13 Must See Horror Films of 2013


The year is drawing to a close so lets look back and count down the 13 horror films of 2013 that deserve to be seen! The films will be listed in order with the Horror Film that earns TheHorroronline’s Number 1 must see film of 2013 taking the top spot. 


13. Evil Dead


Not the most well received of 2013’s horror films, Evil Dead didn’t quite live up to it’s hype as it was just a little bit too glossy for some tastes. BUT it is worth watching, if only for Sam Rami’s divine hand having blessed and touched the production, which lifted it above the usual remake dreck. It doesn’t get any easier this time round watching every character behave like a Goddamn idiot (it’s 2013 couldn’t one of them have brought a Kindle and left The Book Of The Dead the hell alone?) but screaming at the screen (as well as just plain screaming) is what this film wants to provoke. So pop on your figurative raincoat (it get VERY bloody) don’t think too hard and enjoy!


12. Insidious Part 2


Shortly after Insidious Part 2 was released James Wan announced that he was retiring from horror movie directing, after viewing the film the news is not so shocking. Apart from the fact that 2013 saw him release two horror films (The Conjuring and Insidious Part 2) and that his name has forever been preceded by the words ‘The Director Of SAW’ his fatigue for the genre was clear in his most current work. Insidious Part 2 plays more like a supernatural family drama than a horror film, Wan’s classic techniques are still there ; loud bang jump scares, atmospheric practical lighting but their ingenuity has faded. The film is still commendable and a must watch for fans of the original, as the nonlinear plot rewards those who have re-watched Insidious. Though it took the series in a somewhat lighter direction it upheld the quality of the original.



11. Escape From Tomorrow 


Almost too bat shit to believe Escape From Tomorrow which is set and was shot (without permission) In Disney World, imagines Disney Princess Face Character’s running an underground prostitution ring and shows one of the Princesses crushing a child. The audacity of Randy Moore who wrote, directed and shot the black and white film Guerrilla style is staggering and frankly awe inspiring. All crew and cast bought season passes and spent 10 days in the park covertly filming scenes with Canon EOS cameras on video mode, keeping their scripts on their iphones. They used look outs and hand signals to warn the cast when their repeated acting out of a scene was becoming suspicious to security. Moore thought that all was lost a few days into filming when he and his ‘film crew’ were detained by security and believed that his audacious plan to shoot an entire film in Disneyland without permission had been rumbled but it turned out that security had just mistaken them for paparazzi whom they thought were following Tom Cruise and his daughter Suri. The footage was safe. Escape From Tomorrow went to Sundance where it sold out to packed screening rooms. The film was positively received though it’s roughness and total lack of pacing was touched upon. The general feeling (which I shared, while viewing it) was a deliciously naughty sense of seeing something you shouldn’t. Reviewers patted Moore on the back and then slowly stepped away from him as they waited for Disney to descend, whip a black sack over his head and throw him in the back of a van. It never happened. I like to think that a newly employed Ivy League upstart at the Disney legal department strode suavely into a boardroom of old suits who were losing their biscuit over Moore’s mental film screaming “What will we do???” “ Legal bills that his great grandchildren will be paying??” “Or make it look like an accident?” and the Upstart said smoothly “We do nothing”. And that’s exactly what they did, nothing. They denied Moore his ‘The Film Disney Didn’t Want You To See’ tagline and ignored him and his Guerrilla film. It’s a rough and not entirely satisfying film but it is seminal to modern filmmaking and deserves a viewing.



10. The Conjuring 


James Wan’s first release of 2013, a case history of famous parapsychologists Ed and Lorraine Warren amassed a huge amount of hype. Personally I felt that Wan’s brand of back to basics horror didn’t quite sustain the film but it was an incredibly enjoyable watch and successfully regained some respect for the Horror genre, with an intelligent storyline, and building terror that never devolved into cheap gore. And The Conjuring earned the honor of having one of THE most terrifying openings of any film this year. It’s a shame that the film couldn’t maintain the level of terror achieved by it’s pant wettingly terrifying opening but it still deserves to be seen.


9. Stoker


Dark, twisted and hard to define, Stoker stormed onto the horror scene and took it by surprise. Matthew Goode gave a new and terrifying face to the remorseless psychopath and Mia Wasikowska gave a powerfully disturbing performance of a young girl’s innocence giving way to dark desires. Nicole Kidman rounded out the performances with her portrayal of the ice cold, impossible to read matriarch of the family. The film holds its wire tight tension taut until its very last scene. 




