The 11 Must-See Movies of December

9 of 12

Image courtesy of Focus Features

A Monster Calls (December 23rd)

A young boy whose mother is dying seeks solace from a monstrous tree creature.

Spanish director J.A. Bayona came onto the scene with the 2007 horror picture, The Orphanage, a film with similar sentiments to his current movie; both involve the relationship between a mother and her son. Since then Bayona has taken time to return, with the 2012 disaster drama The Impossible. No matter how A Monster Calls does, Bayona’s career will skyrocket since he’s helming 2018’s sequel to Jurassic World.

A Monster Calls’ critical consensus is strong with an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. Comparisons to Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth abound with the film’s blend of the fantastical and horror with serious drama. Star of the moment, Felicity Jones is receiving praise as the dying mother with newcomer Lewis MacDougall as the young boy. Based on the initial trailers, this looks like a great family feature with horror elements akin to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and the aforementioned Pan’s Labyrinth (sans fascism). With all the Disney films out of the way, some unconventional families might want a bit of darkness mixed in with their holiday season, leaving the phone lines open for a monster’s call!

Next: Fences