1. It Follows
There is nothing else that even came close to number 1 for me this year. It Follows is a great example of how to use your 70’s and 80’s influences while still making something new and interesting. It takes a wonderfully simple concept and spins it into a nerve-wracking low budget thriller. The wonderful retro feel is perfectly accompanied by a score entirely from the electronic group Disasterpiece. Add to all this the fascinating surrealist undertones, and you have what is easily the top horror film of 2015.
2. What We do in the Shadows
“Petyr's 8,000 years old, He's not showing up to the meeting”. What We Do in the Shadows is the best horror comedy in years, hands down. From the “swear wolves” to the endless jokes about Petry being old and cranky, it’s a wonderful mashup of every vampire movie ever with a Christopher Guest mockumentary. Not to be missed.
3. Ex Machina
The best scifi film of the year, and a film that had the BGH crew unanimously excited. “You used my porn profile” is probably the best line of 2015, and it sums up what is so great about this movie. We are currently at the brink of living in the future of scifi movies past, and with that comes certain anxieties. What makes Ex Machina so brilliant is the way it cuts right to the heart of those anxieties, all while making its near future setting seem imminently plausible.
Again, found footage rules the day on my list. I’m a huge fan of The League, so seeing Mark Duplas star in his own horror film was a trip for me. It succeeds at being one of the year’s most minimalist horror films but also one of the creepiest, and gave us all “Peach Fuzz”, a great new addition to horror canon.
5. The Visit
M. Night Shyamalan made a pretty great found footage film this year. That is a sentence I did not expect to type in 2015. Listeners of the podcast know that I’m a sucker for found footage, so everything about this film scratched that itch in a very real way. Add to that some non-annoying kid characters and a hell of a twist, and you have one of my favorites of the year.
6. Crimson Peak
I liken this movie to one of those 70’s Poe adaptations starring Vincent Price, only with a real budget and made to be watchable. Gets my vote for the saddest and most tragic ending of the year. Another genre film with a surprisingly noteworthy cast in 2015, and wins best set design with no close competition.
I like that Jack Black guy, there I said it. He nails the vaudeville villain thing in this genius adaptation of the 90’s kids horror series. What’s even better about this film, is it serves as the perfect thing to show a youngin' as an introduction to the genre or the Goosebumps books themselves. Seriously, don’t miss this one. It’s whimsical as hell.
When it comes to portraying holidays in a childlike manner that’s also horrifying, Mike Dougherty has now cemented himself as the go-to guy in the genre. I vote he remakes Leprechaun next… anyway, his big coup here is the cast, which includes the likes of Adam Scott, Toni Collette and BGH favorite David Koechner.
9. The Gift
Another film that surprised almost everyone. It’s a classic revenge flick that succeeds at being tense, creepy and even occasionally funny. Jason Bateman’s rollercoaster performance stands out as a highlight for me. Also, one of the year’s better twist endings.
Unfriended, the film that people are probably still surprised to hear you liked in 2015. It’s a horror film made for a younger generation (than mine anyway), that manages to keep things interesting by using a unique storytelling device and a well applied R rating. It also gets props for introducing a new archetype for the horror community, the vape-stoner.
The movie most likely to confuse Normies - Krampus
Best Use of Spotify as a Scare Device - Unfriended
Best Twist Ending - The Visit
1. Insidious Chapter 3
Seriously, stop it. Just like, stop making these movies. Hollywood has not only ruined the resurgence of the throwback ghost film for me, but it’s quickly ruining James Wan’s legacy for me as well. If you think I lost patience for these types of films in 2015, just WAIT until we see the first one of 2016.
2. The Gallows
Even for a found footage junkie like myself, I can’t really make any excuses for this one. It takes what could actually be a good setup for found footage, and ruins it with a lack of creativity and some of the most contrived jumpscares seen in years. Avoid at all costs.
I’m honestly not sure if this deserves to be here. But when I thought back on it, I can remember almost nothing from this year’s Poltergeist remake except the clown stuff, which was in all the trailers. I’m actually not a person who is blanket against remakes of classic genre stuff, but seriously if you’re going to do it at least attempt to make it memorable. See Evil Dead as an example, not this.