7. Piranha 3D – This film is not high art, it’s nothing but dumb fun. PIRANHA 3D was a film that knew what it was and it succeeding in being what it sought out to be. The flick doesn’t take itself too seriously, and presents itself as nothing but a throwback to the old cheesy movies where it was all about having some fun and watching people get mutilated, rather it be by a hockey mask wearing lunatic, a giant great white shark or thousands and thousands of bloodthirsty pre-historic fish. While basking in its final 10 to 15 minutes of glory I couldn’t help but wish there were some elements left out even though the film has a fast and furious pace and a pretty short run-time, but the little girl and boy plot could have easily been substituted for a few extended scenes of partying or underwater exploring with the scientific team. The 3D while decent was not a real necessity to the film and may have hampered my enjoyment just a bit.
6. The Last Exorcism – I don’t know exactly what I was expecting when I went in to this flick, but when I came out I certainly don’t think what I watched was at all what I imagined it would be. That in itself is just one of the reasons this film hooked me in and had me wishing it offered just a little more than it was willing to show. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of hand held style camera footage movies, but I would say that I am a moderate fan when it is done well and this is an example of it done well. THE LAST EXORCISM does not rely on cheap jump scares to have you squirming in your seat; it does it by creating and sustaining an uneasy tone and by the looks Nell, the girl being exorcised, shoots at the characters. Knowing if she is crazy or truly possessed becomes moot because you’re so drawn in to the story and how it presents itself to you. Each character comes to life so it’s not just Nell’s well-being you’re concerned about it’s everyone you’ve been watching throughout the film and the ending is without a doubt divisive, but it still was effective for me.
5. Let Me In – If you had asked me when LET ME IN was announced that it was going into production, if it was going to end up being on any “best of” lists I would have scoffed and laughed the question off. I had no hope for this film being any good considering how much I loved LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, which was my favorite horror film of 2008. Matt Reeve’s did a fantastic job of carrying over the tone of the Swedish film while also throwing in a little flair for jaded American audiences. It didn’t quite reach the level of appreciation I have for the original, but it still a very solid release, and for anyone not familiar with the Swedish version will probably love it more than me.