THE GRAVEDIGGERS'S TEN BEST HORROR FILMS OF 2006!
Just when you thought 2006 was gone for good and you had bid good riddens to it... along comes The Gravedigger to put in his 2 cents about the best in horror for the past year. While all of us may not totally agree with the order of this list, we do agree that 2006 was a pretty good year for horror, and a pretty bad year for everything else. Put the past year to bed and get a load of what The Gravedigger thought was the best in horror of 2006!
TOP 10 BEST HORROR MOVIES OF 2006
#10: FEAST - manages to be entertaining despite the (now) stereotypical "Night of the Living Dead" scenario. A group of people in a desert bar are attacked by a group of monsters that want to eat them. However, the characters' order of death isn't quite as expected, quickly evident when the kid is among the first to get devoured. The special effects by Gary Tunnicliffe (DRACULA 2000 & sequels) are extremely gory and effective, the editing is lightning paced and the dialogue hilarious. It's a hoot to see Henry Rollins cast as a "Motivational Speaker" character who simply can't shut-up. Comparable movies are TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT and FROM DUSK TIL DAWN.
#9: FEED - Director Brett Leonard's FEED is a tough movie to watch. It makes you squirm but that's the point of the film, to push boundaries in order to demonstrate that what is considered "normal" to one person may be utterly insane to another.
An Australian detective, who looks remarkably like the late Oliver Reed, goes to Ohio to expose the source of a potentially fatal web-site that caters to men who like their women HUGE. In fact, they may be being fed to death. The movie goes back and forth from his unhappy life and investigation to that of the man who is running the web-site, who appears to be utterly normal. He is indeed keeping a woman "captive", as he continually feeds her so that she's so huge she can't leave the bed. In a flashback we get a glimpse of the one of the reasons he does what he does-we see that his mother was like gigantic as well and he ultimately hated his mother.
The make-up effects are convincing and the movie is shot in such a way as it's almost a docudrama. Highly recommended but be warned you're in for a ride.
#8: THE COVENANT - At the start, it's explained that there are four surviving "witch" families in New England-and then we're introduced to the four high school seniors who are the newest generation. They first received powers when they were thirteen years old, but when they turn eighteen they will "ascend", which means they'll receive the rest of the magical powers. But this power has a price--the more you use the magic the more it drains your body, so that it can prematurely age them if over-used. Unfortunately, this happened to the lead character's father, who is only forty-four years old but looks a hundred.
The story primarily centers around Caleb Danvers (Steven Strait), who will be the first of his group to "ascend". He meets Sarah (Laura Ramsey), the new girl at their prep school, and they immediately fall for each other. Around this time another new kid appears, who just happens to be the last descendent of a fifth family, a family thought to have been killed off over three hundred years before. But no one had told him about the magic or that the more he uses it the more he becomes addicted to it. He's so addicted that he can't stop himself-and he wants to absorb the power of Caleb.
This movie, from the producers of the UNDERWORLD movies, is far better than I thought it would be. Directed by Renny Harlin, who more than makes up for his EXORCIST prequel
#7: FINAL DESTINATION 3 - I would say this third installment, loosely tied to the previous two movies, is as good as the first two FINAL DESTINATION movies. Just before she is about to go on a rollercoaster at a local amusement park, Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead--Sophia of WOLF LAKE) has a vision of a horrible accident on the ride in which she and her friends die. She freaks out and is able to leave the ride, though her boyfriend, stuck in one of the cars, does perish. She soon hooks up with Kevin (Ryan Merriman of VERITAS: THE QUEST), who lost his girlfriend in the same accident. She confides in him about her vision-and that these digital photographs she took right before the fateful ride give a clue as to how death will claim them. They try to warn the people, which include her sister, but death plays out in a grisly fashion. The two leads portray likable characters and the computerized gore special effects are appropriately brutal.
#6: LADY IN THE WATER - M. Knight Shyamalan's newest film, which tackles the "fantasy" genre, succeeds in delivering the goods, the goods being a well-written script and in-depth, sympathetic characters. A sad-sack apartment supervisor (Paul Giamatto of AMERICAN SPLENDOR and Burton's PLANET OF THE APES) discovers that someone is swimming in the pool after hours-and sees that it's a young woman. He goes in the pool when she doesn't come up for air and nearly drowns himself. He wakes up in his apartment-and she's there, watching him. She tells him her name is story and that she comes from The Blue World. Of course, he doesn't believe anything is out of the ordinary at first, but the more he talks with her -and the more he sees, such as the wolf-like creature that's after her-and the secret room underneath the swimming pool-he believes. In fact, he suspects that he's instrumental in helping her with her mission. Soon, the whole apartment complex becomes involved with her, in one way or another. How things turn out, exactly, and who plays which role in this myth-come-to-life, keeps you guessing until the very end.
