So Halloween is coming up pretty soon, so I've decided to think about the horror genre as a whole. One of my friends asked me, 'what is the best horror movie you've ever seen?' I honestly couldn't pick just one, so I got a list together. These are (in my opinion) the best horror films, and just for laughs I'm also doing the worst horror movies I've ever seen.
The Best List:
V/H/S makes it on the list because there are a bunch of parts in this film that are really disturbing and surprisingly weird. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, V/H/S is basically an anthology film where a bunch of people break into some house looking for a tape. The problem is there are a ton of tapes in the creepy house and they have no idea which tape is the one they need, only that they'll know it when they see it. So they start loading up the creepy tapes, and each is a short film by a different director.
Some of the films in this collection are really disturbing, granted I didn't find them outright terrifying but it is legitimately creepy. This film might've been higher on the list, but like any anthology, its a mixed bag; some are pretty intense but others fall a tad flat. I love the practical effects in this movie and it is pretty well done and horrific at times. It's on Netflix now and the sequel is pretty good too.
A found footage movie where people are trapped in an apartment complex where a mysterious mutated rabies has turned everyone into 28 Days Later-style zombies? What's not to love? Well, aside from a satisfying ending of course. Anyway, it's not bad. I know its based off a movie called REC which I have heard is a much better movie, but unfortunately I have not seen the original. But as far as Quarantine goes, It's immersive and it left me wondering what would happen next. Too bad the sequel just threw out everything cool about Quarantine and made a generic, boring horror movie where it takes place in an airplane terminal and they got rid of the found footage style. This caused a drop in immersion and devolved the film into a generic zombie movie.
8. 28 Days Later
Speaking of zombies, let's not forget 28 Days Later, the movie that made zombies scary again. Well, for a little while before the spectacle of zombies that can run like Usain Bolt became commonplace. This had some legitimately tense scenes and the tone of it was very hopeless and dreary. It started falling apart towards the middle with the military guys, but aside from that it is a really good movie. The sequel is also decent, up until a certain point, then it started to lose me for numerous reasons. If you're looking for an intense gory, and violent film, I'd recommend you at least watch the first one.
7. The Babadook
I am so glad this movie got made, and so sad that it only has one star on Netflix, because this is a very well done horror movie that doesn't have over the top gore. It doesn't show too much of the monster and instead chooses to build a creepy atmosphere and it actually really got me at certain points. There's a scene with the book where the mom flips through it and the pages have changed to threatening messages and pop ups of the babdook monster basically telling her "I will make you kill your son and dog", the acting, the music and just the overall subject matter of this scene was very effective in my opinion. I also like how they stray from the cliche of the fearless child unafraid of a demon, like you know, basically every other paranormal movie put out in recent years. The movie has an interesting metaphor which I won't spoil for you, but the ending does kind of leave me scratching my head and a bit confused, but definitely check it out on netflix.
Yes, I know, M. Night Shyamalan, and I know some of you are sitting here and probably ready to rip my head off, but hear me out please. This is a damn good horror movie. It is very well paced, it doesn't rely on over the top gore, it has little jump scares, and relies on atmosphere and a strong sense of dread, as well as some bits of humor. For those of you who don't know, Devil is about a group of people trapped in an elevator and one of them is Satan, and he is picking them off one at a time.
This movie is freaky because you never actually see the horrific bits, you hear them and see the aftermath, retaining the suspense of who is actually the devil. The movie does a very good job of making you guess who it is and it's not revealed to the very end and it legitimately had me on the edge of my seat. Granted this movie isn't for everyone, especially if you go in expecting a Paranormal Activity style movie, if you're looking for endless jump scares and gore, or if you just hate M. Night Shyamalan.
5. It Follows
Just when I thought horror was dead and doomed to be endless Paranormal Activities and Conjuring spin-offs, this little gem comes along. It's fresh, the music is pretty original and retro but still very chilling and scary, the pacing is well done and there's not an over abundance on the jump scares. It succeeded in being chilling and unnerving with "It" and the lack of an explanation of exactly what the hell it is, the unknown is a primordial fear I think we all carry and this movie plays on that a bit. I hope this is a turn around for horror movies, I am so sick of these lazy jump-scare movies. Check it out if you haven't seen it. The only thing I would complain about is the final confrontation in the movie, because I couldn't figure out at all what their plan was -- but aside from that this is a great movie.
