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. Last month, counted down my favorite horror films from my first year of reviewing. Now it’s on to Year Two which began officially on October 1, 2011 and went through September 30, 2012. I have posted compilation 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 worked and 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, 2011 and September 30, 2012 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 7, 2011 and available on Video On Demand, digital download, and DVD/BluRay!
THE SQUAD (2010)
aka EL PARAMO
Directed by Jaime Osorio Marquez
Written by Diego Vivanco & Jaime Osorio Marquez
Starring Juan Pablo Barragan, Juan David Restrepo, Andrés Castañeda, Mateo Stevel, Daniela Catz
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here!
Genre mash-ups are tough to pull off. Most of the time one of the genres is stronger than the other, more researched, more fleshed out. The best type of genre mash-ups could be categorized in either category without debate. I guess I’m thinking about films like SE7EN which could be drama or mystery or even horror. ALIEN could be sci fi or horror. Though on a more independent scale, THE SQUAD is the same type of film; equal parts military story and horror with both areas equally effective. Though it doesn’t have the found footage style, THE SQUAD could be best described as CASUALTIES OF WAR meets THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT as a squad of Colombian soldiers happen upon a decimated military base and a woman who the soldiers claim is a bruja (Spanish for witch).
Technically, the film is a masterpiece in making the most out of a singular location and a limited budget. Everything is shot along what looks to be an abandoned army base and the muddy terrain surrounding it. The film consists of only a handful of actors and though the locale doesn’t shift, the scares are all due to Jaime Osorio Marquez’s talented lenswork and a powerful script which intensifies as the story goes on. This film doesn’t let up until the very last horrifying moment which consists of a shriek which resonates long after the picture goes dark. Marquez does a fantastic job of translating a somber and dour mood with the claustrophobic locale and a dire situation.
Though I don’t recognize any of the names of the cast, I was really put aback at how talented all of them were. There are some pretty intense situations this group of soldiers are put into involving a witch they find walled up in the abandoned fort. In many ways, this film reminded me of THE THING as the story we don’t see about the former residents of the military base intensifies the power of this woman who may or may not be tearing this troop apart with witchcraft. Even the final moments call into question whether the woman has otherworldly powers or if the Squad is overcome by the chaos of war itself.
THE SQUAD is a powerful film which—an effective horror film using witchcraft as a metaphor for the real horrors of war. Fantastically acted and directed, THE SQUAD is definitely a film in need of an audience, so seek it out!
THE 2011-2012 COUNTDOWN!
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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