28th Dec2018

Phil’s Ten Best: DTV Films of 2018

by Phil Wheat


2018 has been, yet again, another fantastic year for movies. There has been some great films in the cinema, on DVD and VOD and the film festivals we’ve covered have been jam-packed with quality movies. Which makes it VERY hard to narrow down a list of the Top 10 of the year! Even moreso when it comes to DTV releases…

So, with that being said, I’ve decided that this year I’d split my picks into two distinct lists – the ten best films I saw this year, be it at the local multiplex or at film festivals; and the ten best direct-to-market titles of the year, be they DVD or VOD. The only other criteria is that we’ve covered the film here on Nerdly.

This list takes in ALL the direct to DVD, VOD premieres, etc., that never made it to cinemas with, as per usual with my end-of-year lists, plenty of honorable mentions! Anyway, on with the list which is in order of release NOT preference, with the format and month of release listed alongside each film. And man was this list HARD to cut down to just ten films!!!

The Adventurers (DVD / Jan 2018)

Infamous and charismatic thief Cheung Tan (Andy Lau) has recently been released from prison. Cheung immediately plots a heist with his former partner in crime, Po (Tony Yang), and beautiful chameleon Red (Qi Shu), in order to pull off the heist of a lifetime – and steal precious jewels in Europe. Meanwhile, French detective Pierre (Jean Reno) has been hot on Cheung’s trails for many years. This time, he decides to capture Cheung and his gang of thieves for good… which means Cheung and co. will have to take their game to the next level. The Adventurers review.

Cannibal Farm (VOD / Jan 2018)

The Harver family head out on an idyllic summer camping trip where they can bury past tensions and enjoy some family bonding. But when their camp is sabotaged by an unseen intruder in the night, they head to the nearby creepy old farm desperate for help, where vengeful farmer Hunt Hansen and his hideously deformed son aren’t farming animals… Cannibal Farm review.

House of Salem (DVD / Feb 2018)

House of Salem takes its cue from the likes of The Collector, where the anti-hero protagonist must turn hero to save themselves and those around them, and sees a group of kidnappers become a child’s unlikely protectors after discovering they have unwittingly been set up to take part in a satanic ritual. As they begin to uncover the truth of the house they find themselves trapped, they must battle demonic forces and uncover a legacy of over a hundred years of murder in the name of the Devil. House of Salem review.

Accident Man (DVD / April 2018)

For those not familiar with the Mills and Skinner creation, Mike Fallon is a hitman, a stone cold killer and the best at what he does. Yet he’s no ordinary hitman. Instead Fallon has a very particular style of assassination: all of his jobs are completed by making it look like the target was killed simply by accident… Hence the name Accident Man. In this iteration, Mike Fallon (Adkins) is a hitman working in London, fulfilling contracts given to him by the smarmy Milton (played in a particularly sleazy fashion by David Paymer). But when a hit is attempted on him and a former loved one is dragged into the London underworld and murdered by his own crew, Fallon is forced to rip apart the life he knew in order to avenge the one person who actually meant something to him. Accident Man review.

The Jurassic Games (DVD / June 2018)

Every year, 10 of the world’s most lethal death row criminals are chosen to compete for their freedom in The Jurassic Games, a television show where contestants must survive against a variety of ferocious dinosaurs. The players all die gruesomely in the game zone except for one, the last one standing, the winner, who is granted not only his freedom, but fame and fortune. Survive the dinosaurs. Survive each other. Survive… The Jurassic Games. For Anthony Tucker (Adam Hampton), survival is his one chance to be reunited with his children after having been wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of his wife. As the devious The Host (Ryan Merriman) continues adding improbable challenges, the characters will find the odds stacked against them as only one victor can emerge as winner and reclaim their freedom. The Jurassic Games review.

Incarnation (DVD / June 2018)

Incarnation tells the story of a man. A man who wakes up on a bench without any idea who or where he is until he is shot by four masked assassins. The man wakes up on the same bench thinking his death was a dream until the assassins re-appear and kill him again. And Again. And again. Stuck in a hellish loop, he tries to unravel the mystery and with each death he gets closer to the truth. Incarnation review.

2:Hrs (VOD / July 2018)

Brand-new British teen comedy 2:Hrs tells the story of budding graffiti artist and an expert slacker Tim (Harry Jarvis), who gets more than he bargained for when he convinces his two best friends, Vic and Alf, to skip a school trip. They stumble into a press conference being held by scientist Lena Eidelhorn (Siobhan Redmond) who is unveiling her latest invention, The Vitalitron – a machine that is capable of predicting the time of death of any living creature. However when Tim sneaks inside, he discovers he only has two hours left to live. Chased across London by tabloid journalists, Tooley and Graves (Seann Walsh and Marek Larwood), Tim and his mates agree on a bucket list that will cram a lifetime into the next two hours. Meanwhile Lena makes plans to ensure that The Vitalitron’s prophecy comes true no matter what. 2:Hrs review.

The Basement (VOD / Sept 2018)

The Basement sees Mischa Barton’s husband Craig (played by Cayleb Long) abducted in a parking lot after buying some booze at a local supermarket. Waking up in a dank, dark basement, Craig faces the oddest of captors. You see Bill (Jackson Davis) is a twisted serial killer who wishes to reenact his own capture, with Craig playing the part of Bill and Bill playing everyone else. As Bill tortures Craig, he cycles through a number of personas, all while Craig tries desperately to find a way into Bill’s pathology in order to save himself. Told you the story was intriguing. The Basement review.

