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This year has been pretty fucking awesome in movies. I was hard for me to narrow down my favorites, but I tried my best to stick to personal favorites rather than try to sound pretentious by including indies that might not have stayed with me as much as some of the theatrical releases. While, as usual, most of them are horror, my tastes can vary and this list reflects that. 

10. INGRID GOES WEST

If the BLACK MIRROR and MTV’S CATFISH series joined forces to make a movie, then it might be this. While marketed as a comedy, it definitely fits the genre, but with a darker edge. It’s a black comedy where the perceptions we give on social media really define how fake we are in reality. Aubrey Plaza is perfectly casted as recently released mental patient who becomes obsessed with an Instagram celebrity and travels to become her new best friend. What ensues are some hilarious and even uncomfortable moments, some of which most of us are too embarrassed to admit we’ve done.

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9. ALIEN COVENANT

This movie got so much hate for either being too PROMETHEUS or for straying too far away from PROMETHEUS. For me, this was a fan made blessing that blended the existential themes of its predecessor and the grimy nightmare of Ridley Scott’s original ALIEN. Some storylines are quickly wrapped with enough of a cliffhanger to continue the franchise. Michael Fassbender once again delivers a special performance as not one, but two androids this time around. Elaborate action sequences and great gore gags help make this a fun entry in the series.

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8. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

A murder mystery with an all star cast sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. However, director and star Kenneth Branagh gathers the right people who don’t try to overpower their counterparts. Everyone knows their place, making the killer’s reveal that much more shocking and completely out there. No matter how big the star, they are all suspects as one of the train’s passengers is brutally stabbed in his cabin in the middle of the night and they all have their motives. Add this movie to list of great Michelle Pfeiffer performances.

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7. PERSONAL SHOPPER

This one pissed me off due to the fact that I couldn’t find it anywhere to watch when it was in theaters, yet I had to keep reading about how great it was in every ad and magazine. I had to wait until Criterion released and took the risk of a blind buy and was sure glad I did. Kristen Stewart stars a personal shopper to high profile clients as well as a medium who looks for proof of the afterlife after twin brother passes away. While definitely more of a drama, there’s no denying the horror aspects of the film including an incredibly intense and lengthy sequence with no dialogue but sinister text exchanges. This one is a must see that deserved a much wider release.

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6. IT

While it’s questionable how good the original made for TV actually is, it still left an imprint on pop culture so much that even those who have never seen it or read the book knew who Pennywise the clown was. This version had a lot to live up to, especially since it was decided not only tell the Losers’ Club story first as a separate film, but to actually make it an R-rated big budget horror movie. The results were successful as the movie made the kind of money no one sees in horror and the film itself was actually good.

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5. GET OUT

Jordan Peele was known for his comedic offerings, but took everyone by surprise when he made his directorial debut in an original horror film that transcended demographics. Not only that, it explored plenty of social commentary that felt all too relevant and an ending that made audiences shift in their seats. This was a refreshing movie that no one could stop talking about and continued to bring in the money for quite awhile. Peele has proven himself as a voice to be reckoned with and everyone in Hollywood has their wallets out, wanting a piece of his crazy mind.

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4. THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER

While this screened back in 2015, us normal people couldn’t watch here in the US until this year. It got a minimal release via DirecTV, but the wait was worth it. Oz Perkins gives us a slow burn of a story where two prep school students are left behind during a holiday break where an unseen presence lurks in the hallways. And how does a traveling Emma Roberts connect to all this in a separate storyline? You have to watch and find out. This one comes with a great payoff and a rare force where it truly feels like the devil is hidden within the frames.

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3. mother!

Here’s another one that got so much hate, but this triggered some hidden insecurities that I couldn’t shake off the movie days after watching it. I saw this on a date who claimed he hated the movie, but he wouldn’t stop talking about it and trying dissect the ending. Jennifer Lawrence gives us literally her everything in this role that is exhausting to watch as the wife of an artist suffering from writer’s block. Her life is turned upside down when uninvited guests appear and she does her best to maintain the perfect wife, the perfect hostess, but there’s only so much one can take. Love it or hate it, you will feel something and that can’t be said for many movies.

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2. BABY DRIVER

I feel like Ansel Elgort came out of nowhere, starting his career in high profile roles in the CARRIE remake and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. As Baby, he was born to play this role. His deep voice that contradicts his youthful looks gives an interesting take on a young driver hired by a shady Kevin Spacey to participate in multiple dangerous heists. After meeting a waitress who shares the same name as a certain T. Rex song, he decides he no longer wants a part of this, but getting out won’t be so much. This one is what a summer blockbuster should be: fun, action packed, great music, a touching love story, and filled with memorable characters all in one two hour package.

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1. THE SHAPE OF WATER

Honestly, Guillermo Del Toro can do no wrong. I’ve never seen anything he was associated with that let me down or didn’t fall in love with (Ok, maybe a couple seasons of THE STRAIN, but television can be forgivable). While I thought PAN’S LABYRINTH would always be his masterpiece, SHAPE OF WATER changed all that. We now have a movie we so desperately need: a story where unconditional love exists and how survival is based on how we treat each other.

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