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Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2012





Doctor Gash's Picks

As the year winds down, one thing has become abundantly obvious: Horror on television is thriving now more than ever in the past. It's great to see shows push the boundaries of what's been allowed on TV previously and bring horrific stories right into our living rooms.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2012

I have two honorable mentions for this year, the first being one of those brilliant television projects I mentioned above. "American Horror Story: Asylum" is beautiful insanity. There is so much going on in this show that to try to describe it makes you sound mental…"Well, there are aliens and Nazis and this guy Bloodyface and an evil Santa Claus, and oh yeah, Anne Frank showed up on a couple episodes…" Crazy. But somehow it all works. And "American Horror Story" pulls no punches. It's brutal storytelling, and it's a blast!

My second honorable mention is actually the film I enjoyed the most in 2012. The Loved Ones was absolute maniacal perfection, but technically just the US DVD was released this year, and the film is actually a couple of years old. However, that being said, I'll forever hold a place in my heart for the Queen of the Dance, Lola Stone. The Loved Ones is devilishly brutal, and Robin McLeavy plays one of the greatest psychos we've seen in years. A true horror gem!

Sleep Tight ReviewSleep Tight
Helmed by [REC] and [REC2] co-director Jaume Balagueró, Sleep Tight is a trip away from the extreme gore and violence of [REC] into a story of unsettling, realistic violation. The film is completely driven by the skin-crawlingly creepy performance of Luis Tosar as Cesar, an apartment building concierge who uses his knowledge of the tenants to interfere with their lives. His lack of self-esteem and the feeling that he has nothing to live for, and therefore nothing to lose, makes Cesar a very frightening and dangerous character. His obsession over one particular tenant and the lengths he goes to invade her privacy are downright disturbing. The idea of this film is a great change of pace for the horror genre, and the execution by Balagueró and his cast and crew is first rate. A great film!

Sushi Girl
Sushi Girl is a tasty blend of horror and thriller with perhaps the best ensemble cast of the year. The story revolves around a diamond heist that went awry six years previously and the fallout that comes to pass when the man who held the lost diamond bag is released from prison. Tony Todd heads up the cast as Duke, the leader of the gang and the organizer of the heist, and host of the dinner meeting which becomes the backdrop for the film. Todd is as good as he's ever been, and he's supported by Mark Hamill, who brings a manic performance that fans of his work as The Joker will certainly appreciate. Andy Mackenzie and Noah Hathaway also shine. Sushi Girl ends with a twist that even the most attentive movie-goer won't see coming. A bloody thrilling adventure that draws the audience in and brings viewers on a violent excursion not soon to be forgotten.

The Cabin in the Woods
Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard got together and wrote a film that became one of the most unique and poignant in the horror genre this year. The Cabin in the Woods is a success on so many levels. It's got legitimate frights, legitimate laughs and a message to the horror genre that it's time to stop regurgitating the same story, same setting, same basic movie over and over again and extend itself to develop creative and original new stories. The re-watchability of The Cabin in the Woods is off the charts, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are absolutely hilarious (not to mention a laugh-out-loud performance from Fran Kranz) and there is plenty of gore to go around. The message from Whedon and Goddard is top-notch, and the film is stellar.

"Holliston"
Adam Green has established himself as one of the most dynamic directors in horror. With films as diverse as Hatchet and Frozen, Green has shown he can hit audiences from several different angles. However, his FEARnet project, "Holliston," may be his most brilliant work yet. For a fan of horror, "Holliston" is magnificent. A sitcom full of cameos from huge horror stars, tons of F/X and a member of GWAR living in the closet, "Holliston" is absolutely unique and brilliant. The cast of Green along with Joe Lynch, Corri English and Laura Ortiz with Dee Snider and Oderus Urungus are absolutely perfect together. There is a true comedic dynamic that flow through this group, making "Holliston" a magnetic television show that is made by horror fans for horror fans.

