The Others

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: I’d go so far as to suggest that Alejandro Amenábar’s spooky 2001 ghost story The Others is good enough to land a Best Picture nom. But if that seems like a long-shot, Nicole Kidman’s performance sure as heck doesn’t. Kidman even got a Golden Globe nod for her work here, but the Academy turned up their snobby noses. Kidman is a nervous wreck here, playing an overprotective mother convinced her big, spooky mansion is haunted. It’s a raw, aching performance, and helped make more people realize she was a serious actress worthy of bigger things.

Matt: The Golden Globes dared to nominate Kidman! The Oscars? Cowards, as usual. The Others is as chilling as you’ve heard, and Kidman is that good. Why you still sleepin’ on this?

Mandy

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: Nicolas Cage has turned into somewhat of a walking meme, often going extremely over the top with his performances. And on the surface, you might think he’s doing the same thing in the brilliant, disturbing Mandy. But despite one lengthy freak-out scene in a bathroom, Cage is actually surprisingly reserved in this nightmarish acid trip. As a result, he gives one of his best performances in years. Cage plays Red, a grieving man hunting down crazy cultists. With furious eyes and a constant snarl on his lips, Cage is unforgettable here. There was no way in hell it would ever happen, but he deserved a Best Actor nom for this.

Matt: *Immediately thinks about the bathroom scene where Cage chugs vodka in this tighties* Yeah, I mean, I can’t really argue this one. (Real talk, Mandy uses Cage in an emotionally driven yet still batshit way that offers more than “memeable” highlights.)

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: There’s never been a serial killer performance as terrifying as Michael Rooker in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. John McNaughton’s nasty, grungy character study inspired by real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas finds Rooker giving a performance so believable it’s downright scary. If you had somehow never seen Rooker in anything else, and you watched his work here, you might think he really was a serial killer that McNaughton had somehow talked into being in his film. It’s such a believable, scary and realistic portrayal that if it had appeared in a more mainstream movie, I’m positive it would’ve racked up awards.

Matt: Michael Rooker’s will *deservingly* be remembered as Yondu by mainstream/younger audiences, but those with darker draws? Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer is…I mean…fuck.

The Village

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: I’m not going to get into an argument about whether or not M. Night Shyamalan’s often maligned The Village is good or not (it is, by the way). If you want to hate on this beautiful, somber meditation on grief and seclusion, be my guest. But even if you think The Village is bad, it’s nearly impossible to deny how exceptional Bryce Dallas Howard is as the lead of the film, Ivy, a blind young woman living in a secluded village cut off from the rest of the world. This was Howard’s first major role, and she knocked it out of the park, creating a sympathetic, charming character full of fire and spirit. The rest of the cast isn’t too shabby either, but this is Howard’s movie, and if there was any movie justice in this dumb world, she would’ve been a lock for a Best Actress nomination.

Matt: You can have this one, Chris. Just ain’t my cup of Shyamalan as he wrestles with a shapeshifty story that doesn’t land alongside his best finales.

It (2017)

Now Streaming on Max GO

Chris: All of the young members of the Losers’ Club in Andy Muschietti’s It gave memorable performances, but the truly Oscar-worthy work here belongs, of course, to Bill Skarsgård, playing Pennywise the Clown. Rather than imitate Tim Curry’s work in the It miniseries, Skarsgård created his own unique take on the murderous clown, playing him as unmistakably inhuman, complete with a strange voice and unwieldy mannerisms. I’ve sat and talked with Skarsgård in person, and let me tell you – he’s so far removed from the character he plays here that I’m shocked he was able to pull this off. It’s one of the most unforgettable horror movie performances of the 21st century. Oh well, maybe he’ll get a nomination for It Chapter Two. (Just kidding, nothing that cool will ever happen).

Matt: It was one of my favorite movies of 2017, so yeah – good job Chris! Only one disagreement this week. Pretty solid number if you ask me.

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