THE GRAVEDIGGERS'S TEN BEST HORROR FILMS OF 2007!
Just when you thought 2007 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 2007 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 2007!
TOP 10 BEST HORROR MOVIES OF 2007
Montgomery Goth (Matt Nelson) is a huge, bear-like loner who is dumped on by everyone he meets, including the people he's delivering pizzas to.
That includes kids and old ladies! His boss continually derides him and he's plagued by nightmares about his mother's murder and father's suicide after he killed her. He's mandated to go see a therapist but he doesn't like the idea of taking pills, so his nightmares get worse. And life in general, gets worse for him. He runs out of gas one night, walks to get a gallon and comes back to find it being towed away. He does meet a girl, though, on one of his deliveries and she seems to be interested in him. But the night after she sleeps with him (his first time) she goes home and her brother hits her. When Monty goes to see her the next day he sees that she has a large bruise on her face-and she seems upset, saying that what they had last night was nice, but that she needs time. Of course, he's upset.
The first hour of the movie is his "slice-of-life" (no pun intended) and how he's mentally and physically abused (some Frat guys beat the crap out of him after the Sorority girls play a cruel joke on him) and the last half hour is when he snaps and methodically goes after them, one by one. In the film's most gruesome scene he kills someone and then goes back to the pizza place and makes a pizza with the body parts. DELIVERY is a surprisingly realistic psychological profile portrayal of a guy "going postal", while also being a nod to those Slasher movies from the 80's, like SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT and EVILSPEAK. Highly recommended.
#9: THE LAST GATEWAY
The independent film THE LAST GATEWAY is undeniably one of the best horror movies I've seen in 2007. Sure, there are nods to EVIL DEAD, FROM BEYOND and all those H.P. Lovecraft references, but it takes real talent to make a movie genuinely scary and director Demian Rugna does just that.
The premise is that there is one gateway to Hell left on Earth and both the good and the bad sides want to possess it. But it turns out that this gateway has appeared in the last place anyone would look….it's inside the stomach of an unfortunate man, who must flee his pursuers-and deal with whatever Hellish creatures come out of his stomach. And these creatures are nasty. The special effects are top-notch and not overdone, which lends to their effectiveness and the actors make the unlikely situation believable. My favorite scenes, though, involve this corpse witch which comes through the gate. She is hideous and creepy. This movie is highly recommended by this reviewer.
Just when you think this sub-genre of horror movie is dead, along comes one of the most original zombie movies ever made-FIDO. The film takes place in an alternate 1950's, in which the survivors of the zombie wars live in small, fenced in towns, pretending life is normal. Although the zombies are flesh-eaters a company called Zomcon has created these collars which render them harmless and enable people to have them as servants. As long as they are wearing the collar and the light on it is red the zombies are safe. The Robinson family finally gets a zombie, which the boy names Fido, and things soon fall apart. The husband (Dylan Baker) is afraid of the creature, as it's revealed he had to kill his father, who turned into a zombie, when he was a kid-and he takes out his frustration on it by pressing the pain button the collar control. The wife (Carrie Anne Moss of THE MATRIX movies) starts liking Fido better than she does her husband and the boy treats him as his best friend. In fact, the several times that Fido's collar malfunctions and he becomes a rampaging killer, he does not harm the child.
A lot of the credit has to be given to the performance of actor Billy Connolly as FIDO, who doesn't talk in the entire film, as well as Dylan Baker and Carrie Anne Moss.
The film is billed as a comedy, but the humor comes from the incongruity of the premise.
#7: RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION
It's five years after the end of the first movie and the T-Virus, in addition to making 99% of the population into flesh-eating zombies, has also made the Earth a barren wasteland. Alice (Milla Jovovich) reunites with Carlos (Oded Fehr), who is travelling with a survival convoy led by Claire (HEROES' Ali Larter). She saves them just in time, when they are attacked by a huge flock of highly aggressive crows that have feed on contaminated flesh. Alice has the idea that there's survivors-and quality of life-up in Alaska, and ultimately convinces the group that that is the place to go. But before they do they have to refuel and the only place left to do that is Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) of The Umbrella Corporation has gone completely over the deep end at his research facility miles below the desert. He's been experimenting on clones of Alice, trying to reverse the T-Virus. He also creates a virus that makes zombies even more aggressive, which makes for one harrowing zombie attack scene.
