Thursday, 7 November 2013

07 - Great 21st Century Horror

Here we are in the new LizaMinnellium, and here are some of the movies that this era without a workable name has offered us.

NOTE: These are NOT the best. This is not an official Top Eleven List (that would just be weird) – they’re just good movies, and they’re in approximate date order rather than order of preference. Slashers later, blah blah, blah.

Ginger Snaps (2000) If there was ever a film that managed to sell the werewolf-as-sexual-maturation metaphor, this is it. Changes in body shape, hair in new places, new appetites awakening – it’s kind of obvious in many ways, so this film scores highly for making that work.

Dog Soldiers (2002 ) Another werewolf movie, this one very different to Ginger Snaps in almost every way. This one takes the “base under siege” concept of a group in a single location being attacked by outside forces, but with werewolves.

Cabin Fever (2002) A “who do you trust”/”enemy within” horror, but with a flesh-eating virus in place of demonic possession or alien invasion. Plus, ick.

Hostel (2005) Great film, terrible trailer. It should set up the trap the kids fall into, the balancing the dream of the hostel filled with sexually liberated and available Eastern European women with the nightmare of the torture that it leads to. Establish happiness, show that the happiness will be taken away. No wonder ordeal horror gets labelled as “torture porn “ if the torture aspect is used as the main selling point.

Severance (2006) This is more like it. Here are some people, here’s what they’re up to – and here’s what we’re going to put them through. Yes, Danny Dyer, but on the other hand, Andy Nyman.

Wrong turn 2 (2007) I wasn’t overly impressed with the first film in this series, but this one really worked for me. I love the setup, and Henry Rollins is just amazing.

Trick 'r Treat (2007) If you’ve not seen this one, you’ve missed out. An anthology of horror stories, but intermingled like Pulp Fiction or Short Cuts. A modern classic. I’m not sure if the recently announced sequel fills me with joy or dread – could a sequel live up to this?

Frozen (2010)

I’m not using slasher movies so Hatchet is out, but here’s another Adam Green film instead. It’s a different kind of survival horror, straddling the thriller/horror borderline.

F (2010) As a British horror movie set in a school with kids as the villains, this would probably make an interesting double-bill with Unman, Wittering and Zigo – though it’s very different.

Kill List (2011) A very different take on the hitman movie, with a bleak yet inevitable ending. If you only know Michael Smiley as Tyres from Spaced, this will be a revelation.

Cabin in the Woods (2012) Again, a film you really need to see, and the less you know about it going in the better. Deconstruction is a frequently-used term, but this is an incredible writing exercise – it takes the modern horror movie apart, shows you what all the pieces are and what they do. If I had any complaint, it’s that the surprise cameo at the end would be so much better served by a different person in the role – one who I must assume was offered the part.

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