"The Walking Dead"
For years I've felt that "The Sopranos" was the best dramatic television series I'd ever seen. That was until Season 3 of "The Walking Dead" launched. "The Walking Dead" has become the face of horror for mainstream viewing audiences. No longer is the genre represented by Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers… when you say horror, the layman viewer thinks zombies and "The Walking Dead," and with good right. The show is absolutely phenomenal. It's so good that it has a legion of horror fans watching what is basically a soap opera populated by a zombie plague. The cast is incredible, the F/X are consistently better than any you'll see anywhere and the story simply continues to get more and more intriguing. "The Walking Dead" is currently as good as it gets.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2012

My main beat here at Dread Central is the indies, and that's what I mostly watch during the year. And yes, many of them have their warts, but they are all somebody's baby and I can appreciate the love and dedication that goes into each and every one of them. And it's for that reason that I couldn't possibly take five of them and slap 'em onto a bottom of the barrel list. In lieu of my bottom five, I will simply leave this message for my beloved indie filmmakers: Continue to be creative, continue to push the barriers of what we've seen before and challenge the audience. Look at the list above and see what makes each project great and learn from them. Find the magic in those works and let them help you put that same magic into yours. Every year we see great indie films released, but for every one that shines, there are scores that fail. Don't fail. Be creative. Be original. Be great. I look forward to seeing what you crazy indie bastards have in store for us in 2013. Your hard work and dedication are an inspiration.

[Andrew Kasch]

[Brad McHargue]

[Doctor Gash]

[The Foywonder]

[Gareth "Pestilence" Jones]

[Heather "The Horror Chick" Wixson]

[Jinx]

[MattFini]

[Uncle Creepy]

[The Woman in Black]


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"Sushi Girl ends with a twist that even the most attentive movie-goer won't see coming."

Holy SHIT you have to be kidding me. If there is a more obvious twist ending in a movie this year, I haven't seen it.


Submitted by G.D. on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 12:36am.

I am surprised that nobody put Lovely Molly on their Best list or even honorable mention. It was a favorite of mine this year and totally caught me off guard.


Submitted by Drew on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 1:35pm.
Jinx's picture

I actually had Lovely Molly in my Honorable Mentions. Really dug that film - super-creepy and very well acted. Glad to see you liked it, too.

http://www.dreadcentral.com/reviews/lovely-molly-blu-ray-dvd


Submitted by Jinx on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 3:34pm.
Fearless_Froude's picture

Really, you liked it? I hated the ending and that scene when she was naked and started hugging up on the wolf like character.


Submitted by Fearless_Froude on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 10:26pm.
Jinx's picture

Overall, I really dug the film. However, the third act ran off the rails a bit, with violence and overt strangeness that ran counter to the film's tone from its first two acts. Still, I really enjoyed the final moments and their implication.


Submitted by Jinx on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 10:54pm.
nazo's picture

My Best, complete with disclaimers.

5. The Revenant. It's kind of a mess, but mostly in a good way. It's a zombie movie, a buddy comedy, a war movie, an addiction movie, a crime movie, all at the same time, and it doesn't always work, but when it does it's both original and good.
4. ParaNorman. My favorite of the surprising amount of kiddie/animated horror movies this year. Like The Revenant, it's nowhere near perfection, but it looks great, and is a fun watch.
3. Juan of the Dead. This one really surprised me. It manages to be an unapologetic knock-off and completely fresh at the same time. Even in translation, it's one of the funniest movies I've seen this year, has good zombie scenes, and maintains an excellent pace throughout.
2. Cabin in the Woods. It doesn't "reinvent the genre" like many of its fans claimed, and I thought the horror elements of the movie were pretty weak (the half-assed Evil Dead ripoff could have been handled much better), but it worked so well as a comedy it's still one of the better movies of the year.
1. The Grey. Jinx perfectly described why this was so great. Easily the best horror movie to come out this year. Brutal and beautiful, I'm shocked it didn't end up on more "best of" lists.

And Worst, of the small percentage of bad horror that I actually watched
5. V/H/S. I'm not sure what was worse, the horribly cheap aesthetic, the long periods of time in which nothing happened, or the outright misogyny, notable even by the horror genre's already low standards.
4. Bait. I was expecting a fun, campy, sharks chomping people in ridiculous situations good time. What I got was eighty plus minutes devoted to the development of more characters than we saw in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, most of whom were completely uninteresting, with personalities ranging from "unlikable" to "I want to stick a Q-Tip all the way through my brain." Even the guy in a ridiculous metal cart suit couldn't save the movie for me. To everyone who recommended this piece of shit on DFF, I fuck you back.
3. Piranha 3DD. Might as well have had this song playing in the background the entire movie.
2. Wrong Turn 5. Mean-spirited, incompetent, irritating, boring, predictable..and that was just Doug Bradley's character! The kind of horror movies that give horror movies a bad name.
1. Excision. 2012 might have been the year of the overhyped "indie" horror movie. V/H/S, Kill List, The Innkeepers, and The Loved Ones all ranged from frustratingly mediocre to just bad, but the worst of the bunch was Excision. I am sick of one dimensional, cardboard characters. I am sick of indie soundtracks. I am sick of boring surrealism. I am sick of lazy, incoherent satire. Suburbia is the easiest target in the world. If you can't effectively satirize that, then you should not be writing for a living. And most of all, I am sick as hell of precocious teenagers, and I'm not going to take it anymore!

