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 14, 2011 and available on Video On Demand, digital download, and DVD/BluRay!

THE WOMAN (2011)

Directed by Lucky McKee
Written by Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee (based on a book by Jack Ketchum)
Starring Sean Bridges, Pollyanna McIntosh, Angela Bettis, Lauren Ashley Carter, Carlee Baker, Zach Rand, Shyla Molhusen
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here!

Lucky McKee’s THE WOMAN is a fantastic film. This is a story that will disgust. It will cause debate. It will shock. Having seen it with someone who isn’t really a horror fan, I have to say it does make for an interesting discussion afterwards, especially if that person is a female. In many ways, Lucky McKee continues to explore womanhood, a concept he touches upon in the film that made him a name in horror, MAY. But in this film, the director shows he is bolder, more experienced, and more skilled in the presentation. If I were to compare this film to anything, I’d shy away from the torture porn some might think it to be and compare it more to films like DONNIE DARKO, HEATHERS and AMERICAN BEAUTY: films that that, at their heart, are twisted comedies about the complexity of the concept of family while offering a warped view of what the American ideal of family is all about. It is also a film which most definitely takes a stance on women’s roles, using the various female characters in the cast to represent the complex roles a woman is forced to play in life. From abused housewife to angsty teen to bright eyed window into the future, even before exploring the role of the title character the story of THE WOMAN is rich with metaphor and ripe for varied interpretation.

There will be those who pan this film as misogynistic and I understand why folks may misinterpret it as that. The Woman, played by the mesmerizing Pollyanna McIntosh, spends the bulk of her screen time chained to a wall in the cellar of a farmhouse. Female characters are abused, sexually molested, degraded, and viewed as objects rather than humans. If that’s not misogynistic, I don’t know what is. But in the hands of director Lucky McKee, he uses these uncomfortable scenes for a reason. His Woman is the harbinger of wrath for all of those abusers; the users, the takers, and those who sit idly by and watch it all happen. Though some could argue that the bulk of the film depicts an uncomfortable degree of abuse towards women, the dramatic and bloody finale rings the truth of the point McKee is trying to bring across. If anything, this is a cautionary tale to respect the power of women, but in order to show that, the abuse is necessary to contrast it with the retribution that comes in the end.

On top of all of those heavy themes, McKee has made a fantastically entertaining film. His use of music is genius, twistedly juxtaposing Sean Spillane’s often poppy and folksy soundtrack with the dark secrets going on in the entire cast’s heads. The songs are quite catchy too, especially Spillane’s Cobain-esque “Distracted” which plays just before all of the shit goes down in the film’s denouement. Immediately after finishing the film I downloaded the soundtrack.

This is not a comfortable film to watch. It’s gory. It’s demented. It’s perverse. It shows a part of America that folks are not willing to admit exists and are definitely not proud of. I’ve always said that films that cause unease may not be the favorites of most folks, but they are the most effective horror films. McKee has achieved both. Using Jack Ketchum’s fantastic screenplay and book as the backbone, THE WOMAN is a brain twisting, moral churning, hypnotizing film experience that should not be missed.
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THE 2011-2012 COUNTDOWN!


#1 – THE WOMAN
#2 – LOVELY MOLLY
#3 – BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW
#4 – THE SKIN I LIVE IN
#5 – ENTRANCE
#6 – AMER
#7 – KILL LIST
#8 – BEDEVILLED
#9 – THE LOVED ONES
#10 – CABIN IN THE WOODS
#11 – THE DIVIDE
#12 – HAROLD’S GOING STIFF
#13 – SOUND OF MY VOICE
#14 – COLD SWEAT
#15 – THE INNKEEPERS
#16 – THE PACT
#17 – V/H/S
#18 – OUTCAST
#19 – LITTLE DEATHS
#20 – JUAN OF THE DEAD
#21 – BLOOD JUNKIE
#22 – THE SNOWTON MURDERS
#23 – PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
#24 – [REC]3 GENESIS
#25 – JULIA’S EYES
#26 – MOTHER’S DAY
#27 – EL PARAMO (THE SQUAD)
#28 – INBRED
#29 – THE SLEEPER
#30 – FATHER’S DAY
#31 – THE MOTH DIARIES


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

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