There was quite a bit of horror that hit the theaters in 2015, but it wasn’t pretty at all. After countless disappointments, even the most mundane story felt compelling. Thankfully, there were a few gems in the mix that salvaged a year plagued with remakes and unnecessary sequels. Here are the ten horror movies that stood out the most in 2015.
“Creep” is by no means an instant classic that’s going to haunt you for years and years as you watch it every Halloween, but it’s original and, for the most part, entertaining. The story does drag a bit and after the 9000th jump scare it starts to lose its effect, but it’s worth checking out for no other reason than it’s done on a budget so small you couldn’t even get Bruce Willis to smell the script for that amount.
9. Goodnight Mommy
There’s an eerie, atmospheric feel to “Goodnight Mommy” and it manages to keep things interesting for quite a while. The final twist isn’t quite as shocking as you’d hope and it does take a sharp turn into torture porn in the third act, but if you can get past that, there’s a decent movie in here.
8. It Follows
The first time I watched “It Follows,” I didn’t mind it. The second time, I was absolutely furious. The problem is that it’s a good movie that should have been great. I know so many people that wanted to crown it the next great horror movie, but that’s a bit of a stretch. The first hour of the movie is solid. There are some great scares and memorable moments. But everything goes to hell at the pool scene. It’s a weird, disjointed and unnecessary scene that throws off nearly everything in the film. I’m completely down with vague endings left to interpretation, but not when they’re this abrupt and unsatisfying. That being said, it’s shot beautifully with magnificent sound.
Who would’ve thought a low-budget zombie film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger would have so much heart? It’s a nice turn for him outside of another “The Expendables”-style movie and is definitely the most surprising must-see film of the year. I know you’re as tired of zombies as everyone else, but before you go on zombie hiatus, give this one a shot.
6. Insidious: Chapter 3
By no means is this installment as strong as the original, but it definitely feels more necessary and coherent than the sequel. Actress Lin Shaye finally gets her character’s story told, and because of her charm and likability, it takes a story that might not have been that compelling and turns it into an enjoyable flick with enough scares to satisfy fans.
5. The Visit
While “The Visit” might not have necessarily been terrifying, it’s certainly entertaining. The found footage gimmick feels a bit forced at times, but M. Night Shyamalan did a solid job of creating characters we care about.
An entire movie that takes place on the screen of a laptop doesn’t exactly sound like a grand slam, but “Unfriended” works to its strengths so well. Many of us live on our laptops anyway, so to have something as familiar as your home screen turned into the setting of a supernatural thriller is quite effective. The only complaint I have about it is the last 30 seconds. You take that moment out and it’s such a better movie. Still, it’s a great concept that worked out well.
Oh hey, speaking of small budget zombie movies! “Extinction” is drama first and horror second, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Matthew Fox is as great as ever in this microscopic look at the end of the world. If you’re looking for a “Dawn of the Dead”-style blood fest, this is not it. It’s a story about flawed people trying their best to simply hold it all together. And that’s about as relatable as a story can get.
2. The Final Girls
“The Final Girls” is the one horror movie from this year that you’ll watch over and over. It’s definitely not dark and terrifying, but it does a great job of toeing the line between comedy and horror without stepping too far in one direction. The cast is fantastic and takes what would have been a good movie and turns it into something great. This is one of the rare times a sequel would be welcomed with open arms.
1. The Gift
Why haven’t you seen “The Gift” yet? Sure, it’s not a horror movie with a slasher running around gutting teenagers, but it finds a way to get under your skin and sticks with you days after you watch it. Jason Bateman could make any role likable and Joel Edgerton does a masterful job as writer, director and star. Let’s hope this is the start of a resurgence of the thriller genre because it has been sorely missed.