Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its sixth year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers, I have once again compiled a list counting down to my favorite horror film released since last October and covered in this here AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Some of these films might be new to you since there isn’t a lot of horror in theaters these days. That said, there were more on this list that DID have a theatrical run than in previous years which means the horror genre does seem to be on the upswing. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video On Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay or digital download.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year since October 1st, 2015 (which happens to be the birthday of this little column five years ago!) and worked and reworked the list until I had 31. No real method to my special brand of madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween to my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion at the end of each post that is worth nothing or missed being on the list by a little bit for those who can’t get enough horror.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own list…let’s go!
EMELIE (2015)Directed by Michael Thelin
Written by Richard Raymond Harry Herbeck & Michael Thelin
Starring Sarah Bolger, Chris Beetem, Susan Pourfar, Joshua Rush, Carly Adams, Thomas Bair, Dante Hoagland, Elizabeth Jayne, Randi Langdon
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug
A few narrative missteps keep EMELIE from being an absolutely perfect thriller, but even with those stumbles, it’s a damn fine piece of squirm-inducing cinema!
Emelie (THE MOTH DIARIES’ Sarah Bolger) seems to be a perfectly nice and competent babysitter, but as soon as parents Dan and Joyce Thompson (Chris Beetem and Susan Pourfar) leave their three kids (Jacob - Joshua Rush, Sally - Carly Adams, and little Christopher - Thomas Bair) alone with her, it’s quite obvious that this innocent waif is not what she seems, and as the Thompsons have an enjoyable anniversary dinner it becomes apparent that the well-being of the children is the furthest thing from Emelie’s intentions.
Despite a few logical stumbles, I loved this film. Sarah Bolger is amazing as the worst babysitter you could ever imagine, putting the children on the frontline of danger as well as having devious intentions for them. Seeing Emelie take great pleasure in seeing the children acting out, doing things they shouldn’t, and abusing them in cringe-worthy ways is something that will definitely cause unease in those with or without children. EMELIE goes there in terms of pushing the taboo subject matter in the abuse Emelie unleashes upon the young children in her care. And while the scenes where one of the kid’s pets is given to another pet to eat is something that made me squirm beyond belief, I have to give this film credit for going to places that most are afraid to dare. The videotape scene alone is enough to unsettle most folks, but the fact that Emelie seems to get off on psychologically torturing those she is looking after makes the film ballsy enough to surprise me at how ballsy the film truly is.
***SPOILER ***Still, there are huge holes in EMELIE as she doles out some sleep-inducing drugs to the children late in the game in order to fulfill her devious goals. Aside from making things interesting to fulfill the feature length runtime, there is no reason why Emelie wouldn’t have drugged the children immediately in order to attain her evil goal. Having her drug the children in the final act just makes it more evident that this is a film needing a final act hurdle rather than sustaining the suspension of disbelief of the action in the film that these characters would act in more logical ways. I understand why the filmmakers decided to do this, but within the logic of the movie, it would have been much easier for our evil babysitter to do this immediately instead of time it so that it ramps up the tension while the parents are on their way home. As is, within the movie Emelie seems to enjoy tormenting the kids a little bit too much and gets sidetracked from her real motivation.***END SPOILER***
But despite this one flaw, this is a damn suspenseful, completely unnerving, and totally wicked little film that I loved quite a bit. Sarah Bolger delivers a star-making turn as the evil nanny and the child actors are actually really good, as director Michael Thelin really gets some realistic performances out of them. EMELIE goes to dark places, and you’re definitely going to be made to feel uncomfortable in a scene or two as this babysitter makes you never want to leave your kids with anyone ever again. I’m willing to look past some of the late in the game decisions of the film due to the quality of the performances and the sheer size of balls this film has. EMELIE is a film I definitely recommend to lovers of tense, wicked, real life horror.
#28 – EMELIE
#29 – BASKIN
#30 – I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER
#31 – SOUTHBOUND
2015 #1 – THE CANAL
2014 #1 – PROXY
2013 #1 - MANIAC
2012 #1 – THE WOMAN
2011 #1 – THE LAST CIRCUS
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 15 years & AICN HORROR for 5. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller and on his new website collecting posts for AICN HORROR as well as all of the most recent updates on his various comic book projects on MLMillerWrites.com.
Look for Johnny Destructo, Stephen Andrade, Christian DiBari, and my own ramblings about random horror films on CultPop/PoptardsGo and Ain’t It Cool on AICN HORROR’s CANNIBAL HORRORCAST Podcast every other Thursday (or so…)!