Tuesday, December 31, 2013

BRYAN'S BEST OF 2013


Welcome all to the year-end horror extravaganza known as FILM DEVIANT'S BEST OF 2013! You might have seen "Best of 2013" lists all around the internet, however...this is the Real Deal Holyfield, my friends! Join us...as we take a look back at the absolute BEST OF 2013!

I'm not gonna mess around this year with a prologue of how awesome 2013 was for horror. Because we all know how amazing it was. But, I do want to acknowledge two special individuals that really helped Film Deviant grow quite a bit. Zach Lorkiewicz and Matt Dean are two horror film fans that are as obsessed about horror films as I am. I love their work and without them, 2013 would have been a little harder for us here at Film Deviant to grow this year. So, I would would like to offer my personal sincere gratitude to these particular individuals for being the awesome horror fans that they are. And for having impeccable grammar. Makes my job a little easier ;)

Anyway...Here now are the absolute best of the best of 2013!







BEST SHORT: LUNA (2013)



I love this short horror film by Antonio Perez. It's quiet, understated and it my favorite example of this particular subgenre in quite a long time. I don't wanna reveal too much if you haven't seen the short film yet...but, I will say that it is my favorite horror short of 2013.





BEST KILL: YOU'RE NEXT - DEATH BY BLENDER

While You're Next  definitely offered so much awesomeness that a horror fan could love, there was one scene in particular that will live on in the annals of horror. The "blender scene". Yes, folks...if you've seen the film then you know precisely what I'm talking about. Sharni Vinson, a blender and one unfortunate victim. Amen! HERE is a choppy bootleg video of the scene that made our list as BEST KILL OF 2013!





MOST DEVIANT FILM: AMERIKAN HOLOKAUST

When the boys from the Sleaze Box (John Miller and Chris Woods) first approached me about reviewing their debut effort titled Amerikan Holokaust, I seriously had absolutely no clue what was in store. At the time I remembered thinking..."Oh, cute. Nice to see these guys working in film." Looking back...I shudder at using the word cute. Because Amerikan Hololkaust  is a pretty fucking long way from "cute". It is the most hardcore debut that you will find in American cinema this year. Nothing is like Amerikan Holokaust. Nothing. The film depicts some truly Deviant acts of violence and sexual torture. There's this one scene--ok, nevermind...I feel like throwing up now. This is actually the first year that we thought to use a "Most Deviant" category on our "Best of" list. But, goddamn...if there was ever a film that deserved the title, it is this one. Amerikan Holokaust  is the MOST DEVIANT FILM OF 2013!





BEST DIRECTOR: PARK CHAN-WOOK (STOKER)

Park Chan-wook is a brilliant filmmaker, unmatched in his art. He not only creates compelling works of art through his film, he also manages to string those images together and create truly riveting storytelling. Oldboy  is a film that will never leave my psyche and his American debut shares the same DNA. It is his understanding of all the little nuances throughout his filmmaking and the ultimate vision that sets him apart from any other director working today. I am eager to see what he does next within the genre. Park Chan-wook is FILM DEVIANT'S BEST DIRECTOR!





BEST KILLER: CHUCKY

Chucky made it back to the genre in a big way with Curse of Chucky, which was released straight to DVD/Blu-ray. And while I almost gave the "animals from You're Next  the title of Best Killer of 2013, it really belonged to the iconic killer Good Guy doll. Upon hearing Chucky's first lines in the film when little Alice utters to him under the sheets during a stormy night, "Chucky, I'm scared"...and he barks back..."YOU FUCKING SHOULD BE!" It is evident that this isn't the Chucky from the 90's. This is the Chucky that we've been waiting to see for quite some time. Well done, Don Mancini...for bringing him back in a big way. Chucky is FILM DEVIANT'S BEST KILLER OF 2013!





