Halloween: The best horror movies of 2015
Writer: Casey Chong
Some of the best horror movies of 2015.
Every October, the Halloween celebration is all about trick-and-treat, Jack O'Lantern and donning your favourite costumes. But if you're not into that, there's always a stream of horror movies to get into the Halloween spirit. And since this year's Halloween is just around the corner, we have compiled and handpicked our list of the best horror movies that has been released so far in 2015*. (*in alphabetical order)
1. Crimson Peak
Mia Wasikowska in a scene from "Crimson Peak".
Guillermo del Toro's long-awaited comeback to the horror genre was greeted with lukewarm response when it underperformed during the opening weekend of the North American box office. Beyond that, "Crimson Peak" was actually a visually-stunning horror picture that subverted the usual genre expectation.
A subtle blend of romance, drama and haunted-house genre, the movie centered on a young aspiring author named Edith (Mia Wasikowska) who falls in love with a mysterious baronet Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). When her father (Jim Beaver) dies under mysterious circumstances, she gradually marries Thomas and they move together into a family mansion known as Allerdale Hall. Soon, she begins to experience a series of terrifying encounters that lurks within the mansion.
Although the movie suffered from bad CG effects and a hasty explanation once the twist was revealed, "Crimson Peak" still ranks among the best of del Toro's horror pictures. Plus, Jessica Chastain's icy-cold performance as Thomas' mysterious sister was unforgettable.
2. Goodnight Mommy
Lukas and Elias Schwarz in "Goodnight Mommy".
When you talk about listing down some of the best horror movies of 2015, it's hard to ignore the presence of "Goodnight Mommy". A psychological horror hailing all the way from Austria (yes, the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger!), this critically-acclaimed movie centers on identical twin boys, Lukas and Elias (played by real-life siblings Lukas and Elias Schwarz) living in the remote Austrian countryside. One day, their mother (Susanne Wuest) returns home from plastic surgery. Her face is covered entirely in bandages and she needed an ample amount of time to recuperate. She also showed signs of short temper and other erratic behaviour, which prompted the boys to suspect whether she was an impostor or just a bad mother.
"Goodnight Mommy" was the kind of horror movie that didn't rely on explicit blood, gore and violence scenes. Instead, it was a deliberately-subtle paced movie that focused more on the dread and mystery. Such a slow-burning approach might be a turn-off for those viewers with short attention spans, but writer-director duos Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz managed to inject a heightened sense of uneasiness that made the movie all the more unsettling experience to watch for.
3. It Follows
Maika Monroe in "It Follows".
This acclaimed horror movie was universally praised when it was first screened last year at various film festivals around the world including U.S., U.K., Canada and France.
The story involves a college student (Maika Monroe) who gets "infected" by her boyfriend (Jake Weary) after a night of sex. Apparently, the infection happens to be a supernatural entity that appears in different human forms, and "follows" her wherever she goes. If the entity manages to catch up with her, it would kill her and return to the person who passed the infection earlier. In order to break the curse, she has to have sex with another person.
Despite the bizarre premise, writer-director David Robert Mitchell ("The Myth of the American Sleepover") managed to craft this metaphor-heavy horror picture involving STD (sexually transmitted disease) and teenage sex with a number of scary moments that successfully captured a foreboding sense of dread and eeriness.
4. The Visit
One of the creepy scenes in "The Visit".
Over the past few years, M. Night Shyamalan's movies were nothing more than a continuous losing streak of disastrous efforts ranging from "Lady in the Water" to "After Earth". Fortunately, he managed to make a long-overdue comeback with "The Visit".
A low-budget movie shot in found-footage style, "The Visit" involves two young siblings Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) who are sent over to live with their grandparents in a remote Pennsylvania farm for a week-long trip. Everything seems normal at first, until they discover that the elderly couple is behaving strangely.
In "The Visit", it's rare to see Shyamalan forgo his usual gloomy filmmaking style in favour of a more upbeat approach. It might sound like a risky move, but he was able to blend an effective mix of horror and comedy. This was mostly thanks to Ed Oxenbould, who stole the show with his cheeky performance as Tyler. As for the horror itself, the movie contains a number of effective spooky moments, including a hide-and-seek scene that takes place underneath the porch. He even eschewed the traditional use of music score and replaced it with sound effects, which in turn, gave the movie a more frightening build-up.
Shelley Hennig suffers from a terrifying moment in "Unfriended".
The concept of a horror movie set entirely on a computer/laptop screen was actually nothing new, with last year's "Open Windows" and "The Den" being the prime examples. Still, Leo Gabriadze's "Unfriended" was considered a refreshing change of pace from your usual horror fares.
In fact, the premise itself was unique: A group of high-school friends, led by Blaire (Shelley Hennig), are haunted by a supernatural force via Skype and other social media pages that make them kill themselves.
The premise might sound silly, but if you are able to suspend your disbelief, the movie was actually creepy. After all, it's hard not to get freaked out when you are facing the fear of the unknown, which was the same case that was successfully applied in this movie. Interestingly enough, the typical expectation of blood and gore was kept into minimum in favour of a more psychological approach.
Cinema Online, 28 October 2015
We've compiled some of the best scariest moments in horror films in the video above. Watch only if you dare!