intro - best of 2007 - worst of 2007 - best dvds of 2007
BEST MOVIES OF 2007
Chris Hartley (Head Honcho)
Guillermo del Toro's "Fairy Tale For Adults" is such a great movie because of the way it perfectly mixes fantasy, beauty, and brutallity into a tightly-wound package. While it's technically not a straight-ahead horror movie there's certainly more than enough moments within that could be considered to be (here's looking at you Mr. "Hands In Eyes" - see above banner). It was also great seeing del Toro returning to his native Mexico to make a movie after helming Hollywood fare such as Blade II and Hellboy - it seems his returns to his homeland brings out the best in him with Pan's, Cronos, and The Devil's Backbone as proof of this.
Just when I was beginning to lose faith in anything Stephen King along came the double-team of 1408 and The Mist. As one of my favourite short stories by King, and in the capable hands of Frank Darabont, I never expected this to turn out as good as it did. There was alien bug mayhem galore, a twisted and depressing ending, and lots of pleasing bloodshed; but the movie was also strongly acted and had enough good character development to draw you in. It's a best of both worlds situation.
Take an awesome concept of two well-loved cult filmmakers (Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez) each making a 70's style exploitation flick and slapping them together as a double-bill and toss in a handful of hilarious mock trailers like "Machete" and "Thanksgiving" and you're due for a fun time. Rodriguez's "Planet Terror" delivered the effects and gore while Tarantino's "Death Proof" delivered one of the greatest endings ever (as well as a solid revenge story that ends with a lengthy car chase) - it's just too bad a good majority of the people in the theatre with me walked out after the first movie.
Despite the fact that zombie themed comedies are becoming more and more common this Canadian made "zomcom" (thanks for another silly term, Shaun Of The Dead!) is a highly entertaining mash-up of 50's sitcoms like Leave It To Beaver and a little bit of flesh-munching. It's all played quirky and for charm, which works extremely well thanks to some morbid humour and Billy Connolly's grand performance as the domesticated title zombie.
28 Weeks Later
If you're to come out of 28 Weeks Later with just two thoughts they'd probably be: "Man, that was crammed full of all sorts of kick-ass attack scenes!!" and "now I really want to watch 28 Days Later again". I admit to not caring much for the original when it first came out but it has to say something about the follow-up when I'm now going out of my way to revisit the first and see if perhaps I missed out. It also helps that there's a whole lot of grue and exciting moments on hand to keep your interest.
Josh Pasnak (Staff Writer)
It is so nice to see something original in the genre. So often these days, horror movies are simply copies of copies or "reimaginings" of somebody else's ideas. Guillermo del Toro decided to go in a different direction by giving us this dark fairy tale about a young girl in fascist Spain and the fantasy world that she escapes to. In this world, she meets a faun who informs her that she is a princess of the underground who must perform three tasks to be reunited with her father, the king. On her journey she encounters a giant frog, the horrors of war, and the scariest creature of 2007 - the pale man. A fantastic film in every sense of the word.
I suppose that, in retrospect, it is a miracle that this was made at all. The very notion that we could have an three-hour homage to the exploitation films that I have come to love seems like something that I would only dream. Thanks to Quentin Tarntino and Robert Rodriguez, this became a reality and was a terrible failure for the studio due to misguided marketing and an unfortunate release date at Easter. Luckily, I had the good sense to go to this on the opening weekend and it was probably the most fun I had at the theatre all year. The fake trailers were a little overhyped and "Planet Terror" was a tad underwhelming but "Death Proof" was the kind of movie that I never thought I would see again. Overall, this was an amazing experience that will unlikely ever be repeated.
Director Christopher Smith was responsible for my favorite horror film of 2005, Creep, and makes the list again with this comedic take on the slasher genre. Horror comedies can be a lot of fun when the spirit is in the right place and Smith knows exactly what he is doing here as he understands when to be scary, when to be funny, and when to combine the two. The timing is impeccable, the pace is fast, the gore is gory, and the last act is awesome. This was a joy to watch in the theatre and firmly establishes Smith as one of the best of the new generation of genre directors.
30 Days Of Night
This has to be the best vampire movie of the new millennium. In an era where vampires have become somewhat of a parody, director David Slade (Hard Candy) gives them their balls back. When I first heard the idea from a comic by Steve Niles of a coven of vampires that take control of an isolated town in Alaska where the sun does not rise for 30 consecutive days, I knew that I was in for a treat. I admittedly was a little concerned after seeing the trailer which made this look like every other frenetic horror flick. I thankfully went to the theatre anyways and was given a violent tale of bloodsuckers in the snow that had no qualms with getting messy as they fed on the townsfolk. These are not the usual one-liner quipping cool-guy vampires that we have become accustomed to but are instead ugly, screeching monsters that speak their own language. Josh Hartnett holds his own as the cop trying to deal with the situation amidst the slaughter of everyone he knows. This movie brought to mind The Thing, Demons, and a dash of Near Dark.
I would never have gone to see this had a trusted friend not told me to. I thought the trailer was a little bit lame and I have frankly lost interest in Stephen King horror adaptations. Well, I am glad that I got that fateful IM because this flick was one the the most exciting, moody, and downbeat flicks of the year that reminded me of some of the best movies from the 80's. This is a great example of a director using visual effects to enhance a story rather than tell it as the root of what makes this tale successful is the group of characters who are held siege in a smalltown supermarket by the creatures that lurk in the mist. Thomas Jane is great as the father-turned-hero and Marcia Gay Harden is wonderfully over-the-top as a religious fanatic trying to form her own personal cult. Darabont is rumoured to next be adapting one of my favorite King stories of all time, "The Long Walk".