The Best and Worst Horror Movies of 2012 REDUX
Alright, first things first. I stand by this list. I really do. But I would be lying to you if I were to say that I expected it to be as popular as it was (200,000 hits and counting) because I didn’t. I am shocked that, for months, it has been my most viewed article. And in the wake of that, I have received some comments which got me thinking. I do believe I may have been too quick to judge a few, and perhaps was a bit too kind to some of my “best of” entries. While normally, people take to comment sections on sites and can ridicule a writer behind a shield of anonymity (which still happens from time to time here), mostly, my readers are intelligent people with some really good feedback, and in this case, some of them were right. Here is an update to that list, with reasons why some things were tweaked and changed. I also intend to do one of these for Unreality soon, too, which means there will be THREE best of 2012 horror lists, cementing that I am far more fucked up than any “monster” on this list.
There was one glaring omission that has been bothering me for about a month now, and I knew it would not get better unless I addressed it directly. How the fuck did I not get called out for leaving out:
Silent Hill: Revelations
The Silent Hill series of games is sacred to me, right up until the fourth sequel, The Room, when it began to unravel. But the first three games blew my mind, with huge props going toward the second entry in the series, which may just be the most nihilist game ever created. And while the first film lost the tone of the games (trading in suspense for gore), somehow, on its own merits and judged apart from the gamer series, was a surprisingly creepy film, with some truly memorable scenes (skin rip, anyone?). But the second film in the series was so stupid, and nonsensical, and lacking scares and gore, that I felt like it was someone standing over the entire franchise, just taking a huge shit on it.
From Jon Snow’s HORRIBLE English accent, to the nonsensical inclusion of a fucking fight scene between Pyramid Head and a demon dominatrix, the film was worse than the worst video game you played in 2012, without a doubt. And the forced 3D and shitty CG just took it over the edge. Also, broke ass Michelle Williams for the loss. If this movie had a face, I would punch it into meat and weep about my Dad not loving me.
Silent House Should Not Be On My list Of Worst
This was a fuck up. A straight up mistake on my part, and one I needed to address directly.
While I will not edit the original article (because I think that is a cop-out move, and an easy way to not have to stand behind your words as a writer), I will say, in hindsight, this had NO place in the worst of the year list. I went at the film a bit harshly, and I think that was the ingrained hatred of American reboots in me, as well as my doubts about a third Olson, and I think that bias may have caused me to view the film unfairly. I also think you need two viewings of this film to pick up on all the nuances that make it work (namely, Olson’s mental deterioration, and the one long take the film is shot to look like).
Also, the ending felt a little too High Tension to me when I first saw it, but in hindsight, the scenario that unfolds in this film is the type of scenario that justifiably would go cause someone to go High Tension. I made that comment just vague enough that people who saw Silent House and High Tension will understand, and in the same breath, doesn’t ruin either of those experiences for those unfamiliar. Also, I have only seen Emily Olson in two movies so far (Silent House and the BRILLIANT Martha Marcy May Marlene), but in both performances, she has floored me. Dare I say it, cinematic crush?
I Was Too Hard On Woman in Black
Much like reboots, I tend to be really hard on PG-13 horror, yelling at it because it is watering down my favorite genre, and forgetting that not all PG-13 horror sucks. In this case, Woman in Black was a reboot AND a PG-13 horror, and though many of it scares were cliché and somewhat trite, the film had a very palpable feeling of suspense, and the cinematography was quite pleasing to the eye.
While this is not me saying I enjoyed the film, it was by no means one of the worst horror films of the year. It just wasn’t very good. I guess I am still learning the difference between those. I also think Radcliffe did all he could with what he was given.
What should have been on the list in its place is:
Paranormal Activity 4
I am one of those people who has hated this series since it dropped and promised me the biggest scares in years, yet ruined EVERY SCARE in the trailer, as well as the ending. Though I do like the original ending, and think it makes the whole movie that came before it that much scarier, I seem to stand alone in that, for the most part.
Anyway, second film sucked and had no scares and no payoff, and for me, the third was easily the creepiest and best film in the series, which SORT OF gave me hope for part four. And boy was I off. Paranormal Activity 4 was so terrible, so void of scares, so void of good acting, it was everything that is wrong with horror today. Weak jump scares, dull middle stretch of movie, forced exciting climax that makes no sense and is not scary. Honestly, I would’ve spun kick that little kid in the face, and it would have been over. Also, in what world do people randomly take in their neighbor’s kid, whom they’ve never met, because the Mom, who they weren’t friends with, went missing? In what world is that legal, or normal? It was mindless, as was the whole film.
And, in all honesty, it might just have the worst, least scary ending to a film ever. Spoiler alert: A bunch of woman gather in a girl’s backyard. The fucking end, no joke. I don’t care if that implied the neighborhood was all witches, it was fucking stupid and anti-climatic.
On To The Best
Although I really enjoyed the film, I may have been a bit too kind to The Tall Man. I am not saying this because no one liked it, I am saying it because it really was hardly a horror film, and would fare better in a drama category. Last thing I want to do is make someone sit down for a horror film that has no scares, and though I found it mysterious, well cast, and well written, it was hardly a “scary” film. What should have been in its place:
I will start this off by saying Excision is not for everyone. This film can be quite intense at times, and has an ending that knocks the breath out of your lungs. But if you can get past a few of the more upsetting scenes (smelling the tampon, for example), there is a horror performance here that I truly feel should go down in history as one of the best performances ever given in a genre film.
AnnaLynn McCord gives a once in a lifetime performance as Pauline, a young girl obsessed with the idea of becoming a doctor, and letting nothing stand in her way. From her stunningly disturbing dream sequences, to the cocky way she overcompensated for being socially awkward, Excision is a movie that deserves fart more credit than it got, and McCord deserved some sort of cinematic statuette. It is even more mind-blowing when you find out that the only thing McCord was known for before Excision was the remake of 90210, where she looked like this.
John Dies At The End
As any internet writer can tell you, the whole Cracked.com thing gets annoying from time to time. Someone will always feel the need to pop on one of the lists you wrote, and tell you that Cracked does it better, or you rip it off from Cracked, or some other “everyone loves to suck Cracked’s dick” type of comment. But I am at the point when I have been re-linked for my Unreality articles enough on Cracked that I no longer feel so threatened that I can’t give something that fell out of the womb of Cracked some props, so that is what I am doing here.
David Wong, EIC of Cracked, wrote this book-cum-movie, and the best way it can be described is Naked Lunch meets Fear and Loathing, with some Evil Dead thrown in, It is a hodgepodge, and it is pure madness, and on few occasions, things don’t mesh organically, but John Dies At The End does something none of these other films do, from start to finish. It makes you smile. It is fun horror, and reminds how fun batshit insane can be. Definitely a movie like no other, and one of the most original (and odd) horror films in along while.
Also, Paul Giamatti as a (SPOILER ALERT) black guy for the win.
And finally, I need to say a few more things about Cabin in the Woods.
First of all, yes, it is horror. Anyone who says otherwise is trolling, nothing more. When you have a film where a naked girl gets killed with a bear trap on a chain, and a wild unicorn gores someone, it’s safe to say that is horror, funny or not. Also, to the people who say it is cliche and need to spout things like:
“None of that stuff would happen” and “all the characters are so dumb” and ” Why would they have a purge button”, all you people have missed the point of the film. Yes, I just said that. All of you. YOU are EXACTLY what the movie is making fun of. Sorry to break that to you.
Also, why have you not seen Kill List yet? Seriously, the movie is a game changer.
I have yet to shake this movie, so many months later.