Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Top Ten Horror Movies of 2010

So after having finally seen enough decent efforts to stretch out a real top ten list, and to write about something a bit happier than the dreary nonsense I’ve been subjecting myself to earlier this week, I bring you the ten best horror movies of last year. There’s two reasons it’s taken me until mid-February to finally write this up: I missed several of these when they were in the theater, and so had to wait for the DVDs to come out, and quite honestly there were so few good horror movies out last year that it was difficult to even come up with ten worthy efforts. Hopefully 2011 will be better. And in case you’re wondering, The Crazies was number 11.

10. Burning Bright

It’s a film with a fairly ridiculous premise (a woman and her autistic son are trapped in their boarded up house while a deadly Bengal tiger stalks them), and finds a way to make it work, giving us a tight, intelligent cat and mouse game (no pun intended). This didn’t make it into theaters outside of some horror festivals, making it just one more example of why most of the best horror movies nowadays can essentially only be seen in the comfort of your own home.

9. Hatchet 2

I’m not sure whether to say the same about this movie, as it did get a theatrical release, though since it was released uncensored and unrated it got yanked from most theaters after one day. Anyway, the original was possibly my favorite slasher movie of the last decade. This one isn’t as fun or silly (and it doesn’t have nearly as much nudity, sadly), but it does try to make up for it by greatly ratcheting up the violence. Seriously, it’s one of the goriest films I’ve ever seen, right up there with one of Miike’s nastier efforts. Anyone reading this should already know just from that whether they’re going to want to see this or not.

8. Devil

It’s been a surprisingly good year for horror movies set in confined spaces. First there was Burning Bright, now Devil, and later one there’s one more. Anyway, this was one of the rare widely-released horror movies of the year that didn’t suck, with a group of people trapped in an elevator, one of whom is secretly the devil. It’s a pretty smart, suspenseful film that was unfortunately torpedoed in theaters by the prominent inclusion of producer M. Night Shyamalan’s name in the trailers.

7. Splice

Another quality horror movie that got sunk by a bad marketing campaign that basically promised everyone it was going to be a straight ripoff of Species, when it was actually all about a scientist couple creating and raising a mutant baby, and raising rather interesting questions about the morality of what they were doing, and aren’t they being rather horrible parents here. It of course devolves into standard Hollywood horror at the end, but until then it’s actually a very surprising and unique film.

6. The Human Centipede (First Sequence

Probably the most infamous horror movie released last year, this underseen film follows the adventures of a charming German scientist who kidnaps three tourists and surgically attaches them mouth-to-anus to create a human centipede, which he believes to be the ultimate life form. There’s not a ton of action in the film, leaving us plenty of time to watch this surgical monstrosity in action, stamping all over the floor and wanting to curse the scientist out but not having enough free mouths to do so. So twisted, it’s a little surprising it wasn’t done by someone from Asia.

5. Let Me In

While there really wasn’t much of a reason for this remake to exist beyond appeasing people that cry when they see subtitles, it does manage to be probably the best vampire movie since the original (not that it had a ton of competition, admittedly). It’s slow paced and moody, more interested in developing its characters than on scares or gross-out scenes, and in general plays to the exact opposite sentiments of Hatchet 2. But yes, you should still watch both.

4. Piranha

While I missed this when it was in theaters and so didn’t get to enjoy the wonderfully garish 3-D they used, I did finally see it when it was released on DVD, and it is as delightfully trashy as anyone could have hoped for. It’s the rare remake that’s superior to the original (granted, the original wasn’t all that great, despite being helmed by Joe Dante), and continues director Alejandre Aja’s streak of good movies. It’s chock full of nudity, violence, and incredibly obvious and cheesy 3D shots, and is a ton of fun.

3. Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy

Some would call this cheating, since this is actually a documentary about a series of horror movies, but I don’t care. What we get here is an incredibly in-depth collection of interviews with virtually everyone among the cast and crew of every Nightmare on Elm Street film (aside from the remake, whose only mention is one person briefly mentioning that a remake was being made) to talk about every last aspect of each film that you could ask for. It’s incredibly informative, frequently really funny, and more than anything just makes you want to watch all of them all over again, even the bad ones.

2. Feeding Frenzy

Made by the people at Red Letter Media (who have been responsible for at least half of this site’s traffic since I posted my original review -- thanks guys!), this is a loving homage to all the small rubber monster movies of the 80s that came out in the wake of Gremlins. It’s visibly low budget, but works with that in creating one of the most laid back and funny films of the year, horror or otherwise. For those unfamiliar with these guys, they’re the ones that did those brilliant Star Wars reviews, and the narrator of those is in this film.

1. Frozen

Writer/director Adam Green had kind of a big year last year, releasing this and Hatchet 2. This was not only the superior film (and my pick for best of the year, obviously), but it was his greatest film to date. We follow the troubles of three friends on a skiing vacation as, due to a horrible mixup, wind up getting stuck on a ski lift as the place shuts down for the week as a blizzard gets ready to roll in. Now they have to find a way to make it off the lift to the ground a hundred or so feet below them before they all freeze to death. It’s scary, beautifully directed, and features some surprisingly touching character development. It’s everything you could want in a horror movie.

So there you have it. Not the best year for horror movies, but there were still enough to make a good list. You could certainly do a lot worse than making a week out of watching all of them, so get on that.

1 comment:

Dr. Jason said...

Love me some Plinkett. Good list!