be hard for some time. Because there is nothing else like it available. Until we get Razzennest 2 in twelve years, to tell a similar story, but with water!

3 out of 4.