Blue Iguana (VOD & DVD / Oct 2018)

Blue Iguana, a British-American crime film, tells the story of ex-jailbirds, Eddie (Sam Rockwell) and Paul (Ben Schwartz), who are on parole, working in a New York diner… Eddie is calm and confident, whereas, Paul is loud-mouthed and impulsive. They’re a team, but their lives are at a dead-end. That is, until English lawyer Katherine Rookwood (Phoebe Fox) walks into their diner with an offer of a lifetime. Her plan: to take them to London in pursuit of a valuable gem called the Blue Iguana. Only one man stands in their way of the fabulous piece: the psychotic small-time crime boss Deacon Bradshaw (Peter Ferdinando). Blue Iguana review.

Johnny Gruesome (VOD / Dec 2018)

High school students Eric Carter and Johnny Grissom are best friends. Johnny is a heavy metal rebel nicknamed “Johnny Gruesome” by his classmates. When Johnny is murdered while on a drunken joyride, his killer persuades Eric and Johnny’s girlfriend to help him make the murder look like an accidental death. Johnny returns from the grave as a murderous, wisecracking zombie hell bent on revenge. Johnny Gruesome review.

Honorable Mentions:

Sasq-Watch (VOD / Jan 2018)
Sasq-Watch tells the story of two brothers, Nigel (Paul Brittain) and Oscar (Adam Herschman). The duo have been obsessed with Bigfoot ever since they saw one out their bedroom window as kids. Finally get together the funding for a sasquatch expedition, the pair set off into the woods hoping to win the Damien Hogel Foundation’s $500,000 prize – given to those who provide definitive evidence that Bigfoot is real. But when their guide bails and rival Claus (Tim Meadows) also joins the hunt, they must assemble a rag-tag crew of outdoorsmen to be first to track down the undiscovered beast…

Inoperable (DVD / Feb 2018)
Inoperable sees Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 & 5, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Hatchet) play Amy, a hospital patient who must battle nature and the supernatural… Waking up in a seemingly evacuated hospital with a hurricane approaching. Amy realizes the storm has awakened malevolent forces, trapping her in a time loop. She must escape the hospital before the storm passes or she will be trapped in its halls forever.

Female Fight Club (DVD / Mar 2018)
OK, this is something of a ‘cheat’ on this list, as the film was originally released OUTSIDE the UK on VOD last year – and as such it made my 2017 list! But this year it came to DVD (and VOD this month) so I’m including it here! Here Amy Johnston plays Becca, a former underground fighter who abandons the sport for a life at an animal shelter after a brutal family tragedy invovling her father. However when her sister Kate comes to her and begs her to help repay a massive debt, Becca must re-enter the world of illegal underground fighting and resume her fight career as “Bex the Beast”. Whilst training Kate’s team of fighters – hence the films title – Becca must confront the cruel and dangerous promoter who threatens not only Kate’s life, but that of her daughter.

Animalistic (VOD & DVD / July 2018)
Animalistic tells the story of Emma, a businesswoman who travels from Australia to the U.S to sign a controversial oil contract. On her way to a press conference, she jumps into a taxi. Soon after, to her surprise, she is attacked and drugged by the taxi driver. She wakes up tied to a chair in a filthy cabin. Emma soon learns she’s the night’s amusement for a man named Jim and his loyal associates Pete and Shirley. She must now do everything she can to survive…

Daphne & Velma (DVD / Jul 2018)
Futuristic robots, crazy gadgets and the brightest students of tomorrow are common sights at Ridge Valley High. Home to their newest student, the smart and capable Daphne Blake (Sarah Jeffery) and her online bestie, the tech-savvy hipster Velma Dinkley (Sarah Gilman). But not everything is as innocent as they seem on campus, as mysterious disappearances begin to plague the top-ranked students. Once cheery and full of life, kids are coming back lifeless and a shell of who they once were. Can these two teens get along in real-life and encourage each other to break down their inner weaknesses, and save the town from an eerie downfall?

Prying Eyes (DVD / Sept 2018)
OK, this is another sneaking ‘cheat’ addition to this list. You see Prying Eyes was the UK title for There’s Something in the Pilliga, which was originally released in 2014… But I loved it then and still love it now, so its inclusion counts! The Pilliga Yowie, – or ‘Jingra’ – has haunted the Australian outback for centuries, stalking a remote part of New South Wales, where men seldom dare tread, content to keep to itself… until now. Ocker truck driver Jay and his cameraman buddy Dylan journey into the Pilliga National Park with some drunken sheilas they met in a pub. Things take a sinister turn when a local legend comes out to play – complete with big teeth, sharp claws and a craving for human flesh!

The Super (VOD / Oct 2018)
From producer Dick Wolf (Law & Order) comes the terrifying new thriller The Super. Former cop Phil Lodge takes a new job as a superintendent in an exclusive Manhattan high-rise apartment building, but when the tenants begin to disappear with alarming frequency, he fears a sadistic murderer may be roaming the corridors. Phil’s prime suspect is the building’s unsettling maintenance man, Walter (Val Kilmer), who lurks among the cavernous bowels of the apartment block. Although Walter readily provides the former cop with disturbing advice, Phil must decide whether he is simply trying to throw him off the scent. As it becomes clear that every resident has something to hide, is Phil right to trust a stranger with a key to his front door?


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