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. Moving on to Year Three of my decade-long Retro-Best in Horror recap Countdowns begins officially on October 1, 2012 and goes through September 30, 2013. 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, and even adding 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, 2012 and September 30, 2013 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, share, and chat about my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media and around the table at family events. 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 April 15, 2013 and available on digital download, On Demand here!

I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE (2010)

Directed by Bradley Sullivan
Written by Bradley Sullivan
Starring Indiana Adams, Kurt Cole, Madi Goff, Travis Scott Newman, Niko Red Star, Emmy Robbin, Jeremy Vandermause

Just like you and I, writer/director Bradley Sullivan While has seen all of the “kids go into the woods and never come out” films that have been a solid staple of the horror genre. And instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, he just does a highly capable job of telling us that story and the results would make EVIL DEAD wish they were dead by dawn…

too…

and make CABIN IN THE WOODS go hide…

in a cabin…

in the woods…

OK, enough, cute pull quote wordplay. Simply put, this is a damn great horror film. Having seen I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE twice now; I know this is one of those little gems easily overlooked, but shouldn’t be missed.

A huge component in why this film works is the cast. All capable actors, the stark differences within the cast make it all so fun to play out. The story follows a mismatched group of AmeriCorps types who go into a wooded area to stake out a campground for a children’s summer camp. Some of them are there for noble intentions, others for community service, and others are just there for lack of anything better to do. Mixing the well-intentioned and ne’er-do-well-intentioned together is always fun, especially when you add alcohol and power tools. Soon the campers find that they are dropping one by one after one “accidental” catastrophe after another, and that’s pretty much all I want to share about the plot.

I will say that this is a gorehound’s all you can eat buffet. Chainsaws embed into skulls. Eyes are ripped out. Axes, machetes, and all sorts of weapons edged and blunt are utilized to the most gory effect. This is a film not for the squeamish, but though the gore is intense, it is done in such a ballsy manner that one can’t help but laugh out loud. There are moments that will make your toes curl and belly giggle all at once.

The blackest of humor is used throughout this film. Though not parody, I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE definitely acknowledged all of the woodland horror films we’ve been seeing of late. But Sullivan’s quick and sharp script makes those other films pale in comparison, making you feel as if you’re seeing something fresh and new.

Filmed with a grainy grindhousey lens, but still incorporating some pretty top notch effects, I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE is anything but your typical horror film. It’s a horror fan’s dream come true and well worth seeking out if you’re looking for a capable, effective, and fun horror flick!


THE 2012-2013 COUNTDOWN!


#31 – I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE


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

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