- He Never Died (2015) Punk rocker Henry Rollins shines in this quirky comedy horror tale about an anti-social outsider with a troubled past. Throw in some Bingo games, suggestions of mental illness, a hapless waitress, mobsters, obnoxious neighbors, and a dash of cannibalism and Rollins turns the deficits in his acting range into serious positives that will make you cringe, laugh, and maybe even shed a tear. This is one of those cases where deadpan not only works, but draws you in even further. This is a film showing that less can sometimes be so much more.
- Train to Busan (2016) Travelers on a train to Busan find that their world has been turned upside down by a zombie apocalypse. This
award-winning South Korean Zombie flick has been called “Snowpiercer with Zombies” but in fact, it is more like “World War Z” with fully formed characters and much more interesting social commentary. The fast-moving zombies combined with claustrophobic element of being trapped on a moving train is not something that we have seen before and that alone is worth the price of the ticket.
- It Follows (2014) A young woman discovers that a casual sexual encounter has made her a target for an invisible supernatural entity that wants to kill her. Some critics have indicated that they felt the story was an HIV/AIDS parable while others think it more about the basic perils of intimacy. Either way the abstraction of the monster leaves a lingering fear as the viewer’s mind eye provides much of the context for the fear of being stalked by something. This film deserves a sequel which delves deeper into the creature’s mythology.
- Stake Land (2011) In a world where vampires have caused an apocalypse we follow the tale of a vampire hunter and his young orphaned apprentice as they seek out a mythical vampire-free oasis in a sea of death. The road-trip aspect of the film is particularly fun since the world is so well thought out. America’s heartland is devastated but its blue-collar roots shine through as a terrorized populace try to hold on to what little civilization they have until eternal night claims them. The sequel is already out and also on Netflix. It’s just as enjoyable.
- Would You Rather? (2012) Guests to a dinner party are invited to a spooky mansion to play a high stakes game of “would you rather?” The winner gets all their problems solved and the losers get an early grave. Veteran character actor Jeffery Combs dominates this film eating nearly every scene he’s in as the game’s sinister yet earnest millionaire host. Critics by and large were split on this movie, but I suspect horror fans with enjoy the sometimes surprising gore and the ultimate question of what price are you willing to pay to fulfill your dreams. In this case, it just might be your very humanity.