As we continue our annual year in review articles, we're going to take a look back at some of Steph's favorite and most memorable movies reviewed in 2021. ********
For those who aren’t aware, we at Insymmetry Creations do more than just create comics. We have our arms reaching out in many directions (you can read about some of the other things we do in our first article HERE). One that is my personal area of focus is independent movie reviews. I write for several different horror/geek themed websites. Creepy Kingdom, Horror Buzz, and Horror Geek Life are three that I regularly write movie reviews and editorials for, covering horror and geek films, as well as editorials and retrospective articles during Anniversary release dates of various films and television shows. This year, I had the opportunity to review quite a few movies for all three sites, analyzing everything from independent ventures to major network premieres and even theatrical releases.
In this article, I’ll highlight three of my top films reviewed this year and tell you why they made an impact on me.
Playing with Sharks (Disney Plus & Nat Geo)
I had the opportunity to view the premiere of this Documentary about the life of Conservationist Valerie Taylor when it debuted during Shark Week and was immediately enchanted by both her and her accomplishments. I’ve had a lifelong obsession with sharks, so learning that she was responsible for some of the underwater footage for Jaws was just icing on the cake. This movie takes a deep dive (pun intended) look at her life, starting from early childhood all the way up to filming her taking the opportunity to don her bright pink wetsuit for one last dive to quite literally play with sharks. It’s a moving, fascinating love letter to a woman who was a pioneer in conservation and photography.
Martyrs Lane (Shudder)
Horror movies centering around children is hardly a new concept, making it a challenging endeavour for any filmmaker who pursues this particular storyline. Martyrs Lane succeeds in standing out in the genre in several ways, most notably with a fresh take on the typical “little girl in a big, creepy house” storyline that will keep you guessing until the final frames. The real achievement, however, is the acting chops of the two young leads. Actresses Kiera Thompson and Sienna Sayer carry the entire film on their shoulders with the ease and confidence of those twice their age. Director Ruth Platt expertly combines mood, mystery, and thrills in this haunting tale of loss and supernatural scares.
Under Wraps (Disney Channel)
This remake of the very first Disney Channel Original Movie debuted during the Halloween season, and it was my first time receiving a promotional Screener Box full of fun goodies and games. I also had the chance to watch the premiere with members of the cast via Zoom, which made for an entertaining and unique way to experience viewing it. All that aside, this was a charming and lively adaptation that stayed true to the original content while also adding modern flair.
Honorable Mention: Holes in the Sky: The Sean Miller Story (Independent)
Okay, okay, I know I said I’d only do three, but I couldn’t help but slide in this Mockumentary written and directed by Ash Hamilton. Primarily taking place over the course of a few days, it follows a film crew and their attempts to document and interview Sean Miller, who was allegedly abducted by aliens in 2013, only to return four days later. With little to no memory of what occurred to him during that time, he’s been plagued by unexplainable events since then. The crew make an effort to help him uncover the mysteries surrounding his abduction, only to find themselves an unexpected part of it, in terrifying ways. Holes in the Sky makes it on this list for its genuine scare factor; amongst a sea of both alien abduction AND mockumentary style movies, it manages to provide real chills in a smart and innovative way.
So, there you have it! It was a lot more difficult to narrow this list down than I thought it would be, but that just goes to show the quality of movies I’m asked to review. Have you seen any of the movies on this list, and if so, what are your thoughts? If you haven’t, I hope my reviews helped sway you to go check them out! We hope you all have enjoyed our look back on the top movies Steph Reviewed in 2021. Next we'll continue the series with our look at top METAL MUSIC for 2021.
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