HND’s Top 20 Genre Films of 2007.

Posted by Peter Hall - March 12th 2008 @ 5:18 pm
20. HALLOWEEN; dir. Rob Zombie; HND Review.

"I believe the saddest thing about the entire affair is that Zombie’s HALLOWEEN isn’t that bad of a flick, but unforgiving is the act of taking the iconic Michael Myers and returning to the fans a film that is as important to the genre as a handful of sand is to a beach.  Remove the context of the film as a remake, remove the expectations, remain as objective as possible and Rob Zombie delivered a film that is, at best, a neutral non-issue."

19. CROC; dir. Ken Solarz; HND Review.

"Make no mistake, CROC is a terrible movie, but it is terrible in the most delightful way. It has durable, albeit unremarkable, characters and plot. Plenty of third world computer muckery and enough shoddy English accents to keep a group laughing for the full 90 and beyond. Yes, I am recommending CROC on the merits of its inadequacies. More often than not, that is the only reason to recommend a film of such ilk. Every now and then an ABOMINABLE makes its way through the gauntlet and successfully pins the trifecta of humor, horror and aged cheese. While CROC is no ABOMINABLE, it is also no ICE SPIDERS. Think of it as a train wreck with clowns. Clowns with flimsy fake accents that crumble at a rate thrice as often as they stand."

 18.    BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON; dir. Scott Glosserman; HND REVIEW.

"… falls just short of being top shelf stuff.  It goes down smooth with no hint of a bitter after taste, no doubt, but it doesn’t quite massage all of your senses simultaneously.  Unquestionably funny and chess-club intelligent, Glosserman and Stieve’s script is a pleasant rumination on genre conventions.  Connecting with the audience right out of the gate, thanks almost wholly to the charisma of Nathan Baesel as the titular killer, BTM:TROLV is a must see, it just isn’t as smart as its devilish thesis proposes."

 17.  SUBLIME; dir. Tony Krantz; HND REVIEW.

"It is a bit longer than it needs to be, but SUBLIMEis still worth it.  Sexy without being trashy, trippy without being absurd, serious and surreal without being silly.  For something that was only ever intended to end up on a Best Buy shelf or a midnight run on cable, it says a lot about the film and filmmakers that they would go out of their way to avoid all those things when few others in the game do."

 16.  DISTUBRIA; dir. by D.J. Caruso; HND REVIEW.

"There’s a reason for the success of DISTURBIA, both on a broad commercial scale and a personal one.  It’s the same reason Lunchables are so damned delicious.  If the answer to that riddle eludes you, you’ve never had a childhood, in which case you should be neither watching DISTURBIA nor eating Lunchables.  And if you think you’re too good to admit enjoying either, you’re a liar."

 15.  HATCHET; dir. Adam Green; NO HND REVIEW.

HATCHET dubbed itself Old School American Horror, but never matched the claim outright.  Green’s movie is ‘Old School’ in the same way pre-faded t-shirts from Hot Topic are ‘Old School’.  That said, it is still an entertaining, blood filled romp, if a little too jokey for its own benefit.

 14.  I AM LEGEND; dir. Francis Lawrence; HND REVIEW.

"I could complain all day long about how I AM LEGEND could have been improved upon. Doing so, however, would be misleading. It is still a good little film. It doesn’t put up a fuss, gets all its homework down on time and even eats everything on its plate. The problem is its homework wasn’t all that challenging and the plate wasn’t all that full to begin with. For a movie that sure backed down from all its ideas, it holds its own, but the amount of squandered potential is depressing."

 13.  THE TRIPPER; dir. David Arquette; HND REVIEW.

"…a very, very welcome entry to the slasher ilk.  It is smart with ample mind to both play to and subvert expectations.  David Arquette knew exactly what kind of mood he wanted to strike and it is that very mood which makes watching his film such a treat."

 12.  1408; dir. Mikael Håfström; HND REVIEW.

