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 Four of my year-long Retro-Best in Horror I’m recapping the Countdown beginning officially on October 1, 2013 and going through September 30, 2014. 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, 2013 and September 30, 2014 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 12, 2014. Available on digital download, On Demand, and DVD/Blu-ray!

CRAWL OR DIE (2014)

aka ALIEN CRAWL, CRAWL BITCH CRAWL
Directed by Oklahoma Ward
Written by Oklahoma Ward
Starring Nicole Alonso, Torey Byrne, Tommy Ball, Wil Crown, David Paul Baker, Tom Chamberlain, Clayton Burgess, David Zeliff, Larry Huitt, & Matthew Stephen Crabtree as the Creature!
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here

I didn’t know I was claustrophobic until I saw this movie. Wow, CRAWL OR DIE is one grueling heartstopper.

Set in an indistinct future where Earth has been leeched of most of its resources and a new Earth called Earth 2 is being populated as a replacement. A group of military mercs are sent in to rescue the last fertile and healthy female on the planet and get her past a war zone against what looks to be a grungier version of Giger’s xenomorph. But in order for that to happen, they’ve got to crawl!

The simple concept and the perseverance to stick with it is what makes CRAWL OR DIE so effective. The film starts out with the military team acquiring the female (simply known as Package through the film) and after most of them are picked off by the pursuing alien, a small portion of the group are forced to shimmy through what seems like miles of cramped tunnels and close quarters in order to survive with the alien hot on their heels. And while THE DESCENT had its moments of close-quarters horrors, this film buries you and gives you little wiggle room to escape.

And though this is literally a film about some folks trying to crawl through ever-shrinking tunnels the whole time, writer/director Oklahoma Ward keeps every second electric by switching up angles, getting intimately close to the trapped actors, and occasionally showing us just how far the actors have to go in order to get to the next, even tighter area. But while the directing is rock solid, it would be nothing without the star-making performance by the gutsy and gorgeous Nicole Alonso as Tank, the Mohawk sporting uber-babe who shimmies her way through this entire film. Alonso loses all of her soldier gear to fit through these tunnels and if it all wasn’t so intense and dire, it’d be sexy as hell seeing her stripped down to her skivvies to survive. While there is some cheesecake going on here, Alonso’s performance commands respect as she fights her way through tunnels that seem impossible to fit through.

The unflinching intensity of this film cannot be denied. Imagine if RUN LOLA RUN were set in a long, tight underground tube and you might get a feeling of the intensity of this film. Oklahoma Ward, Nicole Alonso, and everyone else behind CRAWL OR DIE (which originally sported the fantastic name of CRAWL BITCH CRAWL) have churned out a truly scintillating achievement in horror. Ward and Alonso are names you’re bound to hear more of, and CRAWL OR DIE is a film you should not miss.




THE 2013-2014 COUNTDOWN!


#12 – CRAWL OR DIE
#13 – TUSK
#14 – THE BUTTERFLY ROOM
#15 – FOUND
#16 – PLUS ONE
#17 – AS ABOVE SO BELOW
#18 – WILLOW CREEK
#19 – MACABRE
#20 – GRAND PIANO
#21 – RIGOR MORTIS
#22 – ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE
#23 – THE MACHINE
#24 – DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN
#25 – THE SACRAMENT
#26 – THE SEASONING HOUSE
#27 – THANATOMORPHOSE
#28 – DEVOURED
#29 – CONTRACTED
#30 – DISCOPATH
#31 – SATURDAY MORNING MYSTERY


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

I’ve set up a Patreon Page to help keep the lights on at MLMILLERWRITES, so if you have extra dough, please support me!

Interested in advertising on MLMILLERWRITES? Feel free to contact me here and we can talk turkey!

Don’t forget to share, like, and come back tomorrow for more reviews!