The 2012 filmic year was one of varied success; with no films quite reaching the grand heights they aspired to. Les Miserables was captivating and often heart-breaking, but was let down too often by miss-judged comical moments and some poor cinematography, and other tent-pole releases such as The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit couldn’t quite recapture the glory of previous instalments. This is why it was important to seek out the year’s independent and small-scale offerings, where ideas flourished in the place of large budgets and over-paid actors.
In no particular order, here are the 5 best films of 2012 that you might have missed:
On its last weekend open, two clerks at the Yankee Pedlar Inn decide to investigate the legend of Madeline O’Malley; a grieving ghost that supposedly haunts the hotel after a horrific past incident. The Innkeepers is an experience in nostalgic fear and characterisation from one of the best young directors in the business.
Killing Them Softly
Brad Pitt and Australian director Andrew Dominik team up for the second time after the criminally under-seen Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, in possibly the best crime film of the year; where the recurring theme that America is not a country, it’s a business, is belted home with little subtlety.
Sean William Scott plays Doug Glatt, a lowly bouncer and family outcast who gets the chance to live his dream when he’s recruited as an enforcer in a failing Ice Hockey team. Those like me who know very little about the American Ice Hockey League needn’t worry; as Goon is more interested in charting the rags to riches story of its lovable protagonist than it is devoting time to the complexities of the sport.
A pitch-black British comedy from director Ben Wheatley (the genius behind 2011’s shocking and spectacular thriller Kill List), Sightseers acts as a slightly depressing, and undoubtedly unique, spin on the lovers-on-the-run sub-genre made famous by the likes of Badlands and True Romance.
Cabin in the Woods
It’s a bit of an irony that the most original horror film of the year is also the one crammed with the most loving references to the genre’s glory days, but such is the brilliance of this gory, funny and endlessly surprising fan-boy delight. If you have a low tolerance to screen violence, it’s probably best to turn this off before the last 15 or so minutes…