AMC+ is an exciting and high-quality streaming platform that first launched in June 2020, consistently creating dynamic and impressive content. The subscription service has steadily been amassing a colorful library featuring riveting television programs and films, and has impressively been releasing exclusive projects to viewers since its launch. 2021 was a year in which AMC+ truly found its groove and continuously delivered knockout original pictures, supplying audiences with a wide array of genres like pulse-pounding thrillers and chilling horror flicks and everything in between.
Nicolas Cage is beloved for his unique flair and endearing performances, and the decorated actor fully embraced his quirky on-screen persona once again when he starred as a notorious bank robber in the exciting horror Western Prisoners of the Ghostland. Infamous serial killer Ted Bundy has been the subject of numerous television and film projects in recent years, and was once again at the center of the compelling crime mystery No Man of God, which depicts the murderer’s relationship with an FBI Special Agent as he awaits his impending execution. Let’s take a peek at some of the best AMC+ exclusive movies of 2021.
8 No Man of God
Chronicling the convoluted relationship between the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy and FBI Special Agent Bill Hagmaier, the 2021 crime mystery No Man of God depicts the duo’s interactions between 1984 and 1989 as the murderer spends his final days on death row. Hagmaier was brought in to delve into Bundy’s psyche in a courageous effort to understand the mind of a serial killer, doing so during the early stages of the FBI’s criminal profiling unit.
Based on the actual transcripts between Hagmaier and Bundy, the gripping picture stars Elijah Wood and Luke Kirby and had its worldwide premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival where it earned praise for its commanding lead performances. The Guardian wrote, “Both actors contribute knife-sharp timing and the kind of intensity needed to make this essentially two-man setup work.”
Bruce Willis appeared alongside Neal McDonough in the sci-fi action film Apex, which features the former star portraying ex-cop and convict Thomas Malone, a man who is serving a life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit who is given a strange chance to reclaim his freedom if he can survive a deadly game in which he is a prey being hunted.
Willis is in all his action glory in the adrenaline-pumping flick, battling to stay alive as six wealthy and ruthless hunters stalk him on a remote island in a twisted type of demented sport. Apex is one of many direct-to-video films the famed performer would headline before he announced his retirement from the industry in 2022 due to his aphasia diagnosis.
6 South of Heaven
Aharon Keshales directed the thrilling crime drama South of Heaven, which follows newly released convicted felon Jimmy Ray (Jason Sudeikis) as he is reunited with his childhood love Annie (Evangeline Lilly) after being incarcerated for 12 years and hopes to give his sweetheart a fantastic final year after she is diagnosed with cancer. His noble undertaking becomes complicated after Jimmy finds himself mixed up with a dangerous local crime boss and his corrupt parole officer.
Sudeikis was able to show off his dramatic side in the stirring film, with Keshales praising the Ted Lasso star and stating, “It was a dream to work with Jason Sudeikis. I always like to work with comedians, I think they bring a different vulnerability to characters when they play dramatic roles, and I knew I needed someone who you would not lose your empathy towards.”
5 Prisoners of the Ghostland
Acting chameleon Nicolas Cage was completely in his element when he starred in the 2021 horror Western Prisoners of the Ghostland, in which the one-of-a-kind performer appears as prominent bank robber Hero, who is released from prisoner by the mysterious and wealthy warlord The Governor in order to track down his adopted granddaughter.
Hero must enter the dark and dangerous region of Ghostland to retrieve the runaway, equipped with a leather suit that will blow up in five days if he fails his mission. Prisoners of the Ghostland debuted at the Sundance Film Festival where Cage’s signature oddball performance was lauded, with Screen Daily declaring: “The film is held captive by its myriad influences, but Cage is so high-spirited that you won’t mind being its prisoner”.
4 A Banquet
Sienna Guillory portrays a distressed widow struggling to raise her daughters in the British horror film A Banquet, telling the chilling tale of single mother Holly Hughes as she finds her limits tested when her oldest child Betsey claims to have a profound supernatural experience that leaves her convinced her body belongs to a higher power.
The unnerving picture showcases the strength of the pair’s mother/daughter bond as Holly is forced to face her own beliefs regarding her faith and beliefs as she fights to save Betsey. A Banquet is Ruth Paxton’s feature film directorial debut, who expressed that it was “originally pitched to me as a cross between Rosemary’s Baby and Hereditary. Those were movies that I was a huge fan of, so my interest really piqued. That’s what made me want to read it.”
3 Silent Night
Touting a dazzling ensemble cast led by Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Roman Griffin Davis, the apocalyptic Christmas comedy Silent Night centers on parents Nell and Simon as they invite their close friends and family for a picturesque Christmas dinner in their charming English countryside home, with the seemingly cheerful affair masking a horrifying reality: an apocalypse is about to destroy all of humanity.
The quirky horror-comedy was a pleasant surprise for Knightley to star in (with the talented actress famous for her period dramas), and she opened up to Entertainment Weekly about what attracted her to the project, saying, “It just made me laugh! I love the idea of presenting something as a typical holiday feel-good movie and spinning it on its head to make it psychological horror. I never read anything like that before.”
Adrien Brody delivered a commanding performance when he headlined the enthralling action thriller Clean, with the Oscar-winning actor taking on the role of the eponymous garbage truck driver who is forced to face his tragic and violent past after becoming the target of a vicious local crime boss. Brody co-wrote the riveting screenplay alongside director Paul Solet, notably taking inspiration from the Keanu Reeves blockbuster franchise John Wick and giving it his own personal spin on a character seeking redemption.
Brody told Inverse he was excited to take on a more edgy and action-filled role, saying, “I grew up loving martial arts and studying martial arts. I grew up in Queens and I learned to fight and run. That’s part of life and part of the influences that have shaped me as an actor, as a human being, and in this story that I wanted to tell.”
Agata Alexander made her directorial debut with the 2021 sci-fi thriller Warning, which takes place in the near future and explores what happens when all-knowing technology replaces everyday human contact that terrifyingly unravels after a deadly global storm results in the electronics malfunctioning.
Featuring the talents of performers like Thomas Jane, Alex Pettyfer and Alice Eve, the trippy sci-fi flick consists of a series of short films that delves into the profound impact technology has on society, touching on thought-provoking themes such as mortality, humanity and religion; Variety wrote in their review about thriller, “The cautionary and philosophical musings here are thought-provoking yet unpretentiously presented.”\