Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Good, The Bad and the Mehitwasokay Films of 2012

Initially when I thought about doing my top 10 horror movies of 2012, I assumed it would be a pretty tough job. Off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of more than 5 that I liked that were released this year. In light of this, I present to you my list of The Good, The Bad and Mehitwasokay
First I give you the good. These are the films that I adored this year, and I know I will watch again and again. If you want to watch anything from 2012, watch these.

5 – The Woman In Black
I love the original 1989 version of this film, with its sensational atmosphere and chilling, haunting locations. It’s a favourite of mine, so I approached this remake with more than a little hint of apprehension, particularly with it being rated as a 12A/PG-13, something which can put off a lot of horror fans. Thankfully, the film didn’t disappoint and delivered on the promise of a solid, creepy flick, with a very well written storyline and a refreshingly downbeat ending.
The shots of Daniel Radcliffe walking around the old house dripped with tension and fear, and were amongst the best in the film, the acting was stellar all round and it made a nice change to have a ghost story told without shaky cameras, screaming and snot. It didn’t quite match to the original, but then not many films do. It gave it a good shot and I enjoyed it, which is what counts, at the end of the day.

4 – The Innkeepers
The Innkeepers is Ti West film, following 2 employees who are running a hotel through it’s last days before closure. The supernatural goings on become more and more intense, until we reach the finale, which is built up well enough to shock you when it happens. The film is a slow-burner, for sure. We don’t jump straight in to anything, which is the film’s greatest feature.
It allows for a natural progression of the storyline, and gives time for character development, which in turn allows the tension to mount with every scene. If you’re after a well made, well acted supernatural film, that has something a bit different from the rest, then you won’t be disappointed with Innkeepers.

3 – Paranorman
Virtually the only two genres of film I watch are horror and animation. You can keep your action, drama tends to bore me and romance makes me want to choke to death on my own tongue. Therefore when I went to the pictures to see Paranorman, I had my fingers crossed, hoping it would be all I was wanting it to be. It was. A near perfect blend of horror and stop motion animation, Paranorman tells the tale of a little boy who can see ghosts, and we join him in tackling the problems this can cause.
The way it was told had me instantly gripped, the storyline itself being very strong and I fell in love with the horror references that bombarded us throughout the movie. Some subtle and some in your face, I found even more on my second watch of this fantastic film. I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t like this fun little offering, and even if you just decide to watch it as a light break from heavier stuff, you won’t be disappointed. A really great all round film, and also a fantastic way of introducing children to horror. It’s not super light on scares, either, which was a big plus.
As a side note, I was particularly enamoured that this was the first animated film to include a gay character. The LGBT community doesn’t get a whole lot of positive representation in horror, and I was really pleased to see that done so well here.

2 – The Loved Ones
Okay, this is a bit of a cheat. I did not see this for the first time this year, rather my very first viewing was 2 years ago, but due to the fact that it had a US release in 2012 I had to include it. Not only is this my joint pick of the year, it is one of my favourite films of the last 10 years.
We follow Lola, a gloriously creepy Australian teenager, as she sets about trying to win the heart of a classmate, with a rather unusual flattery technique, including nails, syringes, drills, one particularly devoted father and a song you won’t be able to hear ever again without shuddering.
Brutally fantastic, Lola Stone is one of the most original psychopaths we’ve seen for years, making this film without doubt a must-see.

1 – Inbred
My other joint pick of the year is this wonderfully shot, British backwoods movie. I just loved it. Directed by Alex Chandon, Inbred packs a punch with some brilliant gore shots, a darkly comic, engaging storyline and
It’s fair to say that hillbilly horror is a true love of mine, so there’s a slight possibility I may be a little biased toward this indie hillbilly/backwoods gem. Also, because it is filmed in Yorkshire, only 30 minutes from where I live, it feels more personal to me, but I think anyone who enjoys a good hillbilly movie, with a healthy dose of black humour, a touch of bizzarity and some great gore should put this at the top of their to-watch list, because they will love it too. Not one person I’ve shown this to so far has been disappointed.