BEST FINAL GIRL: SHARNI VINSON

When I sat down to write this long-winded list and thought of a final girl from a horror film that could best sum up what a true final girl is, I thought of two names. The first was Jane Levy for her portrayal of Mia in the awesome Evil Dead  film. However, considering how she is possessed for most of the film, I decided to go with someone who pretty much carried the entire movie on her little Aussie shoulders. A woman who would not only stand up for herself, but also strike fear into the hearts of her antagonists. Sharni Vinson is the perfect final girl. Her performance as Erin is one for the ages. Years from now she will be remembered for her amazing work in You're Next. She not only kicked ass in that film...she owned the entire picture. Which is why Sharni Vinson is FILM DEVIANT'S BEST FINAL GIRL OF 2013!



There were so many great examples of good genre films in 2013. Hopefully, the trend continues into 2014. The following are my absolute ten favorite horror films of the past year. Please enjoy. (Click each film title for the full review)









Antiviral  is a fresh debut by the son of an iconic genre filmmaker. That's no easy task. Anyone remember Cameron Romero?? Of course not. Staunton Hill  wasn't all that impressive. You know what's impressive? Antiviral. Written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg, it is a film that explores the perversions of our celebrity-obsessed culture in a way that hasn't really been done before. Somewhere in a near-future, society is obsessed with celebrity viruses. A concept that not only repulses, but intrigues. What's most frightening about this film is that, sadly, it is a premise that might very well become reality one of these days. Good work, Brandon.






Evil Dead  was number one at the box office in 2013. What more do you want, guys?? If nothing else could be said about this new inclusion into Raimi's universe of evil deadites, it could be said that an Evil Dead  film ruled the cinematic world for a week. That sentence is fucking amazing when you consider the long winding road to bring a new Evil Dead  film onto the screen. Was it perfect? Fuck no. But, it was gloriously gory and just plain awesome to watch a new Evil Dead  film in the theaters this year. To all the naysayers out there that hated this film...I say one thing: JOIN US! You cannot fight it for long. There's a time and a place for character development and impeccable script-writing and Evil Dead  is not the time...nor the fucking place. In the end...I love Evil Dead  for what it is. An over-the-top gory film that recaptured the rated R fun absent from most horror films in theaters these days.






You will notice that there aren't any PG-13 supernatural films on my list this year. Mostly because I'm getting pretty tired of safe and timid horror films. The Conjuring  is a rated R supernatural horror film that easily could have been a PG-13 movie. But, I love that it has that rated R badge on it. This is my favorite James Wan film in a long time. It perfectly conveys a tightly-wound tension not seen in too many film of this ilk. While it does succumb to some of the usual horror film tropes, it does so with an elegance and style that had me wanting more. I love The Conjuring  for the spine-tingling experience and the expansively shot sequences. The film never feels claustrophobic or winded in execution...always upping the ante with a new horror lurking around the corner. Whether it be the Annabelle doll or the clapping scene, The Conjuring  has plenty of iconic stuff in it that will no doubt show up on horror Tumblrs and memes for years to come.





7. MANIAC

Maniac  is a film that I didn't think I was going to love...let alone like. And I certainly didn't think it would show up on my top 10 for the year. But, here we are. Franck Khalfoun manages to wrap his cinematic hands around your neck from the start and never lets up his grip. Only allowing you to catch your breath here and there...but, together with Elijah Wood's absolutely career-altering performance of the tormented Frank, Khalfoun has not only made a great remake to a genre favorite but, he has also created a film that will resonate with audiences for years to come. It is a beautiful film about a maniac that never feels like a remake. The only thing keeping the film from perfection is the absence of the shotgun scene from the original.






Here Comes the Devil  is such an accomplishment in modern horror filmmaking. While it borrows liberally from the golden catalogue of 70's genre films (psycho-sexual Satan stuff, in particular), it's a film that brings something to the horror landscape that's been missing for far too long. Thought-provoking stuff that will surely crawl inside your subconscious and disturb your inner soul. It's a film full of sexual energy and a weird family vibe that creates a nice backdrop for all of the impending horror that ultimately happens in the span of its scant 97 minutes. It's on my list because it managed to move me when I saw the film. There needs to be more genre stuff like this! Here Comes the Devil  is my favorite foreign horror film of 2013.






