Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Top 10 BEST Horror Films of 2012

This year was another solid one for our beloved genre. A giddy ol' good time awaited us at the multiplex with The Cabin in The Woods and many of us soiled our knickers while taking in the creeptastic Sinister. Oh there were some stinkers alright (as evidenced in the post right below this one). But by and large, there was a lot to be proud of as filmmakers (indie in particular) continued to push the boundaries of the genre by way of really unique and intelligent storytelling.

Never mind the bollocks, here's the list of 2012's cream o' the horror film crop! 

Please note: some of these films were not released in 2012 but were made available to purchase or rent this year and some are still making the festival rounds. Some bloggers and critics hold off on including films that are still being shown at festivals because they are not available for viewing by a wider audience. But I do and my hope is that you bookmark this post and check out these films once they do become available.  

Kill List is one of the craziest genre films I've seen all year. Part noir-ish thriller, part cult horror, the film focuses on a contract killer who has to grapple with some serious moral dilemmas. Things blur when real life gets in the way and our story climaxes with one of the most gut punching, 'WHAT THE FUCK?' endings I've ever seen. 

Phobias can be really nasty things. No horror film that I've seen in recent memory captures the affliction of a phobia as brilliantly as Citadel. The film focuses on a young man who has to raise his infant child alone after witnessing the random murder of his wife at the hands of some hoodlum kids who live near his slummy apartment complex. Compromising things, is his contracting of a severe case of agoraphobia. When the kids come back to the scene of the crime looking for more than just to finish the job, the young man has to deal with his fears in a very real way. But these are no ordinary kids.....

Another total 'What the fuck?' experience, Lovely Molly is a part found footage, all psycho crazy, character study. Molly has recently moved back into her childhood home along with her truck driving husband. What at first appears to be your standard run-of-the-mill haunted house story, soon turns into an examination of a fractured psyche as Molly is revealed to have many a demon hiding in her closet. But has daddy come back to roost, is she demonically possessed, or is she just flat-out, batshit insane? Kudos to Lovely Molly for having one of the most unnerving scenes in a genre film this year. 

Totally not the direction I thought this series would take, [REC] 3 is a perfect blend of camp and splatter. While it does add a little to the mythos that was revealed in part 2, you can tell the change in direction was purposeful. Props to filmmaker Paco Plaza: this was risky and boy do I think it paid off. It has a very Dead Alive vibe about it and the wacky hijinks within the film will certainly remind you of it.

Another return back to your childhood home horror feature, The Pact is all kinds of supernatural craziness as a young woman struggles to find out what's haunting her home which was recently occupied by her now deceased mother. Creepy, atmospheric, and just downright terrifying, The Pact gets my vote for most inventive scare of the year. You'll shit your pants and if you don't, you don't have a pulse. You'll know it when you see it.

The most well-written, heartfelt horror film of the year, this indie gem is all kinds of gallows humor funny. Ken is a loner, a 30's something guy who's fresh out of the nut house and living at home with his wise cracking mother. Life is about to find some meaning for him when he connects with a daughter he never knew he had. But when his childhood bullies start getting killed one by one, the locals start to suspect our lovable loner and Ken just so happens to be spotted in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fantastic performances by all those involved including Barry Bostwick who plays the goofy local sheriff.

The film that reminds you to never push aside or ignore that loner at your school or you just might regret it, The Loved Ones is one of the more uncomfortable films I've watched this year. When a young girl's invitation to the school dance is rejected by a boy she admires, her father takes matters into his own hands. But the father and daughter get a lot more than they bargained for when they bring him back home, thinking that he'll just be another boy for her 'scrapbook.' You see, this boy is just as messed up as they are. Really gruesome, curl you up in the fetal position stuff in this one.

I think it's safe to say that 2012 is the Year of Whedon. If you haven't seen this one, WHAT ARE YOU, CRAZY??? The last 20 min or so of the film is a horror fan's wet dream. This ode to the genre film will be in heavy rotation for years to come.

A brilliant film with a brilliant premise: a young woman is stuck in an endless loop, a Ground Hog's day of sorts, as she wanders about her Victorian style home doing daily tasks. As you can guess, she has to come to grips with the fact that she's a ghost. Not only does she have to contend with this, but also another aimless spirit that has taken up residence in her home. Anchored by great performances and some really terrifying moments, I Am A Ghost is a prime example of minimalist filmmaking at its finest. 

A heavy character piece, It's In The Blood features a father and son trying to reconnect after a long and strained relationship. Their weekend away in the woods goes awry after an accident occurs and they become stranded. As the day progresses, the surrounding area begins to come alive. The monsters that lurk within make it apparent that they don't want both men to leave. But are the monsters actually real or are they symbolic of the evils that lurk within the hearts and minds of both men? Another film filled with great performances, It's In The Blood might just be genre vet Lance Henriksen's best work ever

Honorable Mentions:

Cortez the Killer


The Mike said...

Hmmmm...mine is gonna look a little like this one. Still waiting to see Loved Ones and John Dies at the End before I finalize it.

Good stuff!

Adam M said...

Great list. The only one I haven't seen is I Am A Ghost. I know its not horror but God Bless America was my favorite movie of the year.

mike snoonian said...

Our lists are similar, though I'm dividing mine into two separate lists-those that received a commercial release and festival/screener films.

Emily said...

Nice! I haven't heard of a few of these, and apparently, neither has Netflix. Hope that changes soon!

Planet of Terror said...

@The Mike, I can't wait to see John Dies At The End. I may have to amend my list if it's as good as folks say!

@Adam M, definitely keep tabs on I Am A Ghost. I have no doubt it'll get distribution soon. And I enjoyed God Bless America. A great commentary on today's lame brain society.

@Mike, ohhhh, good idea. Can't wait to read yours!

@Emily, I know you're a Netflix fan but if you absolutely can't wait, a few of these are available on VOD currently (iTunes, Vudu, cable networks, etc.). Actually, they all can except for I Am A Ghost I believe.

RedRum said...

I want see I am a Ghost now!!
My top 10
10.-True Nature
8.-Livid (I love french movies)
7.-Alyce (the dark and realist version of Alice in Wonderland)
6.-The Corridor
5.-Midnight son
4.-Masks(the suspiria of sigle XXI)
2.-The Dead Inside (Sarah Lassez is one of my best actress)
1.-Guilty of romance (memories of a schyzo society)

Dom said...

Citadel and Lovely Molly are definitely on my list for watching before the year is out. Gonna have to give Rec3 a shot now as well.

MarkusWelby1 said...

haven't seen "John Dies at the End" yet but I guarantee it will be worthy of this list!

the jaded viewer said...

CTK - I've somehow got to watch most of the flicks on your list. These out on DVD or via indie screeners?

Matt-suzaka said...

This is an awesome list, mostly because there are a few films that have been on my radar with positive buzz, like 'Some Guy', 'The Pact' and 'Molly', and you named a few that I am only a little familiar with (and probably heard of them from you), like your number 1 and 2.

Great stuff, brother beef, and I really need to start cramming some movies in... I feel way behind.