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#4 Sleep Tight
Note: Released in 2011 overseas, but hit the U.S. this year.
When he was flying solo, Jaume Balaguero's career was synonymous with mediocrity. But this Spanish genre filmmaker's oeuvre strengthened when he partnered with colleague Paco Plaza for the Rec films. With the first two entries in that horror series, the pair's combined ferocious sensibilities kicked international horror fare in the ass. After Rec 2, however, Balaguero opted to venture out on his own again. And he had a lot to prove. Would he slip back into the muddled, languid storytelling that plagued previous efforts like Darkness or Fragile? The answer is a resounding "no." His latest effort, Sleep Tight, is a top-notch, disturbing thriller demonstrating the work of a maturing director who has learned from past mistakes. Balaguero mines familiar territory, yet his film still manages to work its way under your skin thanks to a script by Alberto Marini. It will provoke many to check under their bed before they go to sleep.
Read my full review here.
The one film I saw this year on a number of occasions. The first time, it absolutely rattled me. When those home movies featured in the film were presented, they hit me hard...and I didn't expect that. They're raw, brutal, and combined with the film's soundtrack, absolutely powerful. They're hard to top as far as fright factor is concerned, however, director Scott Derrickson manages to make the rest of the film work, taking you off guard at every turn. And I'm happy to say that it held up quite well on repeat viewings. The movie is out to scare you, plain and simple and it achieves that while introducing richly-textured characters. Sinister simply mature, merciless horror storytelling.
Released in Canada this year, due in the U.S. next year.
Brandon Cronenberg - son of David Cronenberg - knocks it out of the park with his feature debut, Antiviral, a poignant, subversive tale that, at times, provokes its viewer and stirs something within them as the film serves as a bitter, sometimes infuriating and intelligent reminder that the state of our celebrity-obsessed culture has grown steadily worse and could get a lot more horrifying. Antiviral is also a deeply fascinating mystery set in an equally fascinating world created by Cronenberg that is reminiscent of his father’s early, angrier works. There’s no ignoring this familiarity when, in one scene, leading man Caleb Landry Jones is seen sprouting cables from the flesh of his wrists and a sporting a bleeding filter where his mouth should be. The nature of the story, itself, carries shades of David's ouevre, still, Brandon makes the film his own...and what a delicious, haunting ride it is.
Read my full review here.
I love this movie so much. You can read my 10/10 review here. Or, you can allow me to gush about it one more time since it has been made available on Blu-ray, thus allowing me to watch it repeatedly. This is my kind of jam. That's the bottom line. It's smart as hell, it's incredibly funny, it's instantly quotable and, most of all, it's full of monsters. The movie is catered to my tastes. And if you don't like it? Well, okay then, but Richard Jenkins here has something to say about that...
Want to know what I'm excited for in 2013? Click here for "Six Movies I'm Eager to See in 2013."