M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved starting with the year I began reviewing the genre officially October 1, 2010 through October 1, 2011. I have posted my best of lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around a bit. I’ve even added a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!

How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st 2010 and September 30, 2011 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number, 31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on October 8, 2010. Available On Demand, digital download, DVD/BluRay!

#10 – RED, WHITE, & BLUE (2010)

Directed by Simon Rumley
Written by Simon Rumley
Starring Noah Taylor, Amanda Fuller, Marc Senter, & John Michael Davis

Though it’s tough to call RED, WHITE, & BLUE a straight-up horror film, the final moments of this emotional loopty-loop have some of the most shocking scenes I’ve seen put to film. Director/writer Simon Rumley pulls not one single punch in the final half hour after lulling the audience in with a charming story about a promiscuous woman (Amanda Fuller) developing a relationship with a PTSD-addled war vet (Noah Taylor). Though not for the squeamish (but what the hell are the squeamish doing reading my reviews anyway?), RED, WHITE, & BLUE is well acted, masterfully directed, and unbelievably memorable.

Structurally, I liken RED, WHITE, & BLUE to TAXI DRIVER. Both are about damaged people seeking companionship and both end with an explosively violent climax. But while TAXI DRIVER suffers from a bit of a lull up until the bombastic ending, I was entertained by RED, WHITE, & BLUE throughout. The core of this film is the love story between Erica (Amanda Fuller), a woman who refuses to have relationships—only brief sexual encounters, and Nate (Noah Taylor, best known for his role as a young Geoffrey Rush in SHINE, but unrecognizable here), an Iraq War vet who is deliberating about going back to work for the government as he doesn’t seem to fit into the real world. Both actors expertly show periods of intimacy toward each other yet bristle at the touch of anyone else they encounter. The third lead, Marc Senter, offers a capable performance as Franki, a singer in a garage band and one of Erica’s former suitors, but his performance doesn’t compare to the two leads. Then again, Franki is given quite a bit of story to chew and does so in a way that makes you both like and loathe him all at once.

Though the film has been out for a while, I won’t reveal the kick to the balls reveal toward the end of the film or the horrific events that spawn from it. All I can say is that RED, WHITE, & BLUE is the type of film that leaves deep scars you’ll be feeling long after the closing credits. The sheer brutality of the acts that occur in the final moments resonate mainly because of the time and patience director Rumley allows us to live the lives of these three main characters. It’s a harrowing journey to get to the end, but well worth the trip. While July is on the other end of the year for us right now, I still can’t think of a better way to celebrate the nation’s independence than with this little indie film from Texas that lulls you in with a gentle caress, but leaves you in a pool of your own juices with a powerhouse kick to the innards.

THE 2010-2011 COUNTDOWN!

#10 – RED, WHITE, & BLUE
#22 – RUBBER
#27 – HUSK
#30 – LA HORDE

M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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