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Top 25 Best Horror Movies Of 2015

19th – Afterdeath
Starring: Miranda Raison, Lorna Nickson Brown, Sam Keeley, Daniella Kertesz
Directors: Gez Medinger, Robin Schmidt
Released: TBC 2015
Good Horror Movies 2015

 -Seen It-  Five young people wake up dead. Washed up by the tide they scramble to an abandoned beach house, soon realising that the perpetual night and blasts of pain suggest this is some version of limbo. Between in-fighting and attacks by a demonic shadow creature, they recall the collapse of the nightclub that brought them here – and begin seeing hope of a second chance in the cabin’s two mysterious paintings… This has an intriguing, eerie concept and location. The screenplay is full of good ideas including their mirror appearance, the mosiac house layout, and the interesting balance of having four female characters to one male. It all collapses right at the end by making the concept of how to escape too grand. But the first 80 minutes are great.

18th – The Hallow
Starring: Joseph Mawle, Bojana Novakovic, Michael McElhatton, Michael Smiley
Director: Corin Hardy
Released: November 5, 2015
Top Horror Films 2015

 -Seen It-  An English couple move to a forest in Ireland with their baby. There the husband sets about marking trees for an incoming deforestation, but the Hallow – woodland-dwelling creatures which infect with black spores and swap babies for changelings – have been disturbed and are soon on the attack… The Irish setting and folklore concept are strong and this is a well made film. But it’s a dour one too, not least with a baby in distress/danger for 80% of the running time. Things move to the ‘third act mania’ a bit too quickly and half the dialogue becomes the wife or husband calling each other’s name. It would have been better to bring in more local characters (the two who are seen briefly are quite compelling) and give the couple more backstory and conflict. The creature design is fine but inconsistent and often doesn’t really feel like a good fit with Irish folklore of pixies and fairies – It comes down mostly to full size men in monster suits crawling around on the ground. ‘The Hallow’ is a bit freaky, fairly gross and kinda scary. Maybe that’s enough.

17th – Victor Frankenstein
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Andrew Scott, Jessica Brown Findlay
Director: Paul McGuigan
Released: November 25, 2015
Best Horror Movies 2015

 -Seen It-  The Frankenstein tale told from the perspective of Igor (Radcliffe)… An unnamed circus freak in the 1850s, self taught in anatomy, is freed from his cage by the enthusiastic and reckless med student Frankenstein (McAvoy) after he witnesses him save the life of a trapeze artist. Naming him Igor and fixing his hunchback, Frankenstein employs him as his assistant as he strives to bring body parts to life as an assembled creature – first experimenting on a chimpanzee, then later contructing a nine foot man. But a pious Scotland Yard inspector (Scott) is on their trail, determined to end the dangerous and ungodly experiments… Igor wasn’t actually in Mary Shelley’s original novel, instead he’s a character that’s evolved over various big screen versions. This is a grand production (feeling like a BBC one with a budget) complete with huge period sets, a fresh protagonist perspective and decent plotting. Radcliffe, in his unglamorous, sometimes hunchbacked role, shows again what a committed actor he is (he plays a dead body in next year’s ‘Swiss Army Man’). But something about the film doesn’t quite click – significantly its McAvoy’s stagey, somewhat irritating performance (you won’t see a worse onscreen drunk), but also the often unsubtle music, the failure to do anything with the late-arriving monster except repeatedly stab it, and it’s about as scary as a Hammer Horror. It’s suitable only for those who saw something worthwhile in ‘The Wolfman’, for Radcliffe fans, Hammer Horror aficionados or Frankenstein completists.

16th – Insidious: Chapter 3
Starring: Stefanie Scott, Lin Shaye, Dermot Mulroney, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell
Director: Leigh Whannell
Released: May 29, 2015
Best Horror Movies 2015

 -Seen It-  Prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family which sees gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Shaye) reluctantly agreeing to contact the dead to help a teenage girl (Scott) who has been targeted by a sinister supernatural entity after attempting to commune with her dead mother. The trilogy’s screenwriter Leigh Whannell makes his directorial debut here, taking over from James Wan. It’s confidently filmed, with strong jump scares and good performances from the key cast. The main issue is it suffers from the ‘Blumhouse formula’ – it could literally have been filmed in the same apartment as last year’s ‘Annabelle’, or so many others. In fact the one sequence at a theatre and on the streets of New York actually feels a breath of fresh air – before the teenager immediately breaks her leg to ensure they never have to leave the apartment again… We also never find out anything about the demon, except that it wears breathing apparatus. And the director himself plays Specs once again but has no idea what to do with his performance, his entire personality is that he wears glasses. Overall, ‘Chapter 3’ is effective, if utterly nonessential.

