I expect to take a bit of heat for this choice – and I have no issue with that. The Pact disappointed a lot of audiences, but I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I saw this film all alone in the dark, and I won’t give anything away – but if you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you do the same. The film mixes suspense, the supernatural, and the super-creepy in a perfect mix of thrills, chills, and gross-me-outs. This film surprised me. I knew nothing about it going in, and I will admit that I didn’t see the genre-typical “twist” coming at all. That’s worth a #1 spot to me.
I have unfortunately subjected myself to the CW’s 90210 on more than one occasion (a friend had a reoccurring role in the show), but it’s because of this that Excision blew me away the way that it did. AnnaLynne McCord, the star of both 90210 and Excision, is a (normally) beautiful young actress who plays an ugly (inside and out), disturbed, bullied, and confused young woman. She yearns to be a surgeon, and her dreams of Doctorhood are beginning to consume her thoughts entirely. With hints of black comedy, Excision is fantastically beautiful in its cinematography, and just as you are starting to warm and sympathize with our leading lady, the plot takes a nasty turn toward evils-ville. And to think, the first time I watched this film, I thought for a split second that the surgery might have really worked!
I loved The Cabin In The Woods when I first saw it – and rightfully so, because it’s one of the best horror films of the year. However, it’s not scary. It’s funny, it’s nostalgic, and I enjoyed it – but I don’t want horror to go in this direction in 2013. Let’s bring back the fear. This film was released in April, and since then, I’ve discussed it with just about everyone I know, and perhaps I’m just sick and tired of it, but whatever the reason, it only takes the third spot this year.
I feel like a jerk putting this film on my list, because it won’t be released mainstream until 2013. However, I put Kill List in my Top 10 last year, and that film was released this year, so I’m just following suit. Resolution is an independent horror film directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. It's a breath of fresh air, it’s upsetting, it’s disturbing, and it’s utterly raw. I believe it will be the little film that could, and it’s going to kill Top 10 Horror Lists in 2013. Get stoked.
The point of this film, which apparently caused mass walkouts when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (and not because it was a bad film), is how we are conditioned to do things that go against our natural and basic instincts as long as we believe we have the law on our side. This film upset me, it angered me, and it confused me. If you’re at work, and you receive a phone call from an authoritative figure – at what point do you – and can you - say “no”? This film struck me with fear in a big way: it’s based on a true story. Correction – based on true stories. Plural. That’s terrifying! I watched this film alone, did some research on Google to verify what I had watched, and then I took a shower because I felt dirty. That seems to be the trend in this year’s horror viewing.
Agoraphobia and anti-social attitudes have become more common in the last decade thanks to the internet – we don’t have to leave our houses to shop anymore, to date anymore, even food can be ordered at the click of a button. It’s that easy. Ciaran Foy’s Citadel takes this notion and runs wild with it, all the way to the crossroads where social allegory meets psychological horror. Here, wayward youths have left anti-social far behind and they’re feral and demonic, the monsters in a monster flick. This film has several different layers, opening with a bang that the conclusion doesn’t quite live up to – but that’s okay, you will forgive it because Citadel really is an overall scary, well-made film.
V/H/S is on my list because I’m a sucker for anthologies. I also enjoy that the horror genre feels like a club – and directors who are in the club get together and make scary and entertaining film such as this one. Like Chillerama last year, this anthology isn’t perfect (some sequences are weaker than others), but overall there are good scares in this film – and they come from a place of cares; directors who want to contribute to the genre because of their genuine love of it. My personal favorite sequences is 10/31/98, written and directed by Radio Silence.
ParaNorman is a nostalgic masterpiece and a new take in the zombie genre (and not just because it’s animated, but that does help – we don’t often see zombies like these)! I liked this film the minute the opening credits began and the 80s influenced music started up.
Sinister has its faults, and most of them happen in the second half of the film. The reason why this film makes my Top 10 is because the first half is so good. The Super 8 footage is unsettling, and the amount of darkness in this film (Ethan Hawke walks through the pitch black almost every night, and every time, I’m terrified) leaves you feeling vulnerable and hyper-aware. Sinister gets the 9th spot only because what awaits Ethan just isn’t as scary as I’d like it to be (especially when it appears on his laptop screen and directly addresses the camera). Oh, and then there are the leaping and bounding ghost children. 9th spot it is!
10. Sleep Tight
Jaume Balagueró of Rec fame has brought us Sleep Tight, a horror treat that will ensure you never feel safe falling asleep in your apartment building again. I hope your landlord is sweeter than Cesar!
Honorable Mentions: Absentia, The Woman In Black, Silent House (just because Elizabeth Olsen is so good in everything). For my NON-HORROR Top 10 Best Films of the Year, stay tuned and visit www.liannespiderbaby.com often!