JUSTIN’S TOP HORROR PICKS OF 2012!
I had the pleasure of personally screening this highly underrated Australian gem to an unsuspecting audience, and it collectively floored all of us. It received a release in it’s native country three years ago, and after playing several festivals to unanimous acclaim, Paramount swooped in and acquired it. Sadly, they dumped it this past Summer with little promotion, but if you’re a regular reader of IOF (and any other genre site for that matter!) you know THE LOVED ONES is totally worth your time and needs all the love it can get. It sports some of the most cringe inducing scenes of torture, and features an incredibly psychopathic performance by Robin McLeavy.
Yep, the ignorantly marketed “Neeson vs. Wolves” film THE GREY is one of the most bone-chilling films’ this year. Bleak, throat-grabbing, and uncompromisingly vicious, THE GREY is a horror film of the existential variety, with faith and flesh hungry wolves being relentless forces of death. Neeson turns in one of the best performances of his career that won’t soon leave your thoughts.
Ti West has really hit his stride with THE INNKEEPERS, a totally humorous and effectively creepy ghost film that has tons of heart and two loveable leads in Sara Paxton and Pat Healy. I managed to avoid trailers and reviews for this, opting to go in on the sole basis of knowing it was a Ti West film, and it was extremely rewarding.
There was a monumental amount of hype coming out of Sundance for V/H/S, the anthology horror based around everyone’s favorite format from some of the currently best independent genre filmmakers. People fainting, vomiting, having to have paramedics on standby…I couldn’t wait till I got to experience this for myself. In most regards, V/H/S completely works. There are a couple weak segments, but the ones that hit, hit fucking hard. I’ll be waiting with baited breath all over again come this January when S-VHS debuts at Sundance!
I loved The Collector, and see it as a way underrated film that was unfairly overlooked for being labelled a Saw clone. Sure it’s from the writers of the latter sequels, but they’ve successfully made me cringe, and created a new anti-hero and villain with Arkin and The Collector himself. THE COLLECTION is what every sequel should be, an amplification of everything that came before and expanded upon with higher stakes. This sequel delivers that ten fold, and sports one of the most eviceratingly gory opening scenes’ in horror history!
2012 saw a trio of horror-lite animated films for kids, but Laika’s stop-motion PARANORMAN takes the cake as being the best. For one, it’s animation is gorgeous and a prime example of how amazing stop-motion can look when utilized. There’s also a plethora of references to the genre throughout that more seasoned fans will appreciate, which further shows the made by fans for fans attitude. The central message of the film may go over the heads of younger viewers, but it’s sincere and charming tone is felt all throughout.
Thanks to the power of VOD I was able to watch this after hearing all the major praise for [REC] co-director Jaume Balaguero’s solo feature that came out of it’s festival run. SLEEP TIGHT is exactly the kind of film that needs major distribution instead of just word-of-mouth campaign, because it’s near Hitchcock level’s of thrilling suspense that will leave you jamming your whole fist in your mouth. Extremely unnerving and will definitely persuade you to check under your bed at night.
Just watching the trailer for Scott Derickson’s true “found-footage” creeper SINISTER gave me the willies. That was greatly expanded upon when I sat down for the feature, giving me extreme goosebumps with the very disturbing opening scene. After that it was a constant barrage of white-knuckle scares that made me literally jump out of my seat, and contemplate covering my eyes. SINISTER also features one of the most piss-yourself-inducing jump scares that takes some time recovering from. It’s that damn good.
The ultimate hate it or love it film of 2012? Fuck all the naysayers, DETENTION is an ADHD fueled shot to the synapses that fires on all cylinders till the very end, and will absolutely be looked back on as a generation defining film. I would have never thought to seek this out were it not for some friends who championed it from the beginning, and sung it’s praises as a hyper kinetic must-see. DETENTION is cinematic cocaine, and you’ll be begging for another fix immediately.
This is an obvious and absolute given. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is not only one of the best horror films’ of the year, it rightfully earns it’s stripes to stand amongst the years’ best non-genre films. After countless reading about it’s studio and releasing woes, I hadn’t a modicum of an idea as to what to expect when I got to catch an advanced screening earlier this year (with director Drew Goddard in attendance no less!). Needless to say, I was absolutely gobsmacked. Goddard and Joss Whedon’s love and intelligence of the genre is highly apparent, and is a complete celebration of everything us horror-philes hold so dear.