5. The Green Fog (Guy Maddin, 2018)
Coming from the mind of experimental director Guy Maddin, it’s no surprise that The Green Fog was divisive in terms of audience. The film, which unfortunately hasn’t received too much attention as it cannot be publicly released due to copyright issues, is a fascinating film, acting simultaneously as an homage to Hitchcock, an interpretation of Vertigo (1958) and a collection of the films that influenced Vertigo and the films that were influenced by Vertigo.
It sounds bizarre, and it is, but something about the way that these other films fit into the Vertigo mindset and style is absolutely fascinating, and utterly enthralling. The way that the film is edited together, almost stitched together like some patchwork clothing, is just stunning, and it seems to lull many audiences into a beautifully hazy mood, just as the film it is riffing on does.
The Green Fog is one film that many people will find boring and quite redundant, however, to those who know what it is beforehand, and enjoy looking at how cinema has changed and stayed the same over time, as well as a fascinating look into just how large Influence is in cinema, there is much to enjoy in the film.
It is a refreshing look at one of cinema’s all time greatest pictures, and even if some people don’t get along with it (mainly due to the way it presents itself), that doesn’t make it any less impactful to those who are able to enjoy the style as it is.
4. Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)
Director Ari Aster has been slowly up and coming over the past few years, thanks to his wonderfully strange short films about family troubles. With his latest film, his feature debut and a collaboration with the brilliant A24 studio, Aster managed to break his way into the eye of critics and audience members alike, shocking essentially everyone who came into contact with Hereditary.
The film is a force of nature, and it seems to grab audiences forcefully from the first frame until its last, forcing them through a whole spectrum of varying emotions. There are moments you’ll almost cry at, moments you’ll be frightened of and moments that will make you laugh, almost certainly.
And yet, it all feels so controlled, as if there is no room for error. Colette here gives one of the finest performances of the year, one that begins quite subdued and gradually becomes more and more unhinged until she is one of cinema’s most watchable raging lunatics for quite some time, and the entire supporting cast manages to keep up with her in the most brilliant of ways.
This film is simply electrifying, however, there is one fatal flaw, if you can even call if a flaw, perhaps calling it a fatal switch would be more apt, it is the moment in which the film entirely changes. This moment occurs around forty minutes into the film, and this is the make or break moment for most audiences, with many claiming that they were only able to enjoy the opening act and found the other two to be terrible, and others being more amused by the switch in tone than anything.
It has since been confirmed that Hereditary was cut down, and that there is a cut that stretches to three hours out there somewhere, however Aster himself claimed that he found the cut to be hard to sit through, as it added much more to the depressing side of the film, with many more scenes that focuses on the way that grief effects family. Maybe this was the version of the film that the people who disliked Hereditary were looking for, however, sadly the chances are that they will never be able to see it this way.
3. Sorry To Bother You (Boots Riley, 2018)
Aside from Mandy, this is absolutely the one to look out for the most in the coming years. Whether it be the strange visual style, the intentionally provocative style, the racial side to the film, or most importantly the film’s eventual plot twist, Sorry To Bother You really stands out as one of the more excitingly bold films of the past few years.
Everything, from the withheld performance of LaKeith Stanfield as a telemarketer, the wonderfully unique costume design (the earrings in this film are more memorable than some entire films released this year) to the way that the film beautifully handles and balances all of its different ideas is just so striking and brilliantly executed.
However, this is one strange film at times, and this did put some audiences off, as did the zany costume design which some found to be different just to be different. This divide in audience is more than understandable, seeing as the film does seem to go out of its way to be strange and disturbing, and on top of that, it is quietly quite political and frightening, which would have most likely put some others off of it too.
Either way, it’s a very strong film, made with such confidence that it is very hard to dismiss. It’s excitingly refreshing and movies like this are just destined to have a group of massively dedicated fans behind them, even if they may take time to build.
2. The House That Jack Built (Lars Von Trier, 2018)
Lars Von Trier, most likely cinema’s most well known provocateur, released his latest, and perhaps his most explicit film yet, this year, with The House That Jack Built. And to no surprise, it was met with walkouts at Cannes and a whole lot of articles about how grotesque the film is. As unsurprising as this may be to anyone familiar with the work of Von Trier, the film is anything but, a genuinely shocking film in more ways than one.
Not only is it one of the darkest films of the past few years, featuring the murder of many women and even some animals and children (yes, really, they let Trier get away with that…), but it is also somehow the funniest film released all year. Somehow, against all odds, a film about a sadistic, twisted serial killer is funnier than literally anything else released all year.
Of course, being on such a touchy subject and playing it out as a dark comedy is bound to upset some, and some were most definitely unhappy with the film, including the MPAA. There was a lot of mess circulating the screenings of either cut of the film, whether it be the R Rated cut or the unrated, as the film is just so sadistic, and yet it doesn’t take it seriously enough, seeming to almost enjoy seeing the bodies stack up in more and more revolting ways.
It’s no surprise that a film by Von Trier was, once again, met with a mixed range of opinions. Surely, Trier himself isn’t even surprised at this point, and his audience shouldn’t be either. No matter what, though, the fact remains that some will love Trier’s film and treasure it over time, and some will hate it, and if that doesn’t define a cult film in the making, I don’t really know what does.
1. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)
If any film has reached cult status in 2018, Mandy has already taken the title. With its stunning, vibrant colours, stellar Nick Cage performance and metal rock soundtrack, it seems that this film was made for a specific audience, and it most certainly seemed to win that audience over.
Other audiences though… maybe not so much. Many viewers claim that they found the pacing in the film’s first half sluggish, as it is largely setup of atmosphere, story and character, however, many others say that the first hour contains some of the most exciting, ethereal filmmaking that has been seen in years.
With it’s terrific usage of Nick Cage in one of his best performances in quite some time, the film also managed to grab a lot of casual viewers, and even if they didn’t enjoy the film, the majority still say that it was interesting.
If any film is destined to become a cult favourite in the next few years, it just has to be Mandy. Few films seem better targeted to a niche audience, with so many films now trying to appeal to as many people as possible, and even if it doesn’t work for all, it wasn’t intended to.