Year End List-O-Rama!

Year End List-O-Rama!

Ahhhh, it’s year end time kiddos. A time where we writers love to hem and haw in putting together our ‘Best of’ lists. Lists shared with the hopes that a few gems you may have missed out on will be rented or purchased.

I might be stretching a bit with mine because it features many films that weren’t released in 2010. But rather, due to the trials and tribulations of getting (good) distribution deals nowadays, they have only been made available to a wider audience within this past year. In addition, some of my selections just hit stateside for the first time as well.

Without further ado, my top 10 list of 2010.

10. The Darkness Within

Chad and his fiancée Ashley move into a new apartment and immediately get creepy oompa loompa vibes from their neighbor. When Chad sees the neighbor peering into his bathroom window one night when he’s doing his business, he confronts him on his doorstep the next day. But his confrontation doesn’t stop the neighbor and he continues to stalk the both of them even starting in on harassing phone calls. But is he really stalking them? Is Chad’s increasing paranoia starting to reveal another side?

The Darkness Within is a great slice of psychological horror with more than a few passing nods to some of the genre’s greatest films (most notably, The Shining).

9. Triangle

Triangle is a film that seemed to fly under the radar for a vast majority of movie watchers this year. And one viewing of the film is all you’ll need in order to understand why. It’s completely unconventional and very open ended. A film that most movie goers nowadays just won’t have the patience for. But if you give it a shot you’ll find it very rewarding and completely unnerving.

The short of it: a yachting crew experiences some weird weather happenings out in the middle of the Atlantic. When their boat capsizes, out of nowhere, a large ocean liner appears. They board it only to find the vessel completely empty. Strange occurrences soon start in and a sort of Groundhog’s Day series of events kick in, with the ship’s newest guests at the center of the action.

8. Dead Hooker in a Trunk

More than just a kitschy title, Dead Hooker in a Trunk is a raucously good time. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, it sees the mad capped adventures of two sisters and their pair of whacked out friends (one a druggie and one a Jesus freak) as they try and figure out what to do with, well, a dead hooker in a trunk of course!

It’s a retro styled film but with a heart all its own. Check this one out if you haven’t done so already and be on the lookout for future offerings from the talented Soska Sisters (*cough–American Mary–cough, ahem*).

7. Lake Mungo

A cinema verite styled film in which we are introduced to a distraught family who’s mourning the recent loss of their teenage daughter. When strange happenings start to occur within their house, the son sets up shop in order to record evidence. But what starts as paranormal occurrences being caught on film, a complete 180 takes place midway through our story which you don’t see coming (if you do, I want next week’s winning lottery numbers).

As the film ends, the nature of life and death is questioned in one of the most nerve rattling scenes I’ve ever experienced. I was pacing a good 20 minutes or so after first watching it. And subsequent viewings still shake me to the very core.

6. The Commune

A teenage girl, is sent by her mother (much to her reluctance) to stay with her father for the summer. The only problem? Her father runs a new age-y compound where there are virtually no rules and people can indulge in whatever ‘practices’ they desire. The girl makes an effort to reconnect with her father but to no avail. Whatever familial bonds are left are completely shattered with one heinous act that the father commits. Afterwards, the overall true intentions of the father are made known.

Unsettling and shocking, The Commune will stay with you long after the credits roll.

5. The Taint

Disgusting. Offensive. Foul. Hilarious and wacky. In other words: it’s what a good horror film should be.

A ‘tainted’ water supply has the men in a small town going batty. They’re shuffling about, zombie-like, with a lust for killing women. And it’s up to an emo kid with a Dirty Harry pistol and a park ranger to save the day.

With more exploding heads and engorged flailing penises than you can shake a stick at, The Taint is an instant cult classic. This film would make John Waters proud.

4. [REC] 2

Picking up where [REC] left off, we see another group of law enforcement officials enter the infected building from the first film. As they start to piece together what’s happened, one of them reveals themselves as not being who they say they are. And with this revelation, comes the question of what it means to be ‘infected’ and turning that concept completely on its head. A great twist which challenges that notion, and for me, it added much more weight to the rest of the events as they unfolded.

[REC] 2 absolutely blew my mind. I can’t wait to check out the rest of the films in this series.

3. In Memorium

A man suffering from a terminal illness moves into a temporary home with his wife. The home itself is wired with surveillance cameras and microphones. The purpose? He wants to make a film about his last remaining days and to document the undying love that he and his girlfriend share. The only problem? A supernatural force is along for the ride and is set out to get him before the illness does.

 The film itself questions the very idea of what it means to live and die. And there is more depth here than any film called Paranormal Activity.


2. The Last Exorcism

 A small town rock star of a pastor has another ‘profession’ which he uses to subsidize his income: being an exorcist. He doesn’t really believe in what he’s doing and what accompanies his actions are all the theatrics which we’ve come to expect from the act (complete with bed riggings and an iPod soundtrack). But when he gets called out to a small farm, he gets a lot more than he bargained for. Is the daughter of a farmer really possessed or is she completely psychotic?