My Overall Top 10 for the year is (so far); 10. Safety Not Guaranteed 9. Bernie 8. Juan of the Dead 7. Cabin in the Woods 6. The Raid: Redemption 5. The Avengers 4. Seven Psychopaths 3. Headhunters 2. The Grey 1. Looper.


Submitted by nazo on Tue, 12/25/2012 - 8:13pm.
Fearless_Froude's picture

HOW THE HELL IS KILL LIST AND EXCISION on your worst list? when we had crap like The Devil Inside, The apparition and The Possession. like god damn


Submitted by Fearless_Froude on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:01am.
nazo's picture

Kill List wasn't one of the worst movies, just an example of a movie that was really overhyped. I thought it was mediocre. It had some really good moments and ideas, but the mystery didn't get interesting until at least half way through the movie, and I was never invested in any of the characters. I didn't see the Devil Inside or The Apparition for obvious reasons, and The Posession was mediocre, but had enough intentional hilarity that I couldn't get mad at it.

Everything about Excision rubbed me the wrong way, from the characters to the cutesy dialogue to the soundtrack to the attempts at surrealism. It was bullshit Sundance pandering at its worst.


Submitted by nazo on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 1:41am.
kiddcapone's picture

Best:
The Raid: Redemption
The Cabin in the Woods
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Sinister
Prometheus
The Woman in Black

Worst:
Chernobyl Diaries
The Devil Inside
Paranormal Activity 4
The Possession
Piranha 3DD
Dark Shadows


Submitted by kiddcapone on Tue, 12/25/2012 - 12:44pm.

Totally forgot about Woman in Black!


Submitted by will graham on Tue, 12/25/2012 - 7:51pm.
Fearless_Froude's picture

THE BAY is, i think the best horror film of the year. It came out of nowhere and it almost and i tread very carefully when saying this, ALMOST brought back the feel of how i felt seeing Paranormal Activity 1 for the first time. 2012 was a meh year for horror.


Submitted by Fearless_Froude on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 8:55pm.
MonsterMash's picture

Among the ones I enjoyed this year would be:
Ghost Rider 2
Wrath of the Titans was ok
Cabin was awesome
Piranha 3DD was nonsense fun
Prometheus I enjoyed
Dredd was fun
Sinister I really liked
Silent Hill 2 was enjoyable - who can say they didn't have fun with Cenobite Mortal Kombat?
The Collection was pretty good.
I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing Abe kill vampires.

As for straight to dvd-
Bait 3D was kind of fun- not enough shark carnage
I bought REC 3 but have not watched it yet.
The Inkeepers was pretty good as well.

Favorite movie moment of the year- The Expendables 2. I went to that with five friends and we all had a blast.
There are genreally some I don't enjoy but I try not to bring them back up.


Submitted by MonsterMash on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 3:13pm.
aliensharkboy's picture

Ummm... haven't thought of a best horror of the year list, but movies I enjoyed the most:
5: Paranorman
4: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
3: Super Shark
2: Prometheus
1: The Cabin in the Woods

Honorable mentions: Sand Sharks, Sinister, 2-headed Shark Attack, Cockneys VS Zombies, The Grey, Men in Black 3, Rec 3: Genesis... I could go on, I've loved so many films this year! And to add the few films that would be on my best of the year, but aren't as they weren't horror-ish: Skyfall, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-man, Looper, The Dark Knight Rises... once again I could go on.

I've avoided the films people have said are bad, but among the bad ones I've seen: Bait 3D, Playback, Tape 407, The Possession(Haven't seen it... but I still hate it) and The Human Centipede 2. Outside the horror genre Taken 2 comes to mind... And in case you're wondering, Piranha 3DD is NOT on either lists, it's right in the middle.


Submitted by aliensharkboy on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 1:16pm.

Really? Cabin the Woods sucks shit. All it did was make fun of far better movies.


