If you’re a horror fan, you are used to a lot of crap films. But once in a while something comes along that is surprisingly new. It Follows was 2015 break out indie bit, despite being made on a shoestring budget, grossed over $14 million at the box office for new comer director David Robert Mitchell. It tells the story of a woman who is stalked by a supernatural presence, which she literally has to run away from…over and over and over again. The creature can take the shape of anyone and it slowly just make a b-line way towards you. It is silent, soft and unrelenting. It’s a slow and quiet build, the which just adds to the overall creepiness and tension. Oh, if that’s not enough for you it’s a sexually transmitted ghost/curse thing.
Stephen King adaptations are all the rage these days, so lets jump on that band wagon. In true King style The Mist is more about the horror within people than the horror waiting outside. The story is about a small town in Maine, where after a fierce storm (think Ophelia with tentacles) various characters converge on the supermarket when a strange and menacing mist descends. By menacing we mean things are killing people really really dead. It goes from bad to worse. It’s a solid 7 on the horror scale, but the ending is devastating and will leave you reeling.
What would you do to bring back those you’ve lost? Would you take the opportunity to say goodbye? What would that look like? Nine year old Alice is killed in a savage dog attack. Her bereaved and grieving parents come across a pagan ritual that will bring their daughter back for 3 days. They are granted the opportunity only if they agree to strict conditions. What will they do when it is time for Alice to go back? It is a dark and classically unsettling horror set in Ireland that will stay with you.
Dead Kennedy’s music aside, if modern day neo-nazis where this organised, we’d be in trouble. And if Patrick Stewart was their leader, the world would be a much worse place for sure. A punk band finds themselves trapped in the middle of nowhere with no way out after witnessing a murder. Building tension with intermittent violence. It’s pretty bloody and it is pure entertainment, there is black humour running through it.
The director of the underrated Dog Soldiers brings us an all female caving expedition that goes horribly horribly wrong. A group of friends rally around one of their own who is recovering from a tragedy a year on. The explorers soon become trapped underground and are duly hunted by some very scary creatures. So far so run of the mill. But is gem is fast paced and it doesn’t let up once the action starts. It never devolves into an action movie cliché. The acting is strong, the dialogue believable. But it is the claustrophobic subterranean setting that will stay with you, it will unnerve the hardiest of audiences. Must watch in total darkness.
You could easily dismiss this remake of the Bruce Campbell 1981 masterpiece just another in a long line of lazy film-making. It is a more a loving homage. Five twenty-something friends decamp to a remote cabin in order to help a friend kick a serious drug habit. One guy just can’t keep his hands off a book despite warnings like ‘leave this book alone’ – he quickly unleashes aforementioned very Evil and very Dead. It’s not so much the plot as the tight execution and the black humour throughout that makes this as entertaining horror as they get.
Yes there is two Stephen King adaptions on this list. What of it? While trying to give their marriage a new lease of life by spending a few days together at their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame, with no way of escape. Carla Gugino is brilliant as Jessie. You might start of thinking, how is this going to work for 105 minutes? But it does and does it well. Jessie’s unhinged mind plays a game of all of its own. This psychological horror is basically a woman handcuffed to a bed, it is gripping right to the end.
Let the Right One In
A bullied 12 year old boy finds love and safety through Eli, a peculiar girl with a dubious home life. A vampire love story that you won’t have seen before and there’s not a sparkly vamp in sight. The snowy Swedish back drop is the perfect set for the bloody revenge Eli in the name of her new friend. The whispering way in which the unlikely pair connect with each other is haunting and the violence is used sparingly but effectively.
The Cabin in the Woods
Five teenagers spend a weekend in the woods. Isolated with no means of communicating with the outside world, they accidentally wake a family of zombie killers. But there’s far more going on than meets the eye. The Cabin in the Woods is a homage to every horror ever made. Like, ever. It has Josh Whedon’s on point dialogue is as sharp as expected. It is genuinely gory, inventive and hilarious in parts. Totally ridiculous fun.
A widowed mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster hiding in the dark parts of their house. There are plenty of geninunely scarly moments in this Austiralian horror. Like so many of the best horrors, it is the dunane and real horror of an inabiilty to lead a normal life.