Yeah, this is on the list. This is another refreshing horror movie. Thank goodness this movie is subtle and doesn't rely on freaking jump-scares but instead actually understands pacing very well. It has some gory bits -- especially towards the end -- but Ethan Hawke is really good in this movie. He's believable and you actually see things affect him like a real person, and he actually gets the hell out of his house when the creepiness level reaches about an eight, thankfully. It's one of the movies that's slowly building to a dreadful climax, and it handles itself really well. Unfortunately I heard the sequel threw everything mentioned above out the window.
3. The Thing (2011)
I was so excited to find out The Thing was getting another movie and was even more psyched to learn it would be a prequel to John Carpenter's movie instead of a complete reboot. This Thing does the original justice, and it ties in with the original pretty well -- not contradicting much that was established in the original. This movie tells the tale of the Norwegian camp from the John Carpenter version and just what exactly happened before the Americans find the thing. Its ending also directly leads into the opening shot of the original and I thought it was a nice touch. It keeps the suspense of guessing just who is and who isn't a monster, although it isn't as suspenseful as the original because the thing attacks a little more frequently. It actually is a tad creepier thanks to a blend of animatronics and C.G.I. as well as some really edge of your seat scenes.
One in particular is the part where the thing transforms into this horrific spider like thing and starts chasing one of the survivors, and he only has a kitchen knife for a weapon. The Thing is a bit more mobile and can do things that weren't possible back then or at least would've broken the film's budget. It also leaves a little plot thread open that could mean a sequel perhaps (fingers crossed), if you want to see a disgusting and tense film, look no further, just maybe don't watch it on a full stomach.
2. The Thing (1982)
This movie scared me to death when I first saw it, even now it still gets me. It instills paranoia with its disgusting, yet strangely beautiful practical effects that somehow still hold up to this day.
The creature designs are freaky and you can tell the developers of Dead Space (one of my favorite horror games), were directly inspired by the horrific monsters you see here. I will not spoil this movie for you, but you better go find it if you haven't already seen it. Just pack a flamethrower and a couple sticks of dynamite with you and don't trust anyone in the room with you.
This and The Thing were duking it out for my top spot on this list and believe me, it was a tough call; but I had to go with this movie simply because -- well, it's Alien. Also, I have feeling The Thing probably wouldn't exist as we know it and love it (or fear it) without this movie having come along first. This movie is the granddaddy of the monster movie. If you're a fan of creature features and you haven't seen this one, you are missing out . It's a really suspenseful film and is well shot, and well acted (for the most part) and you can just sense the fear in the crew as they try to deal with their monster problem. Admittedly, the movie isn't as terrifying as The Thing, but it gets to you and its hopeless atmosphere really does a great job, plus the mystery of the alien puts this movie a little bit above The Thing.
Well, we got through the best, here come the worst.
When this movie first came out, I thought it was scary, but now I just kind of roll my eyes at this and its sequels. It's a jump scare movie but it does handle them better than most movies -- but still, it doesn't hold up for a second viewing, unless you're watching it with someone who hasn't seen it before; then it's just hilarious. Honestly, this movie will make you jump, but then you'll immediately bust out laughing, like when your friends try to scare you. I love the character of Elise in this movie, she makes the films somewhat worth it but the scares just don't really have any lasting affect, at least for me anyways.
9. The Conjuring
Some of you are wondering why this is on the list, I'll tell you why: because my friends overhyped the hell out of this movie and I was expecting a scary movie. What I got was a cliché overload that was predictable and -- worse yet -- not scary. I was calling the jump scares down to beat and nothing really surprised me. The effects were alright in this movie, nothing spectacular but nothing godawful either I thought the acting was decent and the family legitimately seemed terrified by the paranormal events plaguing the house. However to me I just felt it was a bit too predictable and didn't have an effect on me at all, when a movie fails to get me to react to even a jump scare, we have an issue.