"The cast is great, the handling of the room and the terror it bestows balanced with classic King wit.  A ripe summer movie for summer audiences, especially if you’re the kind of teenager I was.  I can imagine walking to the theater more than once to catch something like this.  As an adult, relatively speaking, I no longer have the open ended months of sunshine to spend all kinds of free time at a theater, so I’ll confess 1408 doesn’t have enough pull to drag me back, but it is shinning PG-13 horror worth at least a singular big screen visit."

 11.  ALONE; dir. Parkpoom Wongpoom and Banjong Pisanthanakun; HND REVIEW.

"Ghost films have forever been likened to something girls should be afraid of, while men soak up their slashers.  I prefer my films without drums full of blood and close ups of open wounds.  That just doesn’t do anything for me anymore.  It takes someone and something with smarts to win me over, even if they’re playing in familiar territory.  I’ve got far more respect for the men and women who top themselves without a need to re-cut their film after submitting to the MPAA.  Which is why I’m all for films like ALONE, even if imperfect."

 10.  30 DAYS OF NIGHT; dir. David Slade; HND REVIEW.

"… may just be the good-est horror movie to hit theaters in 2007.  A deliberately paced breed of high-gore with a standard of quality so deliciously red that viewers want more of it than is on offer.  Watching 30 DAYS OF NIGHT is like finally going back to a great restaurant you haven’t been to in years, only to find out your favorite meal is in short supply that night.  What you order instead is equally fulfilling, just not quite what those anxious taste buds thought they’d be getting, thus the pangs of longing."

 9.  THE MAN FROM EARTH; dir. Richard Schenkman; HND REVIEW.

"I am prone to hate puns, or in this case half puns, but what THE MAN FROM EARTH is so very smart, but so very down to Earth. Everything about the appearance of the movie is casual, but like the man in the title, there is a delicate truth underneath it all. Watching the characters plant their shovels in the dense topsoil to unearth it all is thrilling."

 8.  RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR; dir. Chris Gorak; HND REVIEW.

"If the "Twilight Zone" had a contemporary feature film department, RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR would be a flagship. Chris Gorak’s film shares many of the same qualities that defined that seminal series as the source for culturally relevant what ifs and more. There are a few fallacies in the science, but that is precisely why this is science-fiction.  Fallacies included, it has a sharp story to tell with a welcome evolution on the one fear we share as a culture."

 

 7.  28 WEEKS LATER; dir Juan Carlos Fresnadillo; HND REVIEW.

"When the shit hits the fan in this movie, it doesn’t just hit one fan, it hits all fans.  28 WEEKS LATER is a veritable assembly line of shit hitting fans.  It happens again and again, practically shoving the viewer to the brink of exhaustion. And when you’re doubled over with a stitch in your side, it’ll punch you in the face.  Just because it can."

 6.  ILS (THEM); dir David Moreau; HND REVIEW.

"The movie may be dead simple and to the point, but it still pulls off a very interesting spin on home invasion.  The ending is one of my favorite genre finishers in recent years.  Not because there is some jaw dropping twist, but because it echoes the tone of the preceding 75 minutes perfectly and applies meaning where there was none.  Since it is from France and is comprised almost entirely of a female being chased, the comparisons to HAUTE TENSION are inevitable, but rest assured if you hated the utterly pointless 180 of that film’s ending, you’ll find no such disappointment in ILS."

 5.  PLANET TERROR; dir. Robert Rodriguez; HND REVIEW.

Have you seen PLANET TERROR?  There isn’t much explanation required here.  This is balls-out horror that is pound-for-blood-soaked-pound the most entertaining film of 2007.  The only thing holding it back from cracking higher in the top 5 is its lack of weight due to its own glorious absurdity. 

 4. ;  BLACK WATER; dir. David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki; NO HND REVIEW.

  This Australian slumber’er will never escape being described as OPEN WATER with crocodiles, which is an accurate, but unfortunate pitch.  However, it is a lean, tight thriller with an outstanding use of its beast.  I dug the film upon viewing it once, but didn’t realize how deep its teeth had sunk in until I was in a locked server room on a military base in Qatar and an image of a croc doing nothing came up on a monitor.  I could not have been farther from the conditions in which BLACK WATER takes place and yet I still felt a fear of crocodiles I didn’t possess before seeing this flick.  Not a flawless film, but it overcomes budget and plot in ways I have nothing but honor for.

