Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2012
(in no particular order)
KILL LIST - Ben Wheatley's surreal limey hitman film is just the kind of gut-punch this genre needed. With an incredible atmosphere of dread, intense performances and some of the most nightmarish set-pieces in recent memory, Kill List hammers home the idea that horror always works best when it's subversive.
JOHN DIES AT THE END - Don Coscarelli goes into full-on bizarro mode and delivers his best movie since the original Phantasm. In an age of wannabe cult films, a true classic is hard to come by... but this journey down the rabbit hole is the real deal! One of the most wildly inventive and fun experiences ever crammed into ninety minutes. Bring on the sequel!
EXCISION - Richard Bates, Jr.'s black comedy/art-house psychodrama plays like Welcome to the Dollhouse by way of David Cronenberg. Along with its truly icky combo of sex and body horror, the fantasy vignettes feature some master-class surrealism, while AnnaLynne McCord easily takes the trophy for the year's creepiest performance.
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS - As sick as I am of 80's horror homages, Drew Godard and Joss Whedon delivered the be-all/end-all tribute with Whedon's trademark "Buffy" wit. Ambitious and hilarious, The Cabin in the Woods is a deconstruction that points out all the absurdities of genre tropes while pushing them into crazy new directions.
COSMOPOLIS - David Cronenberg's misunderstood character study shows us how the 1% can be the most dangerous creatures of all. Robert Pattinson finally breaks away from those godawful Twilight movies, giving a powerhouse performance as a sociopathic Wall Street tycoon who is truly off his rocker. It's a claustrophic head journey through a class-warfare apocalypse and a step back in the right direction for one of this genre's greatest visionaries.
Honorable Mentions: God Bless America, The Loved Ones, The Grey, Prometheus
Most Misunderstood Film: The Tall Man
Scariest Film: The NRA Sandy Hook press conference footage
Life is too short to watch Hollywood bullshit so I avoided crap like The Apparition, Underworld: Awakening, and Resident Evil: [insert generic subtitle here] like airborne herpes. But I was tricked into seeing the most egregious offender of 2012:
THE DEVIL INSIDE - This film sucks so hard, it deserves to take up the entire “Worst of the Year” list. Full of laughably bad writing, directing and acting, this found footage cash-in from the folks who brought you Stay Alive (that Frankie Muniz killer video game flick no one saw) couldn’t muster up a single thing resembling a scare. A year later, the only thing anyone can recall is the totally random non-ending which then had the balls to smash to a website address. Yet, Paramount's marketing campaign fooled moviegoers into making this #1 at the box office for a weekend, earning the filmmakers big bucks and Hollywood careers. Way to go, world.