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‘It Follows’ and ‘Crimson Peak’ Make The A.V. Club’s Top 20 Films of 2015

'It Follows' and 'Crimson Peak' Make The A.V. Club's Top 20 Films of 2015

There are a lot of movies whose appearance on year-end lists seems by this point seems like a mere formality: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Carol” and “Inside Out” are more noteworthy in their (rare) absences than for being named, again, one of the best movies of the year. The reasons for that consensus aren’t complicated — those actually are some of the best movies of 2015 — but it tends to squeeze out the idiosyncratic and polarizing, in favor of the movies that everyone at least kind of likes.

The A.V. Club’s collective top 20 was voted by eight critics, enough to even out truly divergent opinions, but a small (and like-minded) enough group that there are some welcome surprises. It’s the first list compiled by more than a single person on which I’ve seen Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak,” and one of few to include David Robert Mitchell’s “It Follows,” a critical favorite early in the year whose long path to U.S. release — it debuted at Cannes in 2014 — may have allowed some of that ardor to cool. (Bias alert: My own Top 10, as it stands with two weeks left in the year, includes “Crimson Peak” as well as another of the A.V. Club’s Top 20 surprises: Amanda Rose Wilder’s great documentary, “Approaching the Elephant.”) Perhaps the most noteworthy absence: “Spotlight,” whose no-nonsense approach doesn’t gibe with a list that favors visual style over plot substance. 

Here’s what A.V. Club staffer Ignatiy Vishnevestky has to say about “Crimson Peak”

Unsuccessfully marketed as a horror movie, this lush, florid Gothic romance represents the high-water mark for director Guillermo Del Toro’s gifts as a pure stylist. A simple Bluebeard fable expressed through extravagant set and costume designs, ingenious effects, insect imagery, and boldly deployed colors, Crimson Peak lets its subtexts and metaphors grow wild, until they overwhelm the movie like creeping vine. Mia Wasikowska, whose Pre-Raphaelite features have made the go-to star for 19th century literary adaptations and Gothic pastiches, plays an American writer who marries a dissolute English aristocrat (Tom Hiddleston) who shares the decrepit family estate with his creepy sister (Jessica Chastain). While Del Toro’s tendency to place sweeping visual imagination over narrative originality may not be for everyone (our own Katie Rife wasn’t too hot on the film when she reviewed it), it’s still hard to deny that few films released this year took over the space of the screen with as much confidence as ‘Crimson Peak.’ Like fine licorice, this is an exquisite experience for those who might already have a taste for it.”

The A.V. Club’s Top 20 Films of 2015

1. “Mad Max: Fury Road”
2. “Phoenix
3. “It Follows”
4. “The Duke of Burgundy
5. “The Look of Silence
6. “Sicario”
7. “The Assassin
8. “Carol”
9. “Brooklyn
10. “Anomalisa
11. “Inside Out”
12. “Bridge of Spies
13. “Hard to Be a God
14. “45 Years
15. “Crimson Peak”
16. “The Forbidden Room
17. “Approaching the Elephant”
18. “The Martian
19. “Mustang
20. “James White

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