The Ninjabot

A Year In Screams: Best Horror of 2013

Posted on December 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm by Jess Hicks

So you’re tired of Best of Lists are you? Well tough! I couldn’t very well move onto the next year without writing about my Top 10 favorite horror films could I? 2013 wasn’t the greatest year ever for horror but a few films did stand out and even change how we look at the genre. So snuggle up with your fancy new tablet/laptop/smart phone and take a look at my picks for this year’s best horror! The *films are available on Netflix Instant Watch.

*ABCs of Death

This was sort of a gimme for this list because I needed something to throw in the 10 spot. I will say that my feelings on this film were overall pretty meh at first but once it got going there was some real talent mixed in. While I didn’t love it I did get a lot of enjoyment from several of the segments and now that they have got a handle on how to go about doing this type of film the second one has a lot of potential to be great.

T is for Toilet

A couple notable segments included D is for Dog Fight, Q is for Quack, T is for Toilet, X is for XXL, and Y is for Youngbuck. All 5 of those shorts exhibit some of the most entertaining and well executed of all 26 shorts in this film. One thing I hope for in the next installment is substituting the crazy just for the sake of crazy shorts with more thought out and well written shorts. I love crazy as much as the next girl but it does become overdone and forgettable.

“A” for effort Abc’s, I applaud your ambition and perseverance to make an anthology of this length. I look forward to what you have in store for us next time!

*Citadel

One night while surfing through Netflix I decided to check this title out that had been catching my eye for over some time. Citadel follows a man who’s pregnant wife has been murdered by a group feral children while living in the slums.  Flash forward a few months and we find that the baby was saved and is now living with her extremely agoraphobic father.

Citadel

What I expected from this film was a delusional home invasion sort of deal but what I got was something that was deeply unnerving and even a bit supernatural. The flashbacks and panic attacks we have to suffer through while watching this man cope with the murder of his wife are downright painful at times. Not to mention these children who killed his wife are stalking him no matter where he goes and may not be completely human.

*American Mary 

Student loans are often a terrible headache for many young adults, especially those trying to go to schools of high esteem. Poor Mary, trying to scrape up money for medical school, turns to stripping (because cliche) to get by but when that isn’t enough her scumbag boss has something else in mind.

american-mary

American Mary is a real departure from the cliched horror film of today. Mary herself is a get-shit-done kind of girl who is generally more complex than your standard female character. She is sexy and confident but she is also intelligent and morally divided. We really see her battle, physically and mentally, with the life she has chosen and that’s a great relief from the femme fatale and good girls we usually see in these flicks.

*Antiviral 

When children of famous directors/actors/writers attempt to follow in their parents footsteps it often leaves us with that awkward feeling of “Do I have to like this because of his/her famous parent?” (Read: Jaden Smith) Thankfully,  for Brandon Cronenberg he has followed quite nicely in his father, David Cronenberg’s, foot steps. David Cronenberg is a master of physical horror with films like The Brood and Videodrome that delve into the psycho-sexual and unnerving parts of the human psyche. It would seem he has passed his fear of the human body onto his son, Brandon.

antiviral

Antiviral is set in a future that has been totally overtaken by the need to live just like the rich and famous, something we can relate to even now. However, the everyday Joe is no longer content with having the latest gadgets or knowing the latest gossip of the rich and famous. The latest hip trend? Disease. That’s right, any sort of disease will do but the stronger and more volatile the disease the better. Of course where there is room to make money there are always people out there to make it a business. Hell, you can even by chunks of fatty tissue from your favorite celebrity to cook up for a nice dinner. Soylent Green eat your heart out!

Brandon Cronenberg really packs a punch with this flick and it was so nice to see him fill his father’s shoes while also adding something of his own to the mix. Antiviral is his first feature length film and I am really looking forward to seeing what he has in store next. I only wish his father would go back to horror.

*Maniac 

While 2013 wasn’t the greatest year for horror it did provide us with some decent remakes which is generally unheard of. Alexandre Aja and Franck Khalfoun resurrected the gritty world of 1980’s slasher flick, Maniac, and brought an entirely new light to it along with a really fantastic score.

