The summer movie season doesn't usually offer many horror films. In the past, movie studio executives preferred to leave those films for October, which some in the industry have dubbed the witching season. These days however, films come out on DVD within a few months of being in cinemas, so horror films released in summer are now often available on DVD in time for Halloween. Perhaps that is why no less than five great horror movies have come out this summer. So now the question is, which one of these is the cream of the crop? Lets have a look at all five contenders.
Brad Pitt has starred in some excellent horror films, such as "Se7en," and "World War Z" is no exception. This film is based on the novel of the same name and shows what could happen in an outbreak of a global zombie pandemic. It has a very realistic story and a hero who fights against all the odds to save humanity. There is plenty of action and blood thirsty, teeth-gnashing zombies, making it a classic in the undead genre. AMC's excellent zombie drama "The Walking Dead" has made zombie movies more popular, but "World War Z" has elevated it to the next level with a huge budget and great special effects.
"The Purge" stars "Game of Thrones" bad girl Lena Headey, as the wife of a man, played by Ethan Hawke, who has made his fortune selling expensive security systems to the wealthy. Those rich people begin to resent him and decide to kill him. It is set in a futuristic world where, during the purge, a12-hour window which happens once a year, anyone can commit any crime they like, without fear of prosecution. The husband and wife team soon find out that they might be victims of this year's purge. They are hunted relentlessly through their own home. They desperately try to survive just long enough for the sun to come up and the purge to end. This film has a realistic edge that will terrify cinema goers this summer.
Baby-faced actor Elijah Wood, star of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is an unlikely murderous psycho in "Maniac", a story about a serial killer who acts out his childhood abuse by taking his victims' scalps as trophies. This film is a remake of the slasher classic of the same name, from the 1980s, but improves on the original by making it more believable. Seeing the innocent looking killer first murder and scalp his victims, then put those scalps on mannequins in the shop, is very gruesome. It will appeal to fans of both horror and thriller movies.
"The Conjuring" stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as paranormal investigators who try to help a family who have just moved into a haunted house. They soon discover that the house is located on a satanic power spot, releasing evil entities which threaten to destroy the family and all those involved. You could compare this to the 1980s horror classic "Poltergeist", which has similar themes, but it is far creepier. The dark, moody rooms could be rooms in any ordinary house. It is so realistic you will be on the edge of your seat.
Finally, "You're Next" is a mashup of the dialogue-heavy mumblecore style (often characterized by an ultra-low budget) as well as horror film. Like "The Purge" it involves people trapped in a house, who must try to evade murderous pursuers. However, this time there is no hope that the killers will leave at dawn, so they must find a way to fight back instead of simply surviving until daylight. There is plenty of knife-wielding action and blood to keep die-hard horror fans happy.
Though all five of these films are scary, "The Conjuring" has to take the trophy for scariest film of 2013. It is a classic haunted house film but it transcends many other supernatural films. There is good character development and a good story, so it is easy to identify with this otherwise normal family. In many horror movies the characters seem expendable, so viewers may not care who dies, but in "The Conjuring", wondering who will survive and who will beat the odds, makes the film more exciting. Every unexpected twist in the story feels scarier than the last, as the dramatic tension escalates to a nightmare crescendo. Don’t be surprised if you see grown men scream in the cinema. "The Conjuring" is king of horror for summer 2013.