2015 has been a remarkably good year for horror; from festive fare (Krampus) to anthologies (Tales Of Halloween, A Christmas Horror Story), creature features (The Hallow, Stung), found footage (Unfriended), old-school paranormal fare (We Are Still Here), comedy-horror hybrids (The Final Girls) and many more.
Overall, it’s been a pretty great year to be a horror fan, with a handful of flicks even breaking out into the mainstream to be reasonably well-received by critics. The following are my personal favourites, the genre movies I feel will stand the test of time, that are soon-to-be classics in the making. In no particular order:
Dismissed by some as a too-slow rehash of everything that’s come before, It Follows is actually like old school Carpenter remixed for a modern audience. Opening with one of the creepiest death scenes in recent memory (made doubly so by the fact we had no idea who the culprit was), writer-director David Robert Mitchell’s second feature, and first horror offering, was one of the standout films of the year–in any genre. A stunning central turn from upcoming scream queen Maika Monroe (The Guest) sold us on a relatively simple premise, while odd period detail, painfully slow, seemingly innocuous tracking shots and a killer techno soundtrack ensured we haven’t walked home alone since.
Acclaimed filmmaker Anthony DiBlasi’s latest offering was the shock surprise of the year, because it emerged to practically no fanfare, which is funny considering Last Shift is easily the scariest movie I saw all year. It’s disappointing more people aren’t raving about it. If you’re a horror fan, you need to check this out immediately. If you’re not, well, prepare to have serious nightmares. This is the kind of movie that makes you reconsider leaving your room to go to the bathroom after dark. It’s the kind of film that sneaks up on you by lulling you into a false sense of security, and whose power lies in its complete lack of showiness. Don’t read anything further about it, just seek it out and be amazed.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
This achingly cool, Iranian-American, monochrome, vampire western (the first Iranian vampire western!) didn’t make much of a splash upon its initial, admittedly limited, release but those who managed to catch it knew they had experienced something special, something that will surely stand the test of time. Thanks to a unique blend of horror, biting satire and dreamy romance, writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour manages to create a dream-like world of darting shadows that feels instantly, quantifiably real. The mood is sombre, the visuals striking, the soundtrack hip and the performances (particularly from Sheila Vand as The Girl) universally strong.
What We Do In The Shadows
Vampires had the best year they’ve had in ages, without a sparkle in sight, and although Amirpour made them cool as hell with A Girl…, Kiwi writer-director Tahika Waititi and his Flight Of The Conchords buddy Jemaine Clement ensured we remembered that these creatures of the night can be pretty dorky sometimes, too. What We Do In The Shadows isn’t just a hilarious and surprisingly in-depth look into vampire subculture, it’s also one of the cleverest and most brilliantly-conceived mocukumentaries since the great This Is Spinal Tap. Miss it at your own peril.
The horror movie that had even the fussiest critics singing its praises, Aussie actor Joel Edgerton’s feature debut as writer, director and star was, to reduce it to a cliche, the gift that kept on giving. A devilishly dull trailer led us all to believe we were in for the typical home invasion bore-fest (see: Knock Knock, also released this year) only for Edgerton to pull the rug out from under us and turn the whole thing spectacularly on its head. By keeping the real villain a secret, he ratcheted up the tension to breaking point, while an explosive ending left us reeling from the shock and desperate to watch again to spot all of the clues leading up to it.