Top 30 (ish) Horror Films in 2011

As we wait in anticipation for The Top 30 Horror Films in 2012, let’s see what the rest of 2011 has to offer us!

1. Dark Souls – Mørke sjeler

Film release date: January 2011 (Norway)
Foreign Horror – Norway

A revengeful father embarks on a dark thrill ride of lost memories, conspiracy and zombie-like symptoms. It seems that the source of the bizarre world he has unearthed lies in the mysterious darkness within.

2. The Ward

Film release date: January 2011 (UK)

John Carpenter returns with a movie about an institutionalized young woman who is terrorized by a ghost. Nothing new, perhaps, but asylums are always cheery horror fare, and John Carpenter coasting is still better than some other horror directors at their best.

Read our The Ward review

3. I Spit on your Grave

Film release date: 21 January 2011 (UK)
Crime / Horror / Thriller

A writer who is brutalized during her cabin retreat seeks revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead. This update on the original video nasty will not be the only cabin-related horror film out in 2011, but it will be the most controversial.

Read our I Spit on your Grave review

4. Wake Wood

Film release date: March 2011
Horror / drama

The parents of a girl who was killed by a savage dog are granted the opportunity to spend three days with their deceased daughter. Seriously – what do the parents think is going to happen? They all have a tea party with lovely biscuits, perhaps?

Read our Wake Wood review

5. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Film release date: 2011 (USA)
Comedy / Horror

The adventures of supernatural private eye, Dylan Dog, who seeks out the monsters of the Louisiana bayou in his signature red shirt, black jacket, and blue jeans. This is another comic book to movie adaptation. It sounds like the creators have got the look right, but the word on the web is that – as in the case of Keanu ‘Balsa‘ Reeves in Hellraiser – they’ve done no more than pay lip service to the orginal story.

6. The Cabin In The Woods

Film release date: 2011 (UK)
Horror / Thriller

A twisted and unusual take on the familiar “cabin in the woods” formula. We’re excited partly because the very word ‘cabin’ evokes visions of inbred squints and duelling banjos, and mostly because Joss Whedon is the co-writer. He’s not done pure horror before, so he’ll probably take the film in a different direction to that which cabin-loving horror fans have come to expect.

7. Perros Muertos

Film release date: 2011
Foreign Horror

A family of four on a road trip in the South of Spain crosses paths with Cocacolo, a young hoodlum on the run from the police in Barcelona. Like it or not, as they reach the South, keeping together will be the only option. The Spanish horror film industry is on fire at the moment, with titles like Il Orfanato and [REC] being remade for english-speaking audiences. We are looking forward to seeing Dead Dogs in the original.

8. The Resident

Film release date: March 11 UK
Drama / Horror / Thriller

When a young doctor suspects she may not be alone in her new Brooklyn loft, she learns that her landlord has formed a frightening obsession with her. Christopher Lee guest stars. Two things epitomise a Hammer film: a poignant visual style and a plot whose direction is deciphered within the first twenty minutes. In these two respects, The Resident is bona fide Hammer at its idiosyncratic best.

Read our The Resident review

9. Scream 4

Film release date: 15 April 2011 (UK)
Horror / mystery / Thriller

Ten years have passed, and Sidney Prescott, who has put herself back together – thanks in part to her writing – receives a visit from the Ghostface Killer, courtesy of Wes Craven. New decade, new rules. There is little point in suggesting we do not need another Scream. As long as we have fourteen year olds on the cusp of becoming fifteen year olds, we will need another Scream.

Read our Scream 4 review

10. Red Riding Hood

Film release date: 15 April 2011
Fantasy / Horror / mystery

Set in a medieval village haunted by a werewolf, a young girl falls for an orphaned woodcutter, much to her family’s displeasure. Horror-lite for the Twilight crowd. Does it deserve the Twilight comparison? In my eyes, yes. Same director, same romance-heavy approach to plot, same visual gloss. Just swap the vampires for a werewolf and you’re done. I doubt even Gary Oldman’s presence can save this.

Read our Red Riding Hood review

11. Priest

Film release date: 11 May 2011 (UK)
Action / Horror / Sci-Fi

A priest disobeys church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece. Though billed as something of a horror, Priest is really a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller set in an alternate world ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. Cinema luvvy Paul Bettany gets about as an actor, and the world is better for it. Yet another adaptation of a graphic novel, Priest looks like wonderfully posturing, silly fun.

Read our Priest review

12. Final Destination 5

Film release date: 26 August 2011 (UK)

Survivors of a suspension-bridge collapse learn there’s no way you can cheat Death. The film promoter’s have managed to contort the title to 5nal Destination in the hopes of emulating ‘Se7en’. Ah, bless. Final Destination will never be Se7en, but unlike other horror franchises, it operates on the Star Trek even-number theory, rather than the law of diminishing returns. Just as all even-numbered Star Trek films are good, all odd-numbered Final Destination films are good. Actually, the third one with the melting sun bed was pretty good too. Final Destination – the silly but inventive gift that keeps on giving.

13. Fright Night

Film release date: 2 September 2011 (UK)
Comedy / Horror

A remake of the comedy-horror picture about a teenager who discovers his new next-door neighbor is a vampire, with the drawback that no-one will believe him. Remakes galore, eh? The original was funny, satirical, sharp, fresh and even scary. Let’s see what Fright Night 2011 brings to the table.

14. Piranhas 3DD

Film release date: 16 September 2011 (UK)

After the events of Piranha 3D Julie Foster has moved to a small town, with a large beachfront and views to die for. The first film was a genuinely brilliant hour and a half of breasts, gore and unconvincing CGI. We’ve a genuinely soft spot for the wee bitey fellows here at Best For Film Towers. We hope the sequel lives up to its inspired title.

15. The Darkest Hour

Film release date: 2 September 2011 (UK)
Action / Foreign Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller

In Russia, a group of kids struggle to survive after an alien invasion. I must admit I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing any Russian horror films before, unless you count the excellently evocative Daywatch and Nightwatch. For this reason alone, The Darkest Hour will be at worst a curio, and at best a fresh and powerful take on survival horror. But good things are being said of this apocalyptic thriller.

16. The Thing

Film release date: October 2011 (UK)
Horror / Thriller

Prequel to the original widely-acclaimed John Carpenter movie. An alien shape-shifting creature is accidentally unleashed at a marooned scientists’ colony in Antarctica. The ‘thing’ in question has the ability to turn itself into a perfect replica of any living being. The original horror was rightly accepted as a masterpiece. It made the most of the isolated environment, and accentuated the gore with realistic and immersive paranoia, playing off the old idea that the most terrifying thing to a person is, really, another person. Intelligent splatter, indeed. The producers convinced Universal Studios to allow them to make a prequel to John Carpenter’s original film, on the grounds that creating a remake of such an assured and self-contained film would be as pointless as painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa. This level of sensitivity to the subject begs me to believe that the prequel will seek to be as intelligent as the original. Time – more specifically, October – will tell.

17. Paranormal Activity 3

Film release date: 21 October 2011
Horror / drama

Well, what to say? Writer Michael R. Perry is clearly a talent but the studios seem intent on pushing him into turning a perfect ‘ding an sich’ of a movie (a thing of itself, a perfect jewel) into a soap opera. Those who like horror soap operas can conjecture about the likelihood that Paranormal Activity 3 focuses on Ali and her attempt to find out what happened, and maybe you’ll get backstory about the grandmother and what have you. After the baby and the dog, I don’t care anymore. It makes me feel sad and grinchy just to think about it.

18. The Woman in Black

Film release date: 28 October 2011
Drama / Horror / Thriller

A young lawyer travels to a remote village to organize a recently deceased client’s papers, where he discovers the ghost of a scorned woman set on vengeance. The screenplay is being handled by Jonathan Ross’s wife Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Stardust). The cast will include Daniel Radcliffe attempting further ‘expelliarmus’ on his Harry Potter past. Based on the Susan Hill novel, this should be a wonderfully enticing and suspenseful drama – an eerie, classy horror full of sobbing women and fish-faced Cthulhian peasants on windswept islands all being maudlin. Cracking stuff.

19. Beneath the Darkness

Film release date: 31 October 2011 (USA)
After the death of his best friend, 16-year-old Travis struggles to expose the grim secrets surrounding a “haunted house”. This is PG 13, so don’t expect too much.

