2014 was a pretty good year for movies, from the bizarro space adventure that was Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to more character driven works like Nightcrawler and Birdman I definitely saw some good stuff. What I didn’t really see this year was a lot of horror movies. Not a lot of contemporary ones, anyway. Up until I took the gig here at Wicked Horror I had kind of fallen behind on my genre pictures. In fact, my most anticipated release was the long-awaited Director’s Cut of Nightbreed. That being said, the past month or so has been a mad dash to catch up on as much as possible. I got through a lot, but certain flicks like The Guest or Tusk I wanted to check out, but just didn’t get a chance to see. Still, this past month-long marathon has left me with a pretty positive outlook on where horror is and where it’s headed. After mentally sorting this all out, here are my top five for 2014.
I checked this movie out because I’m a sucker for practical werewolf effects. Hell, for better or worse I watched every Underworld movie based solely on how good their werewolf suits looked. I was expecting some dumb campy fun, but what I got was one of the best movies of this kind in years. Nick Damici absolutely steals the show as Ambrose and becomes probably the most badass protagonist in a werewolf movie ever.Godzilla
Look… I get why a lot of people didn’t like this movie, I really do. It takes forever for the big G-man to show up and even when he does his screen time is super limited. Taylor-Johnson’s character isn’t incredibly interesting and Cranston unfortunately doesn’t stick around for too long. I hear those complaints and I understand… but I just do not care. Godzilla’s not constantly onscreen but when he is it’s RADICAL! The fight scenes are the most fun I’ve had at a movie this year and the fact that they make you wait only makes them that much more satisfying to me. This gave me the biggest dumbest grin sitting in the theater watching it and I absolutely cannot wait for the next one. Bring on Rodan. Bring on Mothra. Bring on KING FREAKING GHIDORA. Let’s do this.
Given my mad dash in December to catch up on releases I went into this movie basically blind. I hadn’t even seen the trailer, and I’m really glad that was my experience with it. This movie takes so many twists and turns especially in the latter half that I had absolutely no idea where it was going half the time. It’s a hilarious movie packed with amazing characters and some serious moments of dread. While it definitely gets less scary towards the end it makes up for it by getting more insane. Either way, it’s one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen this year.
Chris Evans had a good year. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the best-written Marvel Studios movie to date and what does he follow up that success with just a few months later? A hard R dystopian sci fi action movie from the director of The Host. Both the movie and his character go to incredibly dark places and the tone throughout the entire experience is oppressive and claustrophobic. Having the characters stuck on this one train with literally nowhere else to go really hammered in some of the sociopolitical themes of the movie and delivered one of the most powerful action films I’ve seen in years. This fits right at home with some of the stuff John Carpenter was doing with They Live and Escape From New York.
Oh man. This movie. I’m not going to say it’s the scariest thing ever put to celluloid. That is entirely subjective, but I can tell you right now that it got under my skin in a big way. It’s creepy, atmospheric, and tense. The way they take a relatively simple and often used setup and spin it as a metaphor for a character dealing with loss was brilliant. The ending was pitch perfect and this is a movie I cannot recommend enough.
The following didn’t make my list but still deserve a shout out. Honorable mention to Horns for sporting a really great Radcliffe performance, even if the movie is so-so. Stage Fright also deserves a note, because it’s one of the strangest things I watched this year.