In no particular order I present my picks for the 10 best horror movies released in 2013. And I am counting wide release/home media release here cause sometimes it can take years (You’re Next) for a movie to make it from the festivals to the viewer. Special mentions to horror on TV which had a great year with Hannibal and American Horror Story. As well special mention to Gravity which I wouldn’t consider horror per say but god damn was that shit thrilling. Here are the picks:
Evil Dead Thiswas the remake everyone was dreading (ever since we stopped dreading the arrival of the remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street). But guess what? The pseudo-reboot/spiritual sequel/three-make was everything I ever could have wanted. It took the over the top cartoon gore and filtered it through a lense of the New French Extremity. This is the bloodiest movie since Peter Jackson’s Braindead.
You’re Next Home invasion horror is one of the genres that terrify me the most. Funny Games, Inside and even Fear scare me shitless. You’re Next is full of gore, mayhem and action. Most films in this sub-genre are bleak as fuck. But some how there is a black humor in this film. The way in which many of the family react will have plenty of horror fans rolling their eyes. And on top of that we have one of the best final girls in recent memory. Adam Wingard continues to be one of the new horror directors to watch.
Maniac I will admit that I never have seen the original Maniac. I have read several reviews and it doesn’t seem like my cup of tea. It sits waiting in that dark purgatory that is my pile of movies to watch. But with a script by Alexandre Aja and that tasty hobbit/cannibal Elijah Wood I had to check the remake out. And I am I did. The innovative use of Frank’s POV to force the audience to experience the violence in a first person manner, Wood’s haunting voice echoing in a schizophrenic whisper as if in your own head.
The Lords Of Salem I admit it. I love Rob Zombie The Director. I could take or leave the dirty rocker who sings about Dragula. But the guy who more or less makes us watch his wife do crazy shit in his movies I frigging love! The Lords of Salem is the bleakest, most bizarre of his films yet. It is over flowing with imagery so obscene, profane and weird that you either drink the Kool-Aid like I did or you end up completed confused like when I try and watch the French channel. The low fi practical effects realness is like a breath of fresh air You may not agree that it is among the best but you must admit it is unlike almost anything else released in the past 25 years.
Byzantium Considering the massive popularity of vampires, there really hasn’t been a ton of really great vampire movies. Byzantium stands alongside some of the greatest vampire films ever. It is most aptly described as Interview with the Vampire meets Let the Right One In. By avoiding almost every cliche Neil Jordan manages to bring horror fans a rich gothic tale with a modern sensibility.
Antiviral I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the directorial debut of Horror Master David Cronenberg’s son. What I got was en epic body horror film which managed to balance intense shots of gore with biting commentary on the culture of celebrity. While obviously inspired by his father’s work, Brandon manages to bring a fresh and modern aesthetic along with the intimate feeling one associates with some of the best horror.
The Conjuring Did James Wan essentially present us with a pastiche of reworked moments from classic horror films? Yeah. Do I give a single fuck? Nope. I give so few fucks there ain’t even a gif for it. Wan managed to turn out a horror film that was well acted, a new story (no matter how much of a retread) and above all else it was spooky as fuck. Horror doesn’t always need to break the mold. Sometimes you just need a haunted house and some ghost busters.
Curse of Chucky When I was a lil boy my mother used to taunt me with a copy of TV Guide with Chucky on the cover. And my best friend growing up’s older brother had the Child’s Play posters on his walls. I was scared of that killer doll up until my teens when I embraced the perfection that is Bride of Chucky. Don Mancini brings the serial killing Good Guy Doll back to his roots. And he manages to do it in a way that still honors the balls to the wall nature of the,films that came before it no matter how weird they got,
American Mary Ironically this movie is Canadian. Or maybe that isn’t irony. I was always getting my grammar work books mixed up with the liner notes for my Jagged Little Pill CD. Katherine Isabelle is perfect as Mary, a med student who has their world turned upside down while trying to make it through med school. There are moments of gore that are among the most shocking I have seen in a film. The effects work is pretty much flawless. Throw in a combination of revenge horror and body horror with a human Barbie Doll, plastic surgery at the veterinarian’s office and stylistic homages to Argento and Dead Ringers and you have one of the best horror movies to ever come out of Canada.
Stoker is pretty much a perfect film in terms of acting, plot, cinematography, set decorating. Pretty much perfect in every way. The entire cast give career best performances. The material makes it one of those films that will be overlooked in leiu of broader more Oscar friendly material. It is films like this that show that horror can still be of the Hitchcockian caliber.