Best Horror Films of 2015 by Monte Yazzie
- What We Do In The Shadows
The horror subgenre of the vampire gets a genuinely funny and creatively innovative punch from the creative team behind “Flight of the Conchords”. Nearly every aspect and angle of the vampire mythology is given proper treatment and respect is shown to the horror community because the film rarely feels like it is mocking the genre. The film also utilizes the overdone documentary perspective cleverly to its advantage. Who would have thought that following a bunch of vampire roommates around would have been this entertaining?
If this film were a little more horror and a little less western, it would have taken the top spot this year. An absolutely impressive film from S. Craig Zahler, “Bone Tomahawk” is the western film I always wanted. It’s a mix of unusual humor with touches of thoroughly effective and satisfying horror and beautifully rendered western era compositions. Add some rather stunning performances from an impressive cast, Kurt Russell, Matthew Fox, and especially Richard Jenkins, and you have one of the most unique horror, western, drama mash-ups you’ll experience.
Director Jason Lei Howden made one of 2015’s most wild and fun horror films. If you grew up with a denim jacket that had heavy metal band patches all over it, this film is for you. If you grew up loving your horror films filled from top to bottom with blood and gore, this film is for you. “Deathgasm” tackles the teen comedy, mixes in raunchy humor, adds a little metal music culture, and delivers buckets of blood for your horror hearts delight. It’s a horror film worthy of repeat viewings.
- It Follows
With a simplistic premise and an unsuspecting and meticulously moving monster, “It Follows” utilizes atmosphere to create an eerie, chilling, and surprisingly thought provoking film that at the center could be described as a sexually transmitted haunting. However, horror is always an interesting genre to supplement examinations on other topics and “It Follows” displays this quality by offering more substance under the surface than most other genre films. “It Follows” is consistently calculated and frightening, a film that excels by utilizing genre characteristics in unique and unexpected ways.
- A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
A lonesome vampire, wearing a traditional chador and gliding along on a skateboard, stalks through the beautiful black and white photographed streets of a fictionalized Iranian town known simply as Bad City. Director Ana Lily Amirpour, on a shoestring budget, crafts an impressive genre film with influences from numerous sources. Whether the comic book story style, or the western and noir film homages, or the American and Iranian cultural influences that shapes many of the environments, “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” is an impressive blending of inspirations that assist in shaping an exceptional film.
Depending on your relationship, or past relationships, the terms horror and romance may not be to far apart from describing one another. In “Spring” a normal young man meets an exceptional woman with a secret, a fairly terrifying secret. To call it a dark comedy would be appropriate, but it’s also a nice blend of science fiction and horror in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft with influences from romantic dramas that don’t hide the messy side of relationships. “Spring” is an odd though imaginative experience.
It’s a comedy first and a horror film second. Never gory or particularly scary but consistently entertaining, “The Final Girls” takes playful aim at the slasher horror subgenre. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson brings in an excellent cast of recognizable faces and cleverly incorporates them into a meta-movie within a horror movie that unabashedly understands exactly what it is trying to do. “The Final Girls” could have gone wrong in many different ways, but instead it incorporates some great emotional aspects and never hides its fun and charming identity.
Matthew A. Brown’s film “Julia” takes a unique approach to the rape-revenge genre, utilizing a changing emotional tone to support the visceral scenes of vengeance taken by the films lead Ashley C. Williams. Much of her performance is done without words but instead with haunting stares into her resolute eyes and subtle expressions that change along her awakening. The character driven focus and sharply composed narrative make it an emotional journey. “Julia” is more than just comeuppance; it’s also about how terrible trauma changes a person from the inside out.
- Last Shift
Left alone in a police precinct a rookie female officer becomes trapped in a supernatural situation. Director Anthony DiBlasi creates exceptional creepy atmosphere and some genuine scares. It feels very familiar at times but Mr. DiBlasi keeps the film moving at a nice pace, staying a step ahead of the trappings. The imagery utilized is effectively jarring and the technical design of the film is well accomplished. “Last Shift” is an unexpected horror surprise.
- When Animals Dream
The Danish film “When Animals Dream”, directed by Jonas Alexander Arnby”, is a moody and atmospheric horror film that handles a familiar genre monster with complex emotion and confident femininity. Arnby builds a film that moves with a deliberate pace, constructing a quiet tension that builds towards a boiling point of panic, frustration, and anger for the young lead character played by Sonia Suhl.