The categories below are divided into four sub-categories. Indie features are films that did not receive a wide release (50+ screens). Also, they were made for under a million dollars. Blockbuster titles are films that received a wide release (50+ screens) and they were made for over a million. "Best" and "Worst" categories are self-explanatory, so let the fun begin!
Best Indie Horror or Thriller Films
1) Excision: The film Excision was developed from director Richard Bates Jr.'s short film from 2009. This title involves a maniacal young woman, who practices surgery on people despite lacking any credentials. Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord) is awkward, disturbed and oblivious to the struggles of others.
Overall, Excision was simply a memorable film. This title arouses so many different feelings. From disgust to horror and even to sadness, Excision is consistently delivering an evocative and enjoyable time. Excision is a definite see for fans of horror.
A review of Excision is here:
Excision Reviewed on 28DLA
2) Hell: Hell is a German language film that received a limited DVD release this year through Arc Entertainment. This is really a science fiction genred film; yet, Hell still offers horrifying elements. A family eats wayward travellers after the world has turned into an apocalyptic wasteland. Water is scarce and survival is threatened.
Director Tim Fehlbaum's cinemascape amplifies the scorched setting by opening the lens of his camera. Many of the scenes appear washed out as the character Marie (Hannah Herzsprung) tries to save her sister from a family of cannibals. This title had this reviewer on the edge of his seat through the film's entire showing. Hell is a feature not to be missed by fans of thrillers.
A review of Hell is hosted here:
Hell Reviewed on 28DLA
3) Rabies (Kalevet): Rabies is billed as the first horror film from Israel. This title released in a sub-titled form early in 2012. Enjoyable, Rabies involves a serial killer and several friends lost in some local woods. Those woods are booby-trapped and the many squabbles between characters create for a lot of the chaos onscreen.
Truly dark and twisted, Rabies is an excellent international film that should be seen by North American audiences.
A review for Rabies is here:
Rabies Reviewed on 28DLA
4) The Corridor: The Corridor is the only Canadian film to make this "Best of" list. Developed from a script by Josh MacDonald, The Corridor is a film about five friends who turn murderous. A strange shimmering wall is instigating the fatalistic events. And, the violent gore onscreen will shock a few viewers.
The final scenes in The Corridor leave the film open to interpretation. So, The Corridor is an imaginative tale that will leave some scratching their heads. This critic is fond of this film for a number of reasons and the inconclusive conclusion is one of a handful of film elements that makes this film so memorable.
A review of this title is hosted here:
The Corridor Reviewed on 28DLA
5) Lovely Molly: Lovely Molly is a difficult film to watch. Eduardo Sánchez (The Blair Witch Project) returns to the horror genre with this terrifying feature. Molly (Gretchen Lodge) is a struggling drug addict. She returns to her self-destructive path when she moves into her childhood home.
She begins to see things. Memories of sexual abuse come up as does a supernatural spirit. Molly has too many problems to deal with and this film will stay with you long after the credits roll. Lovely Molly is a must-see for horror film fans.
A review of this title is here:
Lovely Molly Reviewed on 28DLA
Honourable Mentions in this category go to: Cassadaga, Wrong Turn 5, and V/H/S. All three of these films are based on some quality writing and interesting characters. V/H/S is the strongest of these three, but Cassadaga (released in the United Kingdom) is worthy of a watch for creating so much tension in America's Southland.
A review of Cassadaga is here:
Cassadaga Reviewed on 28DLA
Worst Indie Horror or Thriller Films
1) Deer Crossing: Deer Crossing is a brutal film. Director Christian Grillo adds so much fluff to this film that the results are much like a sliced open sleeping bag. The film grinds by at an inept pace, while a hillbilly prattles on about nothing.
Deer Crossing is already moving ahead with a sequel and this film fan will not be watching. Avoid this film at all costs!
A review for Deer Crossing is here:
The Deer Crossing Reviewed on 28DLA
2) 6 Degrees of Hell: This horror fan tried three separate times to watch Joe Raffa's 6 Degrees of Hell. The film got worse and worse with each successive attempt. In fact, this film was so bad that this reviewer was unable to finish it and horror fans are encouraged to stay away from this title wherever it is sold.
3) Area 407: Imagine handing a 14 year old girl and yelling: "action!" The next eighty minutes involve said 14 year old girl shooting characters and the setting randomly as actors stumble through a boring set of lines. Involving too much improvised dialogue, Area 407 is a terrible, terrible movie that will be enjoyed by no one.
