It has been quite the scary year at the Cineplex this year from re-imaginings such as Evil Dead terrifying us to wildly original fare from horror directors operating at the top of their game, such as James Wan and his The Conjuring.
But, what are the best… the ones that when we look back on the year that was, still scare us? Without further ado, we present the Top 10 Horror Movies of 2013.
Guillermo del Toro had his handprints all over Mama, directed by one of his prodigies, Andres Muschietti. Jessica Chastain plays against type as a rocker chick who is dating a rather straight-laced guy. Things are going pretty well until her boyfriend’s brother dies mysteriously and his kids disappear. Years go by, and the kids are found in a remote cabin… but they are not the same and they do not come home alone.
Dark and delicious, Mama enthralled us in its ability to tell a horror story through the eyes of children where they can see the evil, but adults cannot. The children were in fact being raised by someone, or something, in that cabin and Mama is not going to go quietly.
We hear rumblings of a Mama 2 and that would be a very good thing.
9. Dark Skies
Keri Russell stars in this UFO thriller that paints the aliens not only as evil, but utterly haunting. It’s nice to see the sci-fi flick delve into the horror territory. Sure, Dark Skies has a few problems, but those scares are sensational.
A remake nobody thought should be made, Carrie looked to update the Stephen King book and the Brian De Palma classic movie starring Sissy Spacek. Chloe Moretz stars, this time out, as the alienated high school teen who discovers she has the power of telekinesis. In this age of bullying dominating headlines, the story could not be timelier and Moretz and Julianne Moore (who plays her creepy mother) made a terrifying tandem.
7. The Purge
The Purge gets the award for most original idea for a horror flick in 2013. Ethan Hawke stars as a security specialist in a United States where crime is at an all-time low. The reason: Because once a year on a night called "The Purge," all crime is legal. Everyone gets their angst out once a year, so there is no reason to commit crimes the rest of the 364 days.
Hawke, as the security expert, feels that he and his family (with onscreen wife Lena Headey) are safe with their suburban barricades, but when their son lets in someone who is in trouble, nothing can protect them from the Purge coming their way.
6. World War Z
World War Z is a zombie movie where the zombie itself is downright scarier than any we've seen this year. Sure, it’s wildly different than the bestselling book, but then again… the book would not have made a good movie. Brad Pitt stars as a UN worker who must leave his family behind as a zombie apocalypse has taken over the world. Pitt is charged with discovering how the zombie infestation began, in hopes of stopping it.
The zombies in Marc Forster's blockbuster epic move at breakneck speed. Instead of dragging one foot behind them like we’re used to, they, in fact, swarm like insects and there is no escape.
Heading in to see Stoker, Movie Fanatic saw it as a familial drama starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode. That’s some fine pedigree for a dramatic two hours of family intertwining. But, while watching it, it became quickly clear that at its heart, director Park Chan-wook’s (the original Oldboy) American language debut was a terrifying turn into the dark corners of secrets, lies, murder and revenge.
It will surely land on our Top 10 Movies of 2013 and it also deserves to be on our Top 10 Horror Movies of 2013 for its jaw-dropping eeriness and haunting images that will remain with the viewer, long after the credits have stopped rolling.
4. You’re Next
Someone’s killing off family members and their significant others, one by one, in a remote house in You’re Next, and there’s nothing anyone seems to be able to do about it. With each successive death, the wall or nearby area is adorned with “You’re Next” written in blood. There’s a twist in this flick that you will not see coming, and honestly is one of the best plot turns in a movie all year.
Elijah Wood has come a long way from Middle Earth and The Lord of the Rings and stars in this horror flick that is about as terrifying as a film can be. And who would have thought that a remake of a 1980 cult classic could up the ante and instill more fear than the original? Maniac does that and so much more.
2. The Conjuring
James Wan has rapidly made himself one of the best horror directors around and he solidified that fact with his work on this past summer’s The Conjuring. Although he said he is sworn off horror films (he’s currently filming Fast and Furious 7), we certainly hope he’s just taking a break instead of retiring from the genre. Although his Insidious Chapter 2 slightly missed the mark in 2013, The Conjuring took Wan back to a good old-fashioned haunting movie that induced utter fear around every corner.
Patrick Wilson reteamed with his Insidious director and was joined by Vera Farmiga as the real life Warrens, a couple who specialize in the supernatural and have been more than successful at ridding families of what haunts them.
The story set in the 1970s features Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor as a couple who move into a new house with all sorts of hope and promise. When their child finds a haunting doll in a hidden room -- all sorts of hell breaks loose.
1. Evil Dead
Who would have thought that a remake of a horror classic could possibly be good, much less the best horror movie of the year? Evil Dead set the standard for films of the genre when it debuted, and the same team who brought us that flick (Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell) are all over this one as producers… thus why the quality was so good. Director Fede Alvarez clearly was an Evil Dead fan as his 2013 version of the movie feels like a love letter to one of the scariest movies to arrive in the last several decades.
Jane Levy stars as a woman who is battling addiction issues, and with the help of her brother and her friends, she heads to a remote cabin to go through withdrawal and end her cycle of drug use forever. When she starts seeing things, her cohorts deem that she is having withdrawal hallucinations and leave it at that. When things get more violent, bloody and horrifying, they realize (too late!) that it is much more than drugs leaving her system.
Honorable mentions: Insidious Chapter 2, Curse of Chucky and American Mary