2013-03-23-maniac_model

I was fortunate enough to check this remake out on my visit to Horror Hound this past year and I was very impressed by it. Since I already reviewed this film (here) I will save you the long winded gush fest on why I loved it so much. Instead I will just tell you that, remake aside, this is a very interesting film aesthetically and story wise. It was also very refreshing to see Elijah Wood in a role this far from most other things he has done. He seems to be gradually drifting towards the genre and I am welcoming him with open arms.

Stoker

Probably the most anticipated film on this list was Chan-wook Park’s stylized thriller, Stoker. A film about a shy girl named India (Mia Wasikowska) who loses her father in a terrible accident leaving her with her heartless mother and her vile  Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode).

Stoker

Stoker was probably the most beautifully shot film I had the pleasure of watching this year. Everything about it was smooth and engaging while also adding significantly to what is happening. In particular there is a scene involving India and Charlie playing the piano that sent chills down my spine. It was perhaps one of the single most uncomfortable things I have watched while simultaneously being on the most beautiful and fascinating.

There are some truly awesome filmmakers throughout the world and if you are looking for an introduction I highly recommend giving Stoker a whirl.

Curse of Chucky

Eegads! Could it be? A straight to DVD/VOD/whathaveyou sequel that actually helped make a franchise good again? Indeed!

That’s right folks, the one sequel in this franchise that didn’t get a theater release at all actually was really fun and entertaining ride. With the disaster that was Seed of Chucky it’s a no brainer as to why this addition to the bunch was a straight to home release. However, it seems that writer/director Don Mancini has learned his lesson and, for the most part, gave up the meta aspect to the series. Instead we get a story set mostly in the original tone of the series and though I like Bride of Chucky I was very pleased to go back to a more serious feeling.

curse of chucky

This isn’t a perfect sequel and the final twist is sort of out of whack if you pair it up exactly with the events of the first one but all that can be forgiven because of how fun this movie is. Sure, Brad Dourif is actually a really good actor and was even nominated for Best Supporting Actor in ’76, but we all know his voice as everyone’s favorite foul mouthed children’s toy and boy does he bring it home for this one.

You’re Next

Technically, like with several other films listed here, this movie was actually made in 2011 but it sat on the shelf until 2013 so it counts! You’re Next was marketed as a traditional home invasion flick about a family meeting for a reunion only to be savagely murdered by freaks in animal masks. Pretty normal, right?

You're Next-Masks

On the contrary, this film is only part home invasion and other parts hilarity, survival and badassery. Adam Wingard is clearly working his way up to being one of this generation’s best directors in the genre. You’re Next brought familiar aspects to the table while combining them with a refreshing and new look. I would easily peg this to be a future “cult classic”. You can check out my full review on You’re Next here.

The Conjuring

I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with James Wong’s films and just when I think he is one of the best directors in the genre right now he gives me Insidious 2. But we aren’t here to discuss Insidious 2, we are here to discuss one of my favorite haunting/possession movies in the past 10 years.

The Conjuring

The Conjuring is what all good haunted house movies should aspire to be like (I’m looking at you Woman in Black). It’s not chock full of cheap jump scares and relies heavily on atmosphere to get the viewer sitting on the edge of their seat. I do think that in this world so full of technology it does do a ghost story well to be set in the past so having this set in the 70s really helped add to the feeling of helplessness and isolation this family felt. This flick is scary and suspenseful but it doesn’t throw story and character development out like so many in this genre.

Evil Dead

Well it’s no surprise this remake made my top spot in this list. All you have to do is read Justin’s glowing review and my article on how it has forever raised the bar on remaking horror as we know it. So I will save you all from another gushy love fest on this movie and simply say if you haven’t seen it what are you waiting for? If 2013 is remembered by it’s film then let it be remembered by this astounding piece of work that let’s all horror fans know there is still hope for the genre.

Evil Dead Cutter

 

So we have reached the end of this list and almost the end of the year. While it was a pretty slow year for horror I can confidently say that the gems of the year were quite good and could open a lot of creative doors for the genre in 2014. What were your favorites? Leave a comment below!

You can follow Jess on Twitter @DangerJess_

 

    • robert wilcox

      hammer films was and still are the best

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