Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2013
Uncle Creepy's Picks
It's been a strange year for movies. More specifically, the first half of the year was pretty good, but man, did 2013 end on a whimper for horror entertainment. Especially in theatres. That being said, here are my best and worst picks for 2013 in no particular order...
Warm Bodies. Believe me, I'm just as shocked as you are that this one is on my list. In fact, it has just about everything that I normally hate in horror movies in spades – CG zombies, comedy, romance, etc. Yet, this film rises way above others that try to pull off what it does so perfectly well... and that's deliver a truly fun and engaging experience by perfectly blending the best of everything flawlessly. Warm Bodies was one of the best times I've had at the movies all year.
Evil Dead. Yep, here's another one that shouldn't have worked at all. Yet, again, odds were defied, and this time gallons and gallons and gallons of grue were spilled in the process. Evil Dead works because it never tries to out Evil Dead Sam Raimi's original classic. Instead it glorifies it while bringing something fresh to the table to chew on. It's good to know that one of the most popular franchises in genre history is in such good and capable hands.
V/H/S/2. Consider this my third surprise of the year. Having not been a huge fan of the first film (mainly I liked the opening segment and the closing segment), I went into this one expecting nothing. Given the talent involved this go-around, who could possibly resist? V/H/S/2 isn't just one of the best movies this year; it also happens to be one of the best horror anthologies period.
Maniac. Would it be ridiculous or redundant of me to say that this was another big surprise? Let me be blunt... I LOVE William Lustig's grimy NYC-based original movie, and when word broke that the remake would be told mainly from the first-person perspective and starring Mr. Fucking Frodo, I was all but ready to write it off. I have never been so happy to be so wrong. Maniac is a true horror film in every sense of the word. The first-person technique sucks you into the mind of the killer, making you feel like you're there as these horrific murders are being committed. Elijah Wood knocked it out of the park, and he had some pretty damned big shoes to fill. By the time Maniac ended, I felt as If I needed a shower. That's about as high of a compliment I could possibly give a movie.
The Conjuring. No surprise here at all. If there's one thing I'm a complete sucker for, it's a good haunted house story; and with this entry into the subgenre, James Wan delivered a true masterpiece of paranormal chills while expertly riding the line between reality and farfetched with a truly deft hand. The Conjuring could very well be the most frightening ghost story of the last ten years. This is nothing short of an absolute knock-out blow. One that will be talked about for years to come.
Honorable Mentions: Pacific Rim, Dredd, The Curse of Chucky, You're Next, Frankenstein's Army, “Sleepy Hollow”
The Purge. Hey! Let's take a great premise and then flush it down the toilet in favor of a cookie-cutter home invasion flick! That's Hollywood genius at its finest, folks! Look no further than this for the biggest missed opportunity of the year. Absolute crap.
The Lords of Salem. Zzz.... Sheri Moon's ass.... zzzz... recycled imagery... celebrity cameos that go nowhere... zzzzz... Sheri Moon's ass again... trying hard to emulate better films... zzzz... Sheri Moon's ass once more... Someone tell Meg Foster to put some clothes on... zzz... Ken Foree's wig... zzz... everyone must be filthy looking and in need of a haircut... zzz... Sheri Moo... aw fuck it.
The Last Exorcism Part II. Just like with Paranormal Activity 4 the year before, the geniuses behind this snooze-fest decided that it'd be best to release a movie that completely ignores everything that made the first film in this no-need-to-be-a-franchise good. Only this time they also sprinkled in long stretches of nothing happening, leading to absolute boredom. Nell didn't even contort, and I'm sorry, but the floating semi-masturbation scene doesn't even remotely count. Just when this one finally builds a little bit of momentum, the credits roll two minutes later. Not kidding either. Two friggin' minutes.
“Dexter” Season 8. No, it's not a movie, but this last season of “Dexter” left me so profoundly disappointed that it still irritates me to no end. When you think about what could have happened... the possibilities... what did we get? Angel agonizing over who will be promoted, Masuka all of a sudden with a daughter, and a conclusion for Dexter himself that's so agonizingly stupid that I'd like to punch each of the writers in their faces incessantly until my own dark passenger is quelled. Then of course I'll fake my own death to avoid any repercussions and live out the rest of my days as a hermit lumberjack. If only for spite.
Sadako 3D. Every entry in the Ring franchise, even that horrid American Ring Two, possessed something about it that made it at the very least watchable. Yet, Sadako 3D perfectly illustrates how easily the mighty can fall when half-baked and completely clueless ideas are thrown into the mix as a means to make a quick buck. Nothing about this flick works. Not even the ludicrous Sadako-Spider crescendo can put this one over in a so bad it's good kind of way. This, my friends, is cinematic shit. I never in my life ever thought that I would find myself longing for the days of jump scares orchestrated by a CGI deer.
Dishonorable Mentions: Texas Chainsaw 3D, No One Lives, I Spit On Your Grave 2