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 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 March 1, 2013 and available on digital download, On Demand and BluRay/DVD here!

BLIND ALLEY (2011)

AKA EL CALLEJON
Directed by Antonio Trashorras
Written by Antonio Trashorras
Starring Ana de Armas, Leonor Varela, Diego Cadavid, Alfonso Rosas, Judith Diakhate
Find out more about this film here!

One thing that I look for the most about a horror film is that it shows me something in a way it’s never been done before. With BLIND ALLEY, it’s not so much original material that Antonio Trashorras offers us with this tale of a woman trapped in a laundromat being stalked by a vampire; it’s the fact that he made a vampire story that is actually scary (something I’d love to see more of in today’s cinema).

BLIND ALLEY starts out with an amazing retro AUSTIN POWERS/LAUGH-IN style dance number set to animation with the heroine Rosa (played by the gorgeous, destined-to-be-a-star actress, Ana de Armas) shaking what her mammy gave her. Though this opening doesn’t really have a lot to do with the rest of the movie, it is an original and fun way of indicating that you’re in for a different kind of film experience. Turns out this dance number is an audition set to a green screen. After returning to her day job as a cleaning lady in a hotel, she finds out she must come in for another audition in the morning. Of course, she’s got to have a fresh dress for the callback, so it’s off to the laundromat. Though it doesn’t sound all too exciting, Trashorras (who was the writer of THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE) revs up the energy quickly as Rosa finds herself trapped in a laundromat at the end of an alley with a creature of the night stalking her from the outside.

The vampire in question is Gabriel (played by another highly capable actor, Diego Cadavid), and though it’s meant to be somewhat of a surprise that this seemingly nice guy is a vamp, early on, as Rosa talks with him, one quickly puts it all together. This is a horror movie, you know. Though the true identity of the threat is pretty obvious, Trashorras does intervene with quite a few surprises along the way. There are times when I was left wondering why the vamp couldn’t just burst through the glass windows of the laundromat, but that could be written off as the vamp toying with his prey rather than actually be hindered by her retreat.

Though some of the computer effects are a bit too obvious for my tastes, BLIND ALLEY is a beautiful looking film as Trashorras focuses his camera on unconventional imagery and draws out depth and beauty. The scenes in the hotel following Rosa on her day to day work schedule are engrossing despite being mundane, and the rest of the film, which is set in a singular locale, is gorgeously lit with gaudy street signs and flickering light flourescent bulbs. The single location here makes the film seem more like a play than an actual movie, but the restraint of the filmmaker is what makes BLIND ALLEY all the more effective.


THE 2012-2013 COUNTDOWN!


#26 – BLIND ALLEY
#27 – MIDNIGHT SON
#28 – DEVIL’S PASS
#29 – COME OUT AND PLAY
#30 – THE LAST WILL & TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH
#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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