2012 was a fairly healthy year for horror. New horror filmmakers are starting to break through, the decade of remake-horror is slowly dying off, and there’s an emphasis on new approaches to treasured sub-genre favourites. So walk with me dear friends through ten films that tantalised Deadly Movies taste buds in 2012 (note the following films are ones which saw their wider release date in 2012):
10: Iron Sky. A film so unbelievably silly in its high concept (Nazi soldiers on the moon return to earth after 70+ years in excile) that it just has to make the list. Yes it strains heavily in the middle section under the weight of such lofty concepts, but it’s pure b-movie gold that hits high notes at the beginning and end.
9: [REC]3 Genesis. It’s strange that the REC series in this, it’s third instalment, decides to drop the first-person narrative that made it so effective in the first place. Compared to it’s predecessors it’s a much weaker film, yet it’s still enjoyable and who doesn’t want to watch a blood covered bride wielding a chainsaw?
8: The Chernobyl Diaries. A film which ultimately falls short during the finale, but has enough in it’s middle section to entertain. It may well unashamedly be The Hills Have Eyes relocated to Chernobyl, however the real-life setting on-location at one of the world’s most destructive nuclear disasters makes for some wonderful scenery. It’s just a shame that this great location wasn’t put to less generic use.
7: Sinister. Not a wholly satisfying movie, but scary as hell in places. It’s creature design, atmosphere, score, and visuals are in places truly unnerving and terrifying. Straight up the scariest film of the year in terms of old fashioned haunted house bumps and jumps.
6: The Innkeepers: A slow burner for sure. Too slow for many. And maybe it’s just because I love Ti West that The Innkeepers was more enjoyable for me that many others concluded. But in an age where scares and horror must be reached within minutes and cranked up from scene-to-scene, it’s refreshing to watch a film that builds with character first for a pay-off that’s worth the wait.
5: The Grey. Now before you go ahead and say “this came out in 2011“, it actually came out in January 2012 for the vast majority of the cinema going world. Man vs Nature horror has never rekindled its heyday of the 1970s, so it was with great glee that The Grey delivered such a solid genre movie. Neeson’s at his gruff best running around the stunning locations of British Columbia proving that horror and snow are wonderful bed buddies.
4: Mothers Day. Another film that technically isn’t a 2012 movie. Its initial festival premiere in 2010 was followed by a two year hiatus before a limited thetrical run and DVD release in 2012. It’s a simple home invasion movie which succeeds in hitting every beat that a horror fan expects. Then there’s Rebecca De Mornay, enjoying every second of playing Mother and a real joy to watch.
3: V/H/S. The found footage formula gets a kick in the nuts with this portmanteau film (that’s filmy speak for anthology movie – think Twilight Zone the Movie) that kind of serves as Masters of Horror The Next Generation. Shot on VHS (a real treat for video nasty era fans) each chapter is shot by a different starlet of horror and each is surprisingly satisfying; ranging from solid to highly entertaining. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the prolific talents of Ti West, Joe Swanberg, David Bruckner, Glenn Mcquaid, and writer/director collective Radio Silence. Oh and it also serves to show that in the world of High-Def some things are a little scarier when you can’t see every line and wrinkle.
2: The Collection. The Aliens to it’s predecessor’s Alien. Where The Collector was a tense and nervy affair, this sequel is all out balls-to-the-wall action horror. The Collector was one of my favourite horror films of 2009, and while this isn’t as well crafted, it’s certainly a great followup that doesn’t drop the ball by doing something different.
1: Cabin in the Woods. A film that’s just so much fun. A love letter to the genre from super-nerd Joss Whedon it’s a film that’s clever but never falls into the trap of being condescending to the audience. For the horror fan it’s just a wonderful way to indulge in 90 minutes of pure genre enjoyment.