While it didn’t seem like a lot of horror came out this year, there were some notable films. A few solid ones that barely missed the cut were Jug Face, Maniac, Open Grave, Curse of Chucky, and the movie that was way too much fun for the amount of hate it received, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. It’s far from an award winner, but it’s one of those movies that you’ll end up watching every time it airs on cable.
10. World War Z
Everyone was ready to rip this one to shreds after massive re-writes and delays. It was actually really good. If you’re tired of slow walking zombies that you could rollerblade around, this is the undead movie for you.
You will never hook up with anyone at a party again for the rest of your life after watching this. It’s far from perfect, but I’ll take an indie film on a shoestring budget that’s willing to take a risk, over another carbon copy big budget snoozer.
8. Nothing Left to Fear
The Anthony Leonard directorial debut was only in theaters on a limited release, so odds are you didn’t get to catch it on the big screen. It’s not just another ghost story, as it’s inspired by the actual paranormal legend of Stull, Kansas. It’s what The Wicker Man remake should have been.
7. The Lords of Salem
Rob Zombie consistently creates some of the most stylized and intriguing films you’ll see. The Lords of Salem may be his most polarizing, but seeing his filmmaking abilities grow and develop should make fans excited to see what he does next.
6. Would You Rather
Another small budget movie with a tremendous payoff is Would You Rather. A woman is offered an opportunity to have all of her debt paid off and her brother moved to the top of the donor list to save his life. What happens next could best be described as Saw in a dining room. It’s tense and gruesome, but with only a few casting choices to complain about, it’s an overall success.
5. Hatchet 3
If you prefer the horror of old, with over the top death scenes and campy dialogue, the Hatchet trilogy needs to be a part of your life. Adam Green’s final installment wraps up the story of Victor Crowley with little wiggle room for another film. Odds are, if you’ve seen the first two, you were all over this one, but for the rest of you, go marathon the whole series as soon as you can.
4. V/H/S 2
The first V/H/S was fun, but you felt like it was just on the verge of being something incredible. V/H/S 2 achieves that status and more. Almost all of the segments in this installment are strong, but Gareth Evans’ “Safe Haven” is one of the most unbelievable pieces of work you’ll see on such a small budget. It takes the found footage genre to a whole new level and never fails to shock. V/H/S 2 is a must see for horror fans.
3. The Conjuring
James Wan is quickly becoming one of the top names in horror. He’s responsible for the original Saw, Insidious, Death Sentence, and now The Conjuring. It’s everything a haunted house movie should be without relying on cheap scares. Wan took over the helm of the Fast & Furious franchise, but let’s hope it’s just for a visit and he returns to horror quickly.
2. You’re Next
The festival darling finally got a wide release in August much to the delight of audiences. What makes this home invasion movie so much better than most is that it never takes itself too seriously and, oddly enough, it’s a lot of fun. I know that’s an odd way to describe a movie about a family being murdered, but the job Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett did, is definitely worth investing your time into watching.
1. Evil Dead
As a fan of the original franchise and knowing the history of subpar remakes over the last few years, I was as nervous as anyone about Fede Alvarez’s version of Sam Raimi’s cult classic. All those fears were soon put to rest, as Evil Dead is one of the most unrelenting and gruesome movies you will ever have the privilege of watching in the theater with just an R rating. Ignore the fanboys who insist that it should have been slapstick comedy. It’s astounding and should be a must watch for every horror fan.
image – The Lords of Salem [Blu-ray]