Best Genre Films of 2012 - Part 1 (#20 - #11)

By: Heather Seebach

Some say 2012 was a disappointing year for cinema, but I think that, at the very least, genre films were booming this past year. There was an easy 20 I really liked, and a few more that, while not great, were still quite enjoyable. The horror genre alone had a lot of really unique entries - even some of mainstream ones. Here is part 1 of my top 20 countdown:

20. Beyond the Black Rainbow

I'll admit it's a pity to place this film so low on this list because there is no denying how gorgeous this movie is. It's a trippy 70s/80s Technicolor sci-fi dream. The story is intriguing, the villain is fantastic, and it just looks so damn pretty, but I am ranking it last here because the movie just never came together for me. It fizzles out in the end, but if you dig sci-fi, don't let that stop you from seeing this one at least once.

19. The Raid: Redemption

Forget The Expendables 2, this Indonesian martial arts flick was easily the most talked-about actioner of 2012. Not to be confused with Dredd 3-D, this one is about a SWAT team trapped inside an apartment building controlled by a crime lord. The movie wastes no time jumping into the good stuff, and ass-kicking never steps until the end credits role. For me, the three-way fight (pictured) is the highlight of the film.
18. Iron Sky

This flick seemed to get a lot of buzz when it was in production (who wouldn't be excited for Nazis on the moon?) but upon release nobody seemed to care anymore. With hilarious in-jokes and no concern for political correctness, Iron Sky is campy, over-the-top fun. It has Udo Kier! And the best use of an Internet meme you will ever see in a movie.

17. Lovely Molly

This was one of at least two big horror movies representing my home state of Maryland this year (the other being Barry Levinson's The Bay). From Eduardo Sanchez, co-director of The Blair Witch Project, this one is a surprisingly effective thriller about demonic possession (or is it?). From the outside, it looks like generic psychological horror crap, but impressive performances and impeccable sound design prove otherwise. 

(Click here to read my full review of Lovely Molly)

16. V/H/S

Anthology films are difficult to critique and rank because one short can be incredible and another crap. V/H/S has the good fortune of being at least 2/3 quality, including bookend segments from David Bruckner and Radio Silence that are incredibly fun. I was lucky enough to see this one with an audience, and I think that makes a big difference. V/H/S is uniquely designed and suited to being a midnight movie.

(Click here for read my full review of V/H/S)

15. Sound of My Voice 

2012 saw quite a few films about time travel but this one went seemingly unnoticed by most. Two wannabe investigative journalists infiltrate a cult led by a woman who claims to be from the future. It is an intriguing movie that I only wish was longer, as it ends a bit too abruptly for my taste.

14. The Divide

This was the very first film I saw in 2012 and it has had a lasting impact on me ever since. What begins as a seemingly unimpressive post-apocalyptic tale turns into something deeply disturbing and horrifying. Prior to this one, director Xavier Gens made the fantastic Frontier(s), and his contribution to this year's The ABCs of Death was one of the best entries. Like most of his work, The Divide is visually stunning and does not pull its gut-punches.

13. Citadel

This Irish horror film was inspired by the real-life experiences of director Ciarán Foy, who was attacked so traumatically it left him with agoraphobia. Citadel is about a widowed father who is terrified of the outside world after an attack by young hoodlums. When the youths continue to torment him and come for his baby, he is forced to face his fears and take action. This flick boasts some of the year's most genuinely terrifying moments.

12. Livide (Livid)

From the directors of Inside comes this visually stunning horror that breathes new life into the vampire sub-genre. It lacks the disturbing and powerful punch of the directors' last effort, but it is a very different film, aiming more for the supernatural fairy tale feel of, say, Guillermo del Toro. Livide is legitimately creepy and every shot is beautiful to behold.

11. Killer Joe

The latest from William Friedken proves the 77-year-old director is still not afraid to traverse disturbing territory. This Southern Gothic drama/black comedy earns its NC-17 rating completely. This film is so grimy, I immediately needed a shower afterward. Matthew McConaughey gives the best and most daring performance of his career, and the climactic tableau of the film is impossible to scrub from your brain.

(Click here to read my full review of Killer Joe)

Click here for part 2 (#10 through #1)!
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