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What Do You MEAN You Haven't Seen These 2014 Films?! Our Faves Of The Underseen

By Kristy Puchko | Guides | January 8, 2015 |

By Kristy Puchko | Guides | January 8, 2015 |

You’ve seen our Top Ten. You’ve seen the shit we’ve loathed. Now behold the flicks we fell for that too few have seen!

In these ranks, you’ll find crazy, sexy, cool vampires, Nazi zombies, and devious doppelgangers. There are surreal dramas, pitch-black comedies, experimental performance pieces, a hilarious and heartfelt documentary, and the grossest coming-of-age comedy the world’s ever known. Some are ghoulish, others goofy. Some are heartbreaking, others inspiring. But each of these overlooked films demands a bigger audience than it’s gotten.


Only Lovers Left Alive — The indie auteur behind such lauded films as Dead Man and Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch) wades into the rich mythos of vampires to pick and choose what appeals to him. His vamps are a sophisticated yet feral breed with an intimidatingly chic yet hodgepodge appearance who—of course—love vintage rock ‘n’ roll. They are glorious. They are infinite. They are monsters, yet deeply and delightfully human. — Kristy Puchko


The Immigrant — The real wonder of the film is that while the cast is amazing (and my god, they are), The Immigrant, unlike so many other films, does not rely on an outstanding cast to carry it. Gray’s script and the world created by cinematographer Darius Khondji (Seven, Midnight in Paris, Delicatessen, a billion other beautiful movies) make the movie what it is: a gorgeous, fully-realized masterpiece. And there is no hyperbole in that word. The film sucks you in and holds you there. It’s dark and terrible and sexy and hopeful, all mixed up in one giant 1921 New York melting pot. — Vivian Kane


We Are The Best! — With its plucky heroines and their enthusiastic defiance, deep-set loyalty, and relatable anxieties, We Are The Best! gets under your skin, into your heart, and refuses to be forgotten. This is a classic coming-of-age story that embraces the messiness and stubbornness of adolescence, delivering a drama that is alive with attitude, humor and heart. — Kristy Puchko


Blue Ruin — Jeremy Saulnier’s haunting, stripped-down thriller rips away all the usual notions of revenge and anger, digs into its reality — its truth. Perfect pacing, a terrible foreboding, and Macon Blair’s unforgettable, completely inhabited performance will leave you as broken and thoughtful as if you’d been in his antihero shoes. — Cindy Davis


Mistaken for Strangers -Not so much a documentary about a rock band as it is a portrait of brothers and the hard won labor of artistic creation…the film itself is a victory, or more specifically Tom’s victory and redemption. It’s wonderfully unguarded, presenting a vulnerability and self-deprecating humor that make it a joy to watch. — Kristy Puchko


Calvary — By the end of Calvary, we have not been taken on a typical journey. We have been through an ordeal. The entire movie seems to exist less to tell a story than to provoke thought and spur conversation. It should be noted that this McDonagh is brother to Martin McDonagh, basically the Tarantino of Irish theater. Both men have a way of horrifying through comedy. They get under your skin, sink to the pit of your stomach, and are content to sit there, making you uncomfortable. It would be terrible if it weren’t so brilliant. — Vivian Kane


Wetlands — In squick value there’s “sexual bubblegum,” unflattering selfies, and experimentation in scatplay. Yet there’s more to Wetlands than its do-you-dare appeal.While I watched this movie to test my nerves, I was delighted to find tangled in all the semen and sick there was a surprisingly relateable and poignant story of a girl growing up. Her teenage rebellion may be less conventional than most, but her wishes for love and security keep us bound to Helen even when her eccentricities disgust us. — Kristy Puchko


The Double — For The Double, Richard Ayoade has invented a fascinating world. Somewhere between our own reality and a dystopian future, it feels like The Twilight Zone’s version of what 2014 would look like. It’s bleak and dark and vaguely Eastern European. The immediate influences abound. It’s like David Lynch and Orson Welles threw a party for Charlie Chaplin. Dostoevsky was invited, naturally, since the movie is based on a novella of his, and he brought along Jean-Pierre Jeunet as his plus one. Still, though the film may immediately remind you of ten different things, it is spectacularly unique. — Vivian Kane


A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

— From the title of this Sundance-selected horror/thriller you might suspect you can know the premise. “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” seems the setup for so many terrifying tales of violation, violence, and murder. But usually, “the girl” is the subject of these things, not their executioner. The feature directorial debut of Ana Lily Amirpour turns audience expectation on its head from the first frame of its titular anti-heroine, who projects an eerie intimidation in her pitch-black, floor-length hijab paired with blood-red lips. She’s menacing, and instantly mesmerizing, as is the film named for her. — Kristy Puchko


Locke — Given that Hardy has nothing but his speakerphone and a steering wheel to play against, his performance is remarkable. He’s not running all over town, engaging in shaky-cam fight scenes, but he may as well be. Tom Hardy embodies all the turmoil and action of a Harrison Ford 90’s action thriller, but he does it almost entirely internally. — Vivian Kane


Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead — Imagine if Shaun of the Dead were 10 time more irreverent and 20 times more violent, and you’ll have some idea how Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead satisfies. While there’s some meta commentary about the genre of zombie movies, this horror-comedy never bothers to get too clever, focusing mostly on its characters’ wild journey and any opportunity to wring a shriek from its audience, be it one of terror or devilish delight. — Kristy Puchko


Zero Theorem — Ignited by performers clearly giddy to play in Terry Gilliam’s sandbox, it is electric, full of thought-provoking concepts and dazzling imagery. At its core is a story that’s bittersweet yet boldly funny. It’s bonkers and brilliant, folding in pop culture icons with classical influences. Daring us to empathize with a dreamer the film repeatedly declares mad. And for all this, The Zero Theorem is a masterpiece of Gilliam’s style and substance. — Kristy Puchko

Kristy Puchko is the film editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.