Five goblin mode films to see out an unhinged year

Because sometimes a sensible plotline just doesn’t hit the spot.

Have you ever watched a highly-recommended film, sighed and thought to yourself, this movie’s a little too sane”? Good news – you’ll find no such recommendations on this corner of the internet. Since it’s the end of the year in which the entire world went goblin mode (so much so the phrase is Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year), we felt it only right to help you see it out with a feral, cinematic bang.

What makes a film goblin mode”, you ask? Well, it’s a pretty broad spectrum that covers both the prestige and the panned but, generally speaking, there needs to be an air of unhinged chaos, whether that’s through a baffling plot or a character’s own goblin sensibility. Two solid examples are actually set to be released in early 2023. There’s M3gan, a film about a deranged AI doll with killer dance moves, and Cocaine Bear, which is about, er… a bear that takes cocaine.

But for now, indulge in these intensely chaotic, unapologetically unhinged films while you slob out in your sweats over Christmas. From the critically-acclaimed to the we’ve-ran-out-of-ideas, there’s a film for everyone on this list. Enjoy, you filthy goblins.

Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Is it a coincidence that this time-shifting, mind-boggling, reality-bending film became one of the most talked about movies during a universal goblin mode year? We think not. Following Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn as she becomes familiar with the multiverse and the many versions of herself that could have been, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a moving tale of generational trauma and healing. But it also features humans with sausage fingers, a Ratatouille spoof featuring a puppet racoon, a fight scene using bumbags and a bagel with the entire universe on it. We don’t have time to explain all of that, so just watch the film, alright?

Snakes on a Plane (2006)

We’re not surprised that David Dalessandro had to pitch this film to 30 movie studios before getting a yes. We are surprised, however, to learn that Dalessandro is actually an administrator at the University of Pittsburgh and Snakes on a Plane is his only contribution to the world of cinema. But what a contribution it is. Doing exactly what it says on the tin, this film imagines what would happen if a bunch of venomous snakes were let loose on a plane that Samuel L. Jackson happened to be on. The result: lots of screaming, and Jackson delivering the mother of all lines: I’ve had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!” You’ll never fly in quite the same way again.

Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Starring LaKeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson, this black comedy from Boots Riley provides sharp commentary on capitalism and race. But it is also completely fucking mental. Stanfield plays Cash, a telemarketer who discovers he can win over more customers by adopting a white voice” over the phone. Pretty soon he’s raking it in, which coincidentally makes him forget his socialist roots while hanging out with the company’s big-wigs. So far, so corporate, but something very surreal and sinister is waiting at the top of this one. And that something is also a massive spoiler. Just trust us when we say it’s one of the most unhinged reveals in recent cinema history.

Gremlins (1984)

Goblins, gremlins; po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe. The little critters in this festive favourite certainly have a taste for chaos and, in the end, that’s all that matters. What actually are the gremlins? First found in an antique shop in Chinatown, New York, these creatures multiply when placed in water and become more aggressive each time, wreaking havoc on the city just before Christmas. We’re not talking about a few smashed baubles and a spilled mulled wine. The gremlins literally torture and kill people, in what is perhaps one of the most unfestive Christmas films of all time.

Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)

If you stick a bunch of privileged, self-indulgent young people in a mansion and kill them off one by one, it’s only a matter of time before they all completely lose it and go goblin mode. Such is the plot of A24’s slasher comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies, in which the likes of Rachel Sennott, Amandla Stenberg and Chase Sui Wonders turn against each other after witnessing Pete Davidson bleed to death from a machete wound. Nope, that isn’t an extra zeitgeisty mad lib, it’s genuinely the plot – and it’s just as delightfully mad as it sounds.

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