At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s the characters that sell this movie. They’re well drawn, and somehow utterly believable even in the face of complete weirdness. Unfortunately, the director Toby Wilkins went on to make the absolutely dreadful third sequel to the Grudge remake, but at least he gave us Splinter first.
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2. Julia’s Eyes (2010)
As great as Guillermo del Toro’s movies can be, the films he chooses to “present” tend to be pretty dreadful in my view. But don’t let that put you off this brilliant little Spanish thriller.
The titular Julia is losing her sight due to a mysterious disease that also affected her sister, who apparently felt the loss of her sight so keenly that she committed suicide. Julia doesn’t believe her sister really killed herself, though, and sets out to prove that she was murdered. But with her own sight failing, it’s difficult to follow up on any of the clues. All she has to go on are obscure references, by people who knew her sister, to an invisible man; a man without a face, whom no one can quite remember. It’s a wonderfully creepy premise, cleverly shot so that we can’t see much more than Julia most of the time. It feels giallo-influenced, and resolves itself satisfyingly if not happily.
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1. Pathology (2008)
Neveldine and Taylor are known for their crazy over-the-top action movies like Crank, but a couple of years ago, they wrote a nasty little thriller called Pathology, and it’s brilliant. Set in a medical school, it stars Milo Ventimiglia as a talented student who gets drawn into a horrifying guessing game with his fellow students.
Each of them take it in turns to try to commit the perfect murder. When the corpse arrives at the morgue, the other players try to figure out how they were killed. Cue plenty of incredibly inventive death scenes, plus plenty of sex, drug-taking, and general deviance. It’s a genuinely horrifying horror movie that will make you feel sick more than once, but you won’t be able to tear your eyes away.
It’s gruesome and fascinating and creepy and genuinely affecting, with a kind of physical impact most modern horror movies can’t manage.
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