15th – Unfriended
Starring: Shelley Hennig, Renee Olstead, Jacob Wysocki
Director: Levan Gabriadze
Released: April 17, 2015
New Horror Movies 2015

 -Seen It-  While video chatting, six high school friends receive a Skype message from a hated classmate who killed herself exactly one year earlier after they cyberbullied her. At first they think it’s a prank, but when the girl starts revealing their darkest secrets, they realise they are dealing with something out of this world, something that wants them dead… This ghostly ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ vengeance scenario unfolds entirely on one character’s computer screen using various real-life social media sites, and a soundtrack from Spotify. Conceived by Timur Bekmambetov (‘Wanted’), it’s helmed by the director of ‘Daywatch’. The result does test the viewers’ patience sometimes with entirely typed conversations, and prolonged shouting matches/hysterics between fairly unlikeable characters, but this is the best execution of the Found Footage 2.0 concept so far, bettering ‘Open Windows’ and ‘The Den’. Telling a story and building tension with just a desktop screen is a challenge but this employs some real ingenuity to (mostly) pull it off. As an aside, it’s hard for a horror to successfully do the “group of friends bullied the killer to death” motivation storyline when the actors are mid-20s, it just doesn’t seem plausible (see also PS4’s ‘Before Dawn’).

14th = Goodnight Mommy
Starring: Susanne Wuest, Elias Schwarz, Lukas Schwarz
Directors: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala
Released: September 11, 2015

In isolated rural Austria, a ‘mother’ of twin boys is recovering from facial surgery. Her behaviour is erratic, and the twins start to suspect she might not be their mother under the bandages. Feeling endangered, they resort to increasingly dangerous tactics to try and force a confession… This is a slow burn mystery that’s increasingly intriguing. It’s never frightening but rather unsettling, then disturbing, as the twins go to increasingly drastic lengths to get a confession from the woman. The premise and the way the power dynamic gradually switches, the menace ratcheting up as lines are crossed, is excellent. It’s a shame the reveal relies on a variation of a common horror movie twist, but if you don’t watch a lot it might knock your socks off. It also doesn’t hold that the ‘mother’ wouldn’t explain herself, or that there’s a cave of skulls or numerous other clues that don’t stack well. Is it Art or slopping plotting? That’s open to interpretation too.

14th = The Visit
Starring: Kathryn Hahn, Ed Oxenbould, Erica Lynne Marszalek
Director: M.Night Shyamalan
Released: September 11, 2015
2015 Horror Movies

 -Seen It-  A mother who has been estranged from her parents for over a decade packs her two kids off to visit them for the first time after they make a request. Staying at the remote farmhouse, the siblings, who are making a film about their experience, start noticing odd behaviour – which grows more troubling as the week goes on. What can explain the grandparents’ scary outbursts?… Significantly better than Shyamalan’s previous four (dreadful) movies, this represents a return to form, and to the twist ending trademark that he should never have abandoned. The reveal of what the old couple really are about fits perfectly well. The found footage isn’t objectionably used, the performances are all good, the tension is there, and it’s an original premise. Where it falls down a little is the repetitive nature of witnessing something odd only to have it explained away, implausible child language (no kid says “proclivities”, “misogyny” or “Are you consciously aware that that’s my intention?”), and the extreme unlikelihood of staying in the house after the knife gets involved. Recommended.

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32 Comments »

  • gd smith said

    There’s too many cuddly zombie movies. But otherwise there’s some decent looking stuff. “It Follows” looks interesting. The Krampus/evil Santa idea has been done a few times notably Rare Exports, Saint and Santa’s Slay.

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    • Dobie said

      Krampus is a real myth that’s been told many ages ago though.

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      • Terry said

        In reply to Dobie – Rare Exports is a real myth told by many through the ages. Krampus is the same myth. As the other reviewer (G D SMith) said, Krampus has been done before. I havent seen Krampus yet but it would need to be extremely well done to beat Rare Exports – shame only “hollywood” blockbusters get noticed tho. Rare Exports is a brilliant movie that should have a lot more recognition.

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  • craig said

    Whatever happen to the individual stalker type horror movies like Halloween, Scream? There are too many scary movies in 2015 that deal with spiritism. I don’t know why Hollywood keeps making stuff with demons, ghosts, spirits, witchcraft, and the Devil.Don’t invite stuff like this into your home or life,keep the Devil away because watching movies like that can affect a person’s thinking and an individual can become desensitized toward other people. Avoiding them protects my spirituality and well-being, also my relationship with God.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      Slasher films are still out of fashion, there were a few last year like ‘Stage Fright’ and ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’. It needs something clever like Halloween or Scream to kick off another wave and there’s no sign of that at the moment. Ghost stories are cheap to do and make good money. Especially if they’re found footage, then they’re really cheap.