8. My Soul to Take
This might be Wes Craven's worst movie. Seriously, I have no goddamn idea what the hell is going on in this movie the only thing I gathered was we have a serial killer who gets killed, but the problem is his soul has been divided and put into several characters, and one of them may or may not actually have the killer's mind inside them. This could've been pretty interesting, but sadly everybody is forgettable and the plot is told in such a nonsensical manner that it'll leave you scratching your head and asking what is happening right now? The concept for this could've been a good slasher/ mystery film but it's presented in such a strange and worse yet uninteresting manner. The only thing memorable about it is how nonsensical it is.
This movie has a really interesting storyline and I love how the movie is telling two stories at once. Unfortunately, the movie isn't really all that scary and the ending is just sort of 'meh.' I love the creepy mirror and I love how they actually explained how it worked, and I liked the female lead. I like how she thinks; she has this demon mirror figured out, but she realizes that she's made a huge mistake and the mirror is craftier than she thought it was. Also, there are some good effects but the film's conclusion did feel underwhelming to me and it just came off as a bit disappointing.
6. You're Next
This movie only comes out slightly better than The Purge mostly because the concept isn't as ridiculous and nonsensical. But the antagonists are incompetent and, given how they're supposed to be trained ex-Marines, they're somehow getting their asses kicked by a badass Australian chick. The Australian chick is honestly both the strongest and weakest part of this movie. She's the strongest because she's the smartest person in the movie, but she's the weakest simply because she's a Mary Sue. She can do no wrong and it diminishes all the tension. I do know this a movie but sometimes its hard to suspend disbelief, and when a ex marines, who are trained to kill people, are some how unable to pose a threat to a slightly above average woman, something isn't right.
The plot twist is kind of just... well uh, it's there. It's forgettable and honestly it's a movie you watch when you're bored and just want to watch some gore and blood; I have to give them some points there for some good gore especially when the masked villains attack their dinner party with a crossbow and some of the practical effects are put together and executed well.
5. The Purge
So, aside from the absurd and ridiculous premise (watch the FlickPick on YouTube; he explains exactly how I reacted to this movie's premise), this movie is still bad. It's bad because no one has common sense. Let me give an example, so on a night where all crime is legal, would it make sense to let a stranger in your secure bunker style house because he's begging to be let in because some crazies are trying to kill him? Keep in mind you don't know this person, you don't know if he is lying or anything, would you let him in knowing he could potentially kill all of you? If you answered no then congrats you have more common sense than the dumb ass weird son in this movie.
Now I know its a horror movie and people do stupid things all the time, but if you're going to play a film as straight as this one does, you can't expect me to believe this. Also everyone decides to split up in search for the man after he vanishes into the house, thus making it easier for one of them to get picked off. Also the teenage daughter's boyfriend makes no sense. So he plans to kill the father, (Ethan Hawke) in order to get him out the way so he can be with the daughter, because I'd totally be with a guy who just shot my dad with a handgun and wouldn't be disgusted by that all.
Also the actual marauders in the movie came off as funny to me with their antics while pacing around outside before breaking in. Even when they break in, it wasn't really a good payoff and couldn't absolve the movie of its stupidity.
4. Piranha 3D
I can't honestly tell if this movie is a porno or a horror movie, seriously which is it? I can't tell and am still wondering: what did I expect going into this movie? Well, I expected to see a bunch of dumb teens be ripped apart by piranhas, instead what I got was wet T-shirt contest, body shots, an underwater porno nymph sequence, and the scientist from Back to the Future. When the actual demon fish start killing people, all I could think was "F***** finally!" unfortunately these scenes get boring real fast. Then they try to set up a sequel with a "surprising revelation." Unfortunately, this just comes off as funny and had me, and everyone else, rolling our eyes. It fails as a porno and as a horror movie and if it was trying to be a horror comedy, it mucks that up too because there's only one funny scene, and its where the guy filming a porno gets his penis bitten off by a piranha.
3. Paranormal Activity Series
I'm including all of these for a reason: they aren't scary. The only thing this movie does it build up suspense but it never really goes anywhere and nothing scary ever happens. It's like shaking up a soda bottle and slowly popping the cap, you're expecting an eruption of soda, but instead you get the opposite. Nothing scary happens in these movies and I never connect with any of the characters and don't react when they all die. While the concept is indeed interesting, the execution isn't and unfortunately this is everything wrong with found footage movies. I appreciate that you don't actually see the ghost/ demon, they do try to use the fear of the unknown but it comes off as wasted potential because nothing truly shocking happens.
