Another year gone and another year of awesomeness to come. In celebration of 2012--a year that will bring us Prometheus and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive--here are some my favorite moments that 2011 brought to the horror genre.
The Big Scare - Insidious
The best scare in James Wan's ghost story combines suspense and a classic jump-out-of-your-seat moment. It begins with Renai (Rose Byrne) playing piano alone, her baby upstairs sleeping. Subtle noises and hushed voices from the baby monitor tell her that something else is upstairs with her child. Dripping with tension and an unnerving score, the scene is eventually paid off by the startling sight of a shadowy figure standing behind the crib later that evening.
Joel David Moore's German - "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" in Chillerama
With Adam Green's offensively-titled segment in Chillerama, the goal was to make fun of Hitler. And they did a marvelous job. Playing Hitler is the funny, gawky Joel David Moore, who doesn't speak a word of German. His faux German is hilarious, as bits of Spanish and modern film references are thrown in for the hell of it.
The Wood Chipper - Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
There are few times I've laughed as hard as when one of the dim-witted college students inadvertently dives head-first into the wood chipper in Tucker and Dale. The bloody accident had me guffawing and Tucker's (Alan Tudyk ) shocked reaction only heightened the comedy, as he desperately tries to pull the mangled body from the wood chipper.
The Meta Opening - Scream 4
Before watching the fourth installment to Scream, I wondered how the self-referential humor would hold up in an era that's been beat to death with post-modernism. I was no longer concerned after the first ten minutes of Scream 4. Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven take the tired movie-within-a-movie concept and turn it into something "so meta" that it somehow works. All the while, the film stays true to the core of the franchise by killing off stars early on, not taking itself too seriously, and addressing the modern state of the horror genre.
Moses, The Ninja - Attack the Block
Street-wise London kids battling aliens is enough to get me in the theater, but the amazing sequence of Moses (John Boyega) charging through an alien-infested apartment building with a samurai sword in hand was enough to have me cheering. Set to a dubstep beat and shot with cool, high contrast colors, I'm convinced that anyone who dislikes this scene has no soul.
The Shotgun Chase - I Saw the Devil
A brutal, yet strangely beautiful film is perfectly encapsulated by a chase scene between the story's two opposing forces: Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-hunLee) and Kyung-chul (Min-sik Choi). Kim Soo lays siege on a cannibal's home, where Kyung-chul has taken refuge. What ensues is a badass chase between equally-matched foes with close call after close call -- a scene that poignantly displays why director Jee-woon Kim has made such a mark on Korean cinema.