Monday, December 26, 2011

The Top Ten Genre Favourites of 2011!

It's damn hard being the creator and father of Ninja Dixon to make lists like this. Mostly because I often takes me a few years to watch a new movie, even if it's extremely good and getting rave reviews from friends (just ask Jocke about that!). But this year I've been trying to watch some new stuff, just to be able to join what others are discussing.

What strikes me with this list is how mainstream it is. With the exception of a few titles this is big movies, distributed everywhere in fancy schmancy cinemas and in some cases even big successes. This goes against my secret agenda of only watching movies that other people don't understand, misunderstood productions that will be hailed as masterpieces in the future - but not now.

Here's a list in no particular order, because I can't stand putting one movie before the other. Some of these was probably released earlier, in one case it was out in festivals in 2009 - but I've chosen them because they got their big break/release in 2011, and therefore are new and fresh productions.

The Skin I Live In
- Could this be the most hyped movie of 2011? Yes, but it's also one of the few hyped movies that could stand the test of the audience and critics and delivered one of the most original and stunning genre-blending in years. Don't listen to fucked up critics who claim this movie is cold, this is the hottest eurocult-movie since Alejandro Amenábar's Tesis in 1996. And a good advice, don't read anything about. No spoilers. Just watch it and thank me later.

- The surprise-movie of the year! Not released on DVD or BD yet, but we caught this highly entertaining British backwoodshorror at the Weekend of Horrors in Bottrop, Salbau. So far director Alex Chandon's most polished movie, with a brilliant cast of character actors and some insane gore scenes during the second half. Unpredictable, funny and engaging. Can't wait to own it! My review!

Tucker and Dale vs Evil
- It took a few years for our new favourites Tucker and Dale to reach a wider audience, and it's strange why it took so long. This is one of the finest examples of a "horror-comedy" since Shaun of the Dead with characters you truly love (very fine performances by everyone) and a nice amount of blood and gore. The witty script, an original take on the tired slasher-concept, will surprise all of you.

Wake Wood
- I'll admit this is a very uneven movie, mostly because the budget seemed on the low side and it probably had a bit hurried shooting-schedule. But I liked it and mostly because of the fine cast and the presence of a truly weird local magic. The movie itself reminds me both of The Wicker Man and Pet Sematary, but in some parts even darker and nastier. The ending is a bit rushed and it's no perfect, but still a movie I recommend.

Troll Hunter
- Much has been written about this Norwegian mockumentary and even if some less intelligent US critics never understood it (hey, it's our traditions, not yours - keep an open mind please!) it's still beats the shit out of most American movies this year. Once again, this proofs that a good movie becomes even better if the screenwriters invest time in the characters and stop worrying about what other people will think about their project. Do I need to say that the CG effects looks absolutely stunning? A classic!

The Inkeepers
- How to follow up a classic like House of the Devil? Well, director Ti West really succeeded with making a movie as far as possible from his last, and don't believe the rumours - this is not a movie with an eighties feeling. This is just a very calmly told ghost story focused on characters and not only scares. It's a brave move, but it's captivating all the way through and has one of the most solid casts this year. I'm sure you will sit and discuss it with your friends afterwards, it's one of those movies...

- From Dutch filmmakers Dick Maas comes one of the funniest and most well-made Christmas-horrors I've seen in many years. This is not the fat bastard Santa wrecking havoc, it's the superior Sinterklaas and his demon-army of Black Petes who decides to take revenge on mankind! Much in the same feeling as The Lift and Amsterdamned, with the same visual flair and black comedy. And blood and gore. A top-class horror-comedy from a master of the macabre. Can't wait to see what he gives the world next time!

- One of the most unique and interesting genre-fuckup's during 2011. Is it drama, is it horror, is it thriller? Is it just the work of Eric Stanze? One thing is for sure, it has some fantastic gore, a well-written script and top-notch acting from Stanze's usual suspects. This also proofs that what format you shoot a movie has nothing to do with the quality. Nothing tires me out more than pretentious filmmakers who actually are so stupid they believe movies only can be real movies if they're shot on film. Bah! Humbug! The story, acting, the director always comes first - after that you should be able to shoot your movie with a VHS-camera and still be brilliant. If you can't do that, you have no fucking talent. My review!

The Thing
- Oh no! So politically incorrect of me! A scandal! ;) No, seriously. This remake/prequel was one of my finer experiences with genre cinema this year. I actually love how they went for both options and still managed to connect the dots and give the torch to John Carpenter's original (itself a remake) from 1982. Good actors, excellent direction and some amazing special effects (even if I can agree that the final monster is a but uneven). In the House of Ninja Dixon we fell in love with The Thing 2011!

- And of course, just until a couple of days ago, Lunopolis was out of my reach. Then suddenly I found it in a store in Stockholm and I saw what's probably one of the finest mockumentaries made in a very long time. A mix of every absurd conspiracy invented by mankind, but put together with so much love and intelligence. It has one of the most satisfying endings I've seen in a while and is an example of true and pure imagination. Indie-production when it's at its best! My review!

I also liked an enjoyed Final Destination 5 (a movie that should have a special prize for being superior than the mediocre part 4), Jason Connery's charming TV-movie 51, filled with rubbermonsters - always a pleasure to see and finally Super 8 of course, near-perfect family-entertainment in the vein as The Goonies and The Monster Squad.

I still haven't seen ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2, Attack the Block, Dear God No!, Red State, The Theatre Bizarre, Chillerama and The Woman, all who seem very interesting and in some cases really good. But one day, I just can't promise when, I'll see them and might give them a review if they're not to hip and hot!


Anonymous said... liked Super 8..?

I´m surprised by this....

Ninja Dixon said...

Yeah, I'm raised with movies like The Goonies and Monster Squad, so it fit quite perfectly into that mold.

smallerdemon said...

Glad to see The Innkeepers on your list. A great ghost story. Slow burning and great payoff. A great follow up to The House Of The Devil despite its radically different approach and story. So much fun and so scary.

I also enjoy Super 8 tremendously. You could tell that it really was a fairly small movie in a lot of ways that some of those quintessential 80s movies seemed SO big to us as kids and teens and even as young adults, but when we go back and watch them now we realize that they were filmed in small scales to make things seem large. I don't just mean effects, either, but filming those scenes with the military were obviously sort of small scale filmed but large scale in idea. That was routinely used in the 80s and it was nice to see recognized and used in Super 8.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen Teeth(2007) yet..?

Rape revenge story with body horror twist and of course a dark comedy streak to it...

And have you written a review somewhere..I couldn´t find it here on this blog of yours...?

Aaron said...

Nice list! Of the ones you mentioned, I'm really looking forward to SINT, INNKEEPERS, and SKIN I LIVE IN. I agree with you about TUCKER AND DALE; it really fell apart for me in the last 30 minutes, but I still liked it a lot. As for SUPER 8, I thought it pandered to the audience too much, although I would like to revisit it on DVD and give it another shot.