The dust has settled on all the Christmas shenanigans and before the NYE ball drops, I'll squeeze my 2012 wrap-up post in here. As per usual, I thought I would be hard pressed to find five to make up a list, but after perusing my archives, I easily found a good number of titles for re-praise. In no particular order, here we go...
USA, Dir: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
This film is a creative powerhouse, andin my opinion, the most original genre piece to hit screens in years. As I spoke of in my review from back in October, I still find it miraculous they were able to find some narrative space that was completely untapped. Resolution does for indie horror what Primer did for science-fiction back in the mid-2000's. Those who are initiated with Shane Carruth's time-travel revelation know that is high praise, so hopefully, Resolution sets the same precedent. It would sure go a long way toward elevating horrorphiles' current post-movie conversations beyond, “well, at least it had gore in it.”
USA, Dir: Drew Goddard
I loved this movie. It was the ultimate love-letter to the thirty years of horror cinema that came before it. I can appreciate the opinions of the movie's many detractors – actually I can't, lighten the fuck up – but this movie delivered to me ten-fold what I was actually expecting. Cabin In The Woods was a highlight in a year where I had many especially fun viewing experiences, but more on that later. Goddard and Joss Whedon had a hell of a time getting this movie into theatres – three years in fact! - but in the end, all that blood, sweat and tears were all worth it.
Canada, Dir: Jen & Sylvia Soska
I am proud to again include a Canadian picture on my top five list this year. The Soska Sisters brought forth a darkly fascinating world with their sophomore effort. Though it is true the second half does meander quite a bit, I can't deny there was a large chunk of this flick that had me completely enraptured. I was also extremely happy to see Katherine Isabelle front and center again, where she belongs.
USA, Dir: Nick McCarthy
When making up my list, this title was one that bubbled up to the surface. Anchored by great performances, some fantastic cinematography and a simple, yet interesting story, The Pact is a great little horror film. Its silly last few moments notwithstanding, I recommend you look this up on Netflix right away.
UK/Ireland, Dir: Neil Jordan
I feel a little weird putting this on here, as it is more of a family drama than a straight horror film, but it has vampires, so fuck it. This was one of the best films I saw this year, period. Both Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan compliment each other beautifully and the film itself is just as easy on the eyes. As my glowing TIFF review clearly stated, I loved everything about this film and hope it gets some sort of domestic release in 2013.
2012 proved that the horror anthology is, in fact, making a comeback. Though neither V/H/S or The ABC's of Death were home runs, they both had some great stuff to build upon. V/H/S 2 (or S-VHS as I hear it has been titled) is already on the way, so here's to the horror anthology staying around for a bit.
As I said before, I had a lot of fun in the theater this year. [REC]3 was a nice break from its more serious conventions, Noboru Iguchi's Dead Sushi was a hoot-and-a-half, that was only enhanced by the atmosphere through which I experienced it, and Detention was a uproarious cornucopia of nineties genre film conventions.
This year, I'd like to single out some performances. Pascal Laugier's follow-up to Martyrs may have underwhelmed a lot of people who were expecting something of a more graphic nature, but at least it was a more coherent effort than Bustillo & Maury's Livid from last year. More importantly, Laugier should be praised for getting such a fantastic performance from Jessica Biel, as I have to admit being a little floored when I saw it at Fantasia. I didn't know she had it in her. Also, though the Sam Raimi-produced flick The Possession was sub-par at best, there was nothing mediocre about Natasha Calis' performance as the possessed teen, Em.
Now onto the not-so-goods...
Due to my festival fatigue at the time, I missed seeing Paranormal Activity 4 and Silent Hill 2, but from what I hear I did not miss much. I did however catch Sinister, and the most disappointing thing about it was that it could've been in my top five if its last half had been anywhere near as good as its first.
Nothing I saw this year was as bad as Grave Encounters 2 though. What a waste of time that was. There is nothing more obnoxious in a horror movie that seeing a character rhyme off reasons why modern horror sucks, and then seeing that movie do every single one of those things unironically. Also, Inbred was pretty insipid, but hey, “at least it had gore in it.”
That closes the book on 2012, and hopefully all that nonsense about the Mayans. See you all in the New Year.