Top Ten Horrors of 2015
It’s usually uncouth in horror films to kill a child, so when you get a film which takes the zombie sub-genre and makes it exclusively zombie children you know it’s a film that’s taking risks. Obviously this film is played for laughs, and they have a great cast for the job including Rainn Wilson (Super, The Office) and Elijah Wood (The Faculty, Maniac). However the actor who steals the show is Saw writer, Leigh Whannell, as the science teacher. Gruesome, gory and full of giggles.
This one is going to be on most people’s top ten list this year, especially since it’s one of the better films that got a theatrical release this year. An oddball plot involving a vicious entity that will stalk indefinitely until it kills, a sexually transmitted curse, and non-stop paranoia, It Follows is definitely one of this year’s most original films.
While the haunted house film is still monopolising the cinema releases, We Are Still Here shows them how it’s done. The antithesis of the Paranormal Activity franchise, We Are Still Here gives us fantastic visual FX apparitions, buckets of gore, and original plot that keeps the audience gripped. Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator) leads a refreshing cast of older actors who prove that we don’t need a group of teenagers being haunted to make things interesting.
One of my favourites from this year’s Film4 Fright Fest. The directorial debut of [REC] producer, Alberto Marini, shows his spin on infection horror. One part 28 Days Later style Rage Virus, One part comedy of errors, Summer Camp is a roller coaster ride through genre tropes and takes the audience to unexpected places. Definitely one I’m looking forward to re-watching when it comes out on DVD.
Deep Dark is one film that I had the fortune of seeing by reviewing for UK Horror Scene this year and probably would have missed out on otherwise. Thankfully I got to see this film in all it’s weird glory. A send up of the art world while taking a trip through a Cronenberg-esque fantasy. It’s like Videodrome for all the starving artists.
If you had told me six months ago that M. Night Shyamalan was going to make a found footage horror film and that it would actually be fun and creepy, I would not have believed you. It’s this surprise that puts The Visit at fifth place on my list. Old people are rarely the villains in anything, let alone horror films, but these pensioners are exceptionally creepy. Shyamalan’s use of humour manages to balance out the fear that keeps our kid protagonists in danger for the film. A good example of found footage done well.
I had never heard about Eat before I picked it up on DVD but as soon as I heard it was about auto-cannibalism I was immediately intrigued. Not only does it have pitch black humour and biting (pun intended) commentary on trying to make it in Hollywood, Eat is probably one of the few films to make me cringe this year. Not for those with a weak stomach.
I saw Clown for the first time when I was at Glasgow Fright Fest in February and this was my favourite of the festival. Killer clown films aren’t the most prevalent sub-genre but when they do rear their grease-painted head, it’s usually the same kind of film. Clown takes the sub-genre off the rails and takes it down a path filled with tragic folklore curses and body horror. Funny, dark and original.
Another of my Film4 Fright Fest faves, Sun Choke is probably the most cerebral of my picks of 2015. An insight into the cycles of abuse, Sun Choke is a nightmare following a girl with severe issues lashing out at the world. Barbara Crampton (She’s been busy this year) shows that she can be cruel and kind as Sun Choke’s main antagonist. I feel that this film will be the most polarising of my choices. If you liked film’s like Under The Skin, Sun Choke should be right up your street.
When it comes to horror comedies, New Zealand can do no wrong. With Peter Jackson’s early splatter films, and films like Housebound, and What We Do In The Shadows (both were considered for this list and are my unofficial #11 and #12 picks), New Zealand just has the golden touch. Deathgasm spoke directly to my inner sixteen year old, with it’s references to heavy metal, and Dungeons and Dragons. Throw in a bunch of over the top gore effects and insane eye-less demons and you’ve got a recipe for the ultimate heavy metal horror.
I found it a little difficult to decide on what was my least favourite of the year. Not that 2015 has been a bad year, especially if you’ve had the fortune to visit any festivals this year. However we have had some stinkers like Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension, sad disappointments like Crimson Peak, and snooze-fests like Hangman. When it comes to the film that really upset me this year, it goes to the Poltergeist remake. We didn’t need a remake to Poltergeist and seeing it against my better judgement was one of the biggest mistakes I made this year. Going in with the lowest expectations possible and this film still had me raging. It took all the charm out of the original, filled it with a bunch of CGI knock-offs of the original scares and added stupid gimmicks like a shoplifted drone so we could get some unimpressive shots of the dead world. Just an offensively bad film.