Classification can be just as hard for horror films as it is for action films. Depending on what you consider a horror movie, this has either been one of the best years for horror or one of the worst. Does Black Swan count as a horror movie? How about Shutter Island? What about Buried? I finally did decide to include Buried, but the other two were too much of a stretch. As such, we’re left with a pretty damn weak year for the genre, and it looks like Hollywood is in search for a new trend in horror now that the torture porn thing is kind of over.
- Buried: Though it plays out like more of a thriller than a horror movie at times, the fact remains that this movie largely acts as a visceral experience, and thus seems more closely aligned with horror than some of the other possible nominees that were disqualified. This would certainly be a horror movie for someone with claustrophobia and the basic concept is certainly horrific to think about.
- The Crazies: The Crazies has the distinction of being the best entirely mainstream horror film of the year and of being one of the best horror remakes in a while. I’d also call it an all around improvement on George Romero’s deeply flawed 1973 version of the story. This is a slick production with some good zombie slaying and a really dark ending.
- Daybreakers: If nothing else, Daybreakers has a fairly original concept to carry it. It probably isn’t the first story to envision a world where vampires are the majority, but it does realize such a world in a way that is pretty fascinating. Also, when the vampires get to doing what vampires do it is appropriately gory and when they “go feral” they are pretty freaky.
- The Last Exorcism: Make no mistake, this movie has an incredibly stupid ending which brings down the movie immeasurably. However, there are some genuinely creepy moments in the lead-up that does earn the film a nomination here. Ashley Bell is genuinely creepy in her performance as a seemingly possessed girl contorting herself into all kinds of crazy poses. Also, there does seem to be some blood left in the found footage style against all odds.
- Splice: More a monster film than a horror film, this is an example of a movie that uses horror tropes in order to examine an issue, specifically the implications of biological breakthroughs. Like many great Frankenstien stories, the film walks a line between being horrified at the monster and being sympathetic to its plight. It’s also not afraid to channel its inner Cronenberg in order to bring its story into some uncomfortable sexual places.