As explorers of the paranormal realm, we here at The Ghost Diaries relish few things more than a great horror movie. In fact, the horror movie genre is about as close as we get to transcendence. Fortunately, 2012 turned out to be a beast of a year in this department, as over a dozen quality creepers hit the silver screen. The following are our picks for the best horror films of 2012:
The Cabin In the Woods
This film is to mainstream horror what The Matrix was to mainstream science fiction. It’s the Truman Show of pulp horror. An exciting mind-bender that draws inspiration from virtually every cinematic trope in existence–from cosmic horror involving giant ancient gods to reality being an illusion–Cabin takes the traditional horror narrative and flips it back on itself so many times that by the end you can’t help but smile, or gasp in terror. As you can probably deduce from the picture above, it’s also a goldmine for anyone who happens to love monster gore. Now that The Cabin In The Woods is out on DVD it’s basically a must-own for horror movie fans.
Sinister has to be one of the coolest and scariest supernatural horror movies we’ve seen in recent years. It’s also the most original. Yes, even more so than Insidious from last year. With talent like the director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose and the producers of Paranormal Activity you can be assured that this film delivers on every level. The plot follows true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt, played by Ethan Hawke, as he discovers a box of vintage snuff films in the attic of his new home. Ellison soon becomes obsessed with the ghastly celluloid reel and puts his whole family in danger. This movie is one smart, creepy and disturbing film experience. It also has one of the eeriest and most awesome horror movie soundtracks we’ve ever heard. Highly recommended!!!!
The Kill List
If you have strong enough stomach lining, we’d recommend seeing this occult chiller masterpiece. It’s not a conventional horror picture by a long shot. Partly hitman action-thriller, with shades of Wicker Man and The Blair Witch Project, it tells the story of Jay, an ex-soldier turned contract killer who is plunged into the heart of darkness. As Jay’s world begins to unravel, paranoia and fear send him on a horrifying path of no return. The Kill List is a terrifying psychological horror film that will rattle your nerves to the bone.
As found footage horror movie fanatics, The Ghost Diaries gobbled this offering right up. An anthology of half a dozen found footage shorts directed by a veritable Dream Team of horror filmmakers, including Ti West and Radio Silence , V/H/S is the ass-kicking new rebel punk kid at the found footage house party. While each chapter has its own golden moments, the short entitled “Amateur Night” directed by David Bruckner, takes home the trophy for best in show. Truth be told, “Amateur Night” might be the creepiest, most disturbing 10 minutes of fictional found footage ever made. The words “I like you” have never been so horrifying.
You can even get V/H/S on V/H/S, which is rad!
Some would argue that The Grey is not a horror film, but how else do you classify a movie about enormous, blood-thirsty wolves hunting people down and eating them? No, it’s not supernatural, nor does it feature any serial killers (sans the wolves) but there is an existential dread to this film that permeates every frame. Liam Neeson, who plays an intrepid Alaskan wolf whisperer mourning the death of his wife, says the role was cathartic, which is not surprising given that his own wife died tragically in 2009. He projects a cold, desperate, brutal pain in this movie, which sneaks into your psyche like a Bukowski poem. In fact, the following poetic gem is from the original script to The Grey: “Once more into the fray/Into the last good fight I’ll ever know/Live and die on this day/Live and die on this day.”
Chronicle starts off as a found footage science fiction movie about three high school students who discover a glowing alien artifact in an underground cave. They soon develop mind-boggling extra-sensory powers as a result of their exposure. The film slowly turns into a disturbing horror film about a kid who is unable to control his negative emotions. Most likely remembered for the scenes of them flying around and crunching cars with their minds, Chronicle may be the only found footage film about telekinesis.
Ridley Scott’s long-anticipated ‘prequel’ to the Alien series received a lot of heated criticism from fanatics who claim the film sends a wrecking ball into the chronology and logic of the Alien lore. But viewed strictly for its cinematic value, Prometheus is a creepy, Kubrick-esque journey into space in search of our human origins. Hopefully, cineasts can all agree on at least one thing with regard to Prometheus: the scene in which Noomi Rapace’s character has to remove the alien fetus from her stomach inside the automated bay is as good as they come.
Here’s where some people may jump ship on us. We won’t sit here and tell you that Silent House is a horror masterpiece, but what we will tell you is that besides the disappointing ending, this is an incredibly creepy movie that’s totally worth seeing. Silent House is hugely successful at manufacturing genuine, deep-seeded scares instead of cheap thrills. Plus, the virtuoso camera work and the shot-in-real-time gimmick makes this essential viewing for hardcore horror fans.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Warning: Martha Marcy May Marlene is one of the most psychologically disturbing films we’ve ever seen. You may want to refill your prescription of Xanax before you see this one. It’s not a horror film, per say, but more a disturbing portrait of the day to day life of being in a cult. Elizabeth Olson gives a chilling performance. This unnerving and challenging film will stay with you for weeks. It’s acted and directed like a sensitive drama, rather than a scary movie, and is all the scarier for it. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.