Deadly Movies Best Horror of 2013

best of 2013

2013 hasn’t really been a banner year for horror. You get the feeling that horror cinema is in a real transitional stage. We’re certainly over the remake hump that dominated the 2000s and therein studio horror output has slowed dramatically. The void hasn’t quite been filled by the Indie scene, which too often continues to rely on tried and tested genre blueprints. Paranormal activities continue to rule at the box-office with hauntings, possessions, and exorcisms dominant with the popular audience. So what of the best of the year? Here’s what tickled my wobbly bits over the past 12 months:

THE CONJURING

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Exorcism movies are becoming overly familiar and worse of all overly predictable. But of the demonic haunting studio offerings, this was easily the best, if not at all groundbreaking or different in any way. But the lead performances were excellent, captained by Patrick Wilson, who’s fast becoming a genre fan favourite. This ‘true-story’, you feel, would have been better off, and had more of an impact, had it been made 10 years ago, prior to the current haunting glut.

RESOLUTION

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This Indie movie attempts to weave many a traditional horror thread into an ever changing plot. Found video footage, drug addiction, sacred land, missing people, lost souls, religious cults, gangsters, roaming lunatics, demonic forces, and even post-modernism are all candidates for the evil that besets two guys in a remote cabin. It’s an interesting watch which keeps you guessing throughout and after the credits roll. The writing is sharp and the dialogue never dull. The two leads do a great job of convincing you of their long term friendship. The crack addiction element could, and should, have been treated with a little more respect and attention to detail, but all-in-all a far better approach to the subject, as a narrative device, than Evil Dead managed.

EVIL DEAD

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Be honest horror fan, you were never going to give this an easy pass. Had this been a movie called ‘Rural Blood Puke‘, or ‘Forest Rape Tree‘ it would’ve likely been one of the darlings of the year. Saying that, it isn’t, and it came with a lot of baggage. Baggage containing big shoes – to fill that is. But it did succeed on enough levels, not least the size of its balls. Big’ol blood filled balls. And Fede Alverex emptied them big juicy non-CGI balls all over your face and you loved it. It was a shame then that, the movie was equal parts blood hurricane and terribly written characters.

GRABBERS

Grabbers

This Irish creature feature is a rare modern Monster B-movie that  works.., mainly because it has heart. Something majorly lacking from all of those horrible Asylum and Sci-Fi channel CGI shit-fests. The creative team here love monster movies clearly, but they’re not interested in throwing out cheap references, this is their own movie. But the love of the genre is there for all to see: You’ll recognise traces of Jaws (and Jaws 2), Aliens, The Thing, 50s B-movies likes Tarantula, and I’d be surprised if the creative team weren’t fans of 1998’s fantastic Deep Rising. The movie uses its Island setting well and surrounds two very likable leads (again rare) with a fantastic group of hodgepodge supporting players. The CGI is stronger than anything Asylum could offer, and yes, when it can, it offers plenty of practical effects too. A hidden gem.

STOKER

Stoker-2013-Movie-Poster-2

Here’s a movie which asks the question what makes a movie a horror movie? Is it the content? The execution? The visceral depiction of violence? This is a movie about murder, inherent psychosis, and to some degree incest. In the hands of many a director this could have been a sleazy and sordid affair. But such is the skill of Korean director Park Can-Wook (making his English movie debut) and the ambiguity of the performances (Matthew Goode is deliciously menacing, turning in a real Norman Bates-esque performance) that it comes across as brooding drama. But make no mistake this is horror addressed in a smart and intelligent manner. So much so that you forgive some of it’s shortfalls – it certainly creeks under the weight of it’s own dramatic intentions. Disturbing, interesting, unhinged.

V/H/S 2

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The found footage anthology series continues with this followup to last year’s V/H/S. Like the original it’s a mixed bag (although none of the sequences are terrible by any means). Along with the [REC] movies, this series utilises the found footage concept better than anything else horror has to offer (here’s looking at you Diary of the Dead). The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and like the original all the parts are strong enough. Part 1 ‘Clinical Trials‘ is the weakest, but Parts 2,3, and 4 ‘A Ride in the Park‘, ‘Safe Haven‘, and ‘Alien Abduction Slumber Party‘ are all fantastic in their own unique way.

YOU’RE NEXT

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Adam Wingard took the home invasion film and kind of fed it through the Giallo meat grinder. The result was a slightly nonsensical but hilariously entertaining horror film that can be well and truly filed under ‘romp’. A rare occasion where the filmmakers, actors (and their characters – and that’s important), and audience are all in on the joke from the get go.

MANIAC

Maniac_2013_Remake_010

First of all let’s talk about how smart this is from a filmmaking perspective. Almost the entire movie is shot in the first person (first perspective), but not using the handheld-camera gimmick. From an artistic standpoint this is an interesting take on the horror convention which fetishises the killer’s gaze, but usually only during the kills. Here we’re invited, literally, behind the killers eyes from the get-go. From a practical aspect this gives the filmmakers the ability to cast Elijah Wood as the titular ‘maniac’ without needing him on-set for months at a time (therein saving a whole bunch of the budget). Wood appears sparingly, and cleverly, in reflections. Smart. The film itself is reminiscent of Peeping Tom (1960) and enjoys Giallo like kills, effects, and music. One of the most enjoyable and refreshing modern slasher/stalker pics in years (and yes I realise it’s a remake).