A review of Area 407 is hosted here:
Area 407 Reviewed on 28DLA
4) The Terror Experiment: The Terror Experiment is probably the most mundane zombie film ever produced. Mediocre, this title does not develop characters, nor its story. Even gun fights are created from CGI effects and the film comes across as cheap and undeveloped. Skip this title and save yourself seventy minutes of nothingness.
A review of The Terror Experiment is here:
The Terror Experiment Reviewed at 28DLA
5) Playback: Michael Nickles usually develops quality film products. This is not the case with Playback. Starring Christian Slater, Playback feels like a filmmakers first film project without a budget. Scenes transition poorly. The story is disjointed and all over the place. Actors were probably thinking: "why am I in this film?" Their performances come across as confused and Playback belongs in the dollar bin at the local video star. This critic does not recommend picking up this film for even that much.
A review of Playback is here:
Playback Reviewed at 28DLA
There were a number of other movies that deserve your scorn including: Humans vs Zombies, Parasitic, Devil Seed, Night Wolf and Patient Zero. All of these films are developed incompetently, or they are unwatchable. Do yourself a favour and forget that any of these films ever existed. This reviewer is still trying to do just that.
Best Blockbuster Horror or Thriller Film
1) Sinister: This film fan was surprised to see this title on 28DLA writer Ed Sum's "Misses" list. Sinister is a tale of a young family moving into the "Murder House." Here, another family was drowned. The father, Ellison (Ethan Hawke), discovers still more murders on film reels.
Darkly shot, director Scott Derrickson has a love for the horror genre and his passion comes through in his directing style. Everything about this film screams "true horror" and this critic found this title to be memorable and even terrifying in parts.
A review of Sinister is here:
Sinister Reviewed on 28DLA
2) The Cabin in the Woods: This cinephile is not surprised to see The Cabin in the Woods on many "Best of" horror lists. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's script deals with the many tropes found in the horror genre. They are there to keep peace in the world. But, something goes wrong.
The Cabin in the Woods incorporated many gruesome kills. As well, all (every single one) of the monsters from horror are given free reign at one point in the film. This is a gruesome title that can be watched again and again.
A review of The Cabin in the Woods is here:
The Cabin in the Woods Reviewed on 28DLA
3) The Grey: The Grey, starring Liam Neeson, is an emotive film. This title was shot in British Columbia and the film deals with a stranded rig crew, after a plane crash. Only the strong survive in this tale of terror. Those slow, unwilling or indecisive die by wolf attack, frostbite or by simply falling. Few make it out of this film alive and The Grey is action packed and exciting almost the whole way through. Fans of thrillers should give this title a try, despite a few lackluster reviews.
A 28DLA review of this title is hosted here:
The Grey Reviewed on 28DLA
Worst Blockbuster Horror or Thriller Films
1) The Apparition: There were only a few films that were major releases that made their way onto this list for one reason: critic reviews. This film fan managed to miss a great many mediocre film titles simply by reading a film review or two. However, a copy of The Apparition made its way to this reviewer's home thanks to Warner Brothers.
The Apparition had some difficultly in post-production as Warner Brothers and Dark Castle Entertainment parted ways. The Apparition was the last film produced from this business union. And, you can almost see the executives bickering on the screen. From boring scene to boring scene, The Apparition has no appreciation for the horror genre. Todd Lincoln's film is heartless and soulless. Only Ashley Greene's amazing frame offers any reason to watch this title. The rest is just passionless.
A review of The Apparition is here:
The Apparition Reviewed on 28DLA
2) The Day: The Day only received a limited release, but it deserves to be on this list. Douglas Aarniokoski's film is not really a horror title, nor a thriller. There are few tense moments in this title, until the end.
Aarnokoski chose to shoot this film with a filter and the drab settings take something away from the film. The cliched "good guys" versus "bad guys" story also takes something away from the film. In fact, The Day offers very little of anything for viewers. The film is one big subtraction sign.
A review of The Day is here:
The Day Reviewed on 28DLA
3) Silent Hill: Revelation 3D: This reviewer did not mind this title as much as many others. However, this was one of only a handful of horror and thriller titles that this critic saw in theatres. This title offers many elaborate sets and creatures. Yet, compared to the previous feature, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is a major let down in theme and mood. As well, this film comes across as convoluted in the writing area. Overall, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D creates a lot of ambivalence and this film will not be a good time for most.
A review of Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is hosted here:
Silent Hill Revelation 3D Reviewed on 28DLA
There is one other major release worth mentioning in this category. Whatever happened to the Resident Evil films? They began as cutting edge action films and they have devolved into a series that is completely laughable and completely pointless. Paul W. S. Anderson needs to return to the chalkboard with this franchise.
Meanwhile, moronic teenagers continue to support this schlock. So, expect another tepid Resident Evil movie in 2013.
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