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[BEST & WORST ’13] Evan’s List of the Best Horror Films of 2013!

2013 was an absolutely killer year for horror films. There were so many movies that were on my mind while making this list that I had a genuinely hard time leaving a lot of them off. From amazing horror comedies like This Is The End to straight up brutal fare like Maniac.

In fact, there were so many great films I had to add a much longer honorable mention section than normal! I really feel like horror fans were blessed in 2013. With so many wonderful films that were amazing for totally different reasons, it felt weird to rank them in order from 1-10. So this is a list presented in no particular order.

Head below to check it out!

Mr. Disgusting (Best/Indie) | Evan Dickson (Best) | The Wolfman (Festival Favorites) | Patrick Cooper (Best)
Lonmonster (Best/Worst) | Lauren Taylor (Best/Worst) | Ryan Daley (Best Novels)
Best Posters | Best Performances | Best Trailers

Warm Bodies (Feb 1st; Summit)

There are so many zombie movies out there that seem content to repeat the same ideas, with little flair and to no effect. Not only does Warm Bodies have a new take on it – Zombie as a metaphor for the inability of the young male of our species to communicate romantically – it’s also incredibly well made. It may be too sweet and too PG-13 for some of you guys, I get that. But for me it’s still a great time.

This Is The End (June 12th; Sony)

A hilarious movie that spends just as much time dealing with exorcisms and giant demon cocks as it does skewering celebrity entitlement. Part of me expected to hate This Is The End, but it wound up one of my favorite films of the year. Hilarious and totally rewatchable.

Stitches (April 1st; Dark Sky)

Stitches could have very easily gone down the wrong path with bad clown humor. But writer/director Conor McMahon is able to make those gags totally organic to the story by using them as the ingredients for a series of kills that grow more clever in their inventiveness with each passing beat. It’s also a remarkably economic narrative with no flab to be found.

Evil Dead (April 5th; TriStar)

I know a lot of you are mixed on this. Could the first act have used a bit more finesse when it came to setting up the characters? Sure. But once this film gets going it totally flies. The largely practical effects are great and the gore flows freely and cleverly. This movie is a total crowd pleaser.

The Conjuring (July 19th; New Line)

If James Wan really has left the horror genre, he did so at the top of his game. After several good to great films, The Conjuring reveals him to be a true master of the genre. It’s the best supernatural horror movie in over a decade and I suspect it will be seen as a classic in years to come.

The World’s End (August 23rd; Universal)

From my review, “I’ve always loved the air-tight swiss watch quality of Wright and Pegg’s screenplays, but this is the first time one of their films has been able to sting with such regularity. While Shaun built to an utterly heartbreaking moment where our hero is forced to kill his mother, there’s a constant familiar desperation to Gary’s plight that leaves our defenses weakened. The film jabs at us and then gets back to making us laugh with an admirable swiftness.” And for those of you who doubt that this film is horror, it has elements that give Invasion Of The Body Snatchers a run for its money. Also, there’s nothing scarier than an alcoholic friend hitting rock bottom.

Hey, it came out this year and I’ve never written any kind of opinion piece on it! So in celebration of upgrading my UK Blu-ray with a US version (which boasts a superior transfer), I’m putting this on my list. All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is a fantastic slasher film. Don’t let the distribution politics that held it up keep you from celebrating this as one of the year’s best.

You’re Next (August 23rd; Lionsgate)

Yes, I know I put this on my “Best Of” list in 2011. But now I’ve switched only including films in the year that they were released. You’re Next obviously qualifies in that regard and it felt like I’d be doing the film a disservice to not include it in a conversation about the best horror films of 2013. Because it’s one of them.

+1 (Sept 20th; IFC)

I’m in the minority here, but I find Plus One to be a rewardingly daring film. I think one of the issues is that it subverts almost every expectation, which I can totally see being frustrating for audiences. But, on its own terms, I found it to be one of the more engaging theatrical experiences of the year. Score another one for Dennis Iliadis. If you haven’t seen it, please give it a chance. Put your phone down and pay attention.

Maniac (June 21st; IFC Midnight)

Franck Khalfoun’s remake of Maniac is, as I’ve said before, the Drive of horror (both in style and in narrative). I mean that as a total compliment. It glides along viciously on its pungent neon atmosphere abetted by a great performance from Elijah Wood. The whole thing will leave you utterly unsettled.