Submitted by streetloaf on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 9:59pm.
Foywonder's picture

This notion I've seen many people perpetuate that Cabin in the Woods is designed to be some sort of slap in the face of classic horror movies and a middle finger to the entire genre never fails to baffle me.


Submitted by Foywonder on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:22pm.
Agreed.
MonsterMash's picture

Agreed.


Submitted by MonsterMash on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 9:34pm.
moderator You mean sort of like Scream
Steve Barton's picture

You mean sort of like Scream did? lol


Submitted by Steve Barton on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:12pm.
Brad McHargue's picture

What a well-thought out argument. Thank you for sharing.


Submitted by Brad McHargue on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 10:18am.

My Best of the year:

1. The Walking Dead game: While the "choose your own adventure" element of the game was greatly exagerated, there's no doubt that this was the best genre game of the year. An excellent story featuring the two most moving moments in video game history (screw you ff7 fanboys!). Cannot recommend it enough!

2. Cabin in the woods: Only horror film that I really enjoyed this year, never boring, although Joss Whedon's spoof dialog of genre cliches is becoming... well cliched.

3.Walking Dead season 3: So much better than the last season, a nice mix of drama and action. The show still has problems though, I mean the producers of the show have issues with black males, and why are the 2 leading females thick as pigshit? I mean who the hell wears a thong during a zombie appocalypse? Wear confortable underwear lady!

4. Catherine game: Came out in europe this year, a puzzle game rather than a survival horror. The nightmare sections of the game funny enough remind me of a nightmare I once had. Great storytelling all round. People who want original games should check this out.

5. The Killing 3 (the danish original series): Still not a patch on the original story but better than the second. The Danish original still pisses over most American crime dramas. This time Sarah Lund has to track down an abducted girl from a rich family, her abductor wanting a suicide case reopend. I do have a complant with the show in that the poliitical story arc is too similar to the ones in the other stories. Apparently this was the last series but it does leave it open for a spin-off show/tv movie. Oh and will someone in hollywood please hire Sofie Grabol!

6. Lollipop Chainsaw game: Gameplay is only ok, but the humor, voice acting and soundtrack make up for it. buy it cheap!

7. The Secret of Crickley Hall series: After almost a decade of the BBC copying the style of American shows (badly) it's nice to see them do a show just like they used to but with better production values. Very dark and disturbing, (like many of James Herbert's work) surprised that the BBC dared showed it considering the subject matter and the trouble they're in (look up Jimmy Saville on wikipedia). Well acted and best viewed in parts, more like this please BBC and lay off the REALLY LOUD MUSIC please!

8. The Bridge series: A body is found on a bridge right on the border between Demark and Sweden and two dectives have to find out why it was put there. The show starts out brilliantly but falls apart the further it goes on, suffering from multiple storylines that lead nowhere and burrows some story elements from Se7en. What makes the show is the female dective who suffers from the autism known as Aspergers (had to look that up) and her friendship with her work partner. Shot and lit like an urban Micheal Mann film (check out the opening credits on youtube) it's worth a watch before the american remake comes out.

Honerable mentions:
Dredd: Not really horror and Robocop is still the best Judge Dredd film (just replace Robo With Dirty Harry and you'll have a typical Dredd story) this was never the less better than expected. If only people rented future cult titles instead of illegally downloading them, we might have got a sequel. Also the final slowmo effect was the most memorable scene of the year for me.

Joe Dante's The Hole: Since it's only just come out in the States, I get chance to include it again. :)

My Disapointments of the year:

Rec 3: Well acted and made but becomes yet another "omg killing zombies is so funny!!!!!" should have covered the girl in the appartment and how she came to be there instead.

Walking Dead second half of season 2: Just too slow, why isn't T-dog allowed to say much? Why are the 2 lead female characters by the stupidest
on tv? and only one unpredictable death. thank christ for series 3.

Prometheus: Visually the best film of the year, ruined by bad storytelling and bad dialog. Quite frankly Pandorum is better than this!

Piranha 3DD: When I first saw it I enjoyed it but that might have been because me and some of my bisexual girl-friends had a fair ammount to drink before we went to see it. Sober, it is bad. Btw is it just me or do Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan hate children?


Submitted by will graham on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 8:23pm.

I watched Cosmopolis for 10-15 minutes and I had to turn it off. The mind numbingly mundane conversations between the various characters bored the shit out of me. And I consider myself to be a big fan of Cronenberg.


