The Loved Ones Xavier Samuel
Finally. I thought I was going to get through 2012 without seeing one decent horror movie (not counting The Cabin In The Woods, which was brilliant but was more a commentary on horror than a full-on horror movie). Here it is. And given that the title and cover art do scant justice to the uber-disturbing contents, I almost passed on it.
Great performances, excellent pacing and staging. It would be difficult to say more without spoiling the experience, so I'll just say that "Loved" is broken into three basic segments: a relaxed introduction to the characters that establishes their personalities and life situations and helps the viewer actually care what happens (something often missing from mainstream American horror movies, which tend to traffic in archetypes--see "Cabin in the Woods" to see "why"); a dark, dark middle section that features white-knuckle jeopardy and torture; and...I can't say. To lable the third segment would be to give too much away.
Oh, and not a moment of "found footage" to be seen, thank goodness. Effective once or twice, the novelty of that approach has worn off. "Loved" has good, third-person cinematography on actual film throughout. And another horror film necessity--fleeting moments of comic relief that enable the tension to rise and fall. This is not a great movie by "Top 100 Films of All Times" standards, but I defy anyone to come up with an example of a more effective horror tale this year.