Alright, it’s no secret that my counterpart Remy and myself like to play psychic and predict what horror movies will be worth your while, and 2012 was no different. Perusing through the 2013 catalogue, we picked a handful of movies that really got our inner horror geek excited, from all different subgenres, and hoped to dazzle you with bold and righteous predictions – which of course didn’t hold true for half the films. Seriously, we didn’t back down, and even on the more independent features we watched, we rated them with the upmost honesty. If a movie isn’t worth your while, it doesn’t matter how much filming budget it had. A boring movie is a boring movie – no doubt about it.
In the same respect, won’t it be fun if we look back on the horror films both of us chose to redefine the genre? I’m not going to say all were a lost cause, because some mainstream horror movies seriously brought their “A-game” out, but there were some undoubted duds too. Poor Remy got stuck with more of those duds, just proving that I’m a far superior being and he’s nothing but a lowly serf. As a critic though, you learn to take the good with the bad. Sometimes you’ve got to just roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty in order to find the best and brightest horror has to offer.
With that said, let’s reflect on those 2013 horror movies that we totally predicted to rock your world, and let’s see how right or wrong we were…Next
Remy – American Mary
You know, I wasn’t nuts about the Soska twin’s first movie, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, so I have no idea why I had such high hopes for this film. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I had just seen and fallen in love with the movie Excision, and American Mary kind of reminded me of that character. Or so I assumed. I also think that visually, the trailer sucked me in with a movie that looked to have some real stylish flair, but the irony was, that was ALL this film had to offer. American Mary let me down in almost every single way it possibly could.
The story was pretty much non-existent. Character development was, well, non-existent (except for Mary, but you could see where she was heading from reel one), and on top of that, you had a movie that didn’t actually go anywhere. You could tell the Soska sisters knew this, as they tagged on a lame antagonist in the final ten minutes of the film for no good reason.
I expected to love this movie, and it made on my worst of 2013 list. That, my friends, says it all.
Nato – Cockneys Vs. Zombies
Hey, I’ll take starting out one for one. It’s true, Cockneys Vs. Zombies wasn’t the game changer Shaun Of The Dead was, but you got a bunch of senior citizens blowing zombies away with heavy weaponry – and one of the golden oldies was Alan Ford! To boot, this zombie comedy took place in the UK, which just makes most horror films better. Dry wit, funny phrases, silly accents, and plenty of zombie bashing to go around!
Not only was Cockneys Vs. Zombies a fun, violent, and extravagant zombie laugh-riot, but it also showed something other horror movies are lacking these days – strategical smarts. Certain characters were able to live another day by immediately acknowledging their surrounding predicament, as it only took a matter of seconds before someone shouted the word “zombies.” Matthias Hoene might not have reinvented the wheel, but why reinvent something when you pimp it out to the nth degree?Previous Next
Remy – [REC] Apocalypse
Um, I guess considering that this film didn’t actually come out, I failed. We don’t even have a fucking trailer yet. Just a teaser that shows and tells us absolutely nothing. Well, I am batting 0 for 2 right now.
Whatever, I suck.
Nato – Evil Dead
Hey everyone, remember when I said not to worry because Fede Alvarez was going to absolutely dominate with his Evil Dead “remake?” Yeah, Mr. Alvarez delivered horror goodness in spades, and did nothing to sully the name of Sam Raimi’s iconic franchise. If anything, this newest entry into the Evil Dead franchise reignited Raimi’s creative spark, getting him interested in Army Of Darkness 2. Sounds plausible, right?
Here’s the thing – I know some of you didn’t dig what Alvarez created as much as I did, but man, I can’t help but think Evil Dead is the second best horror movie of the year, barely edged out by the Elijah Woods remake of Maniac. Evil Dead benefitted from a bigger budget and grossly unnerving practical effects magic to up the ante of Raimi’s original, delivering a product I believe Sam would have made given the proper funds. Oh yeah, and if I hear one more person complain that it wasn’t funny, I’m going to ban you from these articles forever. EVIL DEAD WASN’T CREATED WITH HUMOR, THAT WAS EVIL DEAD 2.
…alright, I can’t stay mad you forever. Nato loves you!Previous Next
Remy – Stoker
Ah, here we go. Looks like I managed to pick a movie that didn’t suck. In the same breath, Stoker did NOT have the impact on me that I expected, but I can say that multiple viewings help with this movie.
This film is full of hugely symbolic moments, and a story that tells itself very slowly and very subtlety until the very end – but this is Park Chan-Wook. The famed director of Oldboy. Stoker is his first American film, so you can’t really blame me for thinking it would change the game.
Stoker is about an uncle who comes to live with a young girl and her mother after her father passes away tragically. I will say, Mathew Goode as the mystery man himself is rather amazing in this role. He always manages to convey two different feelings at once. The one feeling is that steely look in his eyes, like he is very much in control and in charge. The other is that sly grin he always seems to wear. Like he knows something that no one else does, and that he can use against them.
