Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its sixth 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 said, there were more on this list that DID have a theatrical run than in previous years which means the horror genre does seem to be on the upswing. 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, 2015 (which happens to be the birthday of this little column five years ago!) and worked and reworked the 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 nothing 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!
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (2016)Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
Written by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, & Damien Chazelle
Starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr., Douglas M. Griffin, Suzanne Cryer, Bradley Cooper, Sumalee Montano, Frank Mottek
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
While 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE feels a bit like two movies smooshed into one, there’s still a whole lot to like in this devious little TWILIGHT ZONE episode stretched to a full feature length.
While many feel as if the trailer to 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE should be applauded for not giving away the entire story, after seeing the film itself, you’re going to realize much of the film was in fact given away in that trailer and unfortunately there isn’t much more to the film aside from that. This doesn’t mean that 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is not good. It’s just that the trailer is as guilty of telling the entire story as any other trailer out there is these days. On her way out of town, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wrecks her car and wakes up in a bunker with her knee chained to a wall. Soon she meets her captor Howard (John Goodman) who attests that an attack of some sort has occurred and the air is not breathable, but they are safe in the bunker they now occupy with another person, Emmet (John Gallagher Jr.) an acquaintance of Howard’s who helped build the bunker and knew of its existence once the attack occurred and sought sanctuary there. Though Michelle tries numerous times to escape, she finally gives in and the three of them find some kind of equilibrium between them. That does not last long as when Michelle gets an opportunity to leave, she takes it and discovers just what is going on above the bomb shelter.
As I said earlier, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is comprised of two distinct parts—what happens under ground in the bunker and the brief but potent moments that occur above ground. The stronger of the two parts is definitely the tension filled moments underground. The way information is doled out is masterful and will definitely have you at the edge of your seat. Goodman is a national treasure and proves it here by offering up equal parts sincerity and menace. You believe in his sad story of losing his daughter and feel for him and sort of understand why he would be so protective over Michelle. At the same time, the quiet menace in his eyes and casual dialog fills the space of the bunker and smothers it. Although he is a big man, the power he possesses in his stare is gargantuan. Goodman is the driving force of this film. In a metaphorical sense, he is the 1,000 foot monster rampaging through New York and threatening the lives of everyone under foot in this bunker. The way his story unfolds and the mysteries of this film unfold is something truly horrifying; something much darker than most horror seen in theaters and the power lays in Goodman and in the subtlety of the real terror going on.
And then there is what occurs above ground. This is the part of the movie which definitely shifts the tone dramatically from psychological suspense to sci fi actioner. Personally, I didn’t mind the shift in tone and simply enjoyed the film as Winstead morphs from tension filled dramatic actor to action star, but I can understand those who like to position their films in one single box will hate the shift. It is jarring and somewhat out of left field. It’s not another Cloverfield monster, but it is something big and monstrous. It’s also, due to the reliance of CG and big action sequences that requires much coincidence to occur, the weakest part of the film. It’s not horrible and didn’t ruin the movie for me. But it is the weakest part.
So how does it connect with Cloverfield? Well, there may be a link between the…things that show up in the latter portion of this film and the big monster that was captured on a shaky camera in the original, but no connections are really explained. A little online research tells me that the real connection has to do with the profession of Goodman’s Howard (a satellite transmission engineer for a corporation called Tagruato) and the job the lead in CLOVERFIELD (Michael Stahl-David) is leaving NY to do (which again is tied to the company Tagruato). Both characters have professions tying themselves to the same company; one with off shore drilling that may have been the root of the original monster, the other designing satellites which may be tied with the monsters in 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE. So while the film isn’t exactly tied with the original, it seems to be occurring in the same universe. No matter what the theory is or how deep the connections are, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is a tense thriller that has more going for it than against it—first and foremost a riveting and commanding role for the always amazing John Goodman.
#16 – 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
#17 – DER BUNKER
#18 – HUSH
#19 – HOLIDAYS
#20– CARNAGE PARK
#21 – THE CONJURING 2
#22 – THE MIND’S EYE
#23 – DARLING
#24 – SUN CHOKE
#25 – THE HALLOWS
#26 – OVER YOUR DEAD BODY
#27 – SUMMER CAMP
#28 – EMELIE
#29 – BASKIN
#30 – I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER
#31 – SOUTHBOUND
2015 #1 – THE CANAL
2014 #1 – PROXY
2013 #1 - MANIAC
2012 #1 – THE WOMAN
2011 #1 – THE LAST CIRCUS
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 15 years & AICN HORROR for 5. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller and on his new website collecting posts for AICN HORROR as well as all of the most recent updates on his various comic book projects on MLMillerWrites.com.
A quick plug for my own work. I have a new comic book coming out this December called THE JUNGLE BOOK HOLIDAY SPECIAL: BAGHEERA’S SECRET. It’s a one shot reteaming my original JUNGLE BOOK artist Carlos Granda and myself (the same team who created PIROUETTE) and it is available to order now via Previews order# OCT162113. I’m getting pages of this book by the day and this book looks absolutely amazing so far. Fans of jungle adventure are going to love it! Please support me by telling your local comic book store to order tons of issues of this comic! Much appreciated, folks.
Look for Johnny Destructo, Stephen Andrade, Christian DiBari, and my own ramblings about random horror films on CultPop/PoptardsGo and Ain’t It Cool on AICN HORROR’s CANNIBAL HORRORCAST Podcast every other Thursday (or so…)!
Finally, if you’re having problems with the texts going over the image in this article, refresh the screen and that should do the trick!