If you were disappointed by his last movie, THE VILLAGE (I loved it), you'll enjoy this, as it's more along the lines of SIGNS and UNBREAKABLE.
#5: SUBJECT TWO - This modern re-telling of the Mary Shelley novel, FRANKENSTEIN, is one of the better Frankenstein movies I've seen, up there with FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1974). A medical student agrees to meet the mysterious person he has been communicating with via email and ends up in the secluded mountains in Colorado. There, he meets Dr. Frank, who is doing "re-animation" experiments with a special serum in conjunction with the cold weather. And this student soon becomes the second test subject (hence the title of the movie) after the Dr. kills him. But when he is brought back to life his senses are increased and he can feel everything ten-fold, which has its disadvantages. He's repeatedly killed and brought back to life, while the crazy looking doctor (the actor resembles Jack Nicholson) tries to remedy what he feels are the bad side effects of the drug.
The movie is very low-key but sticks with you long after you've watched it. Highly recommended.
#4: UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION - This sequel is an improvement over the first, with better special effects, a more interesting story--and best of all, Kate Beckinsale speaking as little as possible (she has to be one of the worst actresses working these days). Yet the basic story-- the sire of all the vampires wanting to free his brother (the first werewolf)--isn't filled with enough information. Just how he and his twin brother became monsters is never explained--and you don't know what their father is, other than an immortal. Also, it's constantly mentioned that Scott Speedman is the first vampire/werewolf hybrid, yet it's said that the first vampire is also a hybrid. ??? Of course, the movie ends with another sequel in mind--and it'll be interesting to see where it goes from there.
If you enjoyed the first UNDERWORLD you'll dig this, particularly with all the vampire man bat and the werewolf transformations.
#3: THE PRESTIGE - Hugh Jackman (X-MEN) and Christian Bale (BATMAN BEGINS) portray rival magacians in 1890's London, who will go to any lengths--even murder--to have the greatest magic trick. Jackman blames Bale for the death of his wife (Piper Perabo of THE CAVE, BULLWINKLE), who drowned in a tank when she was unable to untie the knot that bound her. So during one of Bale's performances he disguises himself and shoots off two of his fingers during a magic "mishap". This antagonism goes back and forth until it escalates to a final, surprising showdown where nothing is as it seems. It also answers the question "is there real magic?"
Although I was able to figure out one of the character's secrets from the beginning of the film, the other twists were surprising and pleasantly unexpected.
#2: V FOR VENDETTA - This is a faithful, not to mention timely, adaptation of the DC comic. In the not-too-distant future, England is ruled by Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt), who, in pursuit of power, has taken a lot of rights away from his citizens. V (Hugo Weaving of THE MATRIX movies) is a mysterious masked crusader, who wants to restore the government/power to the people and end Sutler's regime. He befriends Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), who may be able to help him reach his goal. There's also Inspector Eric Finch (Stephen Rhea), who eventually realizes he's working for the wrong side. There are plenty of twists and turns, particularly in regard to Hammond's imprisonment, and V remains a mysterious, fascinating character.
#1: THE DESCENT - A group of athletic, thrill-seeking women get together in the Appalachian Mountains to go exploring a cave. The year before one of them lost her husband and daughter in a horrendous car crash, so the others are somewhat worried about her. It's alluded to that the leader of the group-and the only American (the rest are British/Scottish), an Asian woman named Juno was having an affair with that friend's husband, so things are uncomfortable between the two women.
At first the cave exploring goes well, until a small tunnel they crawled through collapses. Now they must find another exit. The bad news is that this is an unexplored system of caves, not the caves they thought they were going to be in. Juno, who was in charge of the location, lied to them and thought it would be more exciting to go somewhere where no one has gone before.
But they are not alone. Living in the darkness are a type of human, the "Crawlers". They are albino, blind, have extremely good hearing and are adept at clinging to rock surfaces. They are also carnivorous and view the women as food.
This movie actually made me jolt in my seat a few times and I found it creepier than 2005's THE CAVE, which had a similar theme. In fact, I would say that THE DESCENT is the best horror movie of 2006.
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