Steve McQueen is literally the greatest horror director of this decade—and that’s not even remotely a joke. After watching Hunger and ESPECIALLY after watching 12 Years a Slave, I am genuinely convinced of this.
Have you ever seen a movie where you just didn’t want to keep watching it, not because it was incompetently crafted, but because it was just too “real” to fathom? Films like Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom or Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List are cinematically sublime, certainly, but they aren’t in the slightest enjoyable to watch. It’s unconscious human nature for one to momentarily and purposely forget our appalling past or to more so disregard the immoral constituents that still occur in our day to day lives—even if it may be irresponsible to do so. But, when one watches a movie like McQueen’s reign of sheer terror, 12 Years a Slave, all hell breaks loose as you begin to viscerally crumble down that path of societal history that you tried so hard to wipe from your memory as you obliviously took your modern life for granted.
It’s important though, yet it is miserable to recall these facts from a graphically visual standpoint. Our ancestors, our initial programming that Mother Nature, God, whoever created us birthed humanity with, and the burdens of what was originally known as “lawful” have cursed us with objective, historical knowledge that we cannot learn to erase. It is with this outrageous inception that fills us with pity and heeds us from forgetting the victims. In 2013, Steven McQueen came back to the director’s chair to submit the world back into a lifelike loop of our predecessors’ unforgivable faults. Now that’s true horror.
Some of the best use of score and editing of this entire decade, as well. Had to mention it.
“12 Years a Slave” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu.