Seeing as we are moving into the 2010’s I figured I might as well take advantage of some “best of the decade” type lists as they may be the only ones this site may ever have, starting with my personal list of best horror films from the last 10 years. And holy crap did this take a lot longer to put together than I initially thought. Most know that my tastes in film usually lean towards the twisted. So when it comes to horror, that is no exception. Admittedly I am a gorehound, but only in regards to the technical aspects. I love special effects, but gore does not make a horror movie for me and my favorite horror films are normally ones that deviate from tried-and-true formulas and get under your skin. Aside from the trailer for each entry, I have also added my thoughts. So let’s get going by starting with number 25 and working our way up to my top pick.
This is easily one of my favorite Raimi movies. I even prefer it over DRAG ME TO HELL. The reasons for that are simply because I love the Southern Gothic and films that deal with flawed families. Especially when you put both of those together in a psychological thriller involving murder and ghosts. On top of that, Raimi abandons his trademark humor and goes serious with this one with an absolutely stellar cast. Cate Blanchett delivers one of her best roles as a single-mom psychic, Giovanni Ribisi plays, well, Giovanni Ribisi…but with a very strong dislike of post ’75 Lucky Charms, Keanu Reeves is convincing as a redneck wife-beater, Hilary Swank as his battered wife, Greg Kinnear as a school principal whose fiancee has gone missing, and Katie Holmes as the missing fiancee who shows off her nice rack a couple times in the movie. Sure it’s a by-the-numbers type of whodunnit – but the talent attached to the film are more than enough to take an otherwise ho-hum story into higher caliber territory.
#24 CLOVERFIELD (2008)
Number 24 was a toss-up between THE HOST and CLOVERFIELD. I like them both almost equally, but CLOVERFIELD just delivered almost everything I want to see when I sit down to watch a giant monster movie. While I understand why a lot of critics hated the shaky cam and were turned off by the admittedly cornball love-story that held it all together, I felt the parts that did work overshadowed those that didn’t by a country mile. My complaints with the movie had less to do with the iffy acting and the MIRACLE MILE style plot and more to do with it being watered down for the PG-13 rating. Certain scenes would have definitely packed more of a punch with an R-rating (especially Marlena’s death) and like one viewer noted, I would have been saying a lot more “FUCK!” had I been in any of those people’s predicament. Either way, as far as giant-ass-monsters-destroying-a-major-city movies go, you really cannot beat CLOVERFIELD.
#23 THE OTHERS (2001)
I don’t like Nicole Kidman much. Out of her entire career, I only really like her in three movies. DEAD CALM, TO DIE FOR and this superb haunted house story. THE OTHERS is a very genuinely effective ghost thriller that surprised me not with just how well it was directed, but also with how much I liked Alakina Mann and James Bentley in the roles of the two bickering siblings. With bits of THE SHINING and even THE SIXTH SENSE, I still like to watch this innovative film on occasion. It’s one of those movies that’s still entertaining to watch and even upon multiple viewings, the atmosphere and scares still do their job. Here’s a bit of useless trivia. THE OTHERS was directed by Alejandro Amenábar who also directed OPEN YOUR EYES. The remake of that film, VANILLA SKY, was released a few months after THE OTHERS and starred Kidman’s then-estranged husband Tom Cruise. What does that have to do with anything? Nothing.
#22 WOLF CREEK (2005)
It really should come as no surprise that this film would end up on this list as I do have a tendency to favor films that deal with killer kids, isolation and “real” killers. By real I mean human and not supernatural stuff like Jason or Michael Myers. Running this site for the last six years has shown me that man is far more scarier than any made up mask-wearer Wes Craven or John Carpenter could ever think of. Very, very loosely based on the Australian Backpacker Murders, WOLF CREEK quickly became one of my favorite horror films in the way it handled the material. But others were not as happy. Ebert gave it “0” stars and Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald walked out of the movie. The reasons they gave for disliking he film are the reasons I loved it. It was one of the rare films that spent time with the characters in a way that when their deaths occurred – you felt the senselessness of it. The horror. The fact that while they played loose with the actual events, the way some of them died in the film echoed the fates of real people. Greg Mclean did not wuss out and let the viewer forget that by simply removing any and all trace of sugar-coating. I also hear horror fans whining at how long it took for anything to happen…wanting a film that delved right into the killing. As you will see with some of my other choices, I prefer the slow burn. But then again I also enjoy studying the blueprints of a house before it’s set on fire as I like knowing exactly what was destroyed.
#21 FRONTIER(S) – FRONTIÈRE(S) (2007)
I know a few on my list that will raise an eyebrow, and I suppose this will be one of them. But how in the hell can you not like a horror film about a group of robbers becoming fodder for a group of cannibal Neo-Nazi’s hell-bent on creating a new Aryan brotherhood who also run an isolated inn?! Come on, this film had EVERYTHING. Haters call it relentless, derivative slop. I call it great horror that borrowed from some greats – specifically THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE – and still made it work. But while Xavier Gens may have taken some ideas from other notable horror films, he had no issues painting outside the numbers a bit. His take on survival horror sported some disturbing scenes, nasty protagonists with a clear cut family hierarchy, some disturbing kills and a final girl I was actually rooting for. This film was originally part of the 8 Films to Die For and was to debut at Horrorfest 2007. But the MPAA thought the film was too hardcore for some of you pussies and gave the film the dreaded NC-17. Because of that, the film got a limited theater run in the US for one weekend before being released on DVD the following week. Lame.
#20 THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2006)
Here’s more news that may have some calling for me handing over my Horror Movie Fan Membership Card. I do not like Wes Craven’s THE HILLS HAVE EYES. I found the setup great, but the execution terrible. A rarely effective rip-off of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE that bores you to tears before getting to the big payoff. Alexandre Aja’s remake, however…well that’s another story all together. I liked the ratcheted violence and the much better cast. Critics lament on the sleazy nature of this version, calling it “lurid grindhouse trash” but when you are dealing with a group of mutated, cannibal killers preying on a family stranded in the desert…what in the hell did you expect? Family fun? This is horror the way I like it with or without the blood. I can enjoy safe horror as much as the next horror fan, but to make a Best of the Decade list I want to see some lines crossed. And if you are planning on remaking a ’70s classic revered by horror fans and amplify the violence, I don’t want pulled punches…I want broken jaws. In that regard, I feel this was a great re-telling of the original.
dreamindemon, Horror, Morbid, movie, Reviews