Stoker (March 1st; Fox Searchlight)

Chan-wook Park’s English language debut brings his visual mastery to the screen fully intact. But it also feels impressively “American,” as though he skipped the more mainstream elements of our cinematic culture and went right for the hermetically sealed type of world usually reserved for someone like Wes Anderson. Of course there’s a lot more f*cked up shit here than there normally is in an Anderson film. This is a highly sexual, emotionally violent meditation on the concept of “bad blood.”

The Battery (June 7th; O Hannah Films)

I was a bit late to the party on this one but I’m so glad I watched it before pressing “publish” on this list. Writer/director/star Jeremy Gardner delivers a near masterpiece of a film on a scant budget of $6,000 dollars. While the film certainly doesn’t look expensive, it’s still able to pack a cinematic and emotional wallop. I’m still haunted by the final frames and touched by its portrayal of a reluctant bond forged under the worst of circumstances.

Honorable Mentions

I so badly wanted to put Cheap Thrills on here but it isn’t out yet! I’m pretty sure Evan Katz fashioned a mini-masterpiece out of that film. Look for it on this list after its release next year. I also suspect you’ll be seeing Joe Begos’ Almost Human on there as well.

We also covered Gravity and Catching Fire on the site extensively and for good reason – both were great! I actually think Gravity is a masterpiece of suspense and Catching Fire is one of the best blockbusters we’ve had in years. Both have elements that appeal to our readers, but with so many strong “traditional” horror films this year I decided to focus on those in my list. Also, Bad Milo! may have felt slight, but I enjoyed it so much that it was also jockeying for a position on this list.



  • WalkWithMeInDarkness

    Plus One is awesome! I had no idea what was going to happen, which is a very good thing. Maniac is my favorite movie of the year. I haven’t seen The Battery. Overall, nice list, Evan. But I have to say I still think All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is so overrated.

  • Kwonkicker

    You’re Next sucked. Stoker, seriously? How can you not include V/H/S/2? Fucking relentless brutality! Best film on this list is no doubt Maniac.

    • EvanDickson

      @Kwonkicker I loved V/H/S/2 but Brad made it and I figured a bunch of youse guys would cry “unfair!” Even though Gareth and Timo’s segment is some of the best filmmaking this year and I liked all the other ones.

      • joesey

        vhs 2 was still one of the best horror movies this yr.

  • I still can’t believe You’re Next flopped so bad, because it’s one of the best horror home invasion films I’ve seen over the years (yes, I’m one of the few people, who actually enjoyed The Strangers. lol).

    Loved, LOVED Evil Dead also. Although, I’ve seen a lot of complaints about people not liking it, because the “movie took itself too seriously.” My only complaint is they gave away WAY too much in the trailers. For fuck’s sake, there was no shock factor in Evil Dead (2013), because I knew what was coming 95% of the time.

    • Oops. Technically, it wasn’t a flop, because it was a low budget film. Should’ve checked Box Office Mojo first.

    • Chancey289

      The Evil Dead movies are some of my favorite movies of all time and I also loved the remake. It’s everything Evil Dead should be without being just some carbon copy of the original.

      I don’t understand the criticism when people had a problem with it taking itself seriously. They were remaking The Evil Dead which was a straight up serious horror flick back in the day. It wasn’t until Evil Dead II the series when for a more comedic approach. Maybe those people aren’t fans.

      • ” It wasn’t until Evil Dead II the series when for a more comedic approach.”

        My thoughts exactly. Another thing that annoys me is, IF Fede Alvarez tried to mimic the original Evil Dead films step by step, I guarantee you people would still bitch, because they played it too safe.

    • Kwonkicker

      You’re Next suffered from bad writing and a plot trying to make itself too serious. I actually enjoyed The Strangers, for the most part.

      • “a plot trying to make itself too serious.”

        I can definitely understand this complaint in certain parts of the film, and yeah, You’re Next is far from perfect. Should’ve elaborated on this more the first or second time around (I didn’t feel like replying to myself twice & you can’t go back & edit your post on here), but when I say best, I mean You’re Next is the best of a so-so solid bunch over the years. Wouldn’t give it a 10/10 or *****.

