Sometimes it helps to point out certain films that will not be named a year's best, just to head off any potential argument. So to you, Wishmaster, Scream 2, Mimic, and especially I Know What You Did Last Summer, thanks for playing, get off my field.
The contenders here might surprise you. Two of these I was lucky enough to take a chance on renting and the third is one that has been steadily gaining more respect. I speak of Cube, The Ugly, and our pick for the best of the year, Event Horizon.
More of you have probably seen Cube than The Ugly and that's fine. Cube is definitely a precursor to Saw and the whole early 2000s "torture porn" thing. It's smarter than many of those movie and is worth another viewing. As for The Ugly, if you like messed up psychological horror, this film is for you. A psychologist interviews a serial killer to see if he has been rehabilitated and the two take a mind trip into the killer's past. It'll mess with your head, I promise.
As will Event Horizon, or as some like to call it "Hellraiser in space." (They really did make a Hellraiser in space movie and like many of that masterpiece's sequels, sucked.)
Let's talk more about Sam Neill, can we? He gets a lot of crap yet he is one of the best leading men around who can actually convince me he's scared. He's not one of those "guys" who has to always be on top of things. He's a vulnerable alpha male. He can take charge but he can show fear. It's a beautiful thing to see.
Director Paul W.S. Anderson would return to sci-fi/horror and rock the Resident Evil series. If you consider Event Horizon as practice for the parts of that franchise Anderson helmed, then it becomes a much better film. Event Horizon is by no means perfect but it does deserve the time you could spend watching it.
It's certainly better than I Know What You Did Last Summer, even though that piece of crap has Jennifer Love Hewitt in it at her hottest.