The only scene in the first one that had the potential to be scary was the scene at the end where the woman gets dragged down the hallway by our ghost/ demon and her boyfriend runs to rescue. We don't see what's going on, suddenly he comes flying towards the camera and slams into and it crashes then we see the girlfriend now possessed.
That could've been scary but by the time we got to this point my apathy towards the movie was at an all time high and honestly the way he went flying, looks funny to me.
The Marked Ones is the worst, and yes I know its a spinoff but for a good two-thirds of the movie nothing happens, the kid gets super powers from a demon and then in typical fashion, the demon starts taking over. The end of the film goes on for so long and drags on the last guy getting killed and tries to tie in with the original but messes that up in a colossal manner.
They claim Ghost Dimension is the final one, I sincerely hope so but my inner cynic is doubting it just like how I doubt Five Nights at Freddy's 4 is the really the final chapter.
2. The Evil Dead (2013)
Why did I let a friend of mine talk me into watching this movie? Admittedly I have only seen clips from the original movies, but I can tell they were leagues above this movie and looked more like campy action horror movies with a sense of humor, which sounds right up my alley and I hope they show up on netflix at some point . However, this film is full of some of the dumbest characters I have ever seen.
Let me explain, say you go to an old cabin that belongs to your family (for whatever reason), you find a hidden room in the basement full of rotting burnt corpses and some very obvious symbols of some occult ritual, and a book with a garbage bag over it wrapped in barb wire. Would you take the book, that someone has taken the time to wrap in barb wire, get it out the barb wire and then proceed to read the demonic content inside. Also would you then read the part that it specifically tells you NOT TO READ because it will summon some hellish entity that is likely the reason why there's a dead body in the basement? If you answered yes then congrats you belong in this movie.
So this one guy reads the book that unleashed some entity it then posses the main character's sister in a scene that came across as funny in a dark and twisted way. She tries to outrun it but it ties up with vines and then to show that its possessing her, someone thought it'd be a good idea to have a vine shoot up between her legs and to have her make a suggestive face. It diminished the tension of the scene.
Okay I get that we wouldn't have a movie if someone didn't read the book. But they could've easily written it so that the book maybe forces someone to read it or can influence someone like the ring in the Lord of the Rings so the guy doesn't consciously do it and come off as a moron.
Also for some reason the dumb characters in the movie think its a virus, what virus makes someone speak in multiple voices at once? Or have yellow eyes, or have their skin turn all zombie like in barely a few hours? The main character has the opportunity to just walk away after she has killed everyone but him but decides to go back and risk himself to get the demon out of her, by burying her alive, and then digging her out and reviving her a few minutes later. Keep in mind she's trapped in the basement at this point and can't really get out.
The movie comes off as laughable because it mistakes gore for horror (spoiler alert it is not). The only reason this isn't higher on my list is because in the theater my father and I, and the four other people there, took our time just ripping on it and actually had fun doing that. I can't say its so bad its good but it is infuriating enough with its moronic characters that its fun to mock.
Even if I haven't seen the originals, if you're remaking/ rebooting a film it needs to be able to hold its own as a standalone piece for instance someone could watch the new Godzilla having not seen the originals and enjoy it. This movie is riddled with too many illogical bits that to me come off as lazy and bad writing that I find it hard to find many positives in it aside from the practical effects.
1. The Apparition
This movie is everything wrong with horror today: it's forgettable, nothing scary happens, and SPOILER ALERT, you see this poster above? Yeah, that's the last shot of the movie. I am dead serious; that is how the movie ends and there is nothing scary about this movie. Seriously, you want to know how this movie tries to scare you? Creepy sounds and people walking around their house, and yeah that can be scary if there is actually a damn payoff and if the script isn't lazily written and boring the entity is about as scary as an angry Chihuahua and drags people through walls and leaves them trapped there with their mouths gapping wide open.
So that's my best and worst list.