Horror Ten Spot: My Most Anticipated Genre Flicks of 2013!
Season greetings ghouls and goys! As another year sadly comes to a close, you've no doubt been stabbed in the face with all kinds of best of the year film lists, highlights, retrospectives, what have you. But instead of looking to the past, I always find it just as fun to examine what the future holds. Cinematically, the horror genre is actually looking pretty damn healthy in 2013...with a boom of original movies interspersed with the rote, requisite remakes. And not only that, some of our best filmmakers in the genre are unspooling their newest in the next 12 months or so. Wan, del Toro, Zombie, Park, Refn...just to name a few, all delivering original thrills and chills. Gotta love it! So here now is my personal list of most anticipated 2013 horror joints!
I liked THE LAST EXORCISM. I liked how the main character was an incipient huckster that served as a conduit of doubt for us the audience. As he begins to believe, so do we, and the documentary angle gave the flick a verite quality that really just worked for me. Will THE LAST EXORCISM II replicate the feat? Doubt it, as director Daniel Stamm (of the original) has been replaced by Ed Glass-Donnelly. However, Ashley Bell is back as the tormented Nell, so too is her onscreen dad Louis Herthum, in a tale that finds the poor little girl once again struck by demonic possession after seemingly putting her life back together.
Production woes be damned, Brad Pitt trying to save the world from a zombie apocalypse is too promising to pass up. And I know Marc Forster has been reported to be out of his league with this particular brand of sprawling action, I greatly enjoy the man's movies. Of course, I've not read the Max Brooks novel(s), nor do I much respect the writing of Damon Lindelof, but what the hell...a zombie pandemic is always worth a watch. Let's just hope the outbreak isn't treated as clinically as in CONTAGION...I want something more visceral, more terrifying.
Seeing how Jessica Chastain is poised to nab an Oscar for her work in ZERO DARK THIRTY, I cannot wait to see her dominate the lead in the Guillermo del Toro produced horror flick MAMA. Spanish director Andres Muschietti makes his feature debut with the film, actually expounding on his 2008 short film of the same name. The plot finds Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau forced to raise the man's estranged nieces who've been lost in the woods for the past 5 years. As you can guess, the little bastards aren't quite right. My only qualm is that the flick is PG-13, but if Chastain signed on, the script must really be something special. And I'm liking her with dark hair and tats!
After bestowing DISTRICT 9 my favorite genre joint of 2009, I naturally wait with bated breath for what director Neill Blomkamp follows up with. Lucky for us, ELYSIUM is also a lofty sci-fi extravaganza, this one larger with a cast that includes Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley. Just as D9 was fraught with commentary on apartheid, ELYSIUM seems to have a lot to say about the haves and have nots and the gross inequality that continues to plague the globe. Set in 2159, the 1%ers live in a manmade space station, while the rest of the world's population suffers on a ruinous Earth. As long as it isn't too preachy, I'm down with potent sub-textual sci-fi!
I'd put just about any Guillermo del Toro (directed) film on my must-see list of any year, but when dude champions our beloved genre the way he has with his mega-monster-movie PACIFIC RIM, the sentiment is doubled. Sure the epic-spectacle appears little more than a summer blockbuster of a good time at the movies, but so what? Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Day fighting off legions of gigantic beasts? Too damn good to pass! Besides, who has more of a clear vision of the world they want to show onscreen than del Toro? Dude's a true visionary!
Ever the lightning rod of controversy, Rob Zombie returns to the horror arena with LORDS OF SALEM, a $1.5 million tale of modern day witchery. Sadly, we still don't know exactly when the flick will drop, but it's safe to assume it will be sometime in 2013. Now I'm no Zombie acolyte, but I did enjoy CORPSES and REJECTS a good enough deal to want to see LORDS at some point. Besides, a who's who of horror icons are onboard...from Udo Kier, Dee Wallace, Meg Foster to Camille Keaton, Barbara Crampton and Ken Foree...not to mention Zombie regulars Sid Haig and Sheri Moon.
After OLDBOY, is there a Chan-wook Park movie you WON'T watch? Me either, which is why I'm even more stoked that the Korean filmmaker has chosen STOKER as his English language debut, a fierce psychological thriller of domestic depravity. Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Dermot Mulroney play the principal parts, doing so in a tale of mysterious infatuation and how the family-fabric is torn apart therein. All quite hush-hush at this point, but the flick is definitely rated-R for "disturbing violent and sexual content." And it's Chan-wook Park for crying out loud!
From the guy who brought us SAW and INSIDIOUS - James Wan is back with the modestly-budgeted horror show THE CONJURING, starring the gorgeous Vera Farmiga and familiar Patrick Wilson. I do wonder how the flick will play in the dead of summer, and how Wan will operate without his right hand man Leigh Whannell, but I have zero question about the quality of chills said flick will administer. Plot details are scant at the moment, all we really know is the story finds a New England family encountering ghastly happenings in their new abode.
Like most horror enthusiasts, certainly around these parts, I downright loathe remakes, especially ones meant only to earn a buck on the name of the original. But as much as I love Sam Raimi's EVIL DEAD, I can't conscionably deny how f*ckin' gnarly Fede Alvarez's EVIL DEAD remake looks. In fact, if I were doing a Top Ten horror trailers list, the one for EVIL DEAD would rank #1. The overall look of the movie, the lighting and atmosphere, the gripping and grating sound FX, mixed with the over the top grue and viscera resulting from what appear to be highly original death sequences...I'm nearly 100% sold.
Since Nic Refn and Ryan Gosling teamed up to give us my favorite flick of 2011, the coolly styled DRIVE, I have to award them the highest honor of anticipation in 2013. Remember, the two dudes have traveled to Bangkok, Thailand to reunite with the Refn written and directed ONLY GOD FORGIVES, a dark and seedy crime-thriller we can bet will have more heightened and sensationalized violence than most horror flicks. Come on, it's Refn we're talking about! As for the plot, it follows an embattled police lieutenant who is forced to settle his beef with a Thai gangster in a boxing ring. Too badass!