8. The Conspiracy 


Shot and completed in 2012 but given a limited release this Summer, this wonderfully constructed mockumentary about a conspiracy theorist that takes a terrifyingly dark turn, is a tightly wound and utterly engrossing horror thriller. The Conspiracy was without a doubt the best found footage horror of 2013. Writer/director Christopher MacBride kept the marketing of his film minimal, to maintain the authenticity of the ‘documentary’. His actions paid off as the film successfully lures the viewer into a feeling of safety, where one forgets that the film is fiction and then suddenly changes the tone, creating a denouement of 25 of the tensest minutes that this reviewer has ever experienced in a film. An absolute must see!




7. Maniac


 A remake that rose above every pitfall it could have fallen into and earned its name as a horror film in its own right, Maniac was a revelation. The film’s killer’s POV technique worked wonderfully with the casting  of doe eyed Elijah Wood as the titular manic. Without seeing short of stature Wood stalking and attacking women and given just glimpses of his perennially childlike face, we are able to remove ourselves from any preconceived ideas about the person holding the knife. Intriguing and down right frightening, this needs to be seen. Also the film made wonderful use of the song ‘Good-bye Horses’ by Q. Lazzarus. the theme song of nutjobs, that Buffalo Bill danced to (terrifyingly).



6. American Mary


The Soska Sisters gave a serious boost to women in the horror film industry with this darkly comic and at times just plain dark offering. It is often extreme and a difficult watch for the squeamish but Mary Mason’s transformation from meek to badass, is unmissable. It deserved all the hype and praise it received. 



5. Sightseers


By far the best horror comedy of 2013, Sightseers balances pitch black humor with gory horror and manages to make a serial killer couple who are on a killing spree because ; YOLO, likable and darkly relatable. Taut, scary and laugh out loud hilarious, Sightseers is wonderfully observed and constructed and is massively entertaining.



4. Byzantium 


Having once conquered the Vampire genre with Interview With The Vampire in 1994, Neil Jordan returns to the genre. His newest vampiric effort is just as epic and sprawling as Interview though not quite as tightly paced. Where Interview excelled in its set pieces and situations Byzantium excels in its performances. Gemma Arterton and Saoire Ronan move effortlessly and believably through the centuries and help the piece to be a bloody character study of vampires trying to survive and find meaning in their existence.



3. The Bay


 Shot in 2012 and released in 2013 The Bay, saw Barry Levinson (director of Rainman) who had tackled neither the horror or Found Footage genre before, surprise critics and audiences alike. Levinson had done his homework and studied the genre well. Modern devices from Skype to iphones chart the terrible and bloody infestation of parasites as they massacre a quiet Maryland town. Surprisingly gory and terrifying, the film stays engrossing to the end. The Bay rises above most aimless found footage horror’s by giving the film a narrator and a definitive structure.




2. The Purge 


 Fantastically conceived and tautly executed The Purge took a low key approach to high concept. Quietly exploring a future society where all crime is legal for twelve hours once a year. The horror of the situation was examined minutely and to chilling effect. Ethan Hawke (fresh from his success in the pant wettingly scary Sinster) gives Horror another everyman trying to protect his family, it is a role that he fits into perfectly, his tightly portrayed frustration and desperation making the film engrossing and compelling. One of the most interesting horror films of 2013 The Purge is an absolute must see!



1. You’re Next


You’re Next is the Horroronline’s must watch Horror film of the year! Shot in 2010 and released to the festival circuit in 2011, the film had built up such positive genre defining buzz by it’s release this Summer, that I practically had to bring a paper bag into the screening with me to hyperventilate into.. It truly earned the hysteria, You’re Next began a new chapter for intelligent horror films that also maintain their bloody sense of humor. It was the great hope for Horror that had been glimpsed in 2009’s The Collector but cruelly snatched away by its disgustingly awful sequel The Collection. The saviour had arrived and it was worth the wait. You’re Next gave us terror, thrills, gore, insane humor and an absolutely bad ass heroine in Sharni Vinson’s Erin. The film dragged the overdone home invasion genre back to the drawing board and totally remade it into a thing of pure brilliance. You’re Next you incredible gem, thank you for existing! I’m actually not worthy! All hail the saviour of the Horror genre!



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