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 August 20, 2013 and available on digital download, On Demand and BluRay/DVD here!

WITHER (2012)

aka CABIN OF THE DEAD, VITTRA
Directed by Sonny Laguna, Tommy Wiklund
Written by Sonny Laguna, David Liljeblad, Tommy Wiklund,
Starring Patrik Almkvist, Lisa Henni, Patrick Saxe, Johannes Brost, Amanda Renberg, Jessica Blomkvist, Max Wallmo, Anna Henriksson, Ingar Sigvardsdotter, Ralf Beck, Sanna Ekman, Julia Knutson
Find out more about this film on Facebook here

Tell me which movie you think this is the premise of: a group of kids decide to go to a cabin in the woods. While there, they are possessed by evil spirits one by one until only one man remains. If you guessed that this is the premise for the original EVIL DEAD, you’d be right. You may have guessed that it was the plot for EVIL DEAD II, and you’d still be right. But did you know if you guessed WITHER, you’d also be correctamundo?

Holy crap, this movie was awesome! Straight out of Sweden comes an EVIL DEAD remake we all were hoping for. WITHER pretty much follows the story of Sam Raimi’s original low budget masterpiece, but manages to bring enough to the table to not be a complete remake. Had the actors in WITHER spoken English and the title EVIL DEAD been slapped over the box cover of this one, I think there would be a lot of Deadites out there who would’ve thought this was another installment.

The big difference between WITHER and the original EVIL DEAD, besides all of that Swedish being spoken, is that there’s no Book of the Dead to be found. The evil spirits are more tied to the land and the horrors are less the fault of the goofy campers as it is just their dumb luck of happening into the wrong wooded area. There’s something about the fact that the horror isn’t something the victims brought upon themselves that I like. It feels more real that way and less poetically motivated. Horror and violence is often unexplained and unmotivated; here these monsters that possess the cabiners cross paths by total happenstance.

The second huge difference between the films is that it has modern advantages such as good acting, well shot and choreographed scenes of violence and gore, and very little by way of slapstick and humor. Yes, EVIL DEAD II was a laugh riot and I love it as much as the next guy, and EVIL DEAD was a classic in low budget horror. But in both of them, one has to admit the acting was pretty bad. In EVIL DEAD’s case, the effects were very rudimentary (there’s Claymation, for chrissakes, which is cute, but really not scary). And in EVIL DEAD II’s case, the gore was played for laughs instead of squirms. In WITHER, this is straight up, bone-chilling horror from start to finish with top notch bloody gore and gory violence that will astound you at the level brutality it achieves.

I hate to diminish WITHER by comparing it so much to Raimi’s classics, but this really is a modern version of the best aspects of both of his EVIL DEAD films. Hell, the hero even wears Ash’s trademark blue shirt. And while Bruce Campbell is fun, the level of emotional intensity Patrik Almkvist faces when his character must deal with his possessed girlfriend reaches dramatic levels the EVIL DEAD films dream of achieving.

Horror fans, if you are looking for a modern equivalent of a horror classic, find WITHER and let this amazing homage swallow your soul.




THE 2012-2013 COUNTDOWN!


#14 – WITHER
#15 – KISS OF THE DAMNED
#16 – JUG FACE
#17 – NO ONE LIVES
#18 – YOU’RE NEXT
#19 – HOME SWEET HOME
#20 – THE TAINT
#21 – THE PURGE
#22 – RITUAL/MODUS ANOMALI
#23 – V/H/S/2
#24 – MON AMI
#25 – EUROPA REPORT
#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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