The year 2013 is only five months old so of course it would be foolish to make any broad and general statements -- but this year has kinda sucked for horror fans. Sure, February had the pleasant surprise Warm Bodies, but that was more comedy than the sort of horror we're talking about here, and the Evil Dead remake was enjoyably nasty. Beyond that were movies like Texas Chainsaw 3D, Mama, Dark Skies, Last Exorcism 2, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and The Call. Some good, some rotten, none great.
But you only get out of the horror genre what you put into it. Which means that you have to work a little harder than just a simple multiplex trek to find the good stuff. June 2013 actually has several films that are horror-ish in one way or another (The Purge, World War Z, This Is the End, Monsters University), but let's focus instead on the DVD, VOD and limited-release horror flicks.
Anthology horror is well and truly "back" (at least for a while) and I daresay this is one of the best multistory terror collections I've seen in a while. And I see more than you do. My full review is at FEARnet
(yes, all of my reviews are spoiler free) but I'll just say that V/H/S/2
has no bad segments and one amazing segment. You'll know which one it was when the movie is over.
The always excellent character actor Toby Jones (Captain America, The Hunger Games
) takes center stage in this love letter to Italian horror cinema and the cinematic magic that only comes with brilliant sound design. It sounds weird, and it's a weird film, but anyone with even a passing interesting in "giallo" horror and sound design will probably find a lot to appreciate here. Full review here.
Hatchet III (Dark Sky, 6/14 limited)
What would a slasher homage be without a few sequels of its own? The immortal Victor Crowley is back in a sequel that lowers the jokes (a little) and ups the action (quite a bit) without skimping on the wholesale megasplatter we all demand from Adam Green. Low-budget, basic, formulaic, scrappy and even silly? Fine. I still have a good time with these flicks. (Plus the music is really good this time around and Danielle Harris is still so adorable.)
Apartment 1303 (Gravitas, 6/17 VOD)
Haven't seen it! Know very little about it. Only seemed fair to include it, though. I do know it's a Canadian ghost story starring Mischa Barton and Rebecca De Mornay, which means I'll be seeing it soon.
This is one of those "acquired taste" horror flicks that uses pitch-black humor and shocking violence to make a whole variety of interesting points about women, outsiders, surgeons and strippers. Maybe I'm not explaining it right. Here's my review
. And keep in mind that the MPAA gave this film an R rating for "strong aberrant violent content including disturbing images, torture, a rape, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and brief drug use." Sounds like fun, right?
This slow-moving but effective "killer kids" movie earned some knocks on the festival circuit because A) it's a remake of a well-regarded Spanish horror film called Who Can Kill a Child?,
and B) the weirdo director ("Makinov") recorded a bunch of videos that were designed to irritate movie fans. Anyway, I thought the film was pretty solid. Full review here.
(Fox Searclight, 6/18 DVD)
Another one I haven't seen, and (somehow!) still know very little about. Nicole Kidman is in it, and I love that woman. Speaking of love, the director is Chan-wook Park of Oldboy and Thirst. (Those are two separate movies. Not one movie called "Oldboy and Thirst.") A lot of my colleagues (both horror-flavored and the normal kind) seemed to like Stoker, so expect a FEARnet review soon.
(IFC Midnight, 6/21 VOD) -- pictured above
We saw a little slice of the maniacal Elijah Wood back in Sin City
, and man that was fun. But now the guy is using his boyish charms to go waaaaay against type in this surprisingly artistic rendition of the infamous grindhouse splatter flick from 1980. The plainly horror-addicted Alex Aja brings together an odd collection of pieces, but the result is a pretty impressive gut punch of a horror film. Anyway, here's more.
Watch the first six minutes below.
Crawlspace (IFC Midnight, 6/25 VOD)
I'm half-and-half mixed on this Australian sci-fi/horror mash-up, but that doesn't mean I won't include it for all you horror nuts. It's about a team of soldiers sent in to discover why a top-secret experiment has gone off-line... and yes, this all sounds painfully familiar but there are a few interesting ideas here and there. More in my patented "full review" here
NOTE: This is not a horror film, but it does have some legitimately scary moments and lots of sweet suspense. I only include it here because I freaking love it and I wish we had more indie sci-fi films like it. Full review
Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton star as a mother-daughter-vampiress duo who try to take refuge in a small English village, only to cause all sorts of problems when MEN come sniffing around. I kid, but it's actually a darn good movie. Two great leads and the hand of Neil Jordan certainly don't hurt. Full review here
! Come on! Last chance!
And a special place of honor goes to Scream Factory, partially because of how damn well they've been treating various old horror flicks, but specifically for their June releases. Fans of Joe Dante's The Howling (1981) and/or Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce (1985) will want to preorder before the 6/18 release date. Why? Because your local "giant" stories don't carry a lot of Shout/Scream Factory product. They need all that extra shelf space for the Wedding Crashers deluxe edition.