Of the trilogy I like this one the best, as it's straight-forward, interesting and has non-stop action. It's probably what Romero's LAND OF THE DEAD should've been (although I do like that movie), a kick-ass zombie apocalypse movie. Director Russell Mulcahy gets a pat on the back for this one.
#6: THE FERRYMAN
Two couples charter a yacht trip from New Zealand to Fiji. One couple is from New Zealand, the other from America. The boat is run by "Big Dave" and his wife, who also have a dog. The trip is going well until they encounter an unseasonal fog bank and respond to an S.O.S. They find the drifting boat and the lone survivor, "The Greek" (John Rhys-Davis), who explains that a storm came up and washed everyone overboard. In truth, he killed them all. He's thousands of years old and has been trying to outrun "The Ferryman", that guy from Greek mythology who Ferries your soul to the afterlife. How he escapes is that, with the help of a strange little dagger, he can swap bodies. But the body he now finds himself in is riddled with cancer-and so he has a new boatload of people to choose from.
This is a solid, entertaining horror movie, with a good story, interesting characters and enough gore to do the job. THE FERRYMAN is one of the better horror movies of 2007. Directed by Chris Graham.
A hard luck farmer agrees to be part of a biological experiment which is supposed to make the cows grow faster. But it has an unforseen side-effect-the calves are born pregnant with these creatures that don't resemble bovines whatsoever. They are much more like the monsters from a 1980's Roger Corman produced movie.
These little monsters are also contagious. If they bite a human, the human's offspring will be infected/pregnant with the creatures. After the doctors are killed it's up to the farmer and two transients to stop the contagion. Of course, the woman is pregnant.
ISOLATION is a very grim, dark movie and one of the best horror films of 2007.
#4: THIRTY DAYS OF NIGHT
Based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles, this is one of the better vampires movies I've seen in years, portraying them as predators solely concerned with filling their bellies with blood. They are much more like the vampires from SALEM'S LOT than they are from INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE.
The story takes place in America's northernmost town, Barrow, Alaska, during the time of winter when it's dark for thirty days. A stranger (Ben Foster of SIX FEET UNDER, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND) appears a few days beforehand, destroying cell phones, killing the local kennel of sled dogs, preparing for when the vampires appear. Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett of H2O) is the sheriff and Stella (Melissa George of AMITYVILLE HORROR remake) his wife. She and her husband are separated but when she misses the last plane out of town she is stranded there for the next month. The two don't have time to deal with their estranged relationship because those vampires show up and quickly decimate the small town, going from house to house.
What I liked best about this movie is although it's the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD scenario, with the survivors hiding and barricading themselves in various buildings, it doesn't fall into the trap of being repetitive or boring. This movie moves! The vampires are gruesome, sort of like human piranhas. The actors also give good performances here and two of the supporting cast were also featured in THE FERRYMAN, another above-average horror movie released this year (2007). The ending is suitably depressing and surprised me, as it's not your typical Hollywood movie ending. It is a sad ending.
If you're a horror fan or not you will enjoy this unrelenting vampire movie. Directed by David Slade, who did the excellent HARD CANDY.
#3: WIND CHILL
Despite the lackluster DVD box art, which makes it look like it could be just another ultra-low budget direct-to-dvd horror flick, WIND CHILL is quite the contrary. It is a well produced, masterful ghost story-and one of the best horror movies of 2007.