Some people cried foul when the end to this found footage film took place. But given the context of the film and the subtle commentary it was making on religion, I thought it was the only one that fit. A brilliant film all around.

1. Dawning

One of the best horror films you’ve probably never heard of (unless you are a regular follower of the horror blogosphere, that is). Dawning is so simple in set-up: a broken family meets at a cabin in the woods to try and repair old wounds. But their first night in is cut short as the family dog is found mortally wounded and a bloodied stranger enters their cabin unannounced. He claims that there is ‘something’ in the woods, it’s after him and it has already killed his girlfriend. As the tension mounts with all who are trapped in the house, we find out just whatit’ is.

In my humble opinion, Dawning is the prime example of a film which the horror genre so desperately needs more of: one that is genuinely suspenseful and is much more cerebral than your average fare. And after each repeat viewing, I come away with something new to ponder. Isn’t that what good horror’s all about?

 Honorable Mentions:

–          El Monstro Del Mar:

–          The Devil Within:

–          Blood On The Highway:

–          Burning Inside:

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20 Responses to “Year End List-O-Rama!”

  1. I’m honored, sir. Team THE COMMUNE thanks you!

  2. This is one of the best lists I’ve seen so far.

  3. LAKE MUNGO! Totally the flick I forgot on my list.

    After that, each of the films I saw made mine too (or was honorable mention). We should wear BFF necklaces.

  4. Nice list, Cortez. And I am yet to see DAWNING. Will track it down immediately.

  5. Great list – I loved The Last Exorcism BTW, terrific film! Triangle and Dawning flew under my radar, so I must check them out.

  6. thank you sir for all your support!

  7. LAKE MUNGO contained probably the single most unsettling and horrific image I saw in a horror film all year.

  8. Wow! Fantastic list. Many titles were new to me, but I am putting them on my “must watch” list.


  9. @Shawn, many thanks! @TheMike, having them made as we speak good sir. I forgot to add Frozen to my list of honorable mentions. Egads! @Pax, thanks! Triangle is available via NetFlix. May have to hold tight for awhile on Dawning though. The filmmaker is still working on distribution. @Will E, agreed. I couldn’t shake the image for days. @Michael, thanks! Hope you dig ’em.

  10. Solid list. Triangle, DHIAT and Lake Mungo are standouts.

    Hopefully I’ll get to see the other flicks on your list.

  11. I’ve only seen Triangle so the rest of your list holds much promise for me. I’m going to have to add these to my ever growing to watch list.

  12. @Lis, you are mighty welcome and thank YOU for making such a fantastic film. @Rich, thank you. Dawning is still seeking distribution so it may be awhile. But keep your peepers peeled on this here interwebs site as I will be sure to share news of any kind. @Mr. Reed, is that you? THE Mr. Reed? Thank you for stopping by and for expressing such kind words 🙂 @Jaded, thank you sir. Can’t wait to hear what you think about the others. @Zach, get on it good sir 🙂 I look forward to your thoughts.

  13. We’ve got the same one and two, and we share two others. Great minds think alike.

    I still need to watch Taint and REC 2.

    It’s fairly evident that larger studios have no interest in producing horror, just horror related products. There’s so much good stuff coming from the Underground, I’d compare it to 1981 and a kid hearing Minor Threat for the first time.

  14. Excellent list! Some titles I already agree with (Last Exorcism, Lake Mungo) and a few others I totally need to check out. Good work as usual my friend!

  15. @Mike, absolutely. I agree with you 110%. This past year has absolutely blown my mind. Viva la revolucion!@Emily, thanks! Hope you enjoy these films as much as I do. All are instant classics in my book.

  16. After just watching Lake Mungo, I didn’t care for it. It lurches around unnaturally trying to insert its more “ghostly” elements into a straight-laced drama.

    Also felt like it cheated when it led the viewer into thinking things were one way…but not really…but wait, yeah, they really were happening the first way. I mean, please. Almost as if its makers couldn’t sell the picture into getting made if it didn’t attach itself to the horror genre, but it just make the film a mish-mash of meaninglessness.

    And no, wasn’t scared.

  17. Bummer dude. I really thought you’d like it.

    I respectfully disagree good sir. I don’t think it was as back and forth as you say. The brother was initially concocting it all. So in the end, it was really about the girl coming to terms with her fate, not so much the ghostly elements per. That cellphone ‘reveal’ didn’t terrify you in the least bit?

  18. Finally, a list that’s not full of sequels and remakes. I’ve only seen a couple of these films and will be on the look out for them all.

  19. Excellent picks, my friend.
    There are a few on here that I still need to see like The Taint, The Last Exorcism, and REC 2.


  1. […] had it in his sights. *cue Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone*  The film made it to #5 on his Kickass Films of 2010 and my fellow Keyboard Cowboy even rustled up an interview with writer/director/actor Drew Bolduc […]

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