10 Best Horror Movies of 2014
Already the third year that we publish our long awaited lists of the best movies of the year!!
2014 was rich in great horror releases, but not all of them were worth watching! We have rated most of them for you, and here is our ultimate Top 10 of the best (and worst) films of 2014!
The release date chosen is the one making the movie widely available worldwide, usually the UK or US release date, whatever comes first, with some exception for movies not released in those countries…
For the geeky one who loves statistics, or those who just want further recommendations, make sure to scroll down to the final recapitulative table
NUMBER 10 = Dracula: Untold
Director: Gary Shore
Writer: Bram Stoker, Burk Sharpless, Matt Sazama
Dracula: Untold is thankfully not yet another remake of Bram Stoker 1897’s novel. Instead, it audaciously attempts to retrace the origin of the legend, and does so with success in an epic story about Kind Vlad the Impaler and his pact with a dark and evil creature.
I found that movie to be solid on pretty much every level. The fights are really amazing, especially during large battles. Dracula has the ability to turn into a herd of bats at will and makes great use of it to fight its way through hordes of Turkish soldiers. The computer-generated effects are superb and the feelings of the battles worthy of aTransformers movie.
Thankfully, Dracula: Untold is not only a great action movie, it also has a good story. As in most American movie, family is at the center of it all, which makes it a little predictable, but the very dark atmosphere and dramatic tone make up for that easily. Luke Evans (No One Lives, The Raven) is really a great actor and this role as Dracula will probably just strengthen his already pretty good reputation.
Whereas action/horror super-productions tend to disappoint horror fans these days (World War Z, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, I, Frankenstein, etc.), Dracula: Untold stands as the exception. It has been contentiously done and the finish, perfectly polished and well-paced, is extremely enjoyable.
NUMBER 9 = The Purge: Anarchy
Director: James DeMonaco
Writer: James DeMonaco
Written and directed by James DeMonaco (director of the first opus), The Purge: Anarchy is a faithful and logical sequel to the first movie. I did not particularly enjoyed the first The Purge which I found predictable and lacking explanation, but this one is a good surprise for it is slightly superior to its little brother on pretty much every aspect.
First of all, the movie is extremely suspenseful. Like every good survival movie, you follow a group of people as they try to survive whatever horrible situations they are faced with. But somehow here, there is a little extra spice. Maybe it is the good camera work, or maybe it is the fast-paced story, punctuated by interesting plot twists, but the final result is very good and the overall experience very tense.
The concept of the purge is also more detailed than in the first movie…which is a good thing. Still, I’m convinced that it remains not elaborated enough. I mean, the concept is awesome and could be fleshed out to a brilliant sci-fi scenario, but they just kept it to a strict minimum.
Aside from that, the acting is great, as are the many action scenes. There are many villains and they all are quite twisted in their own way, making it a pleasure to discover what will happen to whom.
In conclusion, The Purge: Anarchy is a rather basic survival movie that concentrate on its strong point: a huge suspense, cool “bad guys” and lots of pursuits…maybe once more at the expense of a better scenario??
Number 8 = The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Writer: Earl E. Smith, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a remake of the 1972’s slasher of the same name. The original was a good movie (still is), but was made with a budget too low to be as good as it could have been. For this reason, it did not age very well and I think remaking it was a good idea, especially since this remake does such a great job at refreshing the classic.
Actually, this movie is more of a modern time sequel (or reboot) rather than a remake. It does not simply reuse the 1972’s scenario but cleverly conserves the concept and cult scenes of the original, while building a whole new “movie inside a movie” story around it.
The addition of central characters in the scenario is something that lacked in the original movie. The heroine here, a young woman with no parents, is quite an endearing one and she adds a nice sentimental touch to the movie. The paranoia generated by the murders in the city is still here, as is the suspenseful police investigation aspect of the movie.
The real highlight of this remake, however, are the many murders. The classic cult ones are there, along with some spicy additions. The killer is creepy, and each of his apparitions are extremely brutal and stressful.
Overall, this sequel/remake is a nice complement to the original movie and a great standalone slasher. Highly recommended.
NUMBER 7 = Oculus
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard, Jeff Seidman
Following the (deserved) success of his previous film Absentia, Mike Flanagan’s film was a long awaited one…but let me tell you that the wait was well worth it! What a movie! Oculus is a paranormal movie with an object as the villain, namely a malefic mirror that can make your life a living hell. If that sounds strange to you, wait until you see the actual movie!