A college girl (Emily Blunt) decides to share a ride home for Christmas to Delaware with a nerdy guy who secretly has a crush on her. He posted up a "share a ride" ad on the local bulletin board, which she answers. His car is old, dirty-and not a pleasant way to take a six-hour journey. The weather reports warn that it's going to get cold outside…and we know this bit of information will direly affect them later. The driver decides to take a "short cut", a deserted road through the mountains (Catskills?) and they are run off the road by a mysterious driver. When they awaken from the crash they find that the car is stuck in a snow bank and the gas tank is leaking. They try calling for help but the cell phones won't work. The guy goes to walk back to a gas station several miles away, during which time the girl sees her first ghost. You see, this stretch of road is haunted by those killed-murdered-there. Actor Martin Donovan gives a creepy performance as the Highway Patrolman, who is pivotal to all this haunting.
Of course, the inclination is to think that these characters are already dead (How many times have you seen that "twist"?) but the writers thankfully avoid that over-tried cliché. The movie keeps you guessing, the actors keep you hooked to the screen as they are interesting characters and utterly believable in their situation. A lot happens here, though they are mostly trapped in their vehicle the duration of the movie.
This is far superior to the similarly themed PENNY DREADFUL released by Lion's Gate last year. It's also a shame this wasn't released theatrically. Executive Produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh.
#2: PAN'S LABYRINTH (2007)
This is probably Guillermo del Toro's best crafted movie to date, a story along the lines of THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE with the special effects of HELLBOY.
During the Spanish Civil War a young girl and her mother go to move in with "The Captain", an evil man the pregnant mother had married to offer her children a better life. It's clear from the start that the man has little regard for the daughter and is only concerned with the impending birth of his son, which is turning out to be a very difficult birth. The girl, however, meets a fairy in the nearby woods and is led to some ancient-looking ruins, where she meets the goat-like faun. He tells her that she is the spirit of the underworld's long lost princess and that she must complete three tasks before the next full-moon. These are not your WITCH & THE WARDROBE type adventures-more more along the line of a nightmare David Lynch would have. First, she must retrieve the key from the stomach of a giant toad that lives in a rotted tree and another time must confront an eye-less eater of babies. But it's the "reality" scenes of the war that are the most disturbing, particularly one in which the captain stitches closed a gaping wound to his face-that made me cringe.
GRINDHOUSE is the most fun I've had at a movie in a very long time. It intentionally emulates those double features of the 70's yet wisely keeps the stories in a contemporary setting (people have cell-phones, et cetera). There's even previews to other exploitation movies such as MACHETE, Eli Roth's THANKSGIVING and a Rob Zombie Nazi werewolf movie, WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE S.S., starring Sherri Moon Zombie. To complete the experience are "missing reels" so that in the midst of the movies fifteen or twenty-minutes are just skipped (I suspect the "missing" reels will show up on the dvd release) and you have to fill in for yourself what happened.
Robert Rodriguez's PLANET TERROR takes all the elements from the "Science gone awry scenario", with an infection that starts on a military base and soon infects the local populace. It turns them into horrible looking cannibalistic monsters. Rose McGowan holds this movie together as Sherry Darling, who ends up losing a leg to one of the creatures only to have it replaced with an automatic machine gun by her boyfriend, "El Rey". The scenes with her shooting down the mutants are worth the ticket price alone. There's also a subplot involving a female doctor (Marley Shelton-"the girl next door" from BUBBLE BOY) and her jealous, Dr. Husband (Josh Brolin). There are also appearances by Jeff Fahey (BODY PARTS), Michael Biehn (ALIENS) and Tom Savini.
Quentin Tarantino's DEATH PROOF is about a crazy former stunt-man (Kurt Russell) who kills women with his "Death Proof" car, for fun. That is, until he messes with the wrong group of women. This movie is action-packed, contains some great car sequences and offers a different type of role for Kurt Russell.
These two movies, with the faux trailers and intermission segments, are some great entertainment.
» Back To Horror Editorials
SEARCH YOUR LOCAL THEATER'S MOVIE LISTINGS
CURRENT TOP 25 MOVIE AND DVD RENTALS