Best Genre Films of 2012 - Part 2 (#10 - #1)

By: Heather Seebach

Click here to read #20 - #11!

10. The Berberian Sound Studio

This love letter to Giallo filmmaking is clever, intriguing, and beautifully shot. The ever-fantastic Toby Jones plays a mousey sound mixer brought in to oversee an Italian horror production. My favorite thing about this movie is the fact that we never actually see the film being made, but experience it entirely through sound. I am still scratching my head over the end, but this film put its hooks in me right from the beginning.
9. Excision

Richard Bates Jr.'s feature debut is a wickedly funny visual feast. AnnaLynne McCord gives an insane, bold performance, and she is surrounded by some awesome people like Traci Lords, Roger Bart, Ray Wise, and Malcolm McDowell. The dream sequences alone are wild (imagine Herschell Gordon Lewis made Lady Gaga videos). Excision is a funny, fucked-up coming-of-age story not to be missed. 

(Click here to read my full review of Excision)

8. Compliance

This is the kind of film that could be dismissed as too ridiculous if not for the fact it all really happened. Based on a real story (and dozens of others just like it) about a prank call gone-too-far, Compliance is deeply disturbing without the need for gore or shock value. All the actors are great, but Pat Healy (The Innkeepers) is especially creepy here. Have Google handy when the movie ends, as you will no doubt be in disbelief this all truly happened.

7. John Dies at the End

The latest from Don Coscarelli is balls-out crazy and fun. Fans of David Wong's book already know how insane the story is. If you enjoy drug-fueled mania ala Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or you're just a fan of over-the-top camp horror, this movie is for you. I am probably alone here, but John feels like the antidote to Cosmopolis - a film which unfortunately just didn't grab me like I had hoped. Both obviously have Paul Giamatti, and the protagonist of this one looks remarkably like Robert Pattinson if he were actually attractive. More importantly, they both thrive in the bizarre, but I prefer my crazy with more fun and less politics.

6. Sleep Tight

This thriller comes from Jaume Balagueró, half the creative force behind the fantastic [REC] series. It is about a doorman who secretly manipulates everyone in his apartment building for his own sick pleasure. Luis Tosar is great in the lead, and Balagueró proves he can do so much more than found-footage with this incredibly tense, disturbing horror.

(Click here for my full review of Sleep Tight)

5. Headhunters

This Norwegian heist film is just plain fun, with clever twists, thrilling action sequences, and a good sense of humor. It is a cat-and-mouse story between a hapless thief and a ruthless killer - kinda like No Country for Old Men but with more Fargo-like humor. Game of Thrones fans will enjoy said killer, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Headhunters is already a hit overseas, so see this one quickly before Hollywood remakes it. Mark Wahlberg is already in talks *shudder*

(Click here for my full review of Headhunters) 

4. Prometheus

This will probably be the most controversial choice on here but readers of this site probably already know my feelings about Prometheus. It is not a film without flaws, but it is so wildly ambitious and fan-servicing that I cannot help but love it. Damon Lindelof's open-ended script has pissed off so many, but I embrace his more-questions-than-answers style (I loved Lost, after all). Furthermore, the actors are great (especially Michael Fassbender as the android, David 8), the sets are stunning, and the visuals breath-taking. The movie never felt confusing or illogical to me. Most complaints I hear are petty and would never have been applied to Alien or Aliens in their day. There is just no pleasing the fanboys and girls of today, but Prometheus came as close to perfect as an Alien prequel is ever gonna get. 

(Click here for my full review of Prometheus)

3. Looper

This is probably the best science fiction film in years, not only for its awesome time travel story, but the unexpected direction it takes in its second half. I will not elaborate, for anybody who has not seen it, but trust that it is awesome.  My only complaint about Looper is the distracting make-up job on Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I understand the motive, and I appreciate the attempt, but it is unnecessary and impossible to stop staring at. Kudos to JGL for his fantastic Bruce Willis mimicry, but the make-up - why fix what isn't broken? Or at the very least drop the contacts. Is Willis so stubborn he wouldn't wear brown lenses? Ugh. Anyway, rant over - despite that little misstep, this is an awesome movie.

2. Resolution

The only thing stopping Resolution from being #1 on this list is the fact I've only had the pleasure of seeing it once. This is the kind of film that demands multiple viewings, though I still loved it immediately. It begins as a fantastic and surprisingly funny drama about two friends, but it develops into a fascinating supernatural horror unlike any other. The amazing chemistry of lead actors Vinny Curran and Peter Cilella drives the story, while the script drops clues and red herrings that constantly keep you guessing. Some have called this a "meta" horror film, but I think that is belittling, as this film is so much more. It only took one movie for DIY filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (who both wore almost every hat on this film) to jump to the top of my radar this year.

(Click here for my full review of Resolution)

1. Cabin in the Woods

This long-shelved horror film finally hit theaters in 2012 and totally lived up to the hype. It is a horror fan's wet dream with countless inside jokes, an army of monsters, gory FX, and the most clever parody concept of the genre to-date. It is an instant cult classic, and I really don't care how many top-whatever lists it tops this year because it absolutely deserves all the praise. Forget the hype; forget how "uncool" it is to like this movie now that it's mainstream; forget that you are "so over" Joss Whedon - just enjoy the hell out of this perfect slice of horror-comedy.

(Click here for my full review of Cabin in the Woods)

Honorable Mentions:

- Sushi Girl: Tarantino-esque caper with beloved genre actors hamming it up. 
- The Woman in Black: A surprisingly scary old-fashioned ghost story set in turn-of-the-century England.
- The Snowtown Murders: Bleak Aussie crime drama about real-life killer John Bunting. 
- The American Scream: Sweet documentary about home haunts from the director of Best Worst Movie.
- Grabbers: A fun Irish monster movie in the vein of Tremors.

If you are wondering where Kill List, The Innkeepers, or The Loved Ones are, please refer to my 2011 and 2010 best-of lists, respectively.
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