2013 was, unfortunately, not the best year for horror movies. We were absolutely assaulted by sequels, remakes, and adaptations, not to mention everyone still seems to want to ride on the “found footage” train that hasn’t lost steam since ‘The Blair Witch Project.' But there are still some 2013 horror gems. Some are lesser known indie films, some are action horror/thrillers, and some are horror comedies. You may be hard pressed to find a movie that actually terrifies you from 2013, but you can still have some fun by getting a bunch of friends together, turning off the lights, and popping in one of these movies that make our 2013 horror films list.
‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D’ is easily the ugly baby of our Best Horror Movies of 2013 list. It’s a sequel to the original ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ that basically ignores every other movie that came out in the franchise since. It’s your basic violent schlock film complete with gore, screaming victims, chase scenes, and every other horror trope you can think of. This is why critics hated this movie, but it’s why we loved it. It’s a definite dial spinner and if you’re a fan of the original, or just a fan of excessive violence and gore, you will love seeing Leatherface in action once more.
You might have noticed a trend in this year’s horror movies, specifically that many of them were about white families in a huge suburban property being haunted by something. At least, ‘Dark Skies’ mixes up this formula a bit by using aliens instead of the same old vengeful spirits and monsters we have seen time and time again. ‘Dark Skies’ managed to take the stereotypical Greys that we have seen from every alien conspiracy special on The History Channel and actually make then scary. Now that’s impressive.
‘World War Z,’ otherwise known by its more accurate title “Brad Pitt Kills Some Zombies,” has absolutely nothing to do with the book it takes its title from, but it’s still one heck of a movie. Zombies have kind of become a joke in modern day horror cinema. Heck, we are making romance movies about them (‘Warm Bodies’ anyone?) World War Z reminds us that the Zombie Apocalypse isn’t fun. It really is the end of the world, and the only one who can save us is a dashingly handsome man who is crazy enough to inject himself with deadly diseases on a hunch.
Aside from haunted houses, the other big new concept in horror movies this year was home invasion. While most people went to see ‘The Purge’ for their daily dose of psychopaths terrorizing rich white families, ‘You’re Next’ did it way better. The target of violence in this movie is a rich family which isn’t particularly likeable but also who fights back way more than you would expect a horror victim family to. This makes the movie cathartic and thrilling all at once!
Let’s get one thing straight. ‘The Evil Dead’ remake has absolutely nothing on the original. It’s not nearly as tongue-in-cheek as the original horror franchise, but as a straight forward horror flick it’s pretty good. It also has plenty of references that will satisfy lovers of the original. Rule #63 Ash is pretty badass after all. How could you not love a movie where the protagonist cuts an abomination from hell in half with a chainsaw? Spoilers… we guess… but if that spoiler wasn’t enough to get you to give ‘The Evil Dead’ a chance, then you sir have no taste in gory horror flicks.
We said that remakes and sequels were the flavor of the week year for horror movies, so it’s inevitable that we would see a lot of them on this list. Yes, this is the same ‘Carrie’ plot that you remember. It’s the same creepy telekinetic girl, the same horrendous prom scene, the same mass murder caused by high-school douchebags. But the production values and acting in this 2013 are absolutely phenomenal. You may have seen this story before, but you haven’t seen it like this, and we highly recommend it for fans for the original.
Our Best Horror Movies of 2013 list is just full of spoilers isn’t it? Or is it? Fans of the novel that ‘John Dies at the End’ is based off of will know what we’re talking about. That being said, the movie is only loosely based off the graphic novel, but it still has that ever present feeling that the characters, and the audience, is having a really bad trip. This movie is a dark comedy as well as a horror, so people looking for a more traditional scary experience may not dig it, but everyone else will have a good time. Besides, that meat golem is scary and gross enough to classify this as horror in our books. We almost went vegetarian after seeing that thing.
It’s rare that a “found footage” film actually utilizes something like found footage. This foreign indie-horror flick may not be using footage found on old VHS tapes to scare you, but it is splicing together many different short horror movies and to great effect. It’s been a while since we saw an actual horror anthology hit theaters, and ‘V/H/S/2’ didn’t disappoint us. The plot that ties together the shorts is a bit of a stretch, but the short themselves are truly bone-chilling.
‘Mama’ is a movie that is as scary as it is beautiful. What else would you expect out of producer, Guillermo Del Toro? This movie has so many stories to tell. It’s partly about child abuse and trauma. It’s partly a ghost story about a mother still attached to her child. It’s party a story about straight up psychopathic murder. All of these different tales come together to weave together a fantastic narrative that will both terrify you and tug on your heartstrings. ‘Mama’ is a treat to watch, talk about, and analyze, and it’s one of those horror films that you can watch again and again, even if you aren’t in the mood for being scared.
We don’t think it comes as any surprise that ‘The Conjuring’ made it to the top of our list of Best Horror Movies of 2013. Heck, it was one of the best movies of 2013, period. Granted, it’s another haunted house movie about a white family in a large suburban household with a kid that sees things, but it uses this tropey premise well. ‘The Conjuring’ is a work of art when it comes to emotionally manipulating the audience. The jump scares alone are some of the best we have seen hit the big screen in the while; not overdone or corny, supported by a tense atmosphere, not telegraphed at all, and actually adding something to the narrative. If there is one movie this year that will actually literally scare you, it’s probably ‘The Conjuring.’