        The Strangers is a personal all-time favorite of mine, but I will admit the ending is kind of weak.

        • djblack1313

          Zombie-Killa, while i definitely think YOU’RE NEXT was over-praised by many and made out to be the 2nd coming of Christ, it was still a solid flick. for me Sharni Vinson was a big part of it. she’s awesome.

  • djblack1313

    Evan, solid list! i’ve seen most of them. WARM BODIES, STOKER, EVIL DEAD are my faves from your list but MANIAC, THE CONJURING (decent but not a fave. Goddess Vera Farmiga is what made the movie. she’s always amazing) & YOU’RE NEXT was good as well.

    the only one from this list that i saw and hated (and i hated it with a passion) was THE WORLD’S END. at least in both SHAWN OF THE DEAD & HOT FUZZ Simon Pegg’s characters were at the very least tolerable, if not loveable but in WORLD’S END he (and his stupid journey/goal of drinking at each pub even when the alien stuff is known by his group) is a fucking dickbag. i DID like the fight sequences and the alien/robot(?) fx were very cool.

    Evan, i’m going to trust your reviews and i’m going to watch both PLUS ONE & THE BATTERY. i hope i like them both or at least one them! 🙂

    • Jhanse3 (Jhanse29)

      A couple of movies I still need to check out but I. Never really saw anything I liked in Stoker. It seems like a movie i’d like but I didn’t care for it. Really enjoyed The Evil Dead remake, ATBLML, At the Worlds End, and Stitches.

  • Samhain2010

    I have no idea how “You’re Next” gets any love. I was so excited to see it. I went opening night. I walked out wondering what the heck everyone way talking about! Wingard has yet to make a good movie. Bowen may very well be the worst actor on the planet, but Swanberg and West are not far behind. Nothing about this movie is engaging. It is NOT!!!!!! funny. It is NOT!!!! scary. The movie doesn’t even look good. All the talk that this movie had turned the home invasion genre on its head is not true. The only entertaining part about the movie was the very last scene. I was expecting a fun roller coaster ride home invasion movie, but all I got was the bartender from “Dumb and Dumber”. I even went to see the movie a second time. Still bad. I then saw it a third time in a second showing theater. Still bad. This movie is just bad. Should be on lists for most disappointing movies of 2013. “Al the Boys Love Mandy Lane” is also a piece of trash. I’m not even going to go into depth here because it is not worth the time. Just a real piece of shit.

    • Chrissie-Watkins

      I agree, the acting was just bad, I don’t know what else to say about it. I think it was a great idea, just so poorly executed with such a bummer of a cast.

  • SonOfVoorhees

    This Is The End is in your best? Seriously? That film was such a disappointing piece of shit i have no idea why anyone would watch it twice unless they are brain dead. All Mandy Lane is such a generic by the numbers slasher and a boring one at that.

    Will keep an eye out for plus 1.

  • feck

    Amen! This Is The End was perhaps the least funny movie I have ever seen. And I like the cast and other work that they have done. Was so psyched because the reviews were great but man, it is just GOD AWFUL!

  • Taboo

    Nice list you’ve got there Evan. The Conjuring was my top fav film this year and Evil Dead I avoided watching a while after it’s release because of all the mixed reactions, but it was worth watching for sure.

  • Canucklehead

    This is the End was absolutely hilarious!!!!!!!

  • CaptainHowdee

    Fine list, although I’m not sure if Stoker, The World’s End, Warm Bodies, and This Is The End are considered horror..?

  • thefinalchick

    I don’t agree with most of this list – half of these aren’t even horror films! Really disappointed. I still don’t understand all of the hype over The Conjuring. It was a boring film with lots of plot holes, I have seen Disney Channel Original Movies that were scarier than that movie. I would say Maniac is the only one that deserves to be on this list. Some of the other films mentioned were good, but definitely aren’t horror films.

    • ” I have seen Disney Channel Original Movies that were scarier than that movie”

      Gurl come on……

      • MachineGunGandhi

        I am curious to know which Disney Channel Original Movie you are referring to.

    • RubenVeritas

      Exactly I dont understand. Like it makes my brain hurt because the Conjuring was the most generic piece of shit ever. It wasn’t scary, theres was a jump everyone 5 mins that got tiring, boring, and it ripped off every paranormal/haunting movie every made. Nothing new nor groundbreaking.

