This year has been a development year of horror and thriller movies. There are so many different styles and tastes, whether it's a reference to the 70s and 80s love of cinema or a modern science fiction movie. We are in a time where there are new crazy styles but also some great subtle, standing on your tippy toes, horror films. Anyways, let's get to the good part, my horror list!
#5 - THE BELKO EXPERIMENT
Simple premise. But, I really loved this movie. It ended up being an insane blood bath, of entrapment within an office building. Everyone's worst nightmare, in a nine to five job. Very different from my other top movies of the year. This is a more, I'll kick back with a six pack and wings movie. Directed by Greg McLean and written by James Gunn. Gunn wrote a tight slasher screenplay and the talented John C. McGinley is always a treat to watch. We see stereotypical office employees show their true angst and anxiety ridden selves, by competing with their co-workers one by one. Their only way out is to eliminate each other. Take a look with a magnifying glass on people showing their true animalistic nature.
#4 - THE GLASS COFFIN (El ataúd de cristal)
Saw this mind blowing, one actress horror movie, at Film Quest in Utah this past year and it does not disappoint. Directed by Haritz Subillaga the film stars Paola Bontempi who gives a performance that hits your heart and your gut. THE GLASS COFFIN throws you head first into a limousine with the character Amanda, a well known actress heading to an award ceremony, but the limousine turns into a trap and she had no idea what or who is coming her way. Make sure to check out this Spanish horror gem.
#3 - CREEP 2
The sequel to the first Creep actually got under my skin and the sequel was a mind fuck. I loved every moment of it as it kept me on the edge as I watched an innocent woman fight for survival. I liked that within this movie you didn't know if the video artist Sara (Desiree Akhavan) was falling in love with Aaron (Mark Duplass) or actually despised him. Duplass has risen to new heights with his character which is why it's hard to take your eyes off the screen from him. He slowly reveals his mind to you and you can't help but want to look in. It's hard to not want to watch Aaron in his element. It's like watching a snake in a cage.
#2 - THE VILLAINESS (Ak-Nyeo)
Ak-Nyeo or THE VILLAINESS, is a movie that impresses and defies action movies of this day and age. this is definitely not a horror movie, one would say, but I say there are aspects of the main character's personal life you could define as horrific. I've never wanted to cry in an action movie before, but this one did it. Ok-bin Kim plays Sook-hee an assassin trained from birth and is seeking something through murder. These are some of the most beautiful action sequences I've ever come across in a movie. I would define this as an action slasher.
#1 - A DARK SONG
A DARK SONG, directed and written by Liam Gavin, is a horror movie unlike one I've felt emotionally since Polanski's Repulsion (1975). This movie has a nightmarish quality brought to light through what one woman's imagination can create. Sophia (Catherine Walker), a mother, hires a broken occultist, Joseph (Steve Oram), to perform rituals that will connect her with her son. What would you do to bring back the dead? Your answers lie within the movie A DARK SONG. Visually striking and beautiful, this movie shows you aspects within a house that are heaven and hell. Stunningly shot by Cathal Waters this is a spectacle within a movie. You are guaranteed to cringe and gasp at what you see within.
Overall this year, I would say films had some really strong horror concepts. Not all of them pulled off in the theater but it taught me as a fellow filmmaker to simplify your concept and character pieces, while not over explaining as you will lose tension with a piece. That is why A DARK SONG worked.
Mary C. Russell