 3.  SUNSHINE; dir. Danny Boyle; HND REVIEW.

"Know this with absolute confidence: SUNSHINE is the best piece of cinematic Science Fiction to come out in years.  It is the surprise of the summer and I cannot say anything more explanatory than you have got to see this flick if you like Sci-Fi."

 2.  THE ORPHANAGE; dir. Juan Antonio Bayona; HND REVIEW.

"The film clocks in at a comparably small 104 minutes, but could stand to tighten up another 10 or 15 in editing without significant loses to mood or build. THE ORPHANAGE is one for the record sheets. Not only would I place it in any top horror list for 2007, I’d place it high in an all-genres inclusive list for ‘07.  This is top shelf, ageless, haunted-house horror."

 1.  THE MIST; dir Frank Darabont; HND REVIEW.

"THE MIST is a Three Gorges Dam sized reservoir of fucking awesome.  If it were merely 9.43 million cubic miles of standard issue awesome, my turbulent heart may be able to slow to a normal beat, but Frank Darabont is a dark wizard who has mortgaged portions of his soul for the power to conjure a mystical brew that evolves regular awesome to the celestial echelon of fucking awesome.  He places the viewer at the base of his 7,661 foot wide, 607 foot tall retaining wall and then he kicks it down in one fluid act of emotional terrorism, flooding all in a torrent of orgasmic horrors surging towards an orgy of Lovecraftian waves, periodically allowing now delirious minds to surface for rational air before Darabont’s own divine touch shoots through the apocalypse with the precision of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, cutting through all manner of beasts, heading straight for any remaining reservations and drowning them once and for all in a glorious finale that is like baptizing the innocent in a furious ocean of nuclear lava.

rss 4 comments
  1. Barry
    March 13th, 2008 | 10:34 am | #1

    I gotta see this Croc movie.

  2. R.J. Sayer
    March 13th, 2008 | 3:28 pm | #2

    and this is exactly why i’m glad i didn’t submit a list in the contest. i wouldn’t have called half of these placements. though, knowing what we disagree on, i would’ve been able to make a few educated guesses on where you would put things i wouldn’t even acknowledge and vice versa.

    but… really… Halloween shouldn’t be on there at all.

    and I Am Legend beating Behind the Mask??? NEVER!!!

    i’d make a list, but i haven’t seen THEM yet and i just wouldn’t feel right about it…

  3. March 13th, 2008 | 3:48 pm | #3

    Such are the woes of list making. I, at least, always Monday-morning quarterback and change things the day after I post them, but since this was for a contest, I had to resist. Halloween did almost get bumped off the list by Flight of the Living Dead. And yeah, I Am Legend should not be that high. Plus, Black Water was a left field choice, especially since I never even posted the review I wrote.

    Barry won the contest with 13 points. His list:

    1. The Mist
    2. The Orphanage
    3. 30 Days of Night
    4. 28 Weeks Later
    5. Behind The Mask
    6. 1408
    7. Sunshine
    8. Disturbia
    9. The Reaping
    10. Bug
    11. The Host
    12. The Girl Next Door
    13. Alone
    14. Zodiac
    15. Black Sheep
    16. Fido
    17.Right at your door
    18. Hachet
    19. Sublime
    20. Grindhouse

    (The Host would definitely make a list of mine, I just wouldn’t consider it an ’07 release because its domestic in South Korea was in ’06).

  4. R.J. Sayer
    March 14th, 2008 | 12:17 pm | #4

    Yeah, i know what you mean. And i would definitely put Flight of the Living Dead above Halloween.

    i wouldn’t consider The Host ’07 either. I saw it at a festival in ’06.

    also, i’m glad to see that Barry was wrong and Girl Next Door didn’t make your list.

    that was a piece of shit. ESPECIALLY if you’ve read the book.

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