GoldenSimatar's Best Films of 2009thegoldensimatar
Righto, initially I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to cobble together a ten list of my favorite 2009 horror films. Being a college kid I was unfortunately short of funds throughout much of the year or too short on time to see much. Many will notice the lack of Zombieland, a film I’m sure will be on everyone’s list but…college does things to your wallet.
I was right about not getting a full ten list, I thought about padding my list out with some stuff that I liked, but wouldn’t classify them as the Best. So, here I provide the best films of 2009.
Best Worst Movie: Troll 2 is considered to be one of the worst, if not the worst film ever made. However, it's one of the most glorious and hilarious bad movies ever. This documentary (directed by child star of the film Michael Paul Stephens) tells the story how the film has impacted the lives of it’s stars and makers. BWM is funny, truthful and heartfelt all at the same time.
It’s one of those movies that could have easily swung towards playing completely for laughs but Stephens keeps an even keel and balances the humor with serious situations that have plagued former actors. One of the best documentaries about a certain film ever made, Best Worst Movie succeeds on numerous levels. It’s a movie that is a must see for any fan of cinema to watch, even if movies about goblins who turn people into vegetables to eat them isn’t your thing.
District 9: Watching District 9 in a private screening I felt I was watching a film that was destined to be a classic and the reveal of a filmmaker who will become one of the powerhouses of the industry. Smart, stylish and thoroughly enjoyable, the tale of refugee aliens put at the mercy of a ruthless company held me from the start to the finish.
The film didn’t skip on the all-important story and characters, with rookie Sharlto Copley giving probably the year’s best performances in a genre piece. District 9 is certainly going to be listed as a classic in years to come and is a film that worked on every level for me.
Outlander: This weirdo sci-fi, fantasy, horror film is one that I was looking forward to for a long time and was so happy when a single theater in Savannah was playing it. Vikings with Space Man and an alien beast mixed in, what’s not to like? Outlander is one of those stories that on paper or when you speak to your friends about it they dismiss it as being too odd to work.
However, the exact opposite is proven. With a smart script, good acting and some well-staged action, Outlander is an original gem that slipped into theaters that I wish more people went out and supported. Is it deep? No. But it has some good suspense bits and plenty of healthy violence for entertainment. I got my money’s worth out of this puppy.
Orphan: This is a movie I went in without much expectation. Made by the director of the excellent production designed yet poorly written House of Wax remake, I had little faith in this movie. Watching it with some friends however, I found myself to be dead wrong.
Orphan has numerous ‘wtf’ and ‘hfs’ moments scattered throughout the film, building up to the final chase throughout the darkened house. With the reveal of Esther’s wall paintings and the ‘twist’ I had a feeling that the writers of this film were probably messed up in the head. And messed up in the good way, the dangerous way every horror writer should be. A lot of the weight of the film rested upon the shoulders of 12-year-old Isabelle Fuhrman and I think it’d be one of the greatest crimes in Hollywood if she doesn’t have a long, healthy career. Going through numerous ranges of emotions from bubble-gum sweet to crazy as all get out, Fuhrman’s performance really helped sell the film.
The Collector: Written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton of the last several Saw films (and directed by Dunstan), Collector is a movie I know more than a few people hated. Personally, I really enjoyed the film. The setup of an ex-criminal breaking into his employer’s house to steal a gem and being trapped there by a masked killer is simple.
The film a nice gritty feel to it and I found myself squirming more at the gruesomeness and the gore in this film than I did in the far cleaner Saw movies. The mood was heavy and there was some palatable suspense built up at several points throughout the film. I got pulled enough into the film I found myself wondering who the killer was and I would like to know more about him and what his motivations are.
His Name Was Jason: Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Jason, more of a Michael person. However, this comprehensive documentary filled the void left by the bare bones Paramount DVDs as well as the semi-naked New Line DVDs. While Halloween 25 Years of Terror spent too much time on the original film (in my opinion), Jason gives each film in the franchise near equal screen time. Speaking to the various writers, directors, stars and fans of the series its hard not to get a full picture of the franchise.
The only problem I found with it was the noticeable absence of Steve Miner, director of Parts II and III. Miner’s lack of involvement leaves a bit of a hole however the strength of the other segments does make up for it. The hours of bonus interviews on the 2 Disc DVD also makes this a must buy.
So, there be my list. I have full reviews of District 9, Outlander, and Best Worst Movie up on my Morguespace. I hope that in 2010, I get a chance to see more movies and get something a bit more expansive. Even so, I enjoyed all the flicks I saw and I say to all fans to check them out. You're going to have to hunt local film festivals for Best Worst Movie but its worth checking out. That's it for me in 2009, hopefully 2010 will be a banger year for horror.