Best & Worst of 2014
It’s come to that time of year again….so here’s my picks of the best and worst movies I have seen this past year.
starting with the positive experiences…
THE GUEST (2014)
An electro synth music video or a cross between THE TERMINATOR & UNIVERSAL SOLDIER? I’ll let you decide but Dan Stevens’ ice cold performance and the dazzling finale cement this as probably the coolest movie of the year. Absolutely ace.
THE PIT (2013)
Low-budget backwoods terror flick with a real difference. The opening credits sequence, rhythmic score and underlying sexual tension make for a gripping 90 mins. Think dirty and vintage Craven with a modern upgrade and you aren’t too wide of the mark.
LITTLE ERIN MERRYWEATHER (2003)
This film has more than a whiff of Argento’s virgin giallo THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, but if you look past the borrowed imagery and plot, it is one of the most effective slasher homages in over a decade. Gorgeous to look at and lovingly crafted, it’s dogged willingness to play it straight is a breath of fresh air with so many slasher parodies doing the rounds.
THE BORDERLANDS (2013)
Minimalist British found footage movie which hinges on two fantastic performances and an involving script. One of the few movies in this swollen sub-genre which I actually enjoyed. Church CCTV has never been so frightening, but here what’s really scary is the emotional cynicism in one of our leads.
TOWER BLOCK (2012)
A sniper targets the remaining inhabitants of a condemned tower block in London. You’ll see the reveal coming, but the rough-diamond acting and ingenious set plays made this a surprise hit for me.
and now for some film experiences I rather wish I hadn’t sat through this year:
A much-heralded anthology from the oft-maligned found footage genre. The film makes no attempt to link the individual stories together – the thread that does emerge is half-hearted at best – but what’s worse is these tales are essentially all derivatives of familiar, and by now tired, urban legends. A deep disappointment indeed.
A senseless movie which relies on shots of a tree to illicit fear and suspense. The lack of any kind of revelation at the climax and indeed the more important omission of a character we can care about leaves you feeling cheated at the end.
Tobe Hooper’s star has truly fallen, and little evidence of the director’s impressive cannon can be found in this messy small-town zombie movie. It is badly acted and woefully scripted. It tries to echo Lovecraft but the shortcomings are far too great to admire it for intention alone.