2008 was a great year for horror films and for horror film watching. Below are my top picks for 2008 along with some films that might look best in your trash bin!
Top 5 horror films for 2008:
1) “Eden Lake”
“Eden Lake,” was on this reviewers worst horror films of 2008 for about a week until the complexity and absolute stark terror of the film made its way into my consciousness. Utterly tragic and believable “Eden Lake,” shows the absolute depravity that can encompass a man’s/juveniles spirit. There is no good versus evil in this picture only varying shades of grey that make this film literally horrifying and an overall difficult watch. “Eden Lake,” holds nothing back from the viewer in an attempt to slap you across the face with the message that if youth violence, in England is not kept in check it will rage out of control. See this one with a friend, but definitely watch this film at least once.
“Frontier(s),” is partially an homage to the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” movies and this film makes the top five list on sheer gore and its ability to entertain. “Frontier(s),” takes bizarre to the limit and the evilness of the protagonists is only outdone by the brutality of the villains. When evil meets eviler then what remains can only be one of the best horror pictures of 2008. “Frontier(s),” is another French horror film and the addition of several modern day over-the top gory pictures from France and Europe means that this reviewer will be looking outside of Los Angeles and the surrounding area for future quality horror films.
A small independent film “Splinter,” achieves what many Hollywood blockbusters cannot, a truly horrifying, original tale of isolation and empathy. A small cast of believable, likable characters sells the film alone; the addition of a mysterious virus-like entity that preys on the living while animating the dead makes “Splinter,” enjoyable on several different levels. A difficult find “Splinter,” goes above and beyond most other indie films of 2008.
Full of blood, gore and non-stop action this French film does everything in its power to push the boundaries of horror filmmaking while making viewers squirm. Slightly disturbing and taking place primarily within one set the shock factor of this film scores an 11 out of 10 and easily makes this top five list of 2008. “L’Interieur,” deserves a greater audience than this film is currently receiving.
5) “Let the Right One In”
From Sweden and full of picturesque shots of the surrounding countryside “Let the Right One,” delivers a horror tale full of gore and shocking surprises. The original story involving a youthful, lonely vampire and the unfortunate victims who cross her path make this film stand out from many other horror films from 2008. As well, the character of Oskar, who befriends this nocturnal hunter, is vulnerable and enchanting. A must see for true horror fans.
Honourable mentions; “Midnight Meat Train (excellent, low-budget dark horror ride),” “Martyrs (another French delight),” “The Strangers (A formulaic Hollywood suspensefest),” “The Signal (cannot say enough about this picture, bravo),”!
5 worst horror films for 2008:
I did my best to avoid this category of films, but some of these films got under my horror viewing radar. Here is a list of the worst films of 2008:
1) “Dead Noon”
A terribly low budget, cowboy, zombie film “Dead Noon’s,” feeble attempt at the horror genre does nothing but disappoint and bore.
2) “While She Was Out”
Susan Muntford’s first attempt in the director’s chair produces one hour and twenty minutes of absolute boredom. The horror genre seems tough to get wrong but this film displays zero originality, no realism, almost not dialogue, and a pointless story. Giving housewifes a bad name “While She Was Out,” is a low point in Kim Basinger’s less than stellar career. If you see this one you will literally want to tear your eyes out!
3) “Prom Night”
Following a typical boring Hollywood formula of stupid teenagers being taken out one by one at the hands of a horny serial killer “Prom Night,” disappoints, disgusts, and angers this horror reviewer. A waste of talent and a waste of people’s time this film is not worth sitting through for any reason.
A Canadian film full of swear words and “Hey dudes,” “Scarce,” is an embarrassment to other Canadians horror film fans and a terrible picture overall. While managing to complete a full viewing of this film I could not get over the absolute low production value of the film and the pointless, meandering plot. Plus, the cannibalizing theme of “Scarce,” has been done so many times before and much better than this unbelievable snoozefest.
Unless you like seeing severed penises and raping, misogynistic step-brothers then this film is a definite miss. Although, some good acting and full of complex characters with burgeoning female sexuality as the focus “Teeth’s,” premise of a cock-eating vagina is too disgusting or ridiculous for this reviewer to enjoy, but thankfully not a complete horror write-off.
Honourable mentions; “April Fool’s Day (utter garbage, unable to finish),” “13 Hours in Warehouse (what a mess),” “Pulse 2 & 3 (two sequels in one year equals desperation and a craptastic attempt to capitalize on the fun of the original).”