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6 thoughts on “Deadly Movies Best Horror of 2013

  1. Very cool. Have Grabbers on my Netflix list. Been hearing good things about it, but didn’t know about the Resolution film. I’ll check it out. Nice list and some great points.

  2. Persiles says:

    So Stoker was a movie? I thought is was an overlong, stupid an vacuous shoe commercial made by a Korean shit…

    • deadlymovies says:

      Not overly constructive granted, but your opinion is as valid as anyone else.

    • I enjoyed Stoker, just sayn. Anything at least attempting to be original in today’s cinema gets props from me, especially if it’s away from the norm.

      Here’s my opinion for what it’s worth:

      The Conjuring, I haven’t checked out yet, but will definitely give it a chance and a watch. My understanding is it is produced by the same people that did Insidious and to me Insidious was a weaker version of Poltergeist (Still, my fav horror film today, but I’ll still also give Insidious 2 a chance. Hated the ending of the first one though. Too cliche’.) However, Patrick Wilson is also in The Conjuring and since I really enjoyed Hard Candy, he gets a pass from me and two more hours of my time. Everything should at least be given a chance before you judge. Making a film is extremely hard work and numerous things can go wrong.

      Resolution, I haven’t even heard of, so I’m really looking forward to tracking it down and checking it out. I get the most pleasure out of films that’s have slipped by me and they turn out to be great. There’s no hype that comes attached to that, so you get to experience it for yourself, without knowing anything about it.

      Evil Dead, I enjoyed as well. Let’s face it, if you’re an Evil Dead fan, we would all prefer an Evil Dead 4, or Army of Darkness 2, but who knows if that will ever really happen. The Evil Dead reboot, had the gore, had the great practical effects and had some great winks at first two films. I also enjoyed that the character’s names were changed, so it didn’t feel quite like an absolute remake. As a writer, I also enjoyed the lead’s drug addiction, but much less enjoyed that it was never explored and would’ve been a better chance to let the audience really care for these characters, which I don’t think we do much. The last half hour character change was interesting an interesting way to throw the audience off a bit though. It is what it is and I think I’m much more interested in where they would go with it’s sequel, since anything after it would have to be fresh. Biggest problem with that film though. Would’ve been even better if it was called anything else.

      Grabbers, have this one on my Netflix list, so it’s definitely getting a view in the next few days. I’ve heard comparisons to Tremors with more humor, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what the film-makers have to offer.

      Stoker, I think is a film a lot of typical viewers aren’t going to get. The cinematography and directing for the film which very strange and creepy, which I think made it a film that should be mentioned. The trends seem to be zombie and ghosts right now, so I think it’s that’s what people are focused on, they’re not going to find it in this. For those of us looking for something more, I think the director should get props for giving us something fresh and different.

      V/H/S 2, the original wasn’t my cup of tea, but I enjoyed it. I think a lot of it has to do with getting burned out on the found footage and looking forward to that taking finally dying down. However, filmmakers should be able to make films, however they please. This is also on my Netflix list. I believe Ti West was attached to the original. If he’s also on board this in some capacity I’ll check it out, just for him giving me the slow burn, House of the Devil, which I greatly enjoyed. He definitely nailed the old school films.

      You’re Next, I checked out at the theatre and while I wasn’t digging it at first, the lead actress stole the show and redeemed it for me, during the second half of the film. However as a writer, just felt like there were some great missed opportunities. That being said, this film was delayed forever to the U.S., which is a shame, because more films like this deserve to be given a chance in a generation of endless remakes, reboots and prequels.

      Maniac, also on my Netflix list. Heard great things about this. Ashamed to say I still have let the original slip by me, but don’t worry, I’ll also be checking it out, just because I should. Also, I think casting Elijah Wood as the killer is both out of the box thinking and brilliant. He’s a great actor, definitely has range and loves and produces horror films. Props to him for jumping on board, while still having a popular sitcom and Hobbit money coming in.

      P.s. Really enjoying the articles. Keep up the great work.

      Best,

      Craig Everett Earl
      Writer/Producer
      Intrusion:Disconnected
      http://www.IntrusionDisconnected.com

      • deadlymovies says:

        Now that’s what I call constructive comments. Excellent stuff, thanks.

      • lol, Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion on films and they should be. However, If more fans were producing them like me, they would know how hard it is to make a film and probably have a little more respect for them. Extremely stressful. Whether it’s a blockbuster, or a small next to nothing indie budget, I always try to look at what the film-maker had to work with and know they poured their heart and soul into it. Indies for example, might not have the amazing visual effects and A list actors that a huge studio has, however, a lot of them more often than not have more original ideas and more heart to the story and characters. I think, although Stoker was a bigger film, that’s what it was, a labor of love for the film-maker. They tried to make something different and it shows. And I wish film-makers would take that chance more often, because even if I don’t like it, I want someone else to have the chance to. It might be the film that may inspire them to do something amazing.

        And thank you, just keep up the great articles. Really enjoying them.

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