Time once again for our end of year list featuring the Top 10 Horror Movies of 2012. The year 2012 was filled with the expected sequels (Paranormal Activity, Resident Evil, Underworld), the sort-of expected (Silent Hill), but also the unexpected (The Collection). V/H/S was a big hit at the festivals and made the horror anthology cool again. It was also shot in found-footage style, which was all over the place in 2012. Seriously, there are at least five found-footage movies this year, but most were disappointing, so maybe we’ll see less of this kind of style in 2013. There was also a mash-up between horror and a period piece called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Speaking of films that are meta/tongue-in-cheek, The Cabin in the Woods was probably the most popular horror film of the year with people (even if it wasn’t the most financially successful – that honor goes to the sci-fi/horror film Prometheus). Ghosts, zombies, vampires, action-horror, found-footage, demonic possession, and some self-aware camp – that was horror in 2012. And no, Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 is not on this list.
The Top 10 Horror Movies of 2012
A group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house in the countryside and acquire a rare tape. Upon searching the house, the guys are confronted with a dead body, a hub of old televisions and an endless supply of cryptic footage, each video stranger than the last. V/H/S is a horror anthology featuring horror shorts from directors Adam Wingard, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Joe Swanberg, and Ti West. It seems to have divided audiences and critics alike; does V/H/S mark the return of the anthology film (see also: The ABCs of Death)? Is this found footage stuff played out? We guess we’ll find out… (Update: Our review of V/H/S here)
9. The Possession
A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit called a dibbuk, which possesses and ultimately devours its human host. The girl’s father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child. The consensus seems to be that The Possession is no Exorcist, but still a competent horror film worth a look. Some people find it average, but nearly everyone agrees that it’s better than The Apparition, also released in 2012. So, you know, there’s that.
8. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Everything you wanted to know about Abe Lincoln is in this movie. Like, how vampires killed his mom when he was just a kid, and he trains how to get rid of the vampire menace, and then he studies law while living the life of a vampire hunter, and how he fought vampires who teamed up with the confederates during the civil war. Oh, you didn’t know about any of this? Sounds like you went to the wrong school.
7. The Awakening
In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Florence Cathcart, famous for exposing hoaxes, visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the ‘missing’ begin to show themselves. A 2011 film but mostly released during 2012, The Awakening features nice atmosphere and a good performance from Rebecca Hall, but it still draws unavoidable comparisons to The Sixth Sense, The Orphanage, The Others, Fragile, etc.
6. The Collection
Did you expect a sequel to The Collector? Yeah, neither did we, but we wake up one day and all of a sudden we have one. Josh Stewart returns as Arkin, kidnapped at the end of the first movie, but manages to escape from his trunk only to witness the Collector’s latest horrible crime. He is then forced to team up with mercenaries hired to find a wealthy man’s daughter, which leads them to a booby trapped warehouse. Also back is Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the guys behind the first film and writers of the latter group of Saw movies. Will the torture porn genre make a comeback or is this just a death twitch? Time will tell.
Excision is about a young woman named Pauline, who lives with her controlling mother and younger sister Grace who has Cystic Fibrosis. Pauline has some delusions of being a great surgeon, and she also has some horrific dreams involving surgery and lots of blood. As Pauline continues to lose her sanity, she comes up with a diabolical plan to save her sister… Written and directed by Richard Bates, Jr, Excision has made the rounds at international film festivals and has garnered lots of positive reviews from critics. One surprise is that Traci Lords is in it; another surprise is that she plays Pauline’s ultra-religious mother(!)
4. The Woman in Black
A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals. Directed by James Watkins (whose first feature Eden Lake was very well received), The Woman in Black is Daniel Radcliffe’s first role after the end of the Harry Potter franchise. Overall consensus is that the film is pretty good, despite the predictable jump-scares.
A true-crime writer finds a cache of 8mm “snuff” films that suggest the murder he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose career dates back to the 1960s. Starring Ethan Hawke, Sinister has been well received by audiences and offers an interesting mix of true crime and the supernatural. Review here.
Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien universe centers on the beginnings of Weyland’s ventures into outer space and a scientist couple visiting a world that may hold the secrets of the origins of man. Full of illogical plot turns but visually stunning, Prometheus features good performances from Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender, whose android character likes to imitate Peter O’Toole from Lawrence of Arabia. The derelict ship from the first Alien makes an appearance (as does the “engineers”). Reviewed here.
1. The Cabin In The Woods
Five friends visit a remote cabin in the woods and stumble upon a basement of bizarre objects. One unwittingly raises a family of redneck zombie maniacs from the dead. So far, so standard. But who are all these people in white coats pulling levers and pushing buttons in an underground facility? Why are the woods surrounded by an invisible force field? Is the mayhem above all planned, and who, or what, is being entertained? The Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard collaboration Cabin in the Woods makes #1 in the top 10 horror movies of 2012 for being the most well liked horror this year – by both audiences and critics. Funny that it’s only partly horror; lots of it is comedic and all of it is meta. Think of it as a dissection of the genre, with nods to Lovecraft. Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are funny, and there’s a special appearance at the end by a certain monster-slayer. Reviewed here.
Click Here For The Runners Up and Other Horror Films Released In 2012