Best Genre Films of 2011: Part 3

By: Heather Seebach

Part 1: Click here!

Part 2: Click here!

10. Cold Fish

In this Japanese thriller from the director of Suicide Club, a man becomes reluctantly involved with the psychopathic owners of a tropical fish store. His mundane life with a bored wife and rebellious daughter becomes a nightmare of sex, lies, murder. Cold Fish is a better Straw Dogs remake than 2011’s actual Straw Dogs remake. The influence from Peckinpah’s film is obvious, as the timid protagonist is gradually pushed into standing up for himself. Even the titles are similar. If that’s not evidence enough for you, the film’s poster is a close-up of star Mitsuru Fukikoshi’s face with shattered eyeglasses. Fish, however, is a lot more fucked up. One scene in particular is perhaps a disturbing, ironic twist on a moment in Straw Dogs – but I’ll leave that up to your imagination. Fish is a gory slice of what-the-fuck as only the Japanese can deliver.
9. The Last Circus

Set in 1930s Spain during a civil war, Javier, a circus “sad clown” falls in love with a lovely trapeze artist. This puts him in the crosshairs of her abusive “funny clown” boyfriend, Sergio. An increasingly disturbing and brutal series of events unfold as the two clowns battle over the trapeze artist while a political war rages around them. Javier spirals deeper into madness with the already-insane Sergio. Circus is as beautiful as it is ugly, and guaranteed to stay with you long after the credits roll. 

8. Take Shelter

Michael Shannon stars as a once-normal family man who begins having dreams about an apocalyptic storm approaching. Convinced the visions are real, he becomes obsessed with building a storm shelter at the cost of his marriage. While largely a drama, it is fair to classify Shelter as a horror/psychological thriller, as the protagonist is tormented by haunting visions of what may be the world’s end – or just insanity setting in. Either way, the film is tense, beautiful, and Shannon is fantastic as always.
7. The Silent House (La Casa Muda)

This spooky film from Uruguay centers on a young woman who joins her father in clearing out a home for-sale. Before long, her dad goes missing, and terrifying noises suggest someone or something else is in the house. Filmed entirely in one continuous shot, the film follows this girl as she frantically tries to escape the house while being tormented by a seemingly unseen menace. The continuous, handheld action allows not only for good pan scares but clever mirror shots. The Silent House is one of the scarier films I have seen in a long time, using mostly sound FX with great effectiveness. And the visual scares are not cheap or fake – like, “Oh, it’s just the cat” – which is nice. There is one aspect of this film - I won’t say which here – that really hurts it, and may ruin it for some people. But I ranked it this high because the other 90% of the film is just that good.
6. The Skin I Live In (La Piel Que Habito)

This drama/thriller from Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar stars Antonio Banderas as a plastic surgeon who has developed a synthetic skin which can withstand burns and disease. To perfect his invention, he tests it on a human – specifically, a woman he has imprisoned in his home. Slowly, the movie shows us the series of disturbing events that led up to this scenario. This twisted love/revenge tale moves fast and is never dull. And just when you think you have the story figured out – things are not quite as they seem.

Bookmark and Share
Like the post? Share with your friends!

Also find us here: