When a package from the FBI arrived in my mail one afternoon, my first thought was, "Holy crap, what did I do this time?" After I read the letter that accompanied the DVD, I realized it was just a crazy marketing gimmick for the indie cinema verite horror flick Evil Things by Dominic Perez. Following a group of kids being stalked by a crazy faceless madman while on vacation in the snowy mountains, Perez managed to take a couple of cliches and produce an incredibly effect and well-acted little thriller that featured a genuinely terrifying ending.
While the marketing gimmick was more or less made irrelevant by the rolling credits at the end of the film, and cries of "Why does he keep carrying the camera around" are simply dismissed with the cliched "I want to be a filmmaker" excuse, Evil Things managed to be a wonderful surprise. Its conventional plot is offset by the superb teen actors, the excellent acting of which makes the viewer feel as if they're actually being terrorized in the middle of nowhere. I generally have very...strong opinions concerning indie flicks like this, but Evil Things proved to be a pleasant surprise.
Carriers, directed by Alex and David Pastor, 2009
Much of my love for this film comes thanks to our own head honcho Scott Weinberg, whose glowing review of the film, as well as the backstory concerning its tumultuous release, prompted a trip to my local moving picture house to catch this enigma of a film. After I watched it, it was difficult to convince my fellow horror fans on the Twitters that deep down at its core, Carriers really isn't a straight-forward horror movie. Although a post-apocalyptic thriller at heart, the film unfolds, progresses and concludes far more like a gripping drama than a horror flick. Naturally, I was shunned, made into a pariah until everyone forgot about it ten minutes later, but I still stand by my controversial point of view. Sadly, Carriers received an incredibly modest release (I think less than 100 theaters), so I was lucky enough it made it to my neck of the woods. If you have yet to see it, by all means find a way.
Zombies of Mass Destruction, directed by Kevin Hamedani, 2010
I'm certainly in the minority with this one, but I thoroughly enjoyed this flick. I first caught it at the Starz Denver Film Festival late last year as part of the The Watching Hour block of programming, and if you can look past the incredibly horrible acting, utterly stereotypical characters, and the fact that its "message" would have worked better about seven or eight years ago, it's utterly hilarious. Although a little slow to start, I found myself awash in laughter several times throughout, thanks to the witty, if a little bit stilted and forced, dialogue. The flick certainly doesn't hold back with the gore, as we get beheadings, ripped off limbs, and gruesome stabbings of all kind. It was part of the After Dark Horror Fest for 2010, so along with Lake Mungo, makes it the most successful one yet! Well, at least for me.