What a year for horror films!! The good films vastly outweighed the bad ones–at least in the films that I saw. I could have easily increased my Best of list to include twenty-five to thirty films that I really enjoyed in 2015. But instead of giving you all a huge list, I decided to do an honorary list of five additional films that I enjoyed the hell out of in 2015. Again, these films are in no particular order.
This is an anthology collection of two of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic stories (“The Tell Tale Heart;” and “The Cask,” which is an updated version of “The Cask of Amontillado”) and one of the master’s oft-quoted poems (“Dreams”). The anthology is directed by two of my favorite indie horror filmmakers, Bart Mastronardi and Alan Rowe Kelly. If you’ve ever seen anything by these two filmmakers then you know how beautiful the film will look. Vibrant colors are often used to offset the atmosphere (and vice versa), and the writing is tremendous. Both filmmakers managed to update Poe’s stories while at the same time keeping all the elements that made these stories classics in the first place. Don’t miss this one.
Is this really a horror film? I consider a film that has a heavy tone rich in anxiety and which makes the viewer feel uneasy a horror film. You’re damn right it is a horror film (a horror-thriller)!! Whatever you want to call this one, THE GUEST is an absolutely fantastic film and is hugely successful in what it sets out to do. In it, a soldier fresh out of the military visits the family of one of his fallen brothers. The ex-soldier is charming and sincere and each family member ends up taking a shine to him. He stays with the family, and little by little the cracks in his demeanor start to appear. Trust me when I say that you will not guess where it is all going. And that scene in the bar–INTENSE!! This is a fantastic film.
And yet another zombie flick on my top films of 2015 list–I think this is the fourth one. WORMWOOD is described as “MAD MAX meets DAWN OF THE DEAD.” Okay, okay; I’ll give ya that this makes for a great quote on the poster, but I didn’t get the DAWN reference. Anyway, WORMWOOD gives a swift kick in the ass to the stale zombie genre, and this is a helluva fun film. Some may not like the amount of CGI used in the film–it did at times get a bit distracting–but the story here is what will keep you hooked. We get a new kind of zombie and a new kind of zombie-killer hero. The zombies are plentiful, the action is packed, and the entire ride is fun as hell.
I saw HONEYMOON on Netflix and was really surprised with this one. With Lovecraftian overtones, great acting, and a fantastic script, this film left a real impression on me. A newlywed couple is honeymooning at a lake where the new bride spent her summers growing up and are isolated (they are there before the summer vacationers). Almost immediately they begin to experience odd things. Extremely bright lights shining in their windows at night, odd noises, time anomalies. Then the wife disappears for a little bit and when she is found, she is not the same person anymore. A creepy, uneasy vibe marks this film and the payoff is fantastic. This is a great film not to be missed.
I had two scifi-horror films on my Worst of list, but EJECTA evens the score. This is an indie film that explores first contact with an alien race. The film focuses mainly on two people: William (Julian Richings), who makes first contact, and Dr. Tobin (Lisa Houle), who plays a cold-as-ice head of a secret group who wants to control the alien situation. I think I said it best in my review:
Some may not like the pacing of EJECTA, but I found it to be perfect for what the directors were trying to accomplish. We get terrific character development, and William is like a huge onion. Layer after layer of his character gets peeled away to reveal more and more of who he really is. We also get a great minimalist soundtrack that greatly contributed to the final film. If you’re looking for a more cerebral, character driven sci-fi flick, then look no further than EJECTA. Highly recommended.
Adding these five films to my Best of list makes me feel satisfied that I covered all the best 2015 had to offer. I’m confident that choosing any film of either this list or my first Best of list will give you all a great movie-going experience. Sounds off in the comments section below if you think I missed something!!
Stay Bloody in 2016!!!