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.
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).
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.
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*).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 what‘it’ 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?
– El Monstro Del Mar: http://www.monstromovie.com/
– The Devil Within: http://www.thedevilwithinmovie.com/
– Blood On The Highway: http://www.bloodonthehighway.com/
– Burning Inside: http://www.monsterpants.net/channel/bi.html