Monday, December 17, 2012

Best Sleepers of 2012

2012 saw several great horror movies. However, some ended up falling under the radar, and will hopefully find themselves an audience. Sure, you saw "Cabin in the Woods", and you heard all about "Kill List" and V/H/S, so what else is there? Here are the best genre films you probably missed (and should see) in no particular order

Dredd-Dammit  America, this should have been a hit. Pretty much the "Judge Dredd" movie many wanted, this sucker has it all-great acting, top notch direction, graphic bloodshed, a throbbing electronic score and some wonderfully dark satire. The fact it was a box office bomb kinda pisses me off, since I want to see more of this world.

Killer Joe-A southern fried, blackly comic noir with horror undertones, this deserves all kinds of love. Featuring great performances (including the best performance of Matthew McConaughey's carrer), excellent direction from William Friedkin, the most inspired use of the Clarence Carter song "Strokin'" ever, and the most perverse use of KFC ever put to film (or probably done anywhere.) This is the year's best sleeper, and needs to be seen by more people.

Bedeviled-Yes, another Korean revenge film that has something to say about the nature of vengeance. However, this one manages to create a build up to the meltdown, thus creating an impending sense of dread instead of any sort of catharsis. Challenging stuff to watch (this sucker has some ugly subject matter even for this kind of movie), but worth it.

Father's Day-If you haven't seen what may very well be the best movie Troma has released in years, it's not your fault-the company and Astron 6 are in a bit of a legal tiff right now (Troma might have been giving away DVR copies), and the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack is in a limited edition. That out of the way, this is an hilarious homage/send-up of exploitation that is tasteless, gory and absolutely demented-as well as one of the funniest Neo-Grindhouse movies so far.

The Loved Ones-Just when it seemed that the torture genre was all out of life, along came this sucker to breathe some new life into it. Featuring solid direction, great performances (especially from Robin McLeavy as the sadistic Lola) and a strong streak of black humor, this proves that you can still manage to make a movie like this work if you have the right ingredients. I'll take this over the "Saw" sequels any day.

The Snowtown Murders-Yet another Aussie horror film ("Loved Ones" was from Australia too), this downbeat horror/drama is based on the true story of the most notorious serial murders in the countries history, and is a creepy and unsettling look at the allure of evil and the horrors of homophobia.

Juan of the Dead-Helping to prove that there's still life in the undead heart of zombie movies, "Juan of the Dead" is a funny and intelligent look at the life of an aimless man who suddenly feels purpose when the dead walk the Earth. Filled with engaging characters and refreshingly smart political subtext, "Juan" is worth a look.

The Aggression Scale-Steven C. Miller finally proves himself to be a director to watch out for in this unique twist on the home invasion movie that's both suspenseful and darkly funny. You know the story-family moves in to a house, criminals decide to take them hostage. However, it seems the youngest son has a few tricks up his sleeve.

The Theater Bizarre-While "V/H/S" got a lot of attention, I feel that this unique little anthology has gone largely unnoticed, which is a shame. Not every segment works (Tom Savini's is a bit of a disappointment), but most of it manages to capture various moods and horrors in a way that's haunting, disgusting and refreshingly original.

Rabies-You know that movie where a group of people are hunted by a killer in the woods? The Israeli film "Rabies" takes a new spin at this by making sure that it really could be anybody.

Exit Humanity-Yet another spin on the zombie movie, "Exit Humanity" mostly takes place after the civil war where a man must cope with reality and try to find a way to survive-and a bit of hope-in a zombie ridden landscape. A good example of indie horror done right, this minimalist film doesn't override it's budget, is well directed and serves as another rare zombie movie worth seeing in today's overstuffed market.

The Tall Man-No,Pascal Laugier did not make a movie that will effect the viewer the way "Martyrs" did. This however, is a better than expected tale of a woman who must find out what happened to her children-and if the urban legend of an entity known as "The Tall Man" is real. Relying more on suspense and build up than gore and torture, "The Tall Man" may not be perfect, but I do feel that it deserves to be seen.

Bait 3D-There is really nothing that is groundbreaking or original here. Hell, a lot of it plays like the kind of thing studios dump in theaters for no reason. However, this is an example of that kind of movie which actually manages to be an entertaining little popcorn movie that offers enough energy, personality and humor to keep you interested.


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