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The Top Five Horror Films of 2014

December 13, 2014

Hello all. Mark here.

If you’ve been reading this site for some time you will know that I am not the biggest fan of horror. I appreciate the genre but the buckets of gore and poor decisions of teenagers wears on me. However, there were five films this year that I appreciated a whole lot. They surprised me in different ways and didn’t stick to lame horror tropes or shlock scares. They strived to turn people into walruses, explore French catacombs and feature full on zombies battles.

dead snow 2

Some of these films do not strictly fall under the horror banner. They are horror hybrids that spun the genre on its head and provided some neat surprises.

1. Tusk

Tusk-Movie

I enjoyed Tusk because of how random the experience was. It was based on a Smodcast  episode that Smith and Scott Mosier did called The Walrus and the Carpenter. The two talked about an ad that stated somebody could live for free in a house if they dressed like a walrus. The ad was a hoax but it still inspired Smith to write the horror/comedy/drama.  It is vulgar, weird, exciting, crude, scary and features a gonzo extended A-list cameo. It is impossible to know where it is going and I appreciated that. Smith has taken a major risk and because of that there are things that I will never unsee.

2. As Above, So Below

as above so below

Is As Above So Below a good film? Nope. Will it give you headaches with its found footage shooting style? Yep. Does it feature a refreshing ending? Absolutely! I know I am in the minority in backing this film but I found it fun. It features a female heroine, neat locations and a decent plot. Characters still do dumb things and keep chugging along to certain death but it didn’t bother me. I wasn’t burnt out at the ending and I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

3. Oculus

Oculus-image-4

Co-writer John (AKA The Horror Czar) summed up Oculus perfectly:

Horror is a genre characterized by one-dimensional characters typified by hardly serviceably acting their way through flat writing to occupy the time until they drink, vandalize, have premarital sex, or do whatever it is that justifies their upcoming death. Despite this, filmmakers press on and we find the occasional pleasant surprise in The Cabin in the Woods (2012), The Conjuring (2013), or other films in which people actually cared about more than simply turning a profit and brought us new spins on classic tropes and even some entirely original ideas. I feel that Oculus is one of those refreshing films. Its scares number low and it’s gore is nothing special, but the acting is phenomenal and the story execution is captivating, although tough to follow at times. More a product of deep and undeniable intrigue than dread, the tension mounts and really never loosens its grip until the closing credits are cast down the screen.

4. The Babadook

The Babadook

The Babadook swung for the fences and should be applauded for that. It is a multi-layered spook fest that is endlessly inventive and a bit heavy handed. The set design, acting, sound (Berberian Sound Studio would applaud) and direction join together to make a very solid film that will become a critical darling.

5. Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead

Dead Snow 2

Big battles, smooshed heads and anarchy abound in this sequel to one of my favorite horror films. It won’t reinvent the wheel but it will provide a wonderful time for horror fans. I love director Tommy Wirkola’s style and I hope he keeps churning out R-rated fun fests. You will find yourself laughing at the most violent of sights

What horror films did you like? Let me know!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2014 8:21 am

    DEAD SNOW!

  2. johnleavengood permalink
    December 15, 2014 11:10 am

    Tusk – Boooooo!

    As Above, So Below – Skipped it because it looked like The Chernobyl Diaries under the streets of Paris.

    Oculus – YES! YES! YES!

    • December 15, 2014 11:28 am

      I really liked Tusk because of how weird it was. I can’t quit it. Would love to hear your thoughts about As Above.

      • johnleavengood permalink
        December 15, 2014 11:48 am

        Well now I’ll certainly check it out.

  3. Victor De Leon permalink
    December 21, 2014 12:30 pm

    Cool list! Haven’t seen Tusk yet but The Babadook, DS2 and Oculus were pretty rad. No love for As Above So Below. Didn’t know what the hell was going on and by the last act I pretty much didn’t care to know. Good post, Mark!

    • December 21, 2014 12:32 pm

      Thanks! I just really liked the ending of As Above. It was refreshing. Not totally bleak.

      • Victor De Leon permalink
        December 21, 2014 12:36 pm

        Now that you mention it, Mark, my kid and I actually thought the ending was out there and pretty off the wall. We did like how it concluded but we were totally confused lol.

      • December 21, 2014 12:42 pm

        It was totally off the wall! I was amazed somebody survived a journey to hell haha.

      • Victor De Leon permalink
        December 21, 2014 1:10 pm

        Yeah, true. The flip / upside down shots were pretty wacky. Now, I may have to give it a re-watch lol.

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