The Top 10 Deadly Movies of the past year
2010 was a pretty decent year for us horror fans. There were a lot of good titles to choose from in the theatre, the straight to DVD shelves, and on the festival circuit. The remake frenzy appears to be slowing if not quite showing sign of drying up. There were returns to a few familiar franchises in the guise of sequels, reboots, reimaginings, or restarts. The best offerings were of course the films that didn’t fall into any of those Hollywood marketing terms. The Top 10 below are Deadly Movies favourite horror offerings of the year, there are some notable abscentees from other 2010 lists and some entries which may cause a raised eyebrow, but as ever all these lists are nothing but conjecture (of course mine is the correct list).
Note: These are 2010 movies based on there general release dates rather than production dates (i.e. these are movies that the vast majority of us saw in 2010)
10: Piranha 3D: If ever a fan favourite creature feature franchise warranted a revisit it’s Piranha. Not so much a part 3 or remake, Piranha 3D was more of a genre love-fest; piling on the staple conventions of nudity and gore. Although the film was certainly successful in embracing exploitation (both reveling in it and poking fun at it) it did suffer badly at times from serious pacing issues and the very odd decision to stage the blood-bath finale without much of the major cast. Still, a very enjoyable modern creature feature – and there isn’t many of them. Deadly Movies has high hopes that ‘Piranha 3DD‘ will iron out some of the pacing issues. (see the Deadly Movies review here)
9: Cabin Fever 2: A 2009 movie that saw it’s worldwide D2DVD release in February 2010. This one one of my favourite direct to DVD releases of the year. Ti West’s film may have suffered from some well publicised production issues, but it was a highly enjoyable gore-fest that revisited the 80s without being a blank parody. Calling on the end of ‘Carrie‘ for inspiration, the film goes to lengths to please gore-hounds, while nicely linking to Eli Roth’s first film and simultaneously avoiding an easy retread (many filmmakers would’ve simply given us another cabin and another group of teens vacationing in the woods).
8: Predators: Another franchise reboot. Was it essentially Predator Part 2? Was it Predator 3? Was it all but a remake? Essentially it’s all three. Producer (and long time franchise champion) Rob Rodriguez and director Nimrod (great name) Antal worked very hard to please the fanbase of the original. Too hard? maybe. This is certainly a film for you, the Predator fan boy. Boxes are ticked, moments are payed homage, quotable lines are re-quoted, situations are revisited, and music is replayed. There are some neat new themes and ideas investigated (we’re finally off Earth, we see different races of Preds, we see new toys and creatures) but ultimately new ideas take a back seat to paying lip-service to the 1987 sci-fi horror trail blazer. Still, it’s highly enjoyable, and like Piranha 3D, you hope that this is the start of more, and better things to come. Plus it finally put the dog-shit that was AVP2 behind us. (See the Deadly Movies review here)
7: The Collector: Arriving with many of us on widespread DVD release in June, this was Deadly Movies’ favourite D2DVD offering of the year. The film kept the premise very simple (if slightly stretched in places) and cleverly contained the entire film’s horror to one house. Not an easy task to do well. The Collector himself offered horror a new boogeyman with different methods, intentions, and motives than most new attempts. Borrowing torture toys from the SAW franchise but mixing it up with the boogeyman slasher genre, the film is taught and tense and flies by at breakneck speed. Plus the addition of a burglar protagonist to battle our antagonist (no Final Girl here) was a nice touch.
6: Hatchet 2: Given a criminally short Halloween theatrical release, this balls-out unapologetic horror love-in is an absolute treat for genre fans. Director Adam Green takes everything he loves (and mean everything) from slasher exploitation and rams into 89 minutes of genre bliss. There are nods and winks to fans flying into every scene and genre favourires make up much of the cast, supporting roles, and the well placed cameos. Where Hatchet 2 succeeds above most other attempts at genre celebration is that the film and characters themselves are great fun (especially Kane Hodder as hatched wielding Victor Crowley). This is a pure beer and pizza horror movie, with kills that are designed to induce cheers, laughs, and winces in equal measure. (See the Deadly Movies Premiere review here)
5: The Human Centipede: Deadly Movies reviewed THC as funny, repulsive, disturbing, and generic. Contradictions indeed. But a contradiction this film certainly is. Take away the well publicised gimmick (three humans sewed together ass-to-mouth) and there’s little else here bar the sound performances. The gimmick however is so vile and stomach churning that it is enough to lift the film to higher horror plains. The sheer depths of personal depravity and horror experienced by the film’s long suffering victims is a harrowing watch for audiences that buy into it and don’t hide behind the self protection censorship of dismissing it as laugh-out-load comedy. It isn’t. It’s sickening. And in that much the film deserves to be acknowledged for pushing the envelope with a desensitised fanbase.
”]4: [REC]2: Another film that was treated to a criminally small theatrical release, largely because it’s ‘foreign language’, a factor which is still a huge hurdle for non-english speaking filmmakers. The REC movies are so good (parts 3 and 4 are on their way) that the language barrier is essentially non existent. I for one don’t recall reading the subtitles, such is the power of the two movies (the first one especially, Deadly Movies Film of the Decade 2000-2010). REC2 takes the ‘zombie-like infection’ in an interesting and brave new direction. Some fans loved the plot curve-ball others were less accepting. At the very least it was interesting and certainly unforeseen. Carrying on the handheld first-person point of view the horror keeps coming at the same blistering pace as the original. Yes the impact of the first film is lost, but REC2 is still a solid sequel and a powerful piece of horror.
3: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale: A brilliant festive horror film. Certainly a contender for the best Christmas horror film, battling it out with 1974’s Black Christmas. The dark humour is handled brilliantly, the scenery and texture are sumptuous, and the acting spot-on (especially Santa and little Pietari). Scandinavian horror is not just in an incredibly healthy place, it’s likely to be the front runner of horror for the next decade, showing Hollywood new direction and new themes. Rare Exports (like the shorts that inspired it) takes a fairly well known horror tradition (evil Santa) and takes it somewhere completely different, giving the theme purpose, plot, character, and motivation. The end result is definitely a new Holiday tradition.
2: Frozen: Just brilliant. Is it horror at all? Well probably not, although the horror community has adopted it and filmmaker Adam Green as their own. Green takes the simplest of scenarios and crafts a well plotted and paced drama which is truly horrific. No boogeymen, torture chambers, mutated monsters, or blood thirsty aliens here, just regular people in a regular situation gone horribly wrong. It’s certainly a film that stays with you after the fact. Green shows his subtle skills here when compared to the Hatchet films, and achieves arguably a higher level of fraught tension and terror.
1: Splice: Amazing. A game changer if embraced. Body horror taken to a new level. It’s all-in-one subtle and gross-out, beautiful and horrific. This reworking of the cautionary Frankanstein tale is handled with such brilliance by Vincenzo Nitali that horror finally has something ‘new’ to be inspired by. The process of ‘the monster’s’ life gestation (Dren) is something completely new to horror fans.., Frankenstein for a whole new cinema generation. There are moments of the Dren’s development that are completely out of the blue, grabbing the audience and characters by the throat. And then there’s THAT scene.., Let’s just say that Victor and The Monster’s relationship certainly didn’t go there! A highly provoking film about humans, science, and our limitations and weaknesses. Horror used in all the right ways. Something for fans to be proud of.
What do think? Agree? Disagree? Discuss.