I'd like to get vile for just a moment if you don't mind and discuss the best horror flicks of 2010. Many of you gore enthusiasts have been waiting with bated bad breath for months for me to release this head-spinning, eye-gouging, throat-slitting, paint-the-walls-red list. Well, with less
first-run selections and fewer straight-to-dvd releases, compiling said list proved a difficult task. However, my preoccupation with criticizing other people's art compelled me to push on. And so, without further rambling, I give you, well, a few ramblings on the best frightfully shocking pics of 2010. Hope you enjoy.
THE LAST EXORCISM: Ever since Linda Blair spewed split pea soup all over Father Merrin people have been familiar with the process of evicting demons from small children. In The Last Exorcism, Reverend Cotton Marcus has been doing the head-spinning, Latin spewing dog and pony show since before he could say Hail Mary. He’s decided to bring us along to rural Louisiana to witness his final exorcism in the hopes of debunking the religious practice. It seems sweet Nell’s been offing Daddy’s livestock during the night and is in need of a cleansing. Of course, Satan’s not one to go easily.
The faux documentary has lost its impact in the years following Heather Donahue’s on-camera snotting in The Blair Witch Project. The Last Exorcism, however, utilizes the conventions of the genre to shocking effect. The picture sustains suspense via strong characterization and an acceptable story. Though the final moments are a bit hokey, the movie is edge-of-your-seat frightening throughout.
VALHALLA RISING: So you’re a tough-as-nails warrior with one eye and an undefeated record in the ring but since you can’t speak nobody knows your name and refers to you only as One Eye. All you want to do is walk the Earth like Kane in Kung Fu but Norse tribes and Christian Vikings keep enlisting you to do their bidding.
Director Nicolas Winding Refn resists the typical conventions of cinema with the same level of force used by his protagonist to off his adversaries – limbs are severed, torsos are flayed, brain matter is flung at the screen with aesthetic delight . Deliberately paced and uncompromisingly violent, the movie will linger in your mind days after viewing.
BURIED: US contractor Paul Conroy leaves his wife and young son in the country of the people, by the people, for the people and gets himself buried alive in Iraq. A triumphant exercise, Buried manages to be both suspenseful and entertaining despite taking place entirely within the
confines of a coffin. Director Rodrigo Cortes employs a number of useful tricks to establish interesting compositions and Ryan Reynolds earns his chops in a role that dismisses from the minds of genre fans the vampire detective with an aversion to sleeves he played in Blade: Trinity.
ZOMBIE GIRL: THE MOVIE: You know Emily. She’s the cute twelve-year-old with the porcelain skin, sweet voice and unhealthy obsession for all things zombie.
Okay, so it’s a documentary about a girl making a horror movie and not an actual horror flick but Zombie Girl is one of the most inspirational, funny, entertaining and (insert superlative indentifier here), movies of the year. Anyone who’s ever experienced the terror that goes into making a movie will get a kick out of the very real troubles that plague Emily’s amateur set.
SEVEN DAYS: I can’t imagine how many maniacs I’ve observed doing their thing during my lifetime. I can say though that Dr. Hamel is unlike any I’ve seen. He’s clean cut, soft-spoken, polite and severely meticulous when torturing the man who raped and murdered his daughter.
Slick direction and an important message propel 7 Days beyond the torture porn genre. The decisions of its characters will work on the conscience of even casual horror fans. The movie touches on the same moral matters as its counterparts, however, features characters that, even at their most dismal, remain humane.