Sunday, January 2, 2011


While most of the world was out celebrating the end of the decade by destroying their livers and paying their respects to the porcelain God, yours truly was spent bundled up next to a skype-date trying not to let my bout of food poisoning completely ruin my evening.  It figures that the time I choose to make my "big comeback" would also be the time my health decides to reject Chicago style Mexican food.  Blech.  So while we're already two days into the new year, I have not forgotten to deliver my annual Top 10 of the year list.  As always, a disclaimer is given on how I choose the films I choose.  Some of the films on here were made on a budget lower than what constitutes a suitable prom dress, some of the films on here were made in 2008, but not released to the general public until 2010, and some of the films on here never made it to a wide release.  Yet let me firmly remind you all of the DotW policy: My blog, my rules.  On that note, here are MY top 10 horror films of 2010.

I'll be the first one to admit that when this film arrived in my mailbox, I was gleaming with excitement to write an absolutely scathing review.  The plot is so undeniably ridiculous, it's hard to believe a quality film came out of it. did.  The story of a beautiful teenage girl and her autistic brother trapped in a boarded up (there's a hurricane a brewin') house while their evil step-father has trapped them inside with a violent and two week starved ex-circus tiger that he bought from Meat Loaf.  I KNOW. IT'S RIDICULOUS.  However, Burning Bright was one of the more tense films I've seen in a long while and well deserving of its praise.  There are some things that could have used work, but I was mighty impressed.

I never thought there would come a day where a film about an exorcism could instill with me the same amount of fear as The Exorcist.  I'm not a religious person, but religious horror films scare the living bajeezus out of me.  I found this film to be exceptionally well written, as it wasn't concentrating on scaring us every waking moment of the film.  There were moments I actually found humorous amongst a sea of painful, unsettling, and of course, horrific scenes.  I found it to be one of the strongest exorcism films to date, and the twist's growing on me.

I used to hate Adam Green.  I still stand my ground in saying that his Hatchet films were overrated and I refused to be one of his little fangirls.  I now bite my tongue, because Frozen was freaking awesome.  A visually stunning look at a worst-case scenario on top of a ski-lift, I was genuinely kept on my toes for the entire duration of the film.  The dialogue was convincing, the pacing was superb, and there were gross-out scenes done in a very "Adam Green" fashion.  If he continues making his films less like Hatchet and more like Frozen, I very well may become a Green fangirl after all.

I'm scared of clowns, lawn gnomes, catching leprosy, and all forms of eye trauma.  Some of these fears, I'm well aware of how they came to be, but others have left me in the dark.  DREAD follows a group of people who strive to learn just exactly what causes human fear.  Let me tell you, I took a chance on a horror film starring the same guy who plays the constipated Cullen in Twilight...and it was a chance worth taking.  This is one of those films that not only irks you, but makes you feel like you should take a shower afterward.  The actions the characters make are unthinkably cruel, but executed in a remarkable fashion. 
I love me some homage films.  Ti West's House of the Devil is quite possibly one of the coolest films made in a very long time.  I actually included it on my top 25 films of the decade last year, but that's because I'm a big ol' snob who got to see it before 2010.  However, it was widely released this year and that's why it's being included on this list.  It's a sure-fire reminder of why the horror films of yesteryear were so scary, and why buckets of gore don't always constitute a quality horror film.

05) [REC] 2
Point of View films have two options to go when it comes to film quality.  You can either be so god awful the world resents you for it like Diary of the Dead or you can be so mindblowingly incredible that the world can't get enough of you like [REC].   The second installment of a film that shook the genre last year, [REC] 2 picks up immediately where the original one left off and left just as big of an impact as the first one.  There's something about the intimate feeling of a POV film that makes it ten times scarier, or maybe it's because demonic Spaniards are just creepy in general.
This is probably the worst "quality" film on this list, but it's one of the most enjoyable.  Birdemic honestly looks like it was made in MS Paint by some kid who didn't feel like playing Oregon Trail during computer class.  It's The Room of the horror genre, if you will. Absolutely everything about this film is terrible.  The acting is like something out of a rejected community college theatre class, the effects are worse than a 3rd grade science project, and the story is blatantly ripped off of Alfred Hitchcock in a less than honorable fashion.  This film is one of the worst films ever made...but that's what makes it so wonderful.
For four hours, I was given the opportunity to watch what could very well be one of the best horror documentaries of all time.  I've always been a Michael Myers girl over Freddy, but I'll be damned if this film wasn't absolutely outstanding.  Now I'm a goon by nature when it comes to documentaries, but this one takes the red and green striped cake.  It doesn't matter if you're a diehard fan or not, this documentary will suck you in and keep you there until you finally wake up.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the prime example of the expression "less is more".  I cannot stress to you enough how unsettling and off-putting this film is.  A slow burn, yes, but one that gave me legitimate nightmares and consumed my conscious for days after viewing.  Simplicity is a beautiful thing, and I find films like this one powered with the ability to fester within us long after we've ejected the DVD.  This isn't the type of film to pop out and make you scream, it's meant to resonate within and leave a haunting impression.

A good friend of mine gave the absolute perfect description for the best film of the year.  "The only problem with Let Me In, is that Let The Right One In exists".  You know something, he's absolutely 100% correct.  Mind you, this is coming from the undisputed LTROI fangirl.  While the film is not as good as it's predecessor, it more than holds its own.  I was very uneasy going into this, but I happily admit how pleased I was with the final product.  It managed to capture me in the same way the original did, and managed to do so while remaining ever faithful to the film that inspired this version.  Matt Reeves earned my undying respect with this remake and Chloe Moretz is undoubtedly going to take over the world.

5 comment(s):

Monster Scholar said...

Great stuff! I will definitely be checking out Dread and Rec 2 after hearing your thoughts. I also like that you included Birdemic. It's a hack film but it's so bad it's good.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm officially checking out Burning Bright. I thought it was just on the 'big' sites' year ends lists due to it being distributed by Lionsgate. Not to mention the premise just sounds silly.

Great list BJ-C!

Monster Mike said...

Regarding Let Me In, I agree 100%. I thought LTROI was perfect but I have to admit that LMI was darn close to perfect as well. More "remakes" need to follow this example.

deadlydolls said...

Agreed on a lot of these, and hell yes Lake Mungo! I too am adding Burning Bright (and Dread) to my queue after hearing so much about them. COlor me intrigued!

Corey said...

most of these appeared on my own list, and i agree with you on almost all of these (and especially with LAKE MUNGO). i wasn't crazy about DREAD, but that's probably because i've been wanting an adaptation of that short story for so long, and i didn't think it lived up to it. maybe i'll give it another viewing and try to judge it on its own merits.

i'd love to see BIRDEMIC, but i don't think it's on dvd yet, is it? if it's even remotely comparable to the genius of THE ROOM, i'm in.

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