Jakob’s Wife tells the story of Anne, a woman who is tired of living the same routine after years of marriage to a town minister. Her life changes drastically after she begins to develop certain abilities. Her marriage is revitalized and her life finally has a purpose, but there is one condition: she craves blood.
The director of Girl on the Third Floor, Travis Stevens, takes a straightforward premise and turns it into a fun film. It’s basically Santa Clarita Diet, but with vampires instead of zombies, and it’s effective. A charming cast and clever dialogue combine to create a highly entertaining experience for viewers.
Jakob’s Wife does have something to say about marriage monotony, but it’s not as thought-provoking as some of the other films on this list. This occasionally goofy vampire flick strives to entertain, and it certainly does so.
In spite of what the film’s final product would leave you believing, Jordan Graham’s groundbreaking horror film wasn’t always as experimental as it seemed. At first, Sator was envisioned as a straightforward horror flick set in a cabin in the woods. As the director talked with his grandmother, he was told of Sator, an entity he had never heard of before. Instead of a traditional narrative, Graham created a hybrid film that combined real-life interviews with an overarching fictional plot.
The motion picture Graham made was almost entirely the result of his own filmmaking prowess after reconfiguring the central premise. In addition to writing, directing, editing, scoring, and producing, Graham also wrote the screenplay. This film would not exist without one man and his grandmother.
The story behind the film stands out, but shouldn’t detract from the actual viewing experience. Stator is an excellent horror film. Despite the fragmented nature of things, the storytelling can feel jarring from time to time, but by just going with it, you’ll be able to forgive it. It’s a far cry from mainstream horror, so don’t expect linear storytelling and jump scares.
You’ll only feel overwhelming dread as the final moments draw near. Traditional scare tactics and storytelling are given shorter shrift by atmospheric chills, and while this can be off-putting, it should not be a deal-breaker. Sator is bound to divide audiences. Some, on the other hand, may wind up with a new favorite after giving it a try.
In terms of diversity in horror movies, 2021 wins. Several entries on this list feature diverse casts and settings, which they use to their advantage. The Night, for example, revolves around a couple trapped in a hotel where strange things happen. Strange events ultimately test their love for one another and their ability to move on from previous tragedies.
In the first half-hour of the film, it appears to be an average supernatural film. While it might seem like another attempt to replicate the success of similar haunted hotel movies, The Night sets itself apart from its contemporaries by exploring nuanced topics both rooted in Iranian culture and relatable to a broader audience. Though the overarching themes are universal, there are also parts of the story that draw on the international backgrounds of the protagonists.
On top of that, the scare factor is definitely present. It’s a bit slow in the first half, but there are plenty of disquieting moments in the second half. Certainly not a nightmare, but it’s hardly a slog either. As a result, the horror works well in conjunction with the larger narrative.
The Queen of Black Magic
Horror fans may recognize the name Joko Anwar by now. A number of underrated horror flicks have been crafted by the Indonesian director and screenwriter. Some of the most well-regarded contemporary Asian horror movies are Satan’s Slaves, Impetigore, and The Forbidden Door. Indescribably nightmare scenarios are created by Anwar’s ability to build tension consistently.
Anwar has only written the screenplay for The Queen of Black Magic, but it is still very much in the style of the talented filmmaker. The horror goes well beyond the supernatural. While supernatural elements are present, they work alongside the horrors of humanity. Rather than scaring viewers for the sake of it, horror serves a purpose. There can’t be bumps in the night without a backstory.
In keeping with several other recent horror movies, The Queen of Black Magic explores the long-term effects of trauma. With a perfect combination of horror and drama, the film’s major themes aren’t completely novel. It is bold, brutal, and brilliant.
There are times when it’s best not to interfere with a family’s affairs. Isaac, the protagonist of Caveat, is in over his head. After suffering from partial memory loss, Isaac decides to watch over a mentally unstable woman in a secluded island home in an unconventional job. As soon as he sees the job, he expresses concerns that it is too good to be true. However, he accepts it regardless of his concerns.
Isaac discovers a variety of family secrets as soon as he steps into the building. He was right; the job was not what he expected. By learning new information, he puts himself in increasingly dangerous situations. By the end, it has become a contest of survival where anything could end his life.
Caveat does a fantastic job of keeping the mystery alive. Small plot twists are sprinkled throughout the brief runtime, instead of one big twist. Instead of distracting from tense chase scenes, these plot points add to them. Between revelations and scares, there is a cause-and-effect relationship.
As with most indie horror releases, this is a slow burn. You won’t find any huge surprises here. While effective, the scares are somewhat subdued. It doesn’t detract from the quality of the film. There is intentional pacing and storytelling in Caveat. When everything works together, the results are impressive.