Mehitwasokay 2012 Horror Films:
These films weren’t terrible, but I wasn’t overly enamoured with them, for one reason or another. Decent enough to check out, but don’t break your necks trying to do so.
Cabin In The Woods
I enjoyed this, but I didn’t love it like a lot of my horror brethren did. As one of the most talked about films of the year, I won’t go in to great detail about it, as I’m willing to bet everyone knows a lot already, so I’ll just say this. There is nothing wrong with this movie. Indeed it is a well made, fun and above all ORIGINAL film. It can only be praised for that.
The only reason it isn’t in my Good list, is because for my personal tastes it was too sci-fi. I’m not a big fan of horror/sci-fi films, and I tend to find myself being pulled out of the storyline by the sciency elements of them. I’d feel as though I was lying if I included this in my top list, and I won’t say I love something just because everyone else did. This is by no means knocking the film, however, and I’d recommend that everyone should at least give this one a go.

Rosewood Lane
Controversial director, Victor Salva (Jeepers Creepers) directed this little chiller, and I found it to be good, if a little contrived. A psychiatrist moves back to the place she used to live as a child, and begins to notice the odd behaviour of the paper boy.
For obvious reasons, the paper’boy’ is actually played by an adult, which detracts from the creep factor this could have had, but despite this the first ⅓ of the film held some pretty decent scares and jumps, and one of them (in the basement) was one of those glorious heart-stopping moments, that genuinely gives you a jump.
I love those moments. After that, the film holds the tension it creates well, and builds a storyline you grow to care about. However, the ending and the ‘reveal’ was a fairly confusing mess, and it felt pretty laboured. There were a lot of ways to end this film, but the way they did it was definitely not the right one to pick. It was too ambiguous, and there were a whole host of options that would have been a lot scarier. Despite the poor ending, I did enjoy a lot of the elements of this film. Don’t rush to see it, but if you’ve got nothing better to do then it’s worth a watch.

This was a film I was looking forward to quite a bit. I enjoy anthology horror, Trick r Treat being the last really decent one I’ve seen, and although I don’t love found footage, I can enjoy it if it’s done well. This one consisted of 5 shorts, held together by one over-arching storyline. It took a while to get into the films and that felt too drawn out, but when we got in the first film was really well done.
A shock filled short film that provided a decent twist, and some good shocks. I enjoyed it, and was anticipating the next one being just as good. It wasn’t. It was really not that good, and neither were films 3 or 4. The last film in the anthology, however, was decent again. So it’s a stop and start film.
The first and last films were worth watching, decent shorts, whereas the middle portion of the film was just average. Not the film I was expecting it to be, V/H/S was decent enough. Nothing amazing, and I probably won’t watch it again, but if you like anthology horror you may as well give it a crack.

I was looking forward to this one so much, which is probably why I felt so disappointed by it. It just didn’t deliver on any level for me, and for a film I was expecting to scare me, creep me out and give me an edge-of-your seat experience it fell flat on its face. Let me be clear. This is not technically a bad movie. It’s just a movie that doesn’t make me care about anything happening on screen.
Ethan Hawke plays a journalist who’s looking to recapture his lost brilliance with one last stab at a true crime best-seller. He moves into a house, finds some old Super-8 film in the attic and begins to watch it. He soon realises there is a connection between those films and the case he is working on. Now, all of this sounds like the makings of a good film. It has a decent idea behind it, good actors, potential.
Where it fell down, for me, was it’s lack of a distinct direction. It felt as though they couldn’t decide whether the film should be a crime-thriller, a serial killer expose, a supernatural tale or a psychological horror. It had elements of all of these things, which made it feel confused and disjointed, whereas if they had decided to go down a strictly supernatural route, or make it into more of a violent serial killer film, it could have been great. They went for too many elements, and it failed.
The acting was decent all round, and there were two or three scenes from the video footage which I found creepy with a shock element. If there had been more like that and less of the other bits, I’d probably have been putting this film in my top 5. As it stands, it’s worth a watch but don’t expect anything great from it.

The Worst Horror Film of 2012
There was only one film I really wouldn’t bother checking out. This is the worst 2012 film I saw.
Paranormal Activity Bore, sorry, Four
I make no bones about the fact that I hate this series, mainly because I got suckered into the hype like an idiot for the first one, and went to it expecting to be terrified. I was bored witless, and ever since then I’ve sat through these mind-bogglingly dull dreck-fests, slowly hating them more and more.
This one was no different. This time round not much happens then there are some LOUD NOISES. I rated the first one 2/10 and they’ve only gone down after that. This film did not change that. There is literally no reason for anyone to see this. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Is your favourite in this list? Do you think I’m nuts for leaving something out? Let me know your top 10 in the comments below!

Happy New Year!

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