Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010
These lists are always tricky because I see a lot of films in special premieres, festivals and market screenings, and that causes major confusion with their actual releases (films like [REC] 2 and DREAD appeared on previous year-end lists). As always, I’m judging solely based on what I watched this year regardless of how widely they’ve played.
"THE WALKING DEAD"
A cheat? Hell no! Frank Darabont’s ninety-minute pilot alone blew away every other horror offering this year and put bite back into the old-school zombie. After decades of wannabes, this show effectively took George A. Romero’s legacy and transcended it into an A-level long-form story with real characters and raw emotional power.
Not since The Signal have I been this excited over a no-budget indie. Writer/directors Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton prove to be one of the best new talents in horror with their psyche-invading debut about a group of historians who venture into a forest right out of the "Twilight Zone". This is the closest thing to being stuck in a long surreal nightmare where everything and everyone is unpredictable.
I SAW THE DEVIL
South Korea proves it’s still the country to watch for no-holds-barred horror. Like Se7en crossed with Death Wish, this serial-killer/revenge drama combo throws out some of the most unbelievable “holy fuck!” set-pieces and characters since Oldboy. See it before it gets remade.
Much debate has raged over whether or not this is a horror film, but I’m here to say that all the naysayers are crazier than Natalie Portman. Darren Aronofsky’s latest masterpiece plays like a hybrid of Roman Polanski and David Cronenberg, clearly influenced and molded after genre classics like Repulsion. A great head trip with the best performances of 2010.
BEST WORST MOVIE
What starts as a weird catharsis for Troll 2 star Michael Stephenson quickly turns into one of the most interesting character studies on filmmakers and fandom you’ll ever watch. As touching as it is funny, this trip through the freak show perfectly illustrates why horror is the most fun world to play in. The best of its kind since American Movie.
Honorable Mentions: Frozen, Paranormal Activity 2, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
This year offered so many terrible/mediocre/forgettable films that 2010 itself deserves the top honor in the “Epic Fail” category. Yet again, we were hit with another barrage of lousy remakes and poser throwback films that were about as thrilling as an afternoon visit to Grandma. I was lucky enough to avoid most of the worst, but if I have to select one, it would be…
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
If only horror movie characters could kill famous boogeymen half as well as Platinum Dunes. Even with the combined budget of the entire original Elm Street series, Sam Bayer and Co. couldn’t come up with a single imaginative idea for this latest cash grab. The fact that they did it all with complete contempt for Wes Craven’s creation makes its place on every “Worst of the Year” list well-deserved.