Best and Worst of 2012’s Horror: Part I – The Best

Well, it’s that time of year where everyone is presenting their lists of the best and worst films of 2012. This year has been a fantastic one for films. It has been so great that people have gone as far as to say that it’s the best year for cinema since 1982 where E.T, Blade Runner, The Thing, Star Trek II and Poltergeist all released. However, with all great things there will inevitably be something terrible to follow right behind. Which is why with every “Best of” list, there’s the “Worst of” one as well.

So how did our horror genre do? That’s what we are about to find out.

As with most years, all the great horror films that released this year almost nobody saw (with the exception of a couple). That has always been the worst part about being a horror fan. Most of the good films that release each year can only be seen at film festivals; where just few lucky people get to see them. Everyone else has to wait for it to hit shelves, which can take years. That’s why making my own personal list of horror’s best and worst is so difficult because I just haven’t had the chance to see many of them.

That’s not going to stop me from giving you guys some sort of a list though. I’ve done a bit of research with other sites and rounded up what they are saying is the best of the year and not only will this list give you a good idea as to what was good but it will give you a heads up as to what to look forward to in the coming months when they start hitting the shelves.

antiviral

You guys shouldn’t be unfamiliar with AntiViral if you’re a regular to Rhino’s Horror as I covered this film pretty heavily during its festival run. Perhaps the most talked about thing surrounding this film wasn’t exactly the movie itself, but the fact that this was the directorial debut of Brandon Cronenberg — son of David Cronenberg. Even with the expectations being through the rough, because of his name, the film still managed to be a beautifully shot look into our society’s obsession with celebrities and delivered a solid art house horror film. Not only was the film a success but it proved that Brandon Cronenberg wasn’t just a name and that he most certainly has a very promising future ahead of him.

Citadel

Based on the director’s real life experience and personal phobias, Citadel is a dark and disturbing film that flew completely under the radar this year. The film is said to be extremely emotional and straight up eerie. I loved what I saw from the trailer, especially the dark and claustrophobic mood that it presented. I’m glad to know that this one lived up to it’s creepy trailer and not only made the list of many horror fans as one of the year’s best, but proved why indy horror will always be home to some of the greatest horror flicks.

American-Mary

The Soska Twins — a name that I see becoming very familiar in the near future. Together, they crafted one of the best films to hit festivals this year with American Mary. I can’t wait to get my hands on this film because not only does it star the wonderful Katharine Isabelle but I seriously couldn’t find anyone say anything negative about the movie. Blending body horror with the slasher genre, American Mary has cult status written all over it. The amount of passion and charm put into this film from the Soska Twins breaks through in amazing fashion with easily one of the years best horror films. As excited as I am to see this one, I’m even more so to see what they come up with next.

Resolution-Horror

Another directing duo proves that sometimes two is better than one. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead took a shoestring budget and created one of the most imaginative and creepy films of the year. The cheap approach to the film with minimal lighting and a hand held camera add to the unsettling atmosphere that the film has to offer. Benson and Moorhead have created not only one of the best horror flicks of the year but one of the most unique stories of the bunch.

maniac-elijah-wood
Here’s a film that I was quite honestly surprised to make the list. We’ve seen Elijah Wood play a creep before in Robert Rodriquez’s Sin City but with Maniac he hits an entirely new level of psycho. Produced by Alex Aja and directed by Franck Khalfoun, Maniac is told through the eyes of Wood’s character and his performance is a haunting one as the film is a first hand look at a psychopath. This film kind of came out of nowhere and was instantly written off because it’s a remake but Maniac breaks the mold in glorious fashion. It’s a suspenseful slasher flick that is one of the most violent films of the year. Not for the squeamish or the weak of heart, Maniac climbed to the top of the list for its brutal and no strings attached approach to the serial killer genre.

the_cabin_in_the_woods_2

Big round of applause for Cabin in The Woods for not only being the only film on this list to actually get a wide theatrical release but simply for restoring some faith in horror fans that a big-budget horror flick can still be absolutely amazing. Penned by fan favorite, Joss Whedon, Cabin gave us an unforgettable movie with a charming sense of tongue-in-cheek humor. Whedon has crafted a fun horror film that plays on the old cliches while still being one of the most original films of the year.

Honorable Mentions:
Prometheus

Excision

The Revenant

Kill List

The Loved Ones

Sinister

There you have it guys, some of the years best of 2012’s horror. Be sure to stayed tuned because the fun is just getting started. On part II I’ll be doing the not-so-great horror films of year and let’s just say that 2012 has not been friendly for the theatrical horror releases.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are some of your favorite horror films of the year? Let me know in the comments!

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34 thoughts on “Best and Worst of 2012’s Horror: Part I – The Best

  1. I really enjoyed The Loved Ones and have not finished watching Sinister. I tried a couple weeks ago and me and my roommate heard someone whisper behind us and were too scared to watch the rest! What a puss, I know haha Look forward to your next list.

    1. Haha nice! Sinister definitely has its great moments. The movie just sorta lost me at the end, a lot like Insidious. You’ll finish it one of these days I’m sure!

