As with every single year, we try to cover as much indies as possible, but we just never have the time to see them all, sadly. As with previous years, this top five comprises five of the best indies I saw all year. It’s not to say the films that didn’t make the list are terrible films, or that the films the other writers on Cinema Crazed enjoyed aren’t good, either. This is merely a subjective list of five independent films we highly recommend to you that we saw this year.
It’s good to remember this is opinion, and not gospel.
If you want to see what films the Cinema Crazed collective consider A+ Indies, visit the link included!
Also, be sure to let us know some of the best indie films you saw all year!
5. A Handful of Dust
Directed, Written by Grayson Whitehurst
(Original Review | Screening in Various Festivals)
Grayson Whitehurst’s short horror drama has a lot of feature film potential, but on its own it’s a stark and creepy representation of how evil can manipulate us when we least expect it. Whitehurst’s direction paired with the gritty black and white photography make “A Handful of Dust” morbidly beautiful as well as brilliantly acted. Top it all off with a surprise ending that will haunt you for days, and it’s a gem that ensures I’ll be anxiously awaiting Grayson Whitehurst’s new film.
4. Hunt for the Skinwalker
Directed by Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell
(Original Review | Streaming on Amazon Prime)
What the hell is going on at the Skinwalker ranch? Is it one of the most elaborate hoaxes of all time? Or is it the epicenter for some of the most baffling paranormal activity ever recorded? Why are there no concrete pictures? What happened to the previous owners of the ranch? Are aliens simply playing tricks on people that buy the farm? In either case, no matter what conclusion you come to, you might walk away a believer and will definitely want to know more about the Skinwalker ranch. This spooky documentary kept me pondering its mysteries for days.
3. Butterfly Kisses
Directed, Written by Erik Kristopher Myers
(Original Review | Streaming Everywhere)
2018 promised to give us a Slender man movie and we ended up with nothing. Erik Kristopher Myers’ “Butterfly Kisses” (courtesy of Gravitas Ventures) was like the delicious meal replacement that filled that appetite I wanted. “Butterfly Kisses” is a haunting, morbid, creepy, and very creative found footage movie about a spooky legend called the Peeping Tom. What makes “Butterfly Kisses” so damn creepy and haunting is not so much that Peeping Tom is a horrifying boogeyman, but that the movie itself is about obsession, and how legends can take on a life of their own when we give them enough validation to gain a pulse. That, in and of itself, is scarier than most horror movies on the market.
2. Wolfman’s Got Nards – A Documentary
Directed by Andre Gower
Written by Andre Gower, Henry Darrow McComas
(Original Review | Currently Touring; Home Entertainment Release Pending)
It was a thrill to see one of my all time favorite horror comedies and cherished childhood favorites get the loving documentary that it deserved. Behind the cult gem is a story filled with sadness, hardships, loss, and a classic tale of fans coming together to bring new life in to what was once considered an absolute flop. “Wolfman’s Got Nards” is a fantastic tribute to the large rabid fandom of “Monster Squad” and original star Andre Gower goes deep to explore how far the love goes, all the while discussing tough issues, like how taxing the botched release of the film was on Fred Dekker, the effect the film had on the casts careers, as well as the unfortunate loss of a cast member at too young an age. “Wolfman’s Got Nards” is a must watch that I had a blast with from beginning to end.
Directed, Written by Miguel Duran
Starring: Austin Lyon, Katherine Hughes, Yvette Monreal, with Eve Plumb and Scott Lowell.
Director of Photography: Alex Simon
Produced by: Atit Shah
(Original Review | Now Streaming on VOD)
Miguel Duran’s drama crept up on me by surprise, it’s a remarkable, and beautiful film about letting go, learning to move on, and dealing with grief that’s incomprehensible. Duran comprises a very heartfelt story that admittedly tore my heart out from beginning to end, relying on the idea of young love, and how easily life can take those that we love away from us. Life can be so abrupt and fragile, and “Monsoon” stacks up against classic dramas like “Ordinary People” and “Moonlight Mile” dissecting the pain of loss, and how some of us deal with it, for better and for worse. Directing a wonderful cast of folks like Austin Lyons, Katherine Hughes, and Yvette Monreal, Miguel Duran promises to be a strong voice in indie film, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next. “Monsoon” is a gut wrenching film that just tore me to shreds, but it also left me hopeful that when life shatters us, we can put ourselves back together again.