Now turn off the lights, pull your feet in under the covers, and keep reading for a look at our choices for the Best Horror Movies of 2013.
13. We Are What We Are
Horror remakes are a ubiquitous phenomenon, but while most end up being barely worth the time it takes to watch the opening credits there were three this year that stood above the rest in one way or another. Director Jim Mickle remade a highly acclaimed Mexican thriller from 2010, and while he changed up a couple of the details his film retains the original’s sense of dread and familial obligation. It’s easily Mickle’s best film to date too.
Some like to compare this little slice of existential indie horror with Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s Cabin In the Woods, but the only similarity they share really (aside from taking place in a cabin in the woods) is a smart appreciation of how/why we watch horror films. It’s a definite slowburn that builds its story clue by clue meaning inattentive viewers may be left scratching their heads, but the extra “effort” is worth it.
11. American Mary
Jen and Sylvia Soska are a pair of genre-loving, Canadian twins who not only managed a big jump in quality with their second feature film but also delivered one of the year’s oddest horror thrillers. It’s essentially a rape/revenge picture, but the world they create is a grimly stylish look inside the body modification community. The film also differs from the norm in its two strong female leads, Katharine Isabelle and Tristan Risk.
10. Evil Dead
Anyone foolish enough to remake Sam Raimi‘s beloved splatter classic was destined to feel the wrath of fans, but Fede Alvarez‘ redo deserved better than the hate it received. It has more than a few issues to be sure, but what it lacks in distinct or interesting characters it makes up for in incredibly brutal and gory acts of violence. The final twenty minutes are fairly fantastic and offer up an intensity missing from most horror films. Plus, you can’t help but love Lou Taylor Pucci in this.
I wouldn’t have expected this list to include a found-footage film, let alone three, but here we are. This one plays like Chronicle meets Park Chan-wook’s Thirst, and while it’s not nearly as good as that latter film it succeeds almost on energy and innovation alone. Derek Lee and Clif Prowse wrote, directed, and star, and they manage to bring a lot of personality and vitality to both the genre and the found-footage format.
8. The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh
This low-budget answer to the blockbuster haunted house film two spots below is a triumph of atmosphere and mood. It’s also the antithesis of something like Insidious in both its palette and volume, instead choosing to dole out its story and scares in a somewhat meandering pace. That’s not a dig either as writer/director Rodrigo Gudiño knows exactly what he’s doing and earns high marks for investing his tale with depth and meaning beyond strictly things that go bump in the night.