Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its fifth year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers, I have once again compiled 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. The theater just doesn’t seem to be the place where the horror is at these days, I’m sad to say. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video On Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay or digital download.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year since October 1st, 2013 (which happens to be the birthday of this little column five years ago!) and worked and reworked a list until I had 31. No real method to my special brand of madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween to my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion at the end of each post that is worth noting or missed being on the list by a little bit for those who can’t get enough horror.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own list…let’s go!
You can find DEVOURED on iTunes here. Below is my review of DEVOURED from September!!
DEVOURED (2012)Directed by Greg Olliver
Written by Marc Landau
Starring Marta Milans, Kara Jackson, Bruno Gunn, Tyler Hollinger
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
They say man is a social animal. Without contact with others, the mind tends to fray. There’s a theory about schizophrenia. It’s an obscure one, but one that I always thought was interesting. Without contact with others, the mind starts having conversations with itself. The voices a schizophrenic hears is actualyl one’s mind making up for the lack of social interaction. It’s a chicken and the egg situation as those suffering from schizophrenia are often outcasts to society. They don’t fit in. Is it the mental disorder that makes the person an outcast? Or is it the person who feels cast out and evolves to survive by making up voices to interact with?
As I watched DEVOURED, an urban nightmare, I was thinking about all of this. I watched Marta Milans play Lourdes, a cleaning lady in an upscale restaurant who lives alone in a large city, and saves every cent she makes to send home to her son in need of an operation. Though this film starts out slow, showing Lourdes banal day to day routines, we get to know her, care for her, and hope that she can find a way to solve this problem she faces. In taking this time, roughly half the film, to see Lourdes painfully hold back the tears as she talks to her son on the phone, put up with harassment at work, and go to extreme lengths to make the money she needs, we start to feel for her. Greg Olliver, from a quiet but powerful script from Marc Landau, directs with a solid stance, cementing the heft and reality of Lourdes situation.
In doing so, we feel all the more as things start getting creepy around the restaurant Lourdes spends so much time in. She starts seeing shapes moving in the trash bags she throws out, mysterious figures appear in the shadows, and doors lock and unlock, trapping her in closets then setting her free. Soon Lourdes believes that the restaurant is haunted. With no where to go and no one to help her, we feel the desperation as Lourdes tries to work even harder, despite the creepy conditions, so she can get to that ever closer dollar amount that means her reunification with her son.
The weight of this film is on the back of Marta Milans who plays Lourdes. Through simple facial gestures and blinks of her eye, we believe her dire situation and the nightmares she is experiencing. As Lourdes, she experiences a variety of emotions, all of them feeling real and reeling us in for s shattering conclusion where everything goes sideways and insane.
DEVOURED is a fantastic film of a city swallowing a lost soul whole. With a powerful performance by Marta Milans, some moody atmosphere, and some conservative, but powerful scares that crescendo to a deafening level by the end, DEVOURED is an urban horror tale that shouldn’t be missed.
Worth Noting: CRAVE!Much like DEVOURED, CRAVE deals with a city swallowing a person whole. This one also has shades of TAXI DRIVER as the protagonist seems to be operating on a level of sanity that is both crazier and saner than everyone else around him. CRAVE is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish as we follow one lonely man as he tries to find a place in a big scary place. It’s dark and twisted and has a great sense of humor.
Check out my full review of the film plus an interview with the director here and you can check out the film here on Netflix and here on Amazon!
#30: STALLED (worth noting: CHRYSALIS)!
#29: RIGOR MORTIS (worth noting: I AM A GHOST)!
#28: GHOST TEAM ONE (worth noting: HYSTERICAL PSYCHO!
#27: THANATOMORPHOSE (worth noting: CONTRACTED)!
#26: LIFE AFTER BETH (worth noting: EVIL FEED)!
#25: AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR (worth noting: THE DEVIL’S MUSIC) !
#24: CHIMERES (worth noting: THE RETURNED) !
#23: AFFLICTED (worth noting: DEAD WEIGHT) !
#22: TUSK (worth noting: BENEATH) !
#21: FOUND (worth noting: RABID LOVE) !
See ya tomorrow, folks, as I count down the best of the best covered in AICN HORROR since October 1st, 2013!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 13 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
Be sure to tell your comic shop to order his new comic PIROUETTE (out now!) from Black Mask Studios!!