Jonathan’s Favorites of 2013

2013/12/30 20:52:41 +00:00 | Jonathan James

In past years, I’ve gone back and forth on running an end of the year list. There are always movies that are really well made, but I didn’t personally like and is it even fair to run a “Best” list when there’s the odd movie that I didn’t get a chance to see? It’s enough to drive someone insane and so I decided that we’re doing something a bit different on Daily Dead.

This year, we kick off our “Favorites of the Year” lists and the difference here is that we’re not just highlighting movies. Instead, we’re sharing our favorite genre experiences with readers this year, which could be a favorite movie, collectible, event, or even a performance.

*Note: Many “Best of” articles on other sites turn into flame wars in the comments sections with people fighting over the choices. This isn’t necessarily a “Best of” or “Daily Dead’s Top Movie” list. Everyone has different opinions and we thought it would be fun to show off the varied opinions of our writers instead of simply picking what they think are the top ten best movies of the year. I’m taking the first stab at it below and I hope you enjoy taking a look at what I enjoyed in 2013. Check back every day this week for features from our other writers.

You’re Next: 

After hearing about You’re Next since its TIFF screening in 2011, I thought the hype would be its undoing. Thankfully, I was proven wrong with this crowd-pleaser that revitalized the worn out home invasion sub-genre by focusing on smart dialogue and characters development. Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett have worked together on a number of projects, but this one has the perfect balance of terror, humor, inventive kills, and memorable characters.

The World’s End: 

The most mature of the three Cornetto movies is essentially an updated version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, replacing the Red Scare with the corporatization and the dangers of clinging to the past. This is a much different beast than Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, and I can see why it divided moviegoers, but I found it to be a worthy addition that only gets better with multiple viewings.

The Walking Dead Season 4 (Part 1): 

The Walking Dead TV series has its shares of ups and downs, but the creative team really stepped up their game in the first half of Season 4. While much of the first half doesn’t follow the comic book series until the later episodes, it’s the closest to the spirit of the comic book series since Frank Darabont’s run on the first season. There are still eight episodes to go, so it’s too early to call it a complete success, but they accomplished the seemingly impossible, by fixing The Governor’s arc, which was an incredible challenge given the events of the Season 3 finale.

Scream Factory: 

Scream Factory has been mentioned quite a bit on Daily Dead this year and it’s for good reason. They aren’t just releasing horror films, they’re revitalizing the fanbase of classic and cult horror movies. I recently compared this to the spike in classic rock sales when Guitar Hero was at the height of its popularity. Scream Factory is giving new horror fans a chance to experience films they may not have heard of otherwise and older horror fans are seeing their favorite films handled with the utmost respect. In a little over a year, Scream Factory has released more than two dozen horror films and they’re just getting started. My favorite releases from them this year include: The Vincent Price Collection, The Vampire Lovers, The Burning, The Incredible Melting Man, and Day of the Dead.

Mads Mikkelsen’s Performance as Hannibal Lecter: 

The Hannibal TV series had a lot going against it. After all, what fan really thought that a police procedural based on Hannibal would work on NBC? I’m not completely in love with all of it, which is why the entire series wasn’t listed here, but I’ll watch it every week to see Mads Mikkelsen as everyone’s favorite cannibal.

It may have been hard at first for people to picture anyone other than Anthony Hopkins (or maybe Brian Cox) in the role, but Mads Mikkelsen brings a certain physicality to the role that I found lacking in previous portrayals of Hannibal Lecter. Not only do you believe that he’s mentally capable of playing the game of cat and mouse, but he’s also physically able to subdue his victims and escape capture.

Jug Face: 

This is a movie that isn’t getting as much love as it should and it’s really worth checking out. It can get tiring watching found footage, slasher, and zombie movies month after month, so I was happy to be transported to a small community in the woods where they must make a regular sacrifice to a mysterious pit that provides them protection. It's the performances from Lauren Ashley Carter and Sean Bridgers that really sell this movie and it has stayed with me since I first saw it earlier this year.


Indie filmmakers are often hampered by time and budget, but Resolution is a prime example of what can be done with the right script and fantastic actors. This is a movie that demands your attention, leaves a lot up to the imagination, and is fun to discuss with friends afterwards. I can't wait to see what's next from directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead.

Evil Dead’s Gore: 

I'm not completely in love with all aspects of Evil Dead, but you can't deny that it excelled in the area of practical special effects. While not 100% of the effects were achieved practically, the majority of it was and it's rare to see in a studio horror movie these days. As I mentioned in my review, Evil Dead features the most blood and gore that I've seen in a movie released by a major studio recently and this was a fun movie to watch in a packed theater.


Ben Wheatley’s movies aren’t for everyone, but why does a filmmaker need to make a movie that appeals to all types of moviegoers? After his work on Kill List, Ben Wheatley is on my short list of filmmakers I’ll watch anything from and this dark comedy is a great character piece that takes an unpredictable path of insanity.


These are some of my favorites from 2013, but there's a lot more that I enjoyed this year and there's plenty I'm looking forward to in 2014. Check back each day this week for favorites from some of our other writers. Also, don't forget to share your favorites from 2013 in the comments below.

Our Favorite’s of 2013: