I received some awesome news that I want to share with everyone. First,
"HUSH," an award winning film I recently reviewed, is an Official
Selection at the...
Second, writer/director Michael G. Kehoe informed me
that my review is not only on the poster for the movie, but The Hollywood
Reel Independent Film Festival chose my review to use for the description of
the film in their program. I'm truly honored to have HorrO's Gory Reviews
associated with the screening of this terrific short film at this festival.
Check out the screenshot with the movie, and my review as the description...
"HUSH" will be shown on Saturday, Feb 14th
at 3:00pm! Click here for details! If you can be there, trust me you don't want
to miss this film! This will be their 20th film festival and they have won
15 awards! You can learn more about the film in this recent promotion I did at
As I considered the best and worst horror movies of 2014, I realized there wasn't any stand out movies. There was no movie that made me say, "Damn that was a good movie." Yes, I can already here arguments for certain movies at the top of other people's "Best Horror Movies of 2014." While I do agree in some cases, there just wasn't a movie that blew me out of the water.
On the other hand, there seemed to be plenty of movies that made me say, "Damn that was a bad movie." You're probably not surprised by that are you? I really didn't realize how disappointed I was with the 2014 movies until I sat down to do this post. As you will see as you read on, I actually give some credit to two movies that weren't necessarily horror movies, but had some great horror elements in them. Again, it was that kind of year. So no more stalling let me start with the best...
#5 Witching and Bitching: I usually like to include a horror comedy in my top 5, so this is my horror comedy pick. Honestly, I didn't know much about this movie, or really want to see it. Mrs. HorrO actually suggested we see it, and you know what... I really liked it! The opening scene of the movie is absolutely hilarious. After that it becomes a strange movie, but still maintains its humor. (Yes, this movie opened overseas in 2013, but most of us in the U.S. didn't get a chance to see it until 2014 so I included it here)
#4 Dracula Untold: This was close, as I almost gave this spot to "The Purge: Anarchy" if you can believe that. However, I felt like I had to give this movie some love. I didn't expect to like it, but was pleasantly surprised. I liked the story, and it had some good action scenes. The acting was pretty solid as well. I'm still not sure about how it ended with a possible sequel in a different time period, but that's a discussion for another day.
#3 Annabelle: I know a lot of people didn't like it, or just wanted more out of it. I couldn't help but include it in my list because I was dying to see this movie after our brief introduction to Annabelle in "The Conjuring." No, the movie isn't perfect, but I enjoyed seeing Annabelle and they did a descent job with the demon.
#2 The Babadook: I almost gave in to the pressure and made it number 1 just like a lot of people, but I couldn't do it. Yes, it was a great movie. It had the best acting I saw in a 2014 horror movie by far. The story was pretty original, and had an interesting ending. I liked it, but the number movie on my list just made me a little happier probably because there was more blood shed in it than in this one.
#1 Wolf Creek 2: Yes, I just did that. I just put Wolf Creek over The Babadook! It really just comes down to my taste in horror movies. I like slashers with blood shed over other types of horror, and that was really the deciding factor here. I love Mick as the crazy killer in this movie. He's just a regular guy who loves to kill. Oh and I can't forget the great sense of humor he has while killing. He really made this the #1 movie for me more than anything.
All right, now that you think I'm crazy time to bring out the worst horror movies of 2014...
#5 Wrong Turn 6 Last Resort: It really really really pains me to include this in the list. I'm a fan of the franchise, but this movie didn't cut it for me. After the usual great opening death scene, none of the other kills really came close to matching that scene. They usually produce more decent kills, but failed to this time. The movie seemed to stick too much to the character's story, and on sex scenes as opposed to the death scenes. I told you I'm out for blood shed in these movies.
#4 Devil's Due: Man do some of these horror movies that release at the beginning of the year suck. I don't know if they just try to get the bad ones out of the way first, or they are trying to set the bar really low. I haven't seen it yet, but hopefully "The Woman in Black 2" is good. As far as this movie is concerned, lets give the found footage thing a rest. Some movies just shouldn't be shot that way, and this was one of them. They really did try to scare audiences, but it falls short. And the ending wasn't that great either.
#3 Ouija: Here's another thing they need to stop doing... making horror movies for teens. Maybe I just need to stop watching horror movies for teens. Seriously, an ouija board can present so many great opportunities to scare the audience, and this was the best they could come up with!
#2 Don't Blink/Apocalyptic: Yes, a tie. Above I gave the nod to Dracula Untold over The Purge Anarchy, but this time I couldn't pick one over the other. So what do these movies have in common besides that they fall in at # 2. Well after the ending I basically said, "Why did I just watch that?" I hate when I think that at the end of movies. Of course that happens a lot, but these two really stood out to me because I hated the endings. They really made me fell like I wasted my time. Don't Blink was trying to send a message or something, the ending was predicable, and just was a bad concept overall. Apocalyptic falls into that why did they do another found footage movie. Again, the ending just drove me mad. Most of the movie leading up to the ending was too much like a documentary, which is what they were actually doing, but they forgot that it they were shooting a horror movie as well!
