I relish my role as a DVD critic for B-D, especially as a guy who has grown estranged from the once-relished movie theater experience. I deeply respect Mr. D for braving a tweener-packed Twilight screening in order to secure an early review, but these days I’d rather review a movie from the sanctity of my own sofa in a completely empty house. It’s the only way to truly immerse myself in a film. And I know that I’m not alone. There are others out there, silent rebels that have angrily disavowed movie theaters and their obnoxious distractions. And this list of the best horror DVDs of 2010 is dedicated to you, my fellow theater-hating couch potatoes. (Once again, this is a list of DVDs, not theatrical releases. So please try to refrain from giving me shit in the comments for neglecting Let Me In, Buried, or other movies that won’t receive a DVD release until 2011.)
Although not a perfect film, Predators’ ìgame preserveî premise served as an excellent thematic reboot to the franchise. Sure, a puffy Larry Fishburne gets killed off way too early, but there are plenty of righteous fight scenes to go around, and Adrien Brody does his whole growly Bale/Batman thing for 107 minutes, which had to impress somebody, somewhere.
A TV-movie gem from 1981 finally gets the DVD release it deserves. After being executed for a crime he didn’t commit, a small town retard rises from the grave to seek revenge against the posse that killed him. It’s good, cheesy fun, a perfectly shot piece of low budget Americana that still manages to resonate 30 years later.
It took two viewingsññmonths apartññbefore Ti West’s slow-burn style really started to grow on me. His homage to 80s horror is too well-crafted, moody, and memorable to dismiss as simply ìboringì. Once I realized that the shitty pacing was on purpose, the flick was finally able to work its old school magic.
I get a rager for single-setting horror flicks and Frozen takes a high-concept premise to an armrest-gripping extreme. Adam Green’s tale of three friends trapped on a ski lift made me both sweat and shiver in the theater. In a sense, it’s the ultimate survival film. In the process, Green managed to teach Hollywood a valuable lesson: When it comes to wolves, there is no substitute for the real thing.
Despite its universally appealing white-bread cast (Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, and Kate Hudson), The Killer Inside Me received a very limited release (17 theaters) and only managed to bank around $200,000 at the box office. You’d think the halcyon 1950s setting would appeal to mystery-loving baby boomers, but perhaps the gut-wrenching violence turned them away. Like Blue Velvet, it’s a disturbing exploration of the evil that lurks just beneath the tranquil surface of us all. A queasily unforgettable movie experience that’s not intended for everyone.
British director Neil Marshall follows up The Descent and Doomsday with this hyper-violent Romans vs. Barbarians spectacle. I’m hard pressed to name a contemporary director who makes movies that are as reliably entertaining as Marshall’s, and Centurion is no exception. Although it’s not technically a horror film, the high-energy battle scenes and gorgeous Scotland landscapes are straight-up eye candy, the blood flies fast and loose, and the bounteous carnage will please even the most unforgiving of horror fans.
The complaints about the predictability of its twist ending are somewhat warranted, but Martin Scorsese’s madhouse lockdown is all about the journey, not the destination. Oozing the same suffocating dread that defined 1991’s Cape Fearññalong with some truly stunning cinematographyññShutter Island deserves far more respect than its post-Oscars release date would imply.
Yeah, I know it seems like this one came out ages ago, but I was forced to exclude it from last year’s DVD list due to its January 2010 release date, and it definitely deserves some space here. Itës my favorite film of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, a thought-provoking piece of science fiction about manës inherent loneliness in the universe, easily on par with superior genre fare like Solaris or Sunshine.
Kneel and give praise to the Horror Gods, for 2010 was the year of the two best horror documentaries of all time! Never Sleep Again is a four hour love letter to the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, a doc that leaves no gravestone unturned, covering everything from the vast shittiness of the syndicated Freddy’s Nightmares to the latent homosexuality that seeped through Nightmare Part 2. Whether or not you’re an obsessed fan of the franchise, it’s a film that is impossible to stop watching.
And at this point, I don’t know what more you need to hear about Best Worst Movie. It’s both hysterically funny and genuinely moving, a powerful dedication to bad cinema everywhere. If you still haven’t had your friends over for a Nilbog party, well, then you just ain’t livin’. Put it on your bucket list, stat.
Red Riding, Cropsey, Zombieland, The Book of Eli, The Crazies