Submitted by LSD Zombie on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 5:30pm.
Rob's picture

Great lists. My best list would be Cabin in the Woods, ParaNorman, Solomon Kane, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Didn't see any other horror films in theaters this year except Underworld: Awakening, which was decent but nothing great. I'll see Resident Evil 5 at some point. I would've seen Dredd if I wasn't so broke by the time it came out.

Also, I didn't mind Total Recall, I think because of the acting more than anything else. And I'm someone who isn't a big Kate Beckinsale fan at all and I loved her in that movie. I think if she does more genre flicks, she should stick to villain roles. She's fun to watch as a villain.

Oh, I also saw Prometheus, which I agree with Foy about. A well made and well acted film that amounts to nothing.


Submitted by Rob on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 4:22pm.
theGoldenSimatar's picture

Glad to see some people liked Prometheus.

Though I have to honestly wonder: am I the only person in the world that liked Piranha 3DD?


Submitted by theGoldenSimatar on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 2:24pm.
Brad McHargue's picture

Probably. It was just so...lazy. The big piranha attack scene was so weak compared to the fist flick, and as a whole it was just very boring. To each their own, though.


Submitted by Brad McHargue on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 4:33pm.

Surprised that Devil Inside didn't make more worst lists.

Strange year for me, my best list is pretty much full of video games and tv shows rather than movies, and my worst list is pretty much full of disapointments rather than films that were shite.

I'll post them later when I have time, I'm a slow writer (this took me 5 minutes to write) and still need to do christmas tidying up.


Submitted by will graham on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 7:23am.
Brad McHargue's picture

Ya know, THE DEVIL INSIDE was a really stupid movie, but I think if it had ended differently, it wouldn't be getting as bad a rap as it has been over the past year. Yes, it was yet another exorcism movie, but it had some suitably creepy scenes and, at least when compared to other theatrical fare this year, was mildly enjoyable.


Submitted by Brad McHargue on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 11:28am.
Terminal's picture

Nice to see The Cabin in the Woods get a lot of attention and Prometheus so little. I'm kind of noticing DC is growing less and less enthusiastic about year end top 10 and worst 10 lists every year, that kind of saddens me. There's less hard hitting and aims for the gut that there used to be. In either case, the movies I expected on the lists are there, so it's been an interesting year.


Submitted by Terminal on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 7:10am.
Debi Moore's picture

I don't really understand the "less enthusiastic" remark either. I was totally gung-ho about my favorites and getting my list done, but maybe my overall lack of enthusiasm for 2012 as a whole showed through? We did ask everyone to try to keep things to a manageable length for consistency's sake, but I don't feel anyone's list suffered as a result. Can you be a little more specific about why you feel that way?

And I just have to comment re Andrew's "most misunderstood" label for The Tall Man. I understood it all right... I just didn't like it very much. It was a close second to Munger Road as the year's most insulting flick.

**SPOILER ALERT**

Its "message" that these people have the right to decide kids are better off away from their natural parents (who are poor and, yes, may even be abusive at times) and placed with wealthy families instead is a bit too "1%-erish" and Republican for me, and I'm surprised Andrew would buy into that for even one second. Plus, aside from that, I found it to be a total bore as a "thriller." One of the biggest disappointments of the year for sure.


Submitted by Debi Moore on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 3:31pm.
Sirand's picture

I found nothing political about it. It's not a rich vs poor film. It's an interesting concept that plays with your allegiances in the same way Martyrs did... creating a sort of "social worker as the boogeyman" conceit. It's a genre version of Gone Baby Gone... And Biel, an actress I've never given a second thought about, is pretty terrific in the film.

People like to dump on it because it starts out as one genre and turns into another...but that's part of its appeal.


Submitted by Sirand on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 3:53pm.
moderator The class distinction seemed
Debi Moore's picture

The class distinction seemed pretty obvious to me... They weren't taking kids out of the suburbs and placing them with rural families, that's for sure! But at least we do agree this is one of Biehl's best performances so hopefully that trend will continue for her.


Submitted by Debi Moore on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 4:30pm.
Matt Serafini's picture

I don't know what you mean by us being "less enthusiastic" about these lists, Terminal?

Can't speak for my colleagues, but I had five pages in Word when I was done with my list. Could've gone on a bit longer, but I tried to limit my ranting as best I could.


Submitted by Matt Serafini on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 12:41pm.

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