Perhaps the single best moment of my 2013 was finally meeting the Soska sisters. They are two of the most genuine people that you will ever have the fortune of meeting and they actually surprised me with the amount of geek knowledge that they both stored. Especially for being two of the most originally brilliant filmmakers that the genre has seen is quite some time. Let's face it, horror isn't necessarily a place where female directors go to watch their careers grow. Female talent is usually reserved for onscreen scream queens in this genre. So, to see two female filmmakers blow this motherfucker up is so amazing to watch. American Mary  is such a marvel at independent filmmaking, it's insane. If this is the film they make as their sophomore effort, I can't even imagine what their next film will be like.






If I could only choose one cinematic experience that absolutely floored me all the way to the end...it would be the "Safe Haven" segment from V/H/S 2, a sequel that not only improves on the original film (and I loved the first one!)...but, also expands its universe. "Safe Haven" made knots out of my stomach and created a film sensation not felt since the days of the French EXTREMITY movement. No one gets out of this thing safe! And the rest of V/H/S 2  serves as an amazing anthology horror film filled with a bit of everything for the horror film fan. Seven promising young directors craft 96 minutes of pure horror awesomeness!






In a perfect world, You're Next  would have shattered box office records when it was finally unleashed to the public this past summer. I've seen it make "Best of" lists and "Worst of" lists...which kind of perplexed me because I was under the impression that this film was here to help save horror. It is, perhaps, the most entertaining horror film of 2013 based on writing alone. It boasts some of the funniest and intelligent dialogue that I've seen in quite some time and the film feels so fresh. Not to mention an iconic performance by Sharni Vinson...an actress that I hope to see in future genre films. You hear me, Sharni?? You better have your agent book your pretty little you know what in more horror stuff! Seriously, tho...You're Next  isn't necessarily the savior of modern horror that everyone said it was going to be...but, it's so fucking good...and it's a goddamn shame that it wasn't more successful at the box office. I LOVE You're Next.






Speaking of love, The Battery  has a special place in this dark heart of mine. Those that have seen the film can attest to my affirmation. The Battery  is my favorite zombie movie in a long, long time. And that's saying quite a bit considering the zombie-fatigue that I've been feeling as of late. Unless Greg Nicotero and team are doing the practical FX, I'm usually turned off whenever I see a brand new zombie film in production. It's a sign of Hollywood's greed. However, whenever a film like The Battery  comes along, which does so much more with only two characters than an entire hoard of the undead could ever muster. The film really makes me so hopeful of where brave young filmmakers can take this genre that we love so much. The Battery  is a film that I will see every year. Hoping every single time that Mickey never calls out Annie's name.





1. STOKER

Stoker  is a perfect film. When I heard of this film being Park Chan-wook's American directorial debut, I was a tiny bit skeptical at first. I knew that Chan-wook could deliver his usual cinematic flavor to anything...but, whenever I see a brilliant foreign director helming a Hollywood production...it gets me a little nervous that the final product might not be an altogether enjoyable one. However, when I first watched Stoker  in a theater...my immediate reaction upon gazing at the final credits was to watch it again. From frame one to the very last Fox Searchlights logo...it is a beautiful fucking film to behold. It is overflowing with Chan-wook's mesmerizing vision, held together with a tight screenplay by Wentworth Miller...shot through the lens of Chung Chung-hoon. Stoker  is fine Deviant art. The kind of stuff reserved for award consideration. And while every performance in the film is amazing, the film ultimately belongs to Mia Wasikowska and her sexual awakening. Stoker  is my favorite film of 2013.






So, there it is....another fine year of horror. The biggest winner of this "Best of" list is us. The hardcore horror fans that drive out to that one artsy theater on the outskirts of the city in which to catch a showing of that one horror movie that everyone's been talking about. The hardcore horror fan that drives 9 hours to the horror conventions and waits in line for hours just to shake the hand of a man that has terrorized us all these years in our nightmares. All these great horror films are for us...the hardcore horror fan that visits Film Deviant all the time just to get a glimpse of what's new and exciting. So...THANK YOU very much for checking out our little dark corner of the internet and we'll see you with much more horror in a very exciting 2014!




THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR READING ALL YEAR!




No comments:

Post a Comment