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    i also think All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is overrated. the problem with it is that it tries to be inventive but it isn’t. it tries to present itself as being original. it would have been better if they just embraced the fact that it was pretty generic and worked from there.

    i was disappointed with Stitches after seeing it got the first ever Editor’s Choice for a movie. might be because of the fact that i was expecting something completely different then what i got. i may have to re watch it. the same thing happened to me with The Cabin In The Woods and the original Evil Dead the first time i saw them. upon a second watching i really enjoyed them because i knew what to expect

    i felt that You’re Next was a little over-hyped. it was decent but i didn’t enjoy as much as some other people

    i loved The Conjuring. james wan is a genius.

    still need to see Maniac and Evil Dead

  • Finncat

    Great list. Half of them are on my own favorite list, the rest I loved. I disagree about Stoker and This is the End, they were good, but Antiviral and American Mary were better. I am holding an unofficial slot for Your Next, it lasted a week in my state, I didn’t get a chance to get to the theater. I really hope the coming year has some great surprise horror gems in store for us. Happy New Year to you for all the great articles that make my day a little better.

  • GoreFaceSupreme

    Stitches and Mandy Lane are so ridiculously overrated I am sure the makers of these movies are paying BD staff to hype them. This is the end is a comedy. Just because it has the occasional horror moment it doesn’t make it a horror film. It has a few dramatic moments in it too. Does that make it a drama? Exactly. The world’s end is also a comedy and if anything should be on a Sci-Fi list, not a horror list. No American Mary? No Insidious 2? I think you should try again.

    • EvanDickson

      @gorefacesupreme if we are getting paid to hype them, that’s news to me! Please make sure they have my proper mailing address!

  • Mandy Lane?
    Anyways here for Maniac and You’re Next, me gusta.

  • Julian Nunez

    The battery sounds interesting. Will definitely check that out. Solid list, but im curious as to why All the boys love mandy lane had so much praise. It really felt generic with a predictable twist, imo.

  • KevinL

    Pretty decent list. I swear I saw Maniac & Stitches on a number of the staffs best of 2012 list, so I would figure Cheap Thrills could be mentioned. It did play TAD this year after all. I’m with you on that one for sure, I was VERY impressed. What a great film, and nice to see Ethan Embry in a very different role as I’ve always been a huge fan of him.

  • viking1983

    the conjuring started good then ended up being fucking terrible, all the boys love mandy lane came out years ago and was shit, best film in that list is maniac

  • jaxx367

    Maniac and Evil Dead were excellent horror movies and definetly two of the Best horror films of the year

  • joesey

    good list. I’ve seen all these movies except battery–i’m a little burnt out on zombie movies.

  • woodchuck

    I agree with the list except for “The Conjuring”, for the life of me I can not see why this movie gets so much love, it was by far my biggest let down of the year, just another run of the mill haunting movie in my opinion. I haven’t seen Plus One or Battery but they’re both on my list now

    • WineandWatch

      I think the production team is what made The Conjuring so good for me. It was definitely not as scary as I was expecting but I was thoroughly entertained throughout the movie and it was very well made. I don’t think it’s an amazing movie, per se. But it’s a very-well made one.

  • macguffin54

    I watched Stitches based on its inclusion on this list, and boy am I ever sorry I did. It is a terrible film. It is pretty well-made, I’ll give it that. But there is nothing remotely funny or scary about this film, and it tries to be both. It’s like the makers couldn’t decide between making a teen exploitation flick or a horror movie, so they made a teen flick and threw in random horror elements. It did not gel well. It made no sense. The things that happened were from left field. And a random nitpick for me: I didn’t get why when they showed the teenagers they also showed who they were at the birthday party years earlier. We are only at the party for a couple of minutes and we don’t get to know who the kids are then or their personalities, so why does it matter who they are now? Why waste time showing EACH person like it matters. If I wouldn’t waste my time on this. This is the End was a pretty funny movie. Not sure why it’s on this list, but I guess it’s pretty slim pickings for horror this year. And Mandy Lane is just a generic horror flick. There is nothing remotely interesting about. The Battery was a little disappointing (the characters kind of annoyed me at the end. I can think of a dozen things they could have done rather than just sit there), but worth checking out.

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    bullshit list

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