It’s that magical time of year again lovelies, when reviewers, bloggers and others with far too much time on our hands, look back at the last 12 months of movie releases and shamelessly weed through them as we peck at, dissect, deconstruct and generally tear apart the efforts of others, all for the annual Best and Worst Horror Movies of the Year list.
Fortunately, 2015 was not at all a bad year for horror films and in the spirit of niceness (shut up, I can totally be nice) I’ve decided to scrap the whole “best” concept, and instead opt for The Top 10 Must See Horrors Movies of 2015. This is a list of flicks who, although may not be the greatest movies in every aspect, are the ones I believe have that special something that makes them this year’s unmissable horrors…in no particular order.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
This minimalist and brilliantly executed black and white offering by Britsh born American-Iranian director Ana Lily Amirpour, is definitely not a film for every horror fan. The restrained pace and slowly unwinding tale of a lady vampire stalking the streets of Bad City, Iran, may be considered dull by gore hounds or those who prefer a more action packed horror story, but make no mistake, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a genuine treasure of a film and in my opinion, not to be missed by anyone…on Earth.
Described by Amirpour as an “Iranian Vampire Spaghetti Western” (a description which is reason enough to see the movie), Girl is almost guaranteed to charm viewers with its quirky take on the vampire genre, as much as for its utterly phenomenal cast, led by the mesmerizing Sheila Vand as the titular Girl, a diminutive but deadly vampire chick with a thirst for society’s evildoers.
Easily one of the best movies (horror or otherwise) of this year, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night will not only please any fans of indie horror, but will almost certainly leave you with the impression that you are witnessing something important, something game changing even, and for that alone it definitely ranks as an experience not to be missed.
What We Do in the Shadows
Hilarious and flawlessly acted, WWDitS is, without a doubt, one of the greatest things to happen to horror comedy since…well, since ever.
Set up as a mockumentary following four unbelievably dorky but completely lovable vampires sharing a New Zealand home, Shadows is one of those rare, perfect movies that will (undoubtedly) inspire copycats but will probably never, ever be duplicated again…and that’s a good thing, I think.
Directed by (and starring) Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, What We Do in the Shadows is so much fun to watch and so pitch perfect in its execution, that you WILL find yourself wishing that it will never end…which unfortunately it does, and the fact that this awesome flick tragically doesn’t last forever is the only thing that I personally could find to dislike about it.
I can almost guarantee you, that at some point during the viewing of this Kurt Russell horror western (yeah, that’s a thing), you will turn to whoever you’re watching this with and say “dude, what the fuck”…and at that moment you will truly understand why this gritty and blood soaked feature is one of 2015’s must watch movies.
The tale of four rugged men out to rescue some poor helpless people from the clutches of some evil, cave dwelling cannibals is as raw and grisly as this type horror film should be, with the pacing and feel of an old school western. Admittedly, the whole cowboy thing is a genre I normally despise, but damn if Bone Tomahawk doesn’t give one an appreciation of this particular type of film. Of course, there are no films like Bone Tomahawk, not really, this is a fucked up, jacked up splice of two genres that shouldn’t work together but totally do, and doesn’t that just make you wanna check this flick out and find out why?
Probably the most hyped horror of the year, It Follows, the sophomore film by writer/director David Robert Mitchell, has the unique advantage of being so fucking good, it actually lives up to the hype.
This dark, twisted tale of a nameless, sexually transmitted evil that stalks its victim to the ends of the earth is no less than a perfect movie in every way possible. Everything about It Follows is mesmerizing, from the desolate imagery, to the impeccable cast, and most especially the haunting, sublime score that ties the whole film together and hovers over every scene, is in itself as alive and tangible as the characters themselves.
I honestly can’t say enough good things about this movie, so see it, see it now and find out what all the hype is about.
The Final Girls
If you’re looking for a funny, unexpectedly entertaining love letter to the 80’s camp slasher genre, then The Final Girls is definitely a movie you don’t wanna miss.
A fun little flick about a group of teen horror fans who mysteriously get sucked into a cheesy slasher flick called Camp Bloodbath, Final Girls hits the ground running and is, from start to finish, pure, undiluted fun that you’ll wanna watch again and again.
Keep a lookout for a hilarious, scene stealing performance by Modern Family’s Adam DeVine, whose portrayal of Kurt, one of Camp Bloodbath’s fictional counselors, may very well be one of the funniest and most perfect performances you’ll see all year.
