Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2013
Andrew Kasch's Picks
STOKER: Chan-wook Park delivered some next-level filmmaking and his best film since Oldboy with his U.S. debut. Every shot and edit in Stoker is a work of calculated brilliance, and the ensemble cast make their characters both cruelly twisted and oddly sympathetic. A masterwork from one of the best living filmmakers.
RESOLUTION: Indie filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead knocked it out of the park with their micro-budget supernatural tale. Great characters are a dying breed in modern horror, and this tale of addiction and isolation is one of the creepiest and most original movies in years thanks to killer direction and a pair of phenomenal performances.
GRAVITY: Out of all the films in 2013, Alfonso Cuaron's masterpiece left me the most physically wrecked. It's a simple concept executed to Hitchcockian levels of perfection and one of the few box office smashes that actually deserved the hype.
PACIFIC RIM: Guillermo Del Toro delivered the most impressive visual spectacle since Jurassic Park with the ultimate love letter to kaiju and Harryhausen movies. Through incredibly orchestrated battles, a colorful cast, and some epic world-building, Pacific Rim succeeds where almost every summer movie failed and turned this jaded viewer into a 10-year-old kid again. Sure, you can nitpick elements of the movie to death, but anyone who would do that has lost their sense of awe and wonder. Pity anyone who puts this on their Worst list.
"HANNIBAL": Forget "The Walking Dead"; the king of genre television in 2013 was Bryan Fuller's shockingly great twist on Red Dragon. A procedural show with Hannibal Lecter sounded like the dumbest thing on Earth, but the results were actually worthy of The Silence of the Lambs. Perfectly cast with David Fincher-like direction, this is a show too good for network television.
The Conjuring – A classy old-school ghost film incredibly directed by James Wan.
The Last Will & Testament of Rosalind Leigh – One of the creepiest minimalist art-house horrors in years.
“Safe Haven” from V/H/S/2 – While the movie is uneven, this anthology segment is one of the best found-footage films, period.
The Lords of Salem – Rob Zombie’s flirtation with the avant-garde got a lot of hate but stands as his best and most matured work. A future cult classic.
Only God Forgives – Refn’s hyper-violent revenge movie is one of the best dark crime movies in recent memory.
Maniac – One of the few remakes that surpasses the original with one of the best scores in modern horror.
Note: I have not yet seen The Battery or We Are What We Are so this list feels incomplete.
Because of my low tolerance for Hollywood bullshit, I didn't see nearly enough bad movies to warrant a "Worst" list. That said, I was suckered by Uncle Creepy into watching Fright Night 2 - a movie so bad, it deserves to take up the entire list.
And we can't let 2013 pass without the mention of "Dexter," which delivered what might be the worst final season in television history. Bon voyage!