Great films you might have missed in 2013


If you’re putting together your Best Movies list for the year, then STOP! You might wanna see these suggestions from’s resident film buff, Neil Martin, first: 

My mission to watch more and more films every year has once again taken me on a wonderful cinematic journey. I have watched more films than ever in 2013 and probably more low budget horror movies than is good for anyone’s mental wellbeing. There have been some wonderful releases this year and here is another selection of some of my favourites that might not have shown up on your radar. A lot of these will be vying for position in my end of year top 10 although there are still a lot I haven’t seen yet (and am desperate to) as well as some amazing films that haven’t made this list due to being a bit more well-known.

The Battery
Just brilliant. A fantastic take on the zombie movie that centres on two survivors’ relationship in a post-apocalyptic landscape. Low budget indie filmmaking at its absolute best with two excellent central performances. Really interesting to see a zombie film taking place in a rural landscape rather than the usual urban cityscape. Whilst it is a zombie film, it would be difficult to label it as a horror film as such as the film concerns itself pretty much solely with the relationship between Mikey and Ben, so don’t watch expecting gore and scares. But if you want a well made, funny and touching drama about friendship with just a touch of zombie madness then this is a rare treat.

Europa Report
Fantastic indie sf movie and certainly the best pure sf movie I have seen since Moon and probably better than that. It uses the ‘found footage’ premise brilliantly and slowly cranks the tension up throughout the film. Some truly stunning sequences and some great performances in another low budget genre piece that shows how strong the indie scene is at the moment with regards horror, sf and the like.

Prince Avalanche
A wonderful return to the slow-moving, glowing loveliness of his early films, DGD’s Prince Avalanche is a delightful road movie that bewitches from the opening frame. Admittedly it isn’t quite up to the majestic heights of those early wonders but it does have a lightness of touch (perhaps taken from his recent forays into comedy) that probably gives it more rewatch value than something like Snow Angels or Undertow. The soundtrack by Explosions In The Sky is just perfect for the film and its beautiful long lingering shots of a Texan National Park. I suppose this falls somewhere in between his early films and his stoner/fratboy comedies and many will criticise it for not being one or the other and perhaps it is a little underdeveloped, but for me it works.

A stunning piece of filmmaking with probably the finest bunch of performances you are likely to see all year. A brilliant coming-of-age tale that, as with all of Nichols’ work, has a truth and honesty so rare in modern American cinema. The two boys are brilliant and McConaughey turns in the finest performance of his career as the charismatic Mud. Ray McKinnon, Reece Witherspoon and the rest provide some excellent supporting work that demonstrates once again that Nichols really knows how to get the best from his actors. Nichols has now managed to write and direct three stone-cold modern classics and seemingly without pigeonholing himself and I can’t wait to see where he goes next.

Jug Face
Fantastic gothic backwoods supernatural thriller. A brilliant character-driven piece about folklore and backwoods mythology with a great atmosphere. Larry Fessenden is great and Sean Bridgers puts in another excellent performance.

The ABCs Of Death
Bonkers anthology featuring some of the finest directors working in indie horror today. Absolute madness in pretty much all of the 26 shorts on offer here. Some genuinely disturbing, some surrealist mindfucks and some just plain silly. Incredibly enjoyable and highly recommended for fans of inventive independent horror.

A compelling drama based on an unbelievable true story. Given that the film is essentially a 90 minute phone call, director Zobel and the cast do a splendid job of keeping you on the edge of your seat. Ann Dowd in particularly is excellent. After watching I did some research into the backstory and was blown away to discover that it is pretty much exactly what happened. How people could allow themselves to be drawn into something like this and let it get this far is beyond me but the film does an excellent job of depicting the intensity and uncertainty of the situation.

Lords Of Salem
Zombie’s films seem to be a love ’em or hate ’em affair and I have so far fallen on the love side of the fence (except the Halloween ones). Lords is an excellent psychedelic witchcraft film that wears its influences on its sleeve and is sure to divide audiences once again. It is far from subtle but shows Zombie is more than just a one trick pony. Oodles of atmosphere and a great sense of creeping dread that builds slowly throughout the film to a nicely bonkers denouement. Lots of nods to classics like The Tenant, The Sentinel, The Shining, Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby et al.

My Brother The Devil
An excellent, confident and visually striking debut with fantastic performances from all involved. It starts looking like it will follow all the usual coming-of-age-in-the-hood cliches but takes a surprising turn midway through into territory rarely (never) explored in these types of films. Another masterstroke by the director is to eschew the usual gritty pseudo documentary feel of the genre in favour of a more gentle light dappled mise en scene that manages to find beauty in the normally ultra grim council blocks of London.

Here Comes The Devil
Creepy and unsettling Mexican horror movie that moves slowly along cranking the tension all the way. Some truly arresting imagery and sequences and a fantastic denouement all make for a fascinating low budget horror that gets right under the skin.

neil martin


Words by Neil Martin.