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Editorials

5 Underappreciated Films From 2018

January 19, 2019

We are still in January and most of the films currently in the cinemas are holdovers from last year. So I’m here to showcase five films from 2018 that didn’t get the appreciation they deserved.

In the year when superhero movies, Bohemian Rhapsody, Disney and the battle between A Quiet Place and Hereditary ruled the conversation, these are the films that got a little lost in the shuffle and deserve their time in the spotlight.

The Other Side of the Wind

Netflix scored big hits this year with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and positively received seasons of Bojack Horseman and Daredevil. They also acquired the rights to many interesting films like Cam, Roma and Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. But two films among their catalogue definitely deserved more attention, this being one of them. The Other Side of the Wind did garner attention before it’s release as the final film of legendary director Orson Welles. Since then it seems to have had little discussion, which is baffling as it’s a posthumous credit from a revered director. Other side of the Wind is a scathing look into the life of a well-regarded filmmaker, as well as the people and media landscape that surrounds him. Alternately, a fascinating semi-autobiographical glimpse into Welles life and opinion of himself. It’s an interesting look at the origins of archive footage and a cinematic trip through a haze of egos and scorched refined visuals. While not the next Citizen Kane it is still a satisfying film that adds a great epilogue to the tale of one of cinema’s most intriguing figures.

Poster for The Other Side of the Wind (lastpodcastnetwork)

Apostle

Here’s the second Netflix release you should all check out. The director of The Raid brings us an effective horror story about a man going to find his kidnapped sister. But his life is put in danger when he learns the secret of the island she is on. That summary sounds generic for a horror movie, but Apostle does some things so well that it’s easy to forgive a lot. It’s a film of two halves. The first half is incredibly tense, as our hero sneaks around investigating the island. In the second half, the film goes nuts as the blood flows and surprise reveals pile up. For this reason, it’s understandable why the films second half may lose some people. After such effective tension building, the change to blood and gore and the introduction of fantastical elements, feels somewhat disappointing. But the first half is so well done that I’m willing to go along with it. It is still very entertaining. And it’s refreshing to see a horror movie made with genuine passion. Sometimes enthusiasm is enough.

Netflix’s Apostle Poster (bloody-disgusting.com)

Knife + Heart

I am not surprised this movie was underappreciated. Knife + Heart had a limited release at film festivals so general audiences will not have seen it. Even when I saw it, it divided the audience. The plot concerns a gay porn director trying to get over her ex-girlfriend. While her crew are killed off by a masked figure. That description alone indicates this movie will not be for everyone. It’s a movie that deals with frank depictions of sexual themes as well as (depending on your interpretation) showcasing a conflicting attitude towards its characters sexuality. It’s also a movie that goes for dream logic and magical realism over cause and effect reality. Which some viewers may not like. It’s destined for cult stardom. Some will love it others will detest it. For me, it was a one of a kind experience. It showcased great affection for a cinematically underrepresented group and I saw nothing like it all year.

Opening to Knife + Heart (variety)

Tigers Are Not Afraid

Of all the listed movies, this is the most difficult to watch. Tigers Are Not Afraid tells the story of a girl who loses her mum in the Mexican drug war. She receives a piece of chalk which she believes will grant her wishes. She then uses these wishes to help her and several other children made homeless by the feuding. But all her attempts to help have dire consequences. I saw this movie listed at several horror festivals this year and heard buzz about it from the community but no one else. Having seen it I understand why. This movie pulls no punches when it comes to showing the impact that the drug war has on the Mexican people. Even children aren’t safe. Because this movie deals with such a sensitive and relevant topic it is not likely to be for everyone. Some may find the movie to be in bad taste or just too much to handle. But, like the movie shows, sometimes we need stories like this to help us process the world around us.

Tigers are not afriad poster (molinsfilmfestival)

The Hate U Give

My favourite release of last year was a film that I knew nothing about going in. I saw no trailers; none of the actors on talk shows and no one I knew was talking about it. But when I emerged from the cinema I felt so drained and excited. For the first time in a while, I felt the power of cinema. I cared about the fates of all of the characters. I never knew where the story was going. There were moments that affected me on an emotional and physical level and I felt like I was watching something important. This film speaks so much to this generation and this point in time that it is truly a feat. Because of this I want you guys to experience the film the same way I did. Don’t look up anything about it. Just know that the story concerns a teenage girl named Starr trying to navigate the ups and downs of growing up in modern America. It’s a film that deserved way more than it got and one that I will continue to fly the flag for as long as I can.


Amandla Stenberg in the poster for The Hate U Give (ComingSoon.net)

Thus ends my list of five little seen gems from last year. I hope that you will check all of these out and hopefully you will find at least one that you enjoy as much as I did.

What was your favorite underappreciated 2018 movie? Let us know in the comments. I look forward to seeing the underappreciated gems that this year will bring us.

Josh Greally
Writer and filmmaker from Chesterfield. I recently completed my masters in directing film and television and have written film reviews for several smaller sites in the past. Films are my life, but I also enjoy writing, reading, listening to music and debating.