2007 was a huge year for the horror genre as it had two films that grossed north of $100 million (i.e. I Am Legend and Ghost Rider) while the rest of the successful genre films were filled with sequels (i.e. Saw IV and Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem) and remakes (i.e. Halloween and Premonition) not to mention animation (i.e. Beowulf) and even a musical (i.e. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street). Yes, 2007 was a successful year all around for the horror genre and following is a list of the top 10 for us to review once again, in case you missed one or more of them.
At the bottom of the list is the Sandra Bullock psychological thriller Premonition ($47.9 million), which was a remake of an Asian film. An interesting remake to say the least that focused more on story and character rather then scares although there were many suspenseful moments in the film. Similar in tone to such films as The Butterfly Effect and Jacob’s Ladder, Premonition was an interesting departure for Bullock best known for such films as While You Were Sleeping and Miss Congeniality.
For many filmgoers Resident Evil: Extinction ($50.6 million) was a return to form after the abysmal second film Apocalypse. This next chapter of a world over-run with the undead takes place years after the previous film in a time when nature has reclaimed most of the Earth. With most of the horror occurring during the daylight hours, this was a more stylistic film then the previous one and made audiences believe that there was no place to hide in a world ravaged by zombies.
And the winner for best horror musical of the year goes to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ($52.9 million), which was a huge departure for both director Tim Burton and star Johnny Depp but audiences didn’t care as this was a hugely successful adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. Not only was it a visual tour de force but it also had great music as well.
Next up is the infamous Rob Zombie remake of Halloween ($58.3 million), which was still successful despite harsh criticism of the film from both critics and fans of the John Carpenter original. I for one did not mind Zombie’s revision of the film which was better then most of the sequels in the series.
Coming in at number six on the list is Saw IV ($63.3 million), which was less successful then the previous two films in the series but nevertheless popular with fans of the series. This was the number one “true” horror film of the year as the rest of the list includes more mainstream genre fare.
Stephen King was popular this year as one of his most acclaimed short stories finally made it to the big screen with 1408 ($72 million). This psychological haunted hotel thriller was a surprise success for many who didn’t think it was possible to bring the character heavy story to the big screen. John Cusack’s stellar performance holds this mostly one-person film together when it could have so easily fallen flat on its face.
Next up is the teen thriller Disturbia ($80.2 million), which held its own despite the lack of any star talent. This was just a film that had all the right elements in the right place at the right time that delivered a suspenseful thrill-ride for audiences of all ages.
The animated Beowulf ($82.3 million) took audiences by surprise when it debuted on both regular and digital 3D screens (not to mention the IMAX Digital 3D as well). This uncompromising Robert Zemekis directed film took the original epic story to new heights delivering an action packed epic adventure. It was filled with monsters and blood and gore like no other mainstream animated film before it.
Now I know I will be criticized for putting this film on the list but the film adaptation of the Marvel Comics character Ghost Rider ($115.8 million) comes in at number two. Fans of the comic book know that the original stories had many elements of horror contained within, but this big-budget film watered-down all those elements to deliver a mostly “comic” and camp film with no redeeming qualities of the original source material. Nevertheless, many audiences (who knew nothing about the original comic) enjoyed the film and made it a huge success. Not since the adaptation of Spawn (1997) have so many fans been so disappointed.
And the highest grossing horror film of the year goes to I Am Legend ($256.4 million). Starring the always bankable Will Smith this loose adaptation of the Richard Matheson novel was not well received by die hard Matheson fans, but there is no denying that the film (like all the other adaptations of the novel) had a life of its own allowing it to become one of the biggest horror films in history. Not since Tom Hanks’ performance in Cast Away (2000) has an actor commanded such a performance. It may not be exactly Matheson’s novel but this version of I Am Legend holds its own.
As you can see 2007 had genre films for everyone and along with those top 10 there were many other noteworthy films including Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem ($41.8 million), 30 Days of Night ($39.6 million), The Messengers ($35.4 million), Zodiak ($33.1 million), 28 Weeks Later ($28.6 million), and The Mist ($25.6 million), to name a few, so if you don’t feel like watching any of the top 10 take a look at a few of these, you’ll be glad you did.
As box office information was provided by Box Office Mojo (www.boxofficemojo.com).