Having said that, Climax is clearly Noe’s most formal attempt at the genre yet, as a troupe of dancers isolated at an abandoned school begin to suffer from the effects of punch spiked with LSD during an after-rehearsal party. Predictably, the wheels quickly come off as the assembled dancers rape, beat, torture, and kill each other throughout the horrifying, increasingly frenzied night. – DK
10. Saint Maud (2020)
The directorial debut of Rose Glass sees a pious young nurse (Morfydd Clark) who believes God talks to her directly, on a mission to save the soul of her dying patient (Jennifer Ehle). Saint Maud is a mix of psychological, religious, and body horror against the setting of a run down seaside town which plays like hallucinogenic social realism.
Clark as Maud is terrific–slight of frame with a troubled mind, she is still a fierce warrior doing what she believes is God’s work from the humble hovel of her home. While Maud punishes her body in service of her spirit, her patient, Amanda, celebrates hers while it lets her down. As a former dancer, she will drink, smoke, and love in her final days.
Glass’ debut is beautiful and powerful with a score, visuals, and setting that all contribute to a sense of disquiet that grows to a euphoric/horrific conclusion. An unforgettable film that singles Glass out as absolutely one to watch. – RF
9. It Comes at Night (2017)
The exact nature, origin, and spread of the grisly infectious disease that shreds society to pieces in It Comes at Night is never deeply examined; the movie is not interested in exploring the end of the world on some epic scale. Instead the effect it has is on a very small, very frightened group of people–two families that include Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough, and Carmen Ejogo among their dwindling ranks–who are trying their best to stay alive and sane.
In that sense, the title of the movie (and, to a degree, the way it was marketed) is somewhat misleading. What comes at night is not some rampaging horde of flesh-eating walking corpses but rather the cold, insidious effect of fear, grief, and distrust. These two invisible threats eat away at what’s left of our civilized selves.
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