This highly anticipated gothic ghost story by visionary director Guillermo del Toro didn’t quite hit all the right notes with me I’m afraid. The story, written by del Toro and screenwriter Matthew Robbins, was too predictable in my opinion and as a whole left me feeling pretty unsatisfied by the end…so why, you may be wondering, is Crimson Peak a must see movie? Simply put, because visually, Crimson Peak may very well be one of the most beautifully constructed movies of the last decade.
It’s no secret that Del Toro’s eye for beautiful, haunting imagery is second to none (Pan’s Labyrinth made that abundantly clear), and this latest cinematic endeavor is nothing less than a vibrant and gorgeous showcase of the Mexican director’s style and abilities. Also, Crimson Peak stars the magically delicious Tom Hiddleston, who pretty much makes the movie required viewing all on his own…also it helps that he is a fine actor who is always great fun to watch (regardless of how yummy he is).
Actor Joel Edgerton (who you may remember as the shoe factory owner in the brilliantly fun musical comedy Kinky Boots) wrote, directs and stars in The Gift, a dark and twisted little tale about a young couple (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) whose life is turned upside down when a creepy acquaintance from the husband’s past worms his way into their home, bringing with him a horrifying secret from the husband’s past.
Edgerton is perfectly creepy and effective in the role of the quietly malicious Gordo, and Jason Bateman thrives as the embattled spouse trying to hide his past and keep his life from falling apart. The movie avoids following stereotypical horror movie paths, and as such is a genuinely fresh and unnerving thriller that will keep you guessing all the way to its tense and ultimately satisfying ending.
The Gift is also pretty special because it’s the first time ever that I didn’t have an overwhelming urge to throw tomatoes at Jason Bateman’s face on the screen…and that alone makes this flick a rare and magical thing…for me at least.
Hold on to your hats and tie up your tubes, because this stripped down and atmospheric Austrian gem about twin boys (Lukas and Elias Schwarz) convinced the bandaged, post plastic surgery female in their midst is not actually their mother, will have you glaring at your own kiddies with suspicion…and maybe even a little fear.
A first full length feature by directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, Goodnight Mommy is a riveting tale of the lengths two boys will go to, to prove that their “mother” is an impostor and the horrors they inflict on her in order to discover the truth.
This is not always an easy film to sit through (especially for parents), but once it hooks you during its first, haunting moments, Goodnight Mommy is also nearly impossible to look away from until the final images of its bleak and twisted end.
I do love a new twist on an old tale, and The Hallow, a film about eeeeevil fairies living in the Irish woods, delivers a wicked, surprisingly ominous look into the dark side of magical creatures.
Starring Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic as the Hitchens, a British couple who relocate to Ireland and quickly find themselves the targets of baby stealing (and creepy as fuck) fairy folk, The Hallow packs a hell of a punch and wastes no time bringing us face to face with the magical villains of the piece. Oh yeah, we literally see the creatures very early in the film, a fact which is refreshingly different to say the least, where most creature features keep the reveal as close to the end as possible, Hallow lets us see the evil the Hitchens are facing, a fact that does nothing to dilute the fear and tension we feel right alongside them as they fight for their lives on one fateful, terrifying night.
The Hallow does cross over into the land of the ludicrous at some point, but mostly the film is on point, and for originality and sheer creepy fun, this one is definitely a must see creature feature.
The only found-footage film on my list barely made it on to the top 10, but I figured what the hell, best to have a bit of everything on here.
Creep, which would have been more accurately titled as The Total Fucking Psycho and The Videographer, is a polarizing little indie flick starring Mark Duplass, which despite being a part of my most hated horror sub-genre, does manage to be a genuinely tense and sometimes unnerving film about the possible perils of answering Craigslist job ads. Although the film occasionally slips into some silliness, it quickly and aptly bounces back while somehow managing to keep an audience (well, at least me) glued to their seats, waiting to see what will happen.
This is definitely not a perfect film, but as far as found footage goes, Creep is practically a masterwork with more than a few surprises in store, which makes it worth a watch whether you like FF films or not.
Honorable Mention (and definitely worth a watch): We Are Still Here, The Inhabitants, Maggie, The Atticus Institute, Clown & The Visit (but only cause of the sheer shock of Shyamalan not sucking).
Lemme know what you thought of my Must Watch Movies of 2015 horror fans, and as always, if you like what you see here at A Girl’s Guide to Horror, give us a share and don’t forget to click that Like button 😉