A Rundown of the 13 (plus) Best Horror Movies I've Seen in the Past Year
[8 of 13]
The Serial Killer Thriller Runners-Up
DAS LETZTE SCHWEIGEN
Twenty-three years ago, an 11-year old girl was raped and murdered, and when another 11-year-old disappears, the tragic event not only impacts on the girl’s parents, but also those personally and intimately involved with the original crime.
As the UK quad below points out, if you’ve seen AMC’s The Killing, you’ll find echoes of that show here, though one must keep in mind that,
A) Das letzte Schweigen was made before The Killing premiered on AMC, and
B) Forbrydelsen, the original show upon which AMC based The Killing, was made before Das letzte Schweigen, and
C) Forbrydelsen and Das Schweigen, the novel by Jan Costin Wagner that Das letzte Schweigen was adapted from, were both released in the same year, 2007.
Just so you know.
(I SAW THE DEVIL)
(I SAW THE DEVIL)
Kim Ji-woon’s one of my favorite Korean directors, alongside Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan-wook, and his Akmareul Boatda is brutal.
Here, frequent Kim collaborator Lee Byung-hun goes all bloodthirsty vigilante on a serial killer (Choi Min-sik, who starred previously in Kim’s Choyonghan Kajok, though is probably best known for his role in Park’s Oldboy), in a film that mashes up the revenge fantasy and the serial killer thriller quite ably.
And like I said, brutally. Be forewarned…
* If you’re also into Kim, you should check out the anthology film, Inryu Myeongmang Bogoseo (Doomsday Book), if only for his contribution, Chunsangui Pijomul (“Heavenly Creature”), where a robot apparently achieves enlightenment.
Loosely based on actual Japanese serial killer cases, Sion Sono’s Tsumetai Nettaigyo is an excellent and sordid piece that chronicles the manner in which an unassuming tropical fish store owner is dragged towards dark and violent depths due to a chance encounter with a rival pet store owner.
A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE
In the same manner that Gareth Edwards’ Monsters was essentially an indie character piece with alien monsters running all about the place, Adam Wingard’s A Horrible Way To Die is an indie character piece with a serial killer as one of its characters.
The pacing, the narrative structure, the entire general approach to the material is very tellingly from this particular branch of the vast and sprawling cinematic tree, so whether or not you enjoy this film will probably be dictated by where indie character pieces fall on your personal movie tastes barometer.
You’ll either like and applaud the efforts of Wingard and writer Simon Barrett in applying that template onto genre material, or you won’t.
If you do like it, though, you’ll also find some nice performances by Amy Seimetz as a woman recovering from both alcohol and a very bad relationship, Joe Swanberg as a fellow AAer who shows an interest in Seimetz’s Sarah, and the ever-reliable AJ Bowen, who’s continued to impress since I first caught sight of him in past ¡Qué Horror! title, The Signal. Here, he plays Garrick Turrell, the aforementioned serial killer who has “several fan sites on the Internet dedicated to him, and a Facebook fan page with membership in the hundreds of thousands.”
Though I was never really that bowled over by Barrett’s past work on scripts for Dead Birds or Red Sands, I do appreciate what he’s done here, and heartily look forward to his subsequent collaborations with Wingard, which includes the very buzz-y festival darling, You’re Next, which plays an interesting variation on the home invasion template. (The other collaborations are shorts for the anthologies The ABCs of Death and V/H/S.)
(Das letzte Schweigen OS, The Silence UK quad, Tsumetai Nettaigyo OS, A Horrible Way To Die OS courtesy of impawards.com; Cold Fish UK quad courtesy of bloody-disgusting.com; I Saw the Devil OS courtesy of phantomcitycreative.com; A Horrible Way To Die DVD cover art courtesy of shocktillyoudrop.com.)