It’s that time of year when Best-Of lists are entered for 2015. The only rule I had was that the films must have had a theatrical or home entertainment release in 2015. I hope you enjoy, but if you disagree leave a comment at the bottom, and no Chris, I did not list Argento’s Dracula. Maybe next year!
10. We Are Still Here (R, 18)
Ghost stories are always a challenge. It is a tightrope act of balance to build tension while getting the supernatural element visible to the audience. A lot of films do the bump-in-the-night or things flying around but it’s a game of subtly in this genre. This film gets it right on all points and deserves a watch.
9. Insidious: Chapter 3 (PG-13, 15)
I am a fan of this franchise and it should come as no shock to anyone who knows me that this ended up on my list. The final entry in this franchise holds up the standards set in the first two entries. It was well done and completes the trilogy of films on an exceptionally high note.
8. Dark Places (R, 15)
This was my first foray into Gillian Flynn’s work, either written or cinematic, and am I glad I took a chance on this one. My first immediate impression was to compare her to the great Jeffery Deaver in terms of ability to carry a story and add multiple twists. I went in knowning nothing other than my daugher told me to watch it and I was glad I hit play and didn’t bother to read anything about this one. What a movie, and the ending sold me on her work. The acting in this one is top shelf!
7. All Hallows’ Eve 2 (Unrated)
I am a huge fan of anthology movies and in particular horror anthologies. This is a throwback to my love of short stories. My personal opinion is that it is more challanging to write a short story and make a short film than full-length counterparts. You have to get the point quick while still setting mood and then work out a suitable ending. I loved everything about this anthology, it was a great follow up to the original.
6. Tales of Halloween (R)
I already mentioned my love of anthologies and this one had 10 tales – what a treat for fans to get 10 stories packed into a full-length!. They were all good with no filler in this release. This has one of my favorite shorts of the year in Trick. It proves that karma can be deadly, and let’s face it, it’s not as if they didn’t deserve the karma that was visited upon them.
5. Mad Max: Fury Road (R, 15)
There is a theme here – two Charlize Theron movies in my Top 10. No one is more surprised than me at this turn of events. She gave stellar performances in both Mad Max: Fury Road and Dark Places, and I mean captivating. Her performance helped make this movie for me. Tom Hardy was good, but without the playoff of Theron it most probably would have just been a passable action flick. I thought the script was solid, just enough nostalgia mixed with new creative ideas that turned in the best film of the franchise. I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would, wish I had seen it in the theater.
4. The Stranger (Not Rated, 18)
Being a Stephen King super-fan, I have read almost everything the man has written or recorded. This has been a lifelong journey for me and my favorite is The Stand. After the The Stand I read Salem’s Lot and that, along with early ’70’s horror movie monsters, made me a vampire fan for life. Not the sparkly ones or the juvenile ones of late but ones that portray vampires as monsters. This is what captivated me about this movie – vampires with a large dose of humanity. Forget that it has ‘Eli Roth Presents…’ on the cover, it’s a well-crafted story about humanity and choices told using vampires as their tool. Well done.
3. The Gallows (R, 15)
Anyone who knows me and my love affair with found footage films should not be surprised that at least one found footage film made it into my Top 10. As a found footage fan you have to wade through some really terrible movies to find the gems. This one was surely a gem! It was a well-written script with a great reveal at the end of the film. The camera work was not overly shaky or annoying, it was well shot. All in all a great script, good pacing and not overly shaky camera made it the best found footage of the year and one of my favorites.
2. Sinister 2 (R, 15)
When I saw Sinister I did so in a movie theater and walked in cold, knew nothing of the premise and it completely took me by surprise in how well it was put together. Everything from the acting to the story to the cinematography. This second installment had the same affect on me. Granted I knew the story flow but the way it was assembled and executed was perfect for me. I enjoyed it as much as the first! This second installment has cemented me as a fanboy and my only hope is that they don’t make a slew of the these that may ruin the first two efforts.
1. Spectre (PG-13, 12A)
The only movies I like better than horror films are Bond films. Spectre gave me what I wanted in a Bond film. Action, intrigue, it was all there and executed correctly. With the exception of Quantum of Solace, the Daniel Craig era has been absolutely solid in terms of Bond films. In Spectre I applauded the return of Blofeld as a villain, but the only two niggles I had with the film were that they did not call themselves #1, #2, etc. My friend Horrorsmith pointed out that it may make it to much like Austin Powers. My answer is who cares, they did this long before that dreadful Austin Powers mess and they should have done it here. The other niggle is the whole pseudo-brother thing. It was unnecessary for that whole plot thing. Let Bond battle SPECTRE for two hours and don’t add too much fluff. Other than those very minor annoyances, it is what I excepted and wanted for a bond film. Now, please let there be a US steelbook for the home theatrical relase.
There are my thoughts for 2015. Star Wars is still a bit in the future for me and no doubt that would have cracked my Top 10 and I would have had to make adjustments. Overall it was a great year for horror and film in general. We have been treated to some real masterpieces this year.
As with all masterpieces comes some that did not make the cut, and some just downright turkeys for the year. My biggest turkey and disappointment for the year was Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension. The only good thing I can say is that the ghost floating thing was kind of neat but other than that I really feel like everyone phoned-in that movie. I am a fan of the franchise but this one was a huge let down. So let’s move forward to even a better 2016.