  2. Nice list.
    My love for THE CABIN IN THE WOODS knows no bounds.

    And yeah, it’s been a decent year for film, but it doesn’t touch 1999 or 2007, the best film years of our lifetimes. Don’t make me list the reasons why… cause I will.

    1. Thanks Shawn! Huge fan of Cabin as well, such a ridiculous movie and a fantastic ending! Listen… I’m not going to MAKE you list the reasons why 1999 and 2007 were amazing, but if you wanted to, no one is going to stop you!

      1. Ahehem!

        1999:
        Fight Club, The Insider, The Matrix, American Beauty, Magnolia, The Iron Giant, The Sixth Sense, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Green Mile, Three Kings, Being John Malkovich, Audition, The Cider House Rules, South Park, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Dogma, Run Lola Run, Toy Story 2, Election, Man on the Moon, American Movie, eXistenZ, The Virgin Suicides, Galaxy Quest, Princess Mononokee, Eyes Wide Shut, Office Space, etc, etc.

        2007:
        If I may: http://shawntalley.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/call-it-friend-o/

      2. You’re absolutely right about how amazing each of those years were. I’ve seen almost all of the films on both of those lists and they’ve only gotten better over the years. Solid!

      3. Shawn & Ryan,

        I’m making a strong case for 2006:

        V for Vendetta
        Casino Royale
        Hard Candy
        Blood Diamond
        The Departed
        Rocky Balboa
        Tsotsi
        16 Blocks
        Lucky Number Slevin
        The Break-up
        Last King of Scotland
        Apocalypto
        The Pursuit of Happyness
        Deja Vu
        Invincible
        Babel
        Catch A Fire
        The Prestige
        Little Miss Sunshine

      4. And Gary out of left field! You’re right man, that’s a VERY strong case! Hard to argue with many of those. The Departed is one of my all-time favorite films.

      5. V for Vendetta & Hard Candy are my 3rd & 4th favorite of all time; and Casino Royale is in my top 10.

        So, 2006 was a huge year for me!

  3. I’m glad that you mentioned how difficult it is to see new horror movies, because I struggled with that problem as well. How am I supposed to make a best of 2012 list when there are so many movies I haven’t seen, simply because I wasn’t at the festival? I’m really looking forward to Maniac, Citadel, Antiviral, and American Mary. I haven’t heard of Resolution yet, but it sounds awesome. This is a great list! Not only does it include some promising movies, but it’s very different from other top 5 lists that I’ve read. Good job!!

  4. My top 2012 horror would be:

    1. Paranormal Activity 4
    2. Cabin in the Woods
    3. The Collection
    4. Sinister

    *I haven’t seen any of those indie ones you listed, so if I am able to watch any of them my list may expand.

  5. Wait, I just saw a list that credited the spanish mystery/thriller “The Hidden Face” as 2012; the film was made in 2011, but i think available here in the US in 2012.

    If “The Hidden Face” is eligible, then I wouldn’t hesitate to make that my #1 horror/thriller of 2012.

    If you have not seen it, watch it! But DO NOT watch the trailer b/c the trailer reveals the twist. They really need to cut a new trailer.

    It’s more of a thriller/mystery than horror – but it’s like nothing else I’ve seen before.

    It’s available on netflix instant.

    1. Just looked it up (not the trailer) and it definitely looks solid! Added it to my queue on netflix. Thanks for the heads up and the recommendation. Always looking to discover new horror films!

  6. Likewise; I made note of the list you provided here and hope to watch when they become available.

    Also, I just followed you on twitter; you should give me a follow, as well.

    Have a good new year.

  7. Just like your worst of list, I haven’t seen any of these. In my defence though, I am about to head out to the video store and I was already going to get A Cabin in the Woods. Further to my defence, I now have this list in my phone and will be seeking out the rest when they become available out here.

      1. Saw The Cabin in the Woods a couple of nights ago. In short, I absolutely loved it. That final third or so, I just found utterly mind blowing (not sure if it would have been less so for someone really into their horror). Legitimately cannot think of a better third act of any film from 2012. 

        I was not going to write a detailed review on it, but I just found myself so intrigued by the whole thing that I am going to put something up on my site this week.

        Looks like I am going to have more trouble finding the others on this list though. Looked around and could not find an Australian cinematic release date for any of them, and blu-ray release date for only one. But hopefully I will track them down eventually.

      2. Nice dude! Glad you enjoyed it. Yea the rest of these movie’s on the list are going to be hard to find at first. A lot of them will be going VOD before a dvd release so you might wan’t to keep checking on that. Looking forward to your review of Cabin!

      3. Yeah absolutely loved it. Review is done, going up on my site tomorrow arvo my time. I found it difficult to gush about the film too much without using spoilers. Will also chat about it later this week in a top 10 of 2012 podcast I am recording.

        American Mary is the one getting a DVD release. I must admit, I am a bit behind the times with VOD. Where do you find is the best/cheapest place to source stuff? Especially one that doesn’t restrict where you watch them from, given I am not in the States.

      4. Itunes, Amazon, and Netflix are the big ones. Itunes is usually pretty good about getting a lot of indy horror VOD and Im not sure about the region restrictions, something you’ll need to check out tho!

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