First, some thoughts on some films that didn’t make my top 10. The ironic faux Grindhouse flicks are still as popular as ever. While Dear God No! (Feb 23rd) was a dud, Father’s Day‘s (Jan 13th) third act blew my pants off (in a good way) – even with its unevenness and obsession with pine tree jokes. The Theater Bizarre (April 23rd) deserves a mention because there are simply not enough horror anthologies. And while Bizarre’s segments are all over the place in quality I particularly enjoyed “The Accident” for its atmosphere and “Vision Stains” for its concept. Asylum gave us Nazis at the Center of the Earth which made the least amount of sense ever for an Asylum movie which automatically makes it one of their best efforts, though amazingly, not even their best film of the year (2-Headed Shark Attack). Earlier in the year I went on a Leprechaun / drinking binge and tried to watch the whole series in one night (Spoiler: I didn’t make it), but that same weekend I also spied Leprechaun’s Revenge on the television from Drew Daywalt (A master of the short horror format) which was pretty damn great for a direct to TV flick. Underworld: Awakening must have had input from Michael Bay and The Raven was yet another bastardized literary knock-off, not unlike the Sherlock Downey films.
As far as the worst films of the year, The Devil Inside and The Wicker Tree are runaway “winners” so far. Devil’s ending had people booing at the Hollywood premiere (that the director and stars attended). Yep. That bad. And Wicker is simply an abomination that makes the Nic Cage version look like Raging Bull. Stay far, far away. I am pleading with you.
10. 2-Headed Shark Attack (Jan 17th)
You get Carmen Electra, The lesser O’Connell brother (Charlie), horny co-eds and, obviously, a 2-headed shark attacking anything that movies. What separates this from previous Asylum “Mega” movies is that it’s simply more fun. And it feels more like a complete movie than their usual hack job crap (though fun) and does well to remind viewers of the classic bad monster movies of the ’60s and ’70s.
9. Mother’s Day (May 4th Theatrical)
Darren Lynn Bousman may be the director of all the Saw movies that suck (2,3,4), but he’s also the creator of the Repo! The Genetic Opera, a personal favorite of mine. This remake of the classic film in no ways destroys or cheapens the original. And to me, that’s pretty damn impressive.
8. The Divide (April 17th DVD)
The Divide is a bleak as f*ck take on the apocalyptic genre. It might make you vomit or wish you could. It’s nasty, brutal and in your face.
7. Silent House (March 9th)
It’s not often when you watch a movie you can say you literally saw a star bloom before your eyes, but that’s what happens with Elizabeth Olsen in this remake of a 2010 film. Lizzy absolutely kills it. The films plays quite scary until a rather weak third act. But that’s overlooked in this case because of both the impressive technical merit (it’s designed to look like one long take) and Lizzy’s acting chops.
6. Kill List (Jan 4 VOD)
The less you know the better, just prepare yourself for an experience you won’t soon forget. This one appeared on many top 10 lists (often #1 or 2) for festival flicks from last year. I wasn’t that sold, but it may rise up even further on my year end list because the more I think about the more I like it.
5. The Innkeepers (Feb 3rd)
Good ole fashioned haunted hotel movie from director Ti West (or as my friend calls him T.I. West). The Innkeepers concludes with a satisfying and terrifying final 10 minutes, something pretty rare in a business that so often insists on prepping for the inevitable cash cow sequel.
4. The Woman in Black (Feb 10th)
Speaking of good ole fashioned horror flicks, Hammer horror showed their return to glory wasn’t going to be short lived. Daniel Radcliffe is excellent in his first post-Potter role, the scares are genuine and the atmosphere is to die for. One of the few films on the list to make the hair on my arms stand to attention.
3. Rabies (Feb 28th)
Just watch it. You won’t be disappointed. It’s original. Scary. Great.
2. The Grey (Jan 27th)
So much more than just Liam Neeson punching wolves. It’s an existential trip through the human mind with horror elements. In other words, a thinking man’s horror flick which also has Liam Neeson punching wolves. For my money, it doesn’t get much better than that. The Grey also features one of the most realistic and terrifying plane crashes ever put to film.
1. The Cabin in the Woods (April 12th)
Easily the best horror film of the year so far is also the best horror comedy film in ages. An deconstructionist masterpiece from Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon.