2014 was an interesting year for horror films, at least in regards to the ones I managed to view. There were a lot of really great titles that were released this year, but I found myself gravitating more to films with suspense and mystery than in your face horror. Basically, I found myself enjoying deeper scripts and themes and gut wrenching performances, instead of blood and body parts being splattered all over the walls.
This is a list of my favorite films that came out out in 2014. This is based solely on the titles I viewed this year.
As I mentioned in my review, Coherence is the first film that I watched like a circus seal – clapping and hooting the whole way through. This film has one of the most complex, thought provoking scripts you will ever see, and it translated so elegantly onto screen that you will be hooked from the very beginning. Psychedelic and unique, Coherence has something for everyone – drama, action, thriller, mystery, suspense, comedy, science fiction, and the slightest hints of horror.
2. The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom
So many film makers have tried to copy the style of the pioneering horror films of the 80s, but few have actually succeeded. Mark Dossett is one of the few who succeeded and The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom is one throwback film that rivals 2009’s House of the Devil. Relying only on spine tingling suspense, paranoia inducing effects, and mind games, this is one title that’ll harken you back to the early days of horror when the unknown was worse than your imagination.
I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, so this entry may seem biased, but Horns should be nominated for an Oscar for best cinematography. This film is stunning to look at, both the scene set ups and the natural scenery. Add in a murder/rape mystery and Daniel Radcliffe turning into a horned devil and you have a compelling story that’s furthered by a very thematic script. I really wish Horns had a bigger release in the United States because the hard work that went into it is astounding.
The first short film on my list, I didn’t know that it even existed until I was contacted for a share by John Fitzpatrick. Out of all the short films I watched this year, Skypemare was the one title that really left me wanting more, which is great! It has so much potential to become a feature length title and I would love that in the future. It’s currently available to view on Youtube, so go give it a watch. Let me know if you recognize the lead actress. ;-)
5. Attack of the Morningside Monster
I did not expect this one to make my list based on the promo materials I had seen leading up to the film’s release. I have to say that the only way for horror fans to really judge this movie is to see it for themselves. There is A LOT more to this film than meets the eye, A LOT more than just a fantastic and well rounded cast. Attack of the Morningside Monster is a fun slasher film with an unsuspecting ending, and it’ll make you hurt just as much as the victims on screen.
6. Mischief Night
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of horror flicks out that revolve around the night before Halloween. None of those films have ever gone the route that Mischief Night went. It captures the pure essence of Halloween that’ll resonate with horror fans, but then it flips on its head and throws in a dramatic romance and an ending that’ll have you saying, “What the fuck?” Plus, it has Malcolm McDowell in a supporting role and who doesn’t love anything he does?
7. The Scarehouse
I’ve really championed this film because (spoiler alert) it’s one of the few films to ever pair up two attractive, and talented, women as the villains in a torture porn kind of movie. It’s innovative and original and a step in the right direction towards showcasing women as more than just sex objects and survival girls in horror films. It takes place in a fun house and has a lot of comedy in it, too. It’s a really fun watch and I hope you guys pick up the Scarehouse DVD this coming February.
The second short film on my list, Christopher G. Moore continues to impress me with his directing skills. Disengaged is a zombie film quite unlike any you’ve ever seen before. It’s kind of like Day of the Dead mixed with The Rapture mixed with The Happening. It sounds complex, but it’s a new end of the world situation that I think a lot of viewers will like.
9. Run Like Hell
I called this one, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre for a new generation.” The film starts with the traditional Texas Chainsaw format – a small group of friends head out on a road trip and shit happens. As soon as that trouble happens, though, the action hits full force and this becomes a thrilling cat and mouse game, one filled with buckets and buckets of blood. You guys are going to Run Like Hell to Target when this film gets released on DVD in the next few months.
The last film on my list is a little witchy! Films dealing with the occult and all underground magically inclined groups have been on the decline in recent years due to the rise of zombie films, found footage, and remakes. Luckily, Prosper involves an age old tale of witchcraft – The Salem Witch Trials – that serves as a starting point to educate viewers on all that’s going on behind the scenes now. The New World Order, the Illuminati, Voodoo… Such a great story here and a great cast, too.
Honorable Mentions: A Grim Becoming (horror stars galore and a grim reaper fight), Jersey Shore Massacre (you just have to live here to understand), The Dark Place (a new super power and proof that mystery/suspense can be tackled by a gay-themed story), and The Tour (my favorite short film from another country).