20. 11-11-11

Film release date: November 2011

Yes, it’s another horror film with numbers in it! And why not? Numbers are beautiful and scary and full of hidden secrets we laymen don’t understand. 11-11-11 is a horror-thriller from the director of several of the Saw sequels, set on 11:11 on the 11th day of the 11th month. It concerns an entity from another world that enters the earthly realm through Heaven’s 11th gate. One hopes you won’t have to be 11 to enjoy it.

21. Perfect Fairy Tale

Film release date: 2011 (Hong Kong)
Thriller / Foreign Horror – Chinese

Trust the Chinese to turn our fairytales into something ugly, twisted and bloody. They know exactly how to handle a decent ghost story, after all, and have a knack for weaving together the horrific and the beautiful. A fearless cop is tasked to investigate a series of puzzling murders which resemble fairytales. Asian thrillers are so darkly inventive, with such a visceral, stylised approach to gore, that they tend to appeal more to hardened horror fans than the official western ‘horror’ fodder.

22. The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)

Film release date: 2011 (USA)
Drama / Foreign Horror

The original film was a lifeless creature, unable to make you think or laugh or jump enough to warrant the cult status it so clearly craves. The tagline of the sequel is “100% medically inaccurate”, and that’s hilarious, and we can only hope the sequel will be as high-quality as the words it sells itself by. Except we’ve got that whole censorship furore going on…

23. Livide

Film release date: 2011 (France)
Fantasy / Foreign Horror – French

It’s going to have Béatrice Dalle in it. And french horror films are nearly always marvellous, from Sheitan to Haute Tension to Martyrs and beyond. Though what lies beyond the seminal gore-porn Martyrs, I’m not yet sure. Anyway, Livide is going to be bloody marvellous or I’ll eat my foot. Livide is made by Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury, the french duo À l’intérieur, or Inside. Inside was heavy on the gore. Livide looks to be considerably less gory, with an emphasis on a fantastical and darkly Gothic aesthetic. One to watch. Did I mention it has La Dalle in it?

24. Urban Explorer

Film release date: 2011 (Germany)
Thriller / Foreign Horror

Anxious to explore the mysterious hidden world under metropolitan Berlin, an international group of four urban explorers hires a local guide. One for psychogeographers and reel explorers of under the radar horror films.

25. One Way Trip 3D

Film release date: 2011
Foreign Horror

Eight young people drive to the Swiss Jura region, food and tents in the trunk. It’s autumn and high season for a magic mushroom that grows there, which bodes ill for the fun-loving friends. It’s relatively cheap and atmosphere-building to film in woods and local outdoor landscapes, yes. But I recall Shroom. Can horror films please stop laying into the humble mushroom? Films about people tripping aren’t frightening. Unless they’re Jacob’s Ladder.

26. Bag of Bones

Film release date: 2011 (USA)
Drama / Horror

Adaptation of the Stephen King novel. Screenplay writer Matt Venne’s done a few bits and bobs including an episode of the hallowed Masters of Horror series. We can expect a low budget and a middle-name cast for this one. Sometimes, as in the case of recent King adaptation The Mist, this can work in the film’s favour. There is, however, an argument that all the really good Stephen King novels have already been given the film treatment. The Bag of Bones novel dragged, but the plot (grieving, writer’s block-riddled bestselling author discovers love and courage and nightmares at old lake hideaway) has the makings of a watchable film in it.

27. The Factory

Film release date: 2011 (UK)
Crime / Horror

An obsessed cop is hot on the trail of a serial killer prowling the streets of Buffalo, New York. When the cop’s teenage daughter disappears, he drops any professional restraint to get the killer. The serial killer no doubt knows that ‘Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo’ is a gramatically sound sentence. As such, we like him more than the cop.

28. A Horrible Way to Die

Film release date: 2011 (USA)
Horror / Thriller

An escaped murderer is in pursuit of his ex-girlfriend, who has fled to start a new life in a small town. This looks set to be an engaging suspense thriller, with unpredictable plotlines that’ll keep you involved for the relatively short screentime of 85 minuts. Expect a heavily visceral approach with dynamic, fluid camerawork… more importantly, expect a low budget horror suspense of above average quality.

So there you have it. Gore hounds, suspensirians, hunters of the darker thrill… 2011 looks set to be an intriguing year for the macabre, and we’ve aimed to highlight nearly thirty of the best horror films coming soon to a screen near you.

If you’ve got something to add, do the neighbourly thing – comment below. Other horror film lovers would appreciate it.

You may also be interested in The Top 30 Horror Films in 2012

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