While I was putting together my ballot for the best films and performances of the year for the Boston Online Film Critics Association, I of course couldn’t help trying as best I could to consider the best horror films of the year. I’m always inclined to give horror movies the best shot at appreciation, particularly when one considers their lack of appreciation in general year-end awards.
That being said, I am compelled to say that Goodnight Mommy is at the top of my very short best horror films of 2015 list. The three other films on there are, in no particular order, Crimson Peak (the film is visually splendid), It Follows (a film I greatly admired for its story, pacing and soundtrack), and, believe it or not, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit (what can I say, it’s fun. I didn’t think I’d ever get back to liking an M. Night Shyamalan film, but most of the time one’s future isn’t what you expected it to be). Overall, Goodnight Mommy is tops as it has, without question, a most astonishing plot twist. I was floored by it and that singular reveal took the movie over the top into greatness.
Now, concerning the more amusing and less heralded subject of the best movie kills of 2015, a conversation I’m usually drawn into by friends when considering everything I’ve seen in 2015, believe it or not, I have to go for the Death by Malfunctioning Shrink Gun in Ant-Man. Ant-Man of course isn’t a horror film but, in my opinion, when it comes to the Best Movie Kills of 2015, the field is wide open and Ant-Man takes it.
Recapping what happened, the maniacal and egotistical (how many bad guys aren’t) president of Pym Industries, Darren Cross (played by Corey Stoll) is so set on developing his army of miniature Ant-Men for military purposes that he concocts, of all things, a shrinking gun – you know, for convenience. When on of Cross’s high-level employees confronts him in the men’s room about the moral issues involved with the project, Cross unexpectedly shoots him with the yet-to-be-prefected shrink gun, instantaneously compressing the businessman in to an inch wide pile of goop.
The thing about this particular kill is, although it may not be the most disgusting performance kill, in my mind it’s memorable and disturbing due to its originality and utter humiliation … the idea of a man’s body turning to goop and being wiped away by a bathroom dispenser’s towel is uniquely disturbing. One can’t help but think that Cross actually did that and it definitely solidifies the impression that Cross is the baddest.
In retrospect, Ant-Man has a lot of things going for it, and I’d hoped that the film might achieve some year-end recognition. I’ll also admit, I was close to putting it on my year-end Top 10 list. I was also close to listing Micheal Pena in the Best Supporting Actor category on my Boston Online Film Critic’s Association Ballot (but of course, the Best Supporting Actor competition this year is insane, what with Stallone, Hardy, Dano, and Ruffalo, to name a few). The film is a tightly told, briskly moving, entertaining special-effects comedy.
I must also emphasize, Ant-Man‘s 3D is certainly the best 3D experience of 2015 – yes, it’s better 3D than Mad Max: Fury Road. (Unfortunately there’s no award for Best 3D, as far as I know.) The film’s bathtub scene, in which Scott Lang (Paul Rudd as Ant-Man) first miniaturizes himself and gets washed down the drain, and the climatic fight scene that takes place on a Thomas the Tank Engine train set are fantastically rendered and beautifully dimensional sequences.
The film has just this month been released on 3D Blu-ray, and of all the titles I own, it’s one of the most impressive home theater 3D presentations. Take my word for it. You have to see it to believe it. Ant-Man is no joke.