Anything Horror Scott’s 10 Best Horror Films of 2011
And now the list I’ve been waiting to put together all December!! I love reliving the best films of the year. After writing the 10 Worst Films of the Year it’s sometimes hard to remember that we actually had some really fun, disturbing, and kick ass genre films out there in 2011. But first I need to go over my personal, AnythingHorror.com criteria for what films qualify for this list: Only films made in 2011 are eligible for the Best of 2011 list. So yes; this automatically excludes a lot of really great films that were made in 2010 but released in 2011. For these films I have an “Honorable Mentions” list after this one.
10. THE CALLER (dir. Matthew Parkhill; my review)
Not too many people saw this one, but Parkhill gives us a really intelligent script, great acting, and keeps us guessing until the end. At the end of the day this could be classified as a ‘time travel’ movie, and refreshingly enough we never get trapped in what I call the “Time Travel Paradox.” Sure this one has zero gore, but it’s a great story and has characters you’ll actually care about. Don’t miss this one.
9. FINAL DESTINATION 5 (dir. Steven Quale; my review)
What the hell is the fourth sequel of this franchise doing on my list? Simple; it’s a terrifically fun flick. The disaster on the bridge is great, the acting is great, and the kill set-up scenes are fantastic!! You’ll never do acupuncture or get Lasik eye surgery after seeing this one. The writers even manage to throw in a tie-in to the original FINAL DESTINATION that totally works. This is just a fun, gory, well-acted horror film.
8. RATLINE (dir. Eric Stanze; my review)
No doubt that the indie horror scene saved me this past year. Sure, not all of the indie horror flicks I saw were great, but there were a few that blew me away. RATLINE is one of them. Director and co-writer Eric Stanze has been around for a while and the man knows how to craft a film and how to squeeze every penny. Not only is the plot kinda “out there,” but this looks and feels like a polished big budget film. What starts off as a fugitives-on-the-run flick takes a serious left turn to include Nazi occultism and the resurrection of the Master Race. But Stanze has firm control over the material and never ceases to ‘wow’ us at every chance he gets.
7. BLEADING LADY (dir. Ryan Nicholson; my review)
Another indie horror flick by a man who’s no stranger to anythinghorror.com. Nicholson crafts a film about obsession, desire, and not knowing when you’re going over the line. The success of this film rests squarely on the shoulders of it’s lead actor, Dan Ellis. Nicholson actually develops a story here and when the plot finally reaches the boiling point and everything explodes … well use your imagination. This is a Nicholson film.
6. ATTACK THE BLOCK (dir. Joe Cornish; my review)
Coming from across the pond is a terrific film that is fun, fast-paced, funny, and never forgets that it’s a horror film. ATTACK THE BLOCK seamlessly blends together horror, scifi, and comedic elements to give us one helluva fun ride. The comedy never kills the horror as our young gang of hooligans take a stand against an alien invasion. I would’ve liked to have seen more gore, but sometimes less is more!!
5. CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 (dir. Robert Hall; my review)
I know a lot of people were disappointed with this one but this is exactly what I was looking for in the sequel. This is obviously the second in a trilogy and does a great job setting up the mythos of ChromeSkull (played by Nick Principe). Rob Hall’s script and directing is crisp and he actually outdoes himself in the gore content from the original (yeah; hard to believe). As long as Hall is around, the slasher genre will never die!!
4. BONG OF THE DEAD (dir. Thomas Newman; my review)
This is perhaps my favorite indie horror flick of the year. BONG OF THE DEAD could’ve so easily been a campy, childish comedy, but writer-director Newman has a laser-like focus on giving us a really badass zombie story. The comedy is well placed and the lead actors are terrific in their roles. They never take their roles as stoners over-the-top but hit all the right notes. Newman also gives us a pretty interesting take on the zombie genre. And the gore … ya gotta see it to believe it!!
3. HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE (dir. Tom Six; my review)
Yup; you’re seeing a HUMAN CENTIPEDE movie on my ‘Best of’ list. We all know that I hated the original with a passion. I hated that it failed to deliver on … well, on anything!! But Six didn’t hold back in his follow-up. Filmed in black & white, I don’t understand horror reviewers bashing part 2 for being too graphic and extreme. Seriously?? Sometimes I wonder about other so-called ‘horror’ sites. HC2 had great acting (lead Laurence Harvey was amazing), a great story, and managed to out-do Cravens NEW NIGHTMARE for being self-referential. I think this is a brilliant film, and Six more than earned a spot in the top five films of the year.
2. THE WOMAN (dir. Lucky McKee; my review)
This was a tough film to watch!! McKee has a way of slowly getting under your skin and really fucking with your mind. It’s hard to believe that this is the “follow up” to 2009’s OFFSPRING (which is fucking horrible). THE WOMAN has zero humor in it and has a bare-bones soundtrack. You could hear a pin drop in the theater I saw it in. But there’s a lot of depravity and a lot of real-life horrors going on in this one. Every character is more depraved and horrifying than the next (yes; even the kid characters). This is a film that will keep you totally engrossed up until the ending (one of the most explosive endings I’ve ever witnessed). The crowd I saw this with … we all sat in shocked silence after this film ended. Don’t miss this one.
1. HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (dir. Jason Eisener; my review)
Who didn’t know this was gonna be my favorite film of the year?? It was a toss up between this and THE WOMAN, but HOBO just edged out McKee’s masterpiece. Simply put, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN was the most fun I had watching a horror film all year. Eisener is bat-shit crazy and is able to get all that craziness on screen. Rutger Hauer puts in one of his best performances as the titular anti-hero and Eisener takes this film in some truly warped directions. HOBO is also the best modern-day homage to the old-school grindhouse/exploitation/42nd Street genre I’ve seen (take a lesson Mr. Rodriguez!!). Eisener pushes the boundaries and I just love him for that. Where else can you see a guy toast a school bus full of children with a flamethrower? Eisener is also my favorite up and coming horror director. Will someone please give this man a budget!!
list compiled by Scott Shoyer