Oculus is nothing that you’ve seen before. It is built of a superposition of two stories, one when the lead characters were kids and one when they are adults. The film throws you into that messy puzzle without any sort of introduction. That makes it a little hard to comprehend things at first, but the story is well written and you will learn what is needed as you go.
Because you know right from the start that something terrible happened to kids as they were young (kind of these movies that start with the end), you know that you’re in for a tragedy and that expectation only increase the tension as the movie go.
Both stories evolve simultaneously, jumping back and forth without any sorts of warning. This effect, quite slow at first, increase progressively as the movie goes. This has the double effect that it increases the pace of the film constantly, and also increase the confusion, blurring more and more the line between fiction and reality. This very clever effect really built a solid suspense and ensure that you will end the movie on a nightmarish climax. Even more clever is the way the story is written, making it very intuitive to understand what’s happening despite the extreme confusion. I also really liked the rational aspect of it. The characters really try to keeps a clear mind about it as much as they can, which is a change from the usual screaming and running found in most other ghost movies. The movie is really scary towards the end and I think this plays a big part in the viewer immersion.
I won’t lie, I really think that Oculus is one of the most clever horror scenario ever written. Does that make it a perfect movie? I would say that the last part is maybe a little too repetitive to be one of the very few “perfect” films, but it is not far at all.
NUMBER 6 = The Babadook
Director: Jennifer Kent
Writer: Jennifer Kent
Despite a lot of coverage, this new Australian movie surprised pretty much everyone in the horror world… and for a good reason: The Babadook is creepy, original and surprisingly clever.
It is the brilliant combination of a spirit movie (like The Grudge or Mama) and a Shining-like psychological thriller. It is stressful and oppressive right from the start, bringing into action a couple of very atypical characters: a single mum deeply affected by the loss of her husband, and her disturbed and turbulent child. The monster/spirit apparition are very scary and mesmerizing. I think I haven’t felt that much psychological tension since The Others back in 2001, a movie to which The Babadook resemble in many aspects, especially the troubled profile of its characters.
The second half of the movie takes a psychological turn that I really didn’t expect. Thankfully, it is a clever one, at least once you understand it (and I had to read about it on the internet to be sure). This final makes the movie a unique one for sure, but I personally did not enjoy it as much as the first half. In my opinion, the all story does not make perfect sense and lacked a proper conclusion, which is the only reason why The Babadook does not get an “excellent” grade from me. Other than that, the movie an exceptional one and probably this year creepiest release.
NUMBER 5 = Housebound
Director: Gerard Johnstone
Writer: Gerard Johnstone
It is not often that we come across New Zealand horror, but this one makes it count. Housebond is a great surprise, a very ambitious movie and yet one that never takes itself seriously. The scenario is extremely rich and filled with clever story twists, fantastic characters and lots of cool ideas. Everytime you think that you know what is going to happen, the movie takes an unexpected turn and brings the suspense back.
The tone of the movie is very light and, mostly because of the comical aspect of its characters, makes the movie hilarious. Yet, Housebond never falls into the full-on comedy genre (no jokes or exaggerated stupidity). Instead, it remains a very subtle movie that just plays with the simplicity of its characters and simple scary bits.
Aside from the great story, what makes Housebound really unique is the quality of its characters: the mum, the step-dad, the officer, the neighbour and much more, they all have a very colourful personality, they are all full of surprises too and all important to the story.
NUMBER 4 = Blood Glacier (aka Blugletsher)
Director: Marvin Kren
Writer: Benjamin Hessler
Blood Glacier (aka The Station) is the second brilliant film by Austrian director Marvin Kren, who, in 2010, gratified us with the refreshing zombie flick Rammbock.
This monster film brings us to a station in the middle of the mountain, at the foot of an astonishing red glacier. It quickly turns out that the glacier is in fact invested by a strange organic disease. The atmosphere reminds, of course, of the legendary The Thing, since both stories happen in remote base in a polar environment. Same as in the latter, the monsters are truly the highlight of the film. The virus, or whatever it is, creates hybrids of animals that are just candies for the eyes. Among others, get ready to meet the really ugly fox/beetle hybrid, the insect-like hawk and even the unbelievable flying ibex! I personally haven’t been excited by such a set of inventive monsters since The Mist, to which Blood Glacier resemble by many aspects….and never fell short in comparison.
