The Year 2021 in Film

2021 has been another rough year. Covid-19 continues to remain and has had a massive impact on our day-to-day lives. The vaccine though, has meant that films have been able to get back into production, and even more importantly, cinemas across the United Kingdom were able to open again back in May. It was a bumper year for releases in movie theatres, with many held over from 2020 finally able to get up onto the big screen; audiences braved them in their masses. With so many movies releasing in quick succession, space in cinemas has been extremely tight and catching all the films was practically mission impossible. When you add in everything that skipped cinemas and went straight to streaming platforms, as well as all the films that screened as part of festivals, you have a strong crop of films that have entertained us throughout the year.

Of the five hundred plus films that I’ve watched this year according to Letterboxd, forty-five percent of them have been movies released, in some capacity, during this year. As 2021 has had such a bounty of films released, I’ve compiled not one, but several “best of” lists. All are listed in alphabetical order.

The first list of films consists of those caught at film festivals. This year I covered Fantasia and FrightFest (as always), with the addition of SXSW, Glasgow Film Festival, Grimmfest, Celluloid Screams, Fantastic Fest, and Soho Horror Film Festival. With the exception of FrightFest, these were all virtual attendances; the remote access allowed me to cover new festivals and delve into a treasure trove of new and inventive movies. The requirement for inclusion in this list is that they are all films I viewed for the first time as part of a festival, and ones that have yet to receive a UK release.

Barbarians
Dreams on Fire
Father of Flies
Hellbender
Midnight
Slapface
The Last Rite
The Sadness
We’re All Going to the World Fair
When I Consume You

For the second list I have focused on my favourite horror films of the year. If there is one genre of film that has thrived during the pandemic, it has been horror. The world has been such a depressing place that the only way to escape and join someone suffering worse fates has been to settle in with a horror, and there have been plenty of them to enjoy. The first month of UK cinemas alone featured the releases of The Unholy, The Conjuring 3, A Quiet Place 2 and Spiral: From the book of Saw, with many more following suit in recent months. Films from this list have been taken from those that I have watched at both film festivals and outside of them.

Candyman
Coming Home in the Dark
Come True
Hellbender
In the Earth
Lamb
Malignant
Psycho Goreman
The Night House
Titane

The third and final list consists of films that received a UK release during this year. That means any film that arrived in UK cinemas, onto a streaming platform, or went straight to DVD / Blu-ray.

Archive
Coming Home in the Dark
Come True
Dinner in America
Dune
The Matrix Resurrections
Pig
Promising Young Woman
The Night House
Titane

Of all three lists, if I had to be an absolute favourite, it would be a tie between Come True, Coming Home in the Dark and Dinner in America. I highly recommend seeing out 2021 with any one of them. Finally, I’s like to say a massive thanks to all who have taken the time to read my work over the last twelve months, it is very much appreciated. Hope you all have fun seeing in the new year, and let’s hope 2022 has even better film content then this year.