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      • gd smith said

        Have been loads of slasher films released over the last few years but they tend to be low budget and aimed at the DVD and on demand market. Blood Shed, Varsity, Blood, Chastity Bites, Bloody Homecoming, two movies called Mischief Night etc. The thing about ghost movies is that you can do them as PGs and PG 13s with lots of jump scares so the potential audience is bigger which means they are more attractive to major studios and cinema chains at the moment.

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    • Lisa said

      I do not understand how you would think that slasher movies are good for your soul…these type of movies are terrible for your soul, and glorify murder…also these type of films will desensitize you more then any other.

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      • gd smith said

        I’ve been watching slasher since I was a Tot. I’m a pretty sensitive dude. In fact If I got anymore sensitive I would actually become a mystical aura.

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    • Blah said

      Watching a horror movie about evil does not make you evil. That’s absurd. Im sure god will be alright with me watching these movies. Christians are so ridiculous.

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  • Paws said

    why do they have to change director for series? Insidious chapter 3 and Sinister 2 will be the best horror movies of 2015 good series both of them I love ghost stories and these are some of the best in my opion. but James Wan should still tdo them. does anyone know if the lipstick demon is going to be in this one?

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  • Onion said

    “Unfriended” and “Before I Wake” sound the most intriguing to me. Is a feature-length succession of static computer screen frames in “Unfriended”, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, going to be particularly scary? And if “Before I Wake” is the tiniest little downsized bit like unforgettable scenes from “The Cell” or “Pan’s Labyrinth”, it’s going to be a great – if quite unsettling – watch.

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  • Igor said

    As a fan of the gothic I think the best horror movies of 2015 will be Crimson Peak and Victor Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein sounds like an interesting take and Daniel Radcliffe is becoming a better actor imho.

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  • Lisa said

    This is a fantastic list of horror films…I am happy so many paranormal and haunting titles are here…I am most excited about M Night, and Del Toro releasing a new film…they are my favorite horror film directors, and it has been too long since they have released a film. Thank You for a great list!

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  • chulookin said

    Hopefully the Soska sisters put out a SEQUEL TO THEIR FIRST MOVIE…….. “Dead Hooker In A Trunk”…

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  • prawn said

    The 2015 horror movies I would recommend are Insidious: Chapter 3 & Sinister 2. nothing is as frightning as hell and spirits except they have both 🙁

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  • franky goes to holliwood said

    Maggie is not a horror movie. It’s a freaking painful to watch drama, that could be interpreted as a movie about some deadly disease, definitely NO HORROR in that movie. I mean seriously if you get Arnold S. to play in a so called “zombie-movie” please make it a zombie-movie and not a abstract cancer drama.. jesus.. what a waste..

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  • AlanItsAlive said

    A lot of choice, but Victor Frankenstein among the top horror movies of 2015? It looks like a Sherlock Holmes adventure. Mary Shelley would not be pleased. We should dig her up, pump electricity and give her the bad news.

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  • Kid Ney said

    It Follows – best horror movie of 2015 so far.

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  • Gizbot said

    “It Follows” has to be one of the worst horror (well, maybe of any genre) film I have ever seen. Seriously, aside from the metaphor movie from hell, what made anyone in their right mind give this first place? Good grief, not only did I want the main character to die (preferably with her leg sticking backwards), I kept praying the movie would kill my TV so I did not have to watch another second. Ugh.

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  • putch said

    Since you asked, the best horror movies of 2015 are The Final Girls and Crimson Peak. Done.

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  • Babe said

    I’m going to be honest, I skipped to the last page after I saw that Insidious 3 somehow ended up as one of your top picks. That’s the sort of mistake that might have driven a less forgiving reader away instantly, but I was relieved to see that you picked a great number one in the end. I’m fairly positive that the sort of people who pick on It Follows just don’t really like horror that much, because it’s a well executed original concept that manages to perfectly evoke the golden era of slashers without riding on their coattails. No, It Follows detractors, “but the stupid clam shell e-reader!” is not valid criticism.

    Anyway, I scrolled down to your all caps “NOT GOOD ENOUGH” section and that newfound sense of satisfaction with your list was gone almost immediately. We Are Still Here, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, and Creep were easily some of the best horror flicks of the year. All three of those are better films than even the first two thirds of Insidious (the only redeemable part of the saga). They’d definitely make much better additions to your list than the various horror-comedies (I’ll give you What We Do In The Shadows, but are we not done with these yet? seriously?). Also, Unfriended was absolutely lame compared to the far superior The Den. We don’t need two found-footage webcam movies – frankly, I was skeptical that we’d even need one.

    I know this is all a matter of opinion and whatnot, but some of yours are just wrong.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      I’m going to guess you didn’t read what I wrote about Insidious 3. I compile this list from my experience, not what I’m ‘expected’ to like. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is the most overrated film of the year, decent first 15 minutes but then what a boring film.

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  • Terry said

    The Last Shift is one of the best of 2015. Just saying. 🙂 And I agree about Creep. I found it pretty dull

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