Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its second year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers in search of worthwhile horror, I decided to compile a list counting down to my favorite horror film released since last October and covered in this here AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Some of these films might be new to you since there isn’t a lot of horror in theaters these days that aren’t toothless remakes or watered down sequels. Theaters aren’t where the horror is at these days, I’m afraid. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video on Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay. I’ve also compiled quite a few films I’ve seen advance screenings of at festivals and other outlets, and I’ll try to update you when you can see these films.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year after October 1st (which happens to be the birthday of this little column two years ago!) and worked and reworked a list until I had 31. No real method to my madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween toward my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion for those who can’t get enough horror that has something to do with the film I chose that day.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how right or wrong I am, and come up with your own list…let’s go!
ENTRANCE is a little movie with a powerful punch. It takes a person with patience to get through it all, but the final moments are as terrifying as it gets. Here is my review from May of this year.
ENTRANCE (2012)Directed by Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath
Written by Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath
Starring Suziey Block, Karen Gorham, Joshua Grote, Florence Hartigan, Bennett Jones, Liesel Kopp, Jonathan Michael Margolis
Find out more about this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Though it requires a lot of patience, ENTRANCE was one of the most horrifying cinematic experiences I’ve had so far this year. The film follows a young woman named Suzy (played by the adorable Suziey Block) who is ultimately alone in the city. She has a friend who she lives with and only interacts with in passing as they get their morning cup of coffee before heading into work. Her family lives far away. She has a dog who she affectionately loves. But other than random interactions with men in bars, she is alone. ENTRANCE plays with the ultimate fear of being alone and twists it to the most terrifying of lengths.
The directing/writing team of Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath convey this message so effectively by following our lead character as she lives her humdrum life working in a coffee shop, listening to music, feeding her dog, going out with girlfriends, and reading books. It may sound like a boring experience, but the almost voyeuristic manner by which the camera follows her conveys an overall sense of unease (that we as the viewer are eavesdropping in on intimate private moments) that I was engrossed with the film waiting for the other shoe to drop. These initial reactions soon fade as the viewer becomes a fellow traveler with Suzy as she is followed home from work by a shady car and then hassled in the street by passing frat boys. We also witness through Suzy’s eyes an uncomfortable failed pick-up attempt in the café where she works between a customer and a fellow employee. In doing so, we are taken in and immediately side with Suzy who is both taken aback by the uncomfortable events surmounting around her, yet uncontrollably drawn to these interactions because she is so much alone. When Suzy’s dog goes missing, her world starts to fall apart and though only hints of something disturbing might be waiting in the periphery, nothing will prepare you for the horrific events that occur the night of Suzy’s going away party after she’s decided she’s had enough with the big city life and wants to move home.
If you are a woman living in a big city, this is a film that will terrify you. As I stated in the above interview, I’ve felt absolute fear when I see women walking alone at night in the city I live in, knowing the dangers that may befall her. ENTRANCE encapsulates this completely terrifying experience by not only putting its heroine in this situation, but validating those fears in the end. Women; watch this with someone you trust. You’ve been warned.
There will be those who will completely disagree with me on this film saying that it bored them to tears. It is a slow builder and apart from a few creepy scenes, I could see folks tuning out at the forty-five minute mark after quietly following this women with very little by way of event or excitement. Those who love splatter and big shockeroos of the SAW and FINAL DESTINATION variety will most definitely not find this film as impactful, but ENTRANCE isn’t about all of that. Those with a little bit of patience and appreciate their terrors slow-slithering will fall in love with this film. ENTRANCE is about creeping paranoia that something is wrong and the utter shock that those paranoid feelings are correct. Most like Polanski’s REPULSION, ENTRANCE allows us to get up close and personal with a lost soul and then punishes us for getting that close in the end.
Be assured, the ending is violent and shocking. I can only compare ENTRANCE to a slowly inflating balloon. As the helium rushes in, you feel the tension growing and know something bad is going to happen. You expect the eventual explosion, but instead of helium, when it does burst, the balloon is full of blood—splattering in your face and shocking the shit out of you. The final moments of this film burrowed into my soul, mainly because the directors so effectively put me in the room with our heroine. Through an unflinching camera, a likable protagonist, an overall sense of dread and paranoia and an ending that hits like an anvil, ENTRANCE is one of the best horror films I’ve seen all year.
Since I mentioned it in the review above, I might as well use it here in my alternative pick for today. Like ENTRANCE, REPULSION highlights the horrors of loneliness and isolation in the city. Polanski amps up the scares in this moody descent into madness tale as his unblinking camera documents Catherine Deneuve fall one step closer to crazy town. A fantastic and terrifying film.
The Countdown so far…#8: RABIES
#10: CABIN IN THE WOODS
#11: BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW
#12: JUAN OF THE DEAD
#13: MIDNIGHT SON
#14: BLOOD JUNKIE
#16: THE DIVIDE
#17: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
#18: LITTLE DEATHS
#19: THE TALL MAN
#20: KILL LIST
#21: MOTHER’S DAY
#22: THE INNKEEPERS
#23: THE SNOWTOWN MURDERS
#24: THE PACT
#25: THE WRONG HOUSE
#26: SATURDAY MORNING MASSACRE
#27: SPIRIT STALKERS
#28: THE MOTH DIARIES
#29: THE SLEEPER
#30: THE AGGRESSION SCALE
#31: SICK BOY
See ya tomorrow, folks, with number 6 of the best of the best covered in AICN HORROR since last year!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in late 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released March-August 2012. Also look for Mark's exciting arc on GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-80 which begins in August 2012.
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