Steven Wood's Best/Worst Movies of 2015

2015 has been a great year in the horror department, at least in terms of movies, and at least for the ones that I've seen. I wanted to share a list of the better movies I've watched this year, though not all of them are strictly horror, but close enough. Some I've reviewed for HorrorTalk, some I haven't, but they're all worth mentioning. I'll start off with the best of 2015, plus some honorable mentions, followed by my worst of the year.

Enjoy.

Or don't.

I don't care.

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10. The Visit

It was nice to see a great return to form for M. Night Shyamalan. After being ridiculed for damn near a decade, he was still able to release something completely worthwhile and entertaining. The best thing he did was almost completely remove himself from the trailers; but the worst thing he did was include a little white boy wannabe rapper. While The Visit is good, it has some of the most cringe-worthy moments of 2015.

 

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09. Last Shift

I love a story with an ending completely out of left field, and Last Shift perfectly nails this. Last Shift is one of the movies I just happened to stumble upon while surfing Netflix. As everyone knows, there is far more bad than good regarding horror on Netflix, so it was nice to find this little gem. It is also worth noting that some legitimate jump scares can be found here, which says a lot in this day and age.

 

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08. The Encounter

What can I say? I'm a sucker for aliens, but only if it's done right. The Encounter is the best alien/alien abduction movie since 1993's Fire in The Sky; which is saying a lot since Netflix is bombarded alien-related movies in any given month. I reviewed this one for HorrorTalk, so go ahead and check it out.

 

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07. What We Do in the Shadows

Honestly, I was never a fan of star Jemaine Clement's HBO endeavor Flight of The Concords, so I was somewhat hesitant going into What We Do in the Shadows, but man I'm sure glad I gave this a chance. Of the two humorous horror flicks to make my list, this is the funnier one, and the amount of dry humor rivals that of Spinal Tap, or even some Monty Python.

 

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06. Bloodsucking Bastards

I can say that without a doubt, Bloodsucking Bastards is the best horror/comedy of 2015. The main reason for that is that the humor is equal to the horror/violence. This was probably the most fun I've had writing a review, especially considering I knew I'd be interviewing the lead Fran Kranz, which can be read HERE. Hell, a quote from my review even made some press images for the DVD.

 

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05. Cop Car

Before anyone gets on my ass telling me that this isn't horror, think about the plot: two kids steal a dirty cop's car and are then hunted with imminent danger to their well-being. The only difference is that instead of a nameless shape/monster, Kevin Bacon, is doing the hunting. I don't typically go for movies where the main plot device involves children being hurt/kidnapped/put in danger, but something just works here. The tension is off the charts and a great little nail biter all the way through.

 

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04. Parallels

Anyone remember the '90s Jerry O'Connell sci-fi show Sliders? If so, then you're in for a treat with Parallels, which is essentially the same idea, though not the same method of travel, if that makes sense. There is a lot of "we need to get back to where we originally started" type of dialogue, which will give you the Sliders feel almost immediately. Director Christopher Leone has stated that he does plan on making at least one sequel to Parallels, so my hopes are high.

 

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03. The Final Girls

Imagine if Jamie Kennedy's Randy character from the movie Scream was somehow inserted into the '90s action flick Last Action Hero. If you can pull those references together, you'd understand what makes The Final Girls so special. This movie essentially mixes the backstory of Friday the 13th, a character from Scream and the absurd plot of The Last Action Hero. Depending on the type of person you are, you'll either hate that idea or think that it's an idea of a lifetime; I'm in that latter.

 

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02. The Hateful Eight

Why is this being covered on a horror top 10 list? I'll tell you – First, we have a cabin in the woods; which is the foundation for countless horror movies. There is a force which has trapped the characters within its walls. Lastly, the practical violence rivals that of any horror movie this year. I know a lot of people are still waiting to see this, so I won't spoil. What I can say is that The Hateful Eight could have worked as a stage play and a movie, considering 90% of it takes place in a single, enclosed location with the entire cast present. Since filmed in an outrageously wide ratio of 2.76:1, the supporting cast in any given scene wasn't given the luxury to just hang around and not pay attention. It is interesting yet nice to see some top-notch actors doing typical pantomime work in the background during long monologues or dialogue between two characters. The Hateful Eight is easily Tarantino's best of the 2000s and 2010s.

 

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01. Bone Tomahawk

There is no way in my mind I could have thought that in 2015 I'd have Kurt Russell in my top two movies of the year, and being horror related on top of that. Everything with Bone Tomahawk is perfect from the casting to the location to the violence. The brutality on screen is so abrupt and intense to the point of wanting to look away. Possibly the biggest achievement is that S. Craig Zahler (writer/director) has no other experience helming a movie, let alone a rather large production involving a very recognizable cast. His story and execution of said story is second to none.

 

These next few were really good, but I couldn't fit them anywhere into the above list; in no particular order:

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Goodnight Mommy

Creepy and unnerving basically sums up the vibe that Goodnight Mommy puts forth. A bit of a head scratcher and something you'll most likely want, or need, to watch twice.

 

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Tales of Halloween

Anthology films can be hit or miss, especially when the segments are attempting to intertwine with one another. Tales of Halloween is both fun and done very well all at the same time. The stand out segment has to be "The Night that Billy Raised Hell".

 

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A Christmas Horror Story

A Christmas Horror Story is another anthology, and equally worth the watch, especially if you enjoy seeing elves ripped apart.

 

What good would a Best list be without the Worst? I had the privilege of reviewing all of the following pieces of shit, and my reviews cover all that I care to say about them; again, in no particular order:

This is the first best/worst list I've created since writing for HorrorTalk, so I'm glad this year had some worthwhile titles. Sadly, I didn't get a chance to catch The Revenant, but if I did, I'm sure it would have made my list.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

 

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