But The Station distinguishes itself from the pure monster genre by bringing a fun aspect to the story: a team of wild characters. Without ever crossing the line to the comedy genre, the film keeps surprising by depicting the sometimes tragic, but often hilarious, reactions of the characters when faced with horrific monsters which populate the mountain.
This blending of The Thing and The Mist gives a highly entertaining result and simply the best 2014’s horror release!
NUMBER 3 = Horns
Director: Alexandre Aja
Writer: Joe Hill, Keith Bunin
Alexandre Aja latest movie was awaited for almost two years following its initial announcement, but thankfully, was worth the wait!
Based upon a novel by Joe Hill, the movie follows Iggy, a young boy who just lost his everlasting girlfriend and gets accused of the murder. What starts as a classic thriller quickly turns into a fantastic movie as Iggy wakes up with horns that makes everyone tell him the truth. Like in a classic Hollywood comedy such as Liar, Liar or What Woman Want, telling the truth generates tons of comical situation and the first half of the movie is hilarious. But this ability will also help him to elucidate who the killer really his.
The movie is purposefully confusing, and never really explain why such events are happening to him. This really was the weakness of the movie to me. But this is easy to forget is one considers that Horns is one of the most original horror concept in a long time. To be honest, apart from its fantastic aspect and a few cool deaths here and there, the movie doesn’t really feel like a horror movie, which is why I didn’t give him a better rating. But don’t be mistaken, it is nevertheless a great fantastic film. It does drag on a little towards the middle, and some of the flashbacks could have been cut out to make it denser, but the originality of the scenario, the beautiful visual and a convincing Daniel Radcliff makes it a movie not to be missed this year.
NUMBER 2 = Starry Eyes
Director: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Writer: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Breathtaking and intense from start to end, there is no other way for describing, probably 2014’s best horror release. The movie starts to be fascinating very quickly, and shortly becomes impossible to stop watching.
Featuring a woman who gets infected by a strange disease and slowly turns into a walking corpses, the movie can be seen as quite similar to last year’s release Contracted. It is true that the disgust and weird feeling that the two movies inspire are quite similar, but Starry Eyes goes so much further…
Sumptuously revolting, the movie is a hypnotizing descent into the wildest nightmare and the darkest corner of madness. The transformations scenes are amazing and much more shocking than in Contracted (to continue with the comparison). The movie is violent, really violent. It almost gets unbearable towards the end, sickening the audience in the ways only so few, like Martyrs, managed to do.
The choice of actors is amazing and the main actress, young Saudi Alex Essoe, is bound to be seen again on screen following that unforgettable experience. In addition, and as it is was to make the movie near perfect, the movie has a real meaning and even a morale, illustrating by a clever metaphor how greed and ambition can affect people, and what they are ready to do to succeed, including giving up your life, body, friends…
FINALLY, OUR BEST HORROR MOVIE OF 2014 IS
NUMBER 1 = Honeymoon
Director: Leigh Janiak
Writer: Leigh Janiak, Phil Graziadei
The directing debut of Leigh Janiak is surely one that will not go unnoticed in horror circle, for Honeymoon is really a piece of horror/suspense to be remembered.
The movie‘s starts quite commonly, with a young couple going on honeymoon in a cabin in woods. Their relashionship is exclusive and very passionate, very credible on screen, surely because of the brio of the two near perfect actors: Rose Leslie who you’ll easily recognize as the girlfriend of John Snow in Games of Thrones, and Harry Treadaway whom you might have seen in Cockneys Vs Zombies (or The Lone Ranger).
Anyway, everything goes well until the young girl starts to behave unexpectedly weird, at which point the movie starts its descent into the confusing and the disturbing. As the story goes, you keep wondering what the hell is happening to that poor couple. The horror sounds like a home invasion, or is it monsters, or is it aliens, or are they just crazy? Everything seems possible throughout most of the movie and this “not knowing” is really what creates the huge suspense so characteristic of that movie. The movie plays cleverly with that concept to build an ever increasing tension and a really heavy atmosphere. Watch the first 15 minutes of the movie and you probably won’t be able to stop until the end…until you know! And believe me the end is not disappointing, it keeps its promises and delivers exactly what’s needed after such a crazy suspense.
I decided to classify this movie as madness & paranoia instead of its real subgenre not to give out any spoiler. So try and do not watch the trailer because diving into that flick. Trust the many reviews who rightly describeHoneymoon as excellent.
Almost made it / Honorable mention:
Come Back to Me
As Above, So Below
Goal of the Dead
Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead