People who complain about the state of horror probably haven't delved into the limited releases and direct-to-video fare, a treasure trove of quality films that often outperform flicks on the big screen. Here are my choices for the top limited-release horror/suspense movies of the year. (For the purposes of this list, "limited" means less than 500 screens.)
Honorable Mentions: Alien Raiders, Antichrist, Blood: The Last Vampire, Epitaph, Fermat's Room, The House of the Devil, Hush, Imprint, Netherbeast Incorporated, One-Eyed Monster, Red Sands, Red Velvet, Sam's Lake, Sea Beast, Seventh Moon, Shuttle, Surveillance.
Tight storytelling and strong performances from an A-list cast (Danny Glover, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski) propel this Hitchcockian thriller with a supernatural twist.
© Anchor Bay
This Norwegian hit (which has already spawned two sequels) is a straightforward yet genuinely creepy slasher executed with precision and love for the sub-genre's '80s heyday.
Tense and unnerving, this is Cabin Fever
meets The Thing
, with a sobering, clever commentary on global warming.
© Anchor Bay
This underrated film adds a refreshing supernatural angle to the slasher formula, with a creative body-switching twist that ratchets up the paranoia and the possibilities.
© Paramount Vantage
Mining ground similar to The Road
captures the sobering desperation of humankind in the midst of a highly contagious global pandemic. Dark, emotional and deliberately paced, it's as much drama as it is horror, avoiding played-out Hollywood theatrics, over-the-top gore and any semblance of a happy ending -- thus, it was too hard of a sell for a wide release.
"Artsy fartsy" Finnish film that delivers stark, haunting visuals, outstanding performances, an overriding sense of dread and a powerful climax.
I was initially skeptical of the Butterfly Effect
sci fi series turning towards horror, but this third film turns out to be a smartly plotted, emotional sequel that packs in the intriguing twists of the original with a darker edge.
13. The Road
This grim adaptation might not carry the full impact of the award-wining book, but it's still emotional, visually imposing and well acted.
© First Look
Calling this the best SyFy channel movie to date is a dubious compliment at best, but that doesn't detract from the high entertainment value of this horror-comedy about a giant big invasion, which is more smartly written, funnier and has better comedic performances than many so-called comedies released in theaters. You have to wonder why they didn't go with a more campy title, though, like Bug Off!
or Get the Bug Out of Here!
© Focus Features
This quirky Korean film is the sort of striking addition to vampire lore that the "Twilight
weary" among us should relish -- full of bold visuals, award-worthy performances and meaty plot twists, with a dose of surrealism and oddball humor that doesn't hinder its mainstream accessibility.