After watching far too many weak horrors, I’ve begun to notice a sort of turn around from the formulaic and poorly crafted fair fans of the genre have had to endure. I hope this represents a new horror renaissance of sorts where more innovative and independent horror comes to blows our minds. No, films like the ho-hum THE CONJURING don’t cut it. We’ve seen that all before. But what follows are four amazing films that deliver in grand fashion. Oddly enough, all are independent features from 2012, and I have no doubt they’ve inspired many a conscientious and quality-minded young filmmaker:
Antiviral (Canada, 2012) – 4.5 stars
Story: Infatuation of celebrities at the cellular level.
Writer/director Brandon Cronenberg is following in his father’s body-based horror fascinations. In this art-house sci-fi film, the phenomenal Caleb Landry Jones absconds with ailments from celebrities, and infects fans for a hefty price. Bizarre, disturbing, and intimate, the film’s intrigue rests squarely on the shoulders of solid acting, the original music of EC Woodley, Karim Hussain’s cinematography, and wonderful directing from Cronenberg. This is one of the most mind-blowingly new stories to come out of horror in many years.
Excision (2012) – 4.5 stars
Story: Coming of age for an outcast with a downward spiraling mind.
The fabulous AnnaLynne McCord steals the show and brings us one of the most alluring lead characters since Angela Bettis’ May and Sarah Lassez’s Therese from Mad Cowgirl. Don’t miss Richard Bates Jr.’s storytelling craftsmanship in regard to theme because this is one of the most literary image laden horror stories of all time. A stellar cast, including Traci Lords and John Waters, helps bring this bizarro and quirky tale to life, along with Itay Gross’s exceptional use of color to tell one insightful yet unsettling tale.
You can find my full-length review of Excision right here: http://crashpalaceproductions.com/2012/11/28/crash-analysis-excision-2012-2/.
The Lords of Salem (USA/UK/Canada, 2012) – 4.5 stars
Story: The anti-virgin is chosen to bring Satan’s offspring to the world.
This much maligned film from Rob Zombie is his first outing into dramatic fair with cool twists, great imagery, and relatable characters, unlike his exploitation movies or visceral yet unsatisfying remakes. Here, we watch wife Sheri Moon Zombie unknowingly navigate her way through witches, unearthly music, and demonic hallucinations. The story grabs hold of our realm right before an Apocalypse no one can see coming. Watch out for Meg Foster, Bruce Davison, Ken Foree, Dee Wallace and more, as they bring a trippy and captivating horror to the screen. Arguably, Zombie’s best work to date.
Resolution (2012) – 4.5 stars
Story: Trying to save a friend from drug addiction unleashes something strange.
Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead took some excellent and innovative chances with narrative to bring us a unique horror that’s hard to categorize, and leaves some fans scratching their heads. Therefore, do not take this film lightly and stay focused. The mystery writer Benson created is one of the best to come along in years, and actors Peter Cilella and Vinny Curran bring the story to life in ways the audience can understand – until the weirdness begins. This one’s a great feast for the mind.
Fabulous 4-star Films: A Serbian Film (Serbia, 2010), Black Death (Germany, 2010), Tucker and Dale vs Evil (USA/Canada, 2010), The Caller (UK/Puerto Rico, 2011), Comforting Skin (Canada, 2011), The Day (2011), Little Deaths (UK, 2011), Midnight Son (2011), The Skin I Live In (Spain, 2011), Wake Wood (Ireland/UK, 2011), The Woman (2011), The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (Canada, 2008), Mortal Remains (2012), Afflicted (Canada/USA, 2013), Banshee Chapter (Germany/USA, 2013), Dark Skies (2013), Jug Face (2013), Nurse (2013), The Returned (Spain/Canada, 2013), Crawl or Die (2014) and Deliver Us from Evil (2014).
(Excision photo from Battle Royale with Cheese.)