#1 Leprechaun Origins: This might have been the easiest pick of them all. Talk about a remake/reboot that totally screws up everything the franchise is about. Where was the humor? Where was the top hat? Hell, where was his outfit? I guess I shouldn't complain because the audience was luck to even get a few decent looks at the leprechaun in this movie. They just kept hiding it from the audience and when we finally got to see him, he looked more like a chupacabra or some mutant beast. They also hid the kills, and offered nothing new about the leprechaun. Just terrible!
So there are my two lists? Disagree right? I figured! Well here are just a few more thoughts to give you idea of what I thought about some other 2014 movies.
Truly the best movie I saw in 2014 that was close to horror was "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes." However, since it's more sci-fi than horror I didn't consider it for my list. Talk about remaking a franchise, and doing it right!
The two movies that had horror elements but aren't horror movies that I mentioned at the beginning are "Gone Girl," and "Nightcrawler." If these were horror movies, I might have strongly considered making them 1 and 2 on the best of list. "Gone Girl" had a terrific story, one of the characters was simply nuts, and the ending was crazy. "Nightcrawler" was very similar. It also had a great story, nutty character, crazy ending, and the acting was great.
“Strange Magic,” a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd., is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic bring to life the fanciful forest turned upside down with world-class animation and visual effects. Directed by Gary Rydstrom (“Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation,” “Lifted”) from a story by George Lucas, “Strange Magic” will be released by Touchstone Pictures on Jan. 23, 2015.
Cast: Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Sam Palladio, Meredith Anne Bull, Alfred Molina, Elijah Kelley, Bob Einstein, Peter Stormare
Director: Gary Rydstrom
Producer: Mark S. Miller
Executive producer: George Lucas
Screenplay by: David Berenbaum, Irene Mecchi, Gary Rydstrom
Over the course of about two weeks I've posted horror movie posters from 2014 on the PromoteHorror.comInstagram account. Along with the poster, I asked if the movie was "a top horror movie of 2014 or a bottom movie of 2014." I would say the results surprised me. Some movies I liked they didn't, while others they liked that I didn't. I didn’t include my vote in the results. So here we go...
Top Movie of 2014: 7500, Sharknado 2, Honeymoon, See No Evil 2, Leprechaun Origins, Stage Fright, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Oculus, The Sacrament, Dracula Untold, Jessabelle, Tusk, Deliver Us From Evil, As Above So Below, The Purge: Anarchy, The Babadook, Horns, and Witching and Bitching
Bottom Movie of 2014: Alien Abduction, I Frankenstein, Devil’s Due, The Quiet Ones, [Rec] 4, and Wolf Creek 2
Split Decision: Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, V/H/S: Viral, Dead Snow 2, and Annabelle
No Decision: Zombeavers, At the Devil’s Door, Starry Eyes, A Haunted House 2, ABC’s of Death 2, and The Pyramid.
So what do you think? Agree or disagree with where these movies fell? Well if you are wondering what I thought of the 2014 horror movies, you will have to wait a few days for my best and worst horror movies of 2014 list!
single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her
son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister
presence all around her.
Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, and Daniel Henshall
and written by: Jennifer Kent
Babadook! Babadook! Baba... ok that’s
enough. It’s just such an unusual name. There's just an awkward feeling almost
every time it's mentioned in “Babadook.” Oh, and it’s almost hilarious when the
Babadook itself says its name. No offense if your name is Babadook by the way.
All right to the serious stuff. A movie
can stand out for many reasons, but a lot of times horror movies fall short
when it comes to standing out in the acting department. Well,
"Babadook" stands out first and foremost because of the acting. Essie
Davis, who plays Amelia, is fantastic. She brings out the most in playing a
single mother, who is struggling with the death of her husband, dealing with
her unique son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), and then handling the stress of every day
life. Essie does a great job of progressively getting more stressed out by the
situation she finds herself in, and a terrific job in scenes where she flips
from being a mad woman to a loving mother.
Then there's Noah Wiseman, who is another
young actor that doesn't miss a beat in a tough role. Naturally, the scenes
where he just has to be a kid are easy. However, Noah doesn't have an easy job
playing off of Amelia's mood changes, but he handles it well. He particularly
does a good job when Samuel basically just goes into a tantrum, and when he has
to show his love for Amelia.
