It’s that time of the year again when we pretend that Halloween is something we naturally celebrate. Every year, the hordes gain strength (like zombies), their numbers increase (like the victims of some deadly virus) and the costumes improve (we couldn’t come up with another horror reference) as they hop from one garishly decked out lair to another (possibly looking for more innocents to turn into vampires). But what hasn’t changed in all these years are the movie marathons.
Now, make no mistake: We at HT firmly believe that there is no bad time to watch a scary movie, but, if you’re the kind that likes a socially mandated time frame to enjoy your scare flicks, then we suppose there’s no time like Halloween time.
And for your convenience we’ve compiled a list of some of the best horror movies of 2015. No, you won’t find Paranormal Activity 5, or Insidious 3, or - insert generic and moderately scary horror movie title with added numerical suffix - here, but what you will discover are some really great films that you probably missed.
Eli Roth returns this year with two wildly different movies, each one unmistakably covered in his blood splattered trademark. Knock Knock is an odd little home invasion thriller featuring the most gorgeous home invaders ever and insane Keanu Reeves performance that would make Nicolas Cage cower in shame. Sample Eli Roth Movie Dialogue 1: “My Ears! My Ears! I’m going deaf!”
The Green Inferno
The second Eli Roth flick of the year is a campy, badly acted, shoddily written pile of trash. It also has some of the most terrifying cannibals-doing-what-cannibals-do sequences you can hope to see and some of Eli Roth’s most assured direction. Sample Eli Roth Movie Dialogue 2: Hot Girl No.1 - “You’re 100% wrong about this!” Hot Girl No.2 – “You’re 100% whore!” But trust us. It’s a good movie. They’re both good movies.
Probably the best of the lot, this thinking man’s horror movie is open to endless interpretation. It will also leave you theorizing for hours if not days. Not only is this a great horror movie, it’s a great movie, period. David Robert Mitchell is one of the best filmmakers in the business right now and Maika Monroe is the Scream Queen of the decade. In the wise words of one Henry James Moody, “I said it, I meant it and I’m here to represent it.”
This is the horror movie for the Facebook generation. While it doesn’t break any new ground story-wise, it is notable for being set entirely in a laptop screen. Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, dear attentive reader. The whole thing plays out in a girl’s laptop. Never mind the fact that there have been better slasher movies, and indeed, others set entirely in laptops (Open Windows). But this one is truly scary and also socially relevant. But who cares about that, right?
Rodney Ascher’s first movie, about the numerous conspiracy theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror film The Shining was essentially a feature length stretch of what could have satisfactorily been summed up in an intelligently worded tweet. His second ‘documentary’ delves into even shadier territory: Sleep paralysis. So expect a bunch of, ahem, nightmarish scenes.
The Final Girls
There is no doubt that there is somewhat of a ‘80s resurgence going on right now, especially in genre movies. The Final Girls is a throwback to those wonderful Craven/Carpenter movies where the score was synthy and the chills schlocky. Throw in a talented supporting cast and meta-humour and you’ve got yourself a perfect little Halloween diversion.
This is one is a hidden gem you’ll wish stays hidden so that you can have it all to yourself and not share it with the Bad People of the World. That sounded a little creepy but this movie kinda inspires that in us. So, fair warning: Nothing really happens here. There are just two characters, no violence, no supernatural stuff, but, there is a brilliantly creepy central performance by mumblecore king Mark Duplass. Do. Not. Miss. We’ll accept your gracious thanks later.
You may remember this from that intense trailer that kinda went viral. This little Austrian film is a horror movie that really gets under your skin. It’s visually striking and psychologically unsettling. But this is the good kind of discomfort, almost Babadookian in a way.
There can be no happier movie moment this year than when M Night Shyamalan fans learned that his latest film was not complete garbage. The Visit is old-school Shyamalan: Precise, funny, spiritual and above all, scary. Who cares if the final twist is hand-delivered by the director within the first 10 minutes? It’s a wicked ride and a welcome return to form for a guy who deserves better.
If you’re into creepy stalker movies and count yourself as one of the millions of excellent people who identify as fans of the great Korean movie Oldboy, you’ve struck gold. Congratulations and welcome. Joel Edgerton (and his goatee) makes his stunning directorial debut here and also delivers a brilliantly edgy performance as the overeager and over-generous giver of the titular gift(s).
The author tweets @NaaharRohan