Thursday, December 28, 2006

Best and Worst Horror Films of 2006

Without further ado, I give you my picks for Best/Worst Horror Films of 2006.

The Best:

1.) The Descent - Is there any question that this was the most frightening film of 2006? I didn't think so...With its claustrophobic, dark atmosphere, emotional fragility of the characters and the very scary creatures encountered underground, this film made it hard for me to enter darkened rooms and sleep at night after viewing it! If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and check out the best horror film of '06.

2.) Head Trauma - A mind-bending film that keeps you guessing to the end, Head Trauma is filled with dream-like and creepy imagery. It is one of the few horror movies of 2006 that made me jump in my own living room while viewing it. Extra impressive is the fact that it was made on a very limited budget and features many inventive camera angles.

3.) Bad Reputation - A no-to-low budget horror film by promising writer/director Jim Hemphill, Bad Reputation tells a basic rape-revenge story set in high school. The brutality and intimacy that Hemphill portrays is truly remarkable for a first-time filmmaker. I couldn't get the film out of my head days after viewing it.

4.) Freak Out - A laugh-a-second horror film that had me in stitches its entire running time. It's over-the-top, original, and a bloody good time. Freak Out features many homages and in-jokes to the horror genre that true horror fans can greatly appreciate.

5.) Golden Age - A wonderful homage to the exploitation flicks that came out in the "golden age" of VHS, this low-budget film delivers in 30 minutes more torture, pain, blood and enjoyment than most horror movies deliver in 2 hours.

6.) Reincarnation - Intelligent and engaging, this film features psychological terror that's up to par with The Descent. It is also beautifully shot by director Takashi Shimizu, who also directed Ju-on, but don't expect any typical J-horror scares here.

7.) The Woods - This film grabbed me by surprise and really delivered something different. The haunting and eerie atmosphere is what makes this movie, as do the small details that director Lucky McKee added. Also, the mainly female cast really sold this movie to me and the entire cast does a fantastic job in this creepy tale.

8.) Abominable - A fun, fun throwback to the creature-features of yore, with a rampaging Bigfoot killing off, in very entertaining ways, a group of people staying at some isolated cabins. This may also be "low-budget," but doesn't skimp on the 'bout that guy getting half his head chomped off?

9.) Hard Candy - I might get some flack for including this on my list, as Hard Candy isn't exactly horror, but it is definitely one of the most suspenseful and psychologically intense movies I've seen all year. The fast-paced, clever dialogue coupled with the mind games that the two leads play makes for an unsettling experience.

10.) Slither - Fun, clever and downright gory, this is how films inspired by Troma should be. It features so many horror in-jokes, how could a horror lover not be charmed? While I still think it was missing a certain something, it is still more clever and enjoyable than most horror flicks.

Honorable mentions include: Three...Extremes, Joshua, Silent Hill, Hostel and The Hills Have Eyes

Now, for the Worst of Horror in 2006:

1.) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning - I cannot begin to describe how horrible this needless prequel was...ugh, but let me try. It contains zero originalilty, and many scenes are lifted directly from both the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre or its remake. It is a dull, uninspired and lifeless waste of time and money.

2.) The Roost - What a bore this was! No tension, no suspense and definitely no scares. The premise seemed pretty cool, but this one let me down big time. Even the camera angles seemed static, monotonous and booooooring.

3.) Jenifer - I am a big fan of Argento's work, but Jenifer, while pushing the limits of the Master's of Horror series with its gore and sex scenes, seemed pretty weak to me. I saw the ending coming a mile away, and I felt the story was stretched far beyond its 51 minute limit. Let's hope Argento does better this season...

4.) Unrest - Another mess that features bad acting, an incomplete story and zilch in the way of horror. I was checking my watch every 5 minutes during this movie while waiting for something to never does. There are no scares and the storyline goes nowhere.

5.) Let's Scare Jessica to Death - A film that came out in 1971 but was only released on DVD this year, I wish this one had been kept in the vaults indefinitely. Annoying characters and an unbelievable storyline are only half of its problems. A suggestion for a new title; Let's BORE Jessica to Death!

There you have it, folks, my list for the Best and Worst in Horror this year.

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