Halloween came and went this year, but here are my top 5 favorite horror films of the year. In typical CriticNic fashion, I wasn’t able to see as much as I would like, but nonetheless there were a few good ones so far. There also have been a bunch that are hard to place definitively into the genre, so I ended up leaving off a few films I really loved.
Honorable mentions: Cabin in the Woods, The Monitor, Six Degrees of Hell, Gut, and The Tall Man
Let’s start with Cabin in the Woods. I had a lot of fun with this film and thought it was a creative spin on the horror genre that also paid tribute to many of the greats. I just didn’t love it. The Monitor was an excellent psychological thriller, starring the incredible Noomi Rapace, but I left it off because I had a hard time calling it horror. Six Degrees of Hell is a film I thought was worth mentioning because it was a solid effort from Joe Raffa, a young film maker who’s work I’ve become very interested in. It was a fun film with a nice concept, but the over-advertising of Corey Feldman in a lackluster role held it back. Gut was another low-budget flick with a cool concept and nice dark mood to it that I enjoyed. Then there’s The Tall Man. This was an amazing film for me, but while the cover and advertising may lead you to believe it’s horror, it’s a much stronger crime thriller with some great psychological twists.
5. The Woman in Black
This film was very well put together. Daniel Radcliff successfully breaks away from Harry Potter and plays a convincing widower. The film is packed with eerie jump scares, which I don’t mind here because they are effective and work with the film rather than thrown in conveniently for cheap thrills.
4. [Rec] 3: Genesis
Comparing it to its predecessors, [Rec] and [Rec 2], the film is a pretty much a letdown. However, looking at it as its own entity and more of a straight zombie film, it’s a really fun time. It’s a little silly at times (I loved the previous two films due to the realistic and serious feel), but still has some really cool things going for it.
3. Silent House
I haven’t seen the original The Silent House, but the concept for both films is similar. It’s shot in real time, which may seem gimmicky, but it works. The suspense is incredible, and there are some chilling moments as well. The psychologically-driven plot twists were unexpected and appreciated, and of course you have to acknowledge Elizabeth Olsen’s incredible performance.
This anthology film combines several “found footage” segments showing creepy and often bizarre situations for a very unique horror experience. Many of the situations, as well as their special effects, are things I haven’t seen in movies before. The movie is incredibly creative and a fun watch, which gained it high points in my book. I thought the wraparound story was a little lacking though, but either way it took the otherwise played out camcorder genre to a new level.
1. in their skin
This is on that borders on the crime thriller area, but I had to make this my top pick. I felt the film was near perfect for me. The situation in the film starts out as awkward, then turns just plain scary and unsettling. A home invasion is very effective as a scary situation, and even more so when the assailants are a bunch of whack jobs. The performances all around are outstanding and the film kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.