The real stand out in this movie is Mia Wasikowska though. I will not ruin the key elements that make this movie work (namely, what India goes through and what happens to her as a character), but I will say, give this movie more than one viewing.
First time I watched it, I was less than thrilled, but then I thought about certain moments (like the scenes of the spider climbing the thigh) and the more and more I think about, Stoker is like an Eyes Wide Shut type of movie. It is a movie that may seem unclear at first, but people will be slowly figuring out over time as more and more people see this strange and captivating film.
Nato – The Conjuring
Did James Wan have a killer year or what? I might have been in the minority with my love of Insidious: Chapter 2, but thankfully mainstream audiences embraced the creepy genius of The Conjuring, giving Wan the major props he deserves. Annabell’s story was scary enough to start out with, but once we realize that she is just a sample of the terror to come, there’s no stopping the all-out horror assault that awaits – except while you’re covering your eyes with the closest object.
James Wan creates these brilliantly vibrant atmospheres for his movies to exist in, and The Conjuring is no different. The Warren’s room of evil objects is brightly detailed with dolls, toys, and anything else demons can tie themselves to, but then when we cut to the Perron’s house, the empty, creaky, dusty house projects nothing but pants-wetting horror. The Hayes brothers wrote a magnificent script to accompany Wan’s signature style though, crafting deeply rooted characters that showed depth and poise – acted out by an amazing cast.
The Conjuring wasn’t just a good horror movie – it was a good cinematic movie as well.Previous Next
Remy – Horns
Hey look, I am an asshole who seemed to have fun picking TBD films, and the only films I did pick that actually came out ended up sucking more dick than a drunken Lohan. Awesome. Might be time to look into that career at a drive-thru.
Still, though, I am kind of obsessed with Joe Hill, and cannot recommend this book and Heart Shaped Box enough. They are terrifying at times, and impossible to put down.
Nato – You’re Next
Ok, this just isn’t getting fair anymore. I promise I didn’t just take all the good flicks. Tough break this year, Remdog.
Yeah, so You’re Next just continued my streak of stellar 2013 predictions. Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett had a tremendous amount of fun milking the “home invasion” subgenre of horror for all its worth, and then turning the subgenre upside down in a heartbeat. Watching You’re Next made me feel like my head was in a blender – but in a good way.
The whole idea of You’re Next is that some psychopaths crash a family get-together, for motives I won’t reveal, but one of the guests has some secrets of her own. The character fights back, and proves to be a handful for the animal mask wearing invaders. Chaos ensues, traps are set, and hyper-violence reigns supreme. Of course, there’s plenty of other trickery afoot, and one of the most memorable kills of the year – isn’t that enough to give Wingard’s film “best of the year” honors?Previous Next
Remy – V/H/S/2
Okay, I haven’t said this very much because I liked the first movie so much, but V/H/S/2 was a huge let down for me. It really was. First of all, there seemed to be a running theme of zombies in every one of the shorts (except the alien short). Secondly, the main storyline they are using for these movies has become silly (It’s like The Ring - if you see the V/H/S movies, you can kill yourself and come back as a zombie or something?).
Honestly, I would have NOTHING good to say about this sequel to one of my favorite horror films of last year, were it not for the AMAZING short, “Safe Haven,” that is jammed in the middle of V/H/S/2.
“Safe Haven” (made by the guys behind The Raid/The Raid 2/Macabre) was honestly and without question one of the best shorts I have ever seen in a horror anthology movie. Everything about it was super-creepy and it had an ending that could have been a massive fail, but the final moments were so over-the-top it worked – and stuck with me long after the credits rolled.
Outside of “Safe Haven,” though, this series is already losing sight of what it’s supposed to be about:
Horror caught on VHS.
Sorry, but when we are using GoPro helmet cams, the fucking VHS format suddenly makes no goddamned sense.
Mark my words, my choices for 2014 WILL BE five for five.
Nato – Hack/Slash
Ok, here’s my only mis-step, but seriously – WHEN ARE WE GOING TO SEE CASSIE HACK ON THE BIG SCREEN!? This slasher villain killer is just begging to be represented cinematically, and I’m going to keep this film on every predictive list until my appetite for a Hack/Slash movie is appeased. I don’t even care if you can’t license any real slasher killers – be creative and make your own! I don’t care! All I care is that Cassie and Vlad are slicing and dicing their way through evil sooner than later. Do the right thing. Let Marcus Nispel stay on as director. JUST MAKE THE DAMN THING HAPPEN ALREADY!
Alright, we’ve given you our 2013 report cards, but how did you do this year? Were there any horror movies that severely let you down or majorly surprised you?
*A special thanks to Remy for stepping in to guest write! Feel free to follow either of us on Twitter for even more insanity and updates:
Matt Donato Follow @DoNatoBomb
Remy Carreiro Follow @RemyCarreiro
Like what you read? Check out last week’s article where we mix and match your favorite horror movies – and make even better ones!Previous