As for the story, some of it is
familiar to other horror movies, but it does have some originality to it
starting with that name. Yes... Babadook!!! The Babadook does some things that
are also similar to other movies, but yet again has its own originality.
Whenever it's around the scenes are very dark, and it definitely creates a
creepy atmosphere. As the audience might expect, mother and son have to find a
way to beat the Babadook. What's particularly pleasing about this ending is
what happens to the Babadook, and the mother and son. It's not something always
seen in horror movies.
It shouldn't be surprising that
"Babadook" is becoming more known as it gets good reviews. Essie
Davis and Noah Wiseman do a fabulous job of portraying a mother and son who are
struggling with life, and the evil that is terrorizing them. There's enough
originality in the movie to keep the audience interested in the story, besides
just routing for the mother and son. The great ending tops of the story nicely,
and leads me to give this movie 3.5 pools of blood.
the aftermath of his girlfriend's mysterious death, a young man awakens to find
strange horns sprouting from his temples.
Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, and Max Minghella
by: Keith Bunin (screenplay), and Joe Hill (novel)
All right, let me start by saying I
really had little interest in seeing “Horns.” I mean, after reading the
synopsis why would I. "A young man awakens to find strange horns sprouting
from his temples"... so! It's not like a cop awakens alone in a hospital
only to find zombies have taken over his world, or anything like that. The only
thing slightly interesting in the synopsis is the mysterious death of his
girlfriend, but that barely seems like a reason to see this movie.
In spite of all of that, I gave it a
chance, and it did surprise me in some ways. Yes, the horns thing is weird, but
they find a way to make good use of it. Along with the horns comes Ig’s (Daniel
Radcliff) ability to get people to tell him what they really desire, and get
them to do those things and more. This creates several hilarious scenes
including getting news reporters to beat each other up, and some funny moments
in a doctor's office.
Ig uses the horns, and his newfound
abilities to help find out who killed his girlfriend (Merrin). Most of the town
already thinks he's the killer, and he gets treated as just that. There are even
some people who take pleasure in trying to ruin his life. Well more fun happens
when he finally embraces the evil in him the horns create, and he gets revenge
on some of this people.
As for the mystery death, I wish that
part of the movie surprised me as much as the first half of the movie. It turns
out that it isn't so difficult to figure out who the killer is because there's
really a lack of suspects. The movie uses a bunch of flashbacks to Ig's
childhood, where the audience sees how he met Merrin, and some of the friends
and family in his present day life. It becomes obvious, unless the killer is
someone out of the blue, that only a couple of people could be the killer (in
other words you should figure it out).
The other thing that comes into play
here is the love story that kind of hides in the background until the end of
the movie. I can't say I ever got into that part of the movie, so the ending
didn't excite me. There’s some action, and an unexpected change in Ig, which at
least kept my attention. Too bad that came along with some bad special
While not initially seeing any reason
to watch "Horns," I gave it a chance, and it surprised me for at
least the first half of the movie or so. Actually, the part I thought I would
be interested in let me down, while the part that turned me off was actually
entertaining. A young man waking up with horns in his head didn't interest me,
but it actually helps present some of the best moments in the movie. I had
hopes for the mystery part of the movie, but the killer became evident too
early leaving the only mystery being how it was done. In the end, I give this
movie 2.5 pools of blood.
Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana to recuperate from a horrific car accident, Jessabelle comes face to face with a long-tormented spirit that has been seeking her return -- and has no intention of letting her escape.
Starring: Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, and Joelle Carter
Directed by: Kevin Greutert
Written by: Robert Ben Garant
Who wants to see another movie about a ghost haunting a girl? After watching the trailer, "Jessabelle" seems like just that.However, while there is a ghost haunting a girl, there's a little more to it. There’s a pretty good story to follow if the audience can get past the attempts to scare them.
Yes, this movie makes several attempts to scare the audience. A lot of the scare attempts happen early on when Jessabelle (Sarah Snook) is trying to get comfortable in her new home. The scares are all right with the best one probably being the bathtub scene. It helps that she’s confined to a wheelchair because it adds some suspense to some of the scenes. After that the movie is kind of creepy with weird stuff happening until it gets to the meat of the story.
Hopefully the audience is still engaged with the story after the scare attempts. Call it the twist, pay off, or reveal, the ending might make the audience appreciate what they have watching. The twist is shown in flashback fashion showing the audience everything that has happened has happened for a reason. Some things about the story might be obvious, but it’s the one or two surprising things that the audience might appreciate.
"Jessabelle" might just seem like another movie at first, but it does present some reasons to give it a chance. There are some scares for those looking to be scared. However, what makes this movie worth watching is following the story, and seeing the twist/reveal happen. Yes, some of the ending is predictable, but those few things that might not be as obvious make it an interesting story. With that, I give this movie 2.5 pools of blood.