December 31, 2015

The Best of 2015!

It's never easy putting together any sort of Top 10 or "Best of" list, especially when it comes to movies. I'm not even really sure that most "Best of" lists are really comprised of the best movies, rather they end up being more of a "Movies we liked the best this year" type of thing, or at best, a mixture of both.

The best movies of any year will be expertly crafted, and they’ll entertain us. They’ll scare us, or they’ll make us laugh. Maybe they'll disgust us. Maybe they'll make us think. Maybe they'll even make us feel something.

Once in a while, if we’re really lucky, they’ll do all of those things and more.

2015 may not have been the best year for Horror & Genre movies, but when the good ones did come along, they ended up being really special. Below are the ones that were the most special to us; some were truly the year's best, while I suppose others were just the ones we enjoyed the most. Either way, they're all great flicks that deserve the love. 

*Be sure to click through to read our full reviews of each movie, for a more in-depth look into why we made the choices that we made.

I think to truly enjoy this movie, you have to really enjoy Westerns. There's an awful lot of moseying down the trail in this one, and while some of it can seem a bit "uneventful," it's the interaction between the characters that make it all worthwhile. Plus, the bloody deaths at the end were pretty great too.

Kurt Russell in a Western where he leads a posse into the remote desert to rescue innocent people who are kidnapped by a clan of cannibalistic savages? As cool as that premise sounds, we can honestly say that the movie itself lived up to the fun expectations of that very premise, and then some.

Why more Horror movies don't feature Heavy Metal on their soundtracks, we'll never know. I get that quieter movies need quieter scores and soundtracks, and that's how it should be, but any big, balls-out, loud, rocking, crazy, funny, insanely gory Horror flick (like this) needs Metal. Lots, and lots of Metal

One of many Horror Comedies that amused the hell out of us in 2015, Deathgasm ranks amongst the best of them because it blended Horror, Comedy, and the greatness of Heavy Metal together in such a perfect way.

Death to all but metal!

It's a fun homage to the Slasher Era of yesteryear, it's a solid Horror Comedy, but its strength really comes from its heartfelt emotion. This is a story of the relationship between a mother and daughter, and even a meditation on loss, more than it is anything else. Do not let that dissuade you from seeing it.

Equal parts funny and sweet, The Final Girls was a Horror Comedy that reminded us that sometimes, Horror movies that are rated PG-13 can be effective too.

A solid revenge thriller that is full of both action and supernatural elements, He Never Died really shines because its funny. Yes, it's full of bloody action, boasts some solid characters brought to life by equally solid actors, and it's interesting as hell overall, but above all else, it's really funny.

The last movie that we reviewed in 2015, He Never Died is yet another Horror Comedy that surprised us with its darkly humorous bent. Henry Rollins was great in this one, and we really hope that rumors of a TV Show continuation of the story are true, because we'd love to see more of his exploits.

We caught ourselves at multiple times looking for "It" in the background of every scene, and in that way, we felt exactly what the characters were feeling; an inescapable feeling of impending doom.

Everyone and their mother praised It Follows as being just about perfect, and even though we had an issue or two with the movie, we have to agree that what it did right, it did extremely well. There aren't many movies that can establish a sense of dread, and keep it audience in a constant state of anxiety, like this one did.

The fact that it was filmed in our own backyard (at least in part), made it even cooler to us.

When Krampus and his twisted little toy minions do show up about halfway through the movie, things kick into a higher, more entertaining gear. The clown, the bear, the gingerbread men, the elves... whoever designed those bad boys did a perfect job, and every second that they were on screen was fantastic.

While it didn't quite blow most critics away, we cant help but love Krampus for its Gremlins-like Holiday shenanigans. It really needed to show off more of the Horror elements that made it so great, but what it did give us was enough to make us happy, and want it to be a part of our Christmastime watch list going forward.

Liam Cunningham is the heart and soul of this movie. He's got an intense menace about him that always captivates us (he plays Davos on Game of Thrones, and does so magnificently), and he plays the bad guy perfectly. For us, this movie is worth seeing for his performance alone. 

This little UK/Irish gem probably escaped most Horror fans' notice this year, and we're here to tell you what a shame that is. Dark, shocking, bloody, and devilishly clever; this is exactly what a Horror movie should be, and it's sad that more modern day efforts aren't as effective.

Maggie is a very surprising film. It's got some interesting Horror elements about it, and even a touch of Post Apocalyptic mayhem thrown in for good measure, but at it's heart, this is a love story between a father and his daughter. Whatever you want to classify it as, it's effective and heartfelt, and it made an actor who has been doing his thing for nearly 40 years, feel like a complete revelation. 

Damn the haters if they can't see the subtle beauty that this quiet, emotionally intense movie has on display. I never in my life thought I'd see Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Horror movie that pushed us to the brink of tears, but for anyone who has had to navigate the terrible waters of losing someone they love, that's exactly what this movie will do to you.

Movies like Marshland don't come along all that often, so when they do, we're more than happy to sing their praises. Beautifully-shot, superbly-acted, and a story that kept us on the edge of our seats, it's hard not to call this movie perfect.

Boasting a gripping story which involves a child killer on the loose in the post-Franco era of Spain, and a pair of phenomenal lead performances that propel it forward with grit and intensity, Marshland is exactly what Season 2 of True Detective should have been.

If you haven't seen this brilliant Thriller yet, seek it out immediately.

Yes, its plot is simple, and sure, the movie propels itself forward mostly on the power of dirty humor and exploitative gore alone, but damn it all, it was a fun movie! Funny too, and no, you don't have to be a 12-year-old boy to think so, like many critics would have you believe.

This juvenile, vulgar Zom-Com was pretty much lambasted by most critics who saw it, but we're here to say screw them! This one was a bit lowbrow, there's no denying that, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't a fun ride to take. I mean, it has a stretchy penisscene, and Sarah Dumont is really hot, so what's not to love?

Yes, we're apparently 12-year-old boys at heart.

It's nice to experience a "Horror" movie that is more about its characters and their sad condition than it is blood & gore set pieces for a change. Spring focuses more on the humanity of its characters than it does the potentially dangerous situations that they find themselves in, and it does so with a calculated patience that makes it all truly compelling.

A movie that we originally expected to be stuffy and pretentious, Spring actually turned out to be a compelling and oddly romantic endeavor that sucked us in, and kept us engrossed throughout. It's like Before Sunrise with a Lovecraftian bent, and if that doesn't sound interesting to you, then there's probably nothing else we can do to sell you on it.

The funniest moments in the movie come from the littlest things: the vampires not being able to acclimate themselves to the modern world; a newly-turned vampire trying to get through a window; a vampire's reaction to being woken up from a deep sleep; "Do you like pasghetti?"; the vamps not being able to get into a club because the bouncers won't invite them in; Swearwolves; "No you're not, you fucking piece of shit"; the Procession of Shame, the virgin sandwich analogy... Like any good Mockumentary, the good stuff is this movie is found in the minutiae, and the minutiae in this movie is wickedly funny.

Maybe not the best movie of 2015, but probably the one that we enjoyed the most, What We Do In the Shadows has become one of our favorite Horror Comedies of all-time on repeat viewings.

The movies in this Honorable Mention section are among the best that we saw in 2015, and many of them could have easily been in any Top 10 list, including ours. In fact, some of them were originally in our Top 10 list, but ended up here for one reason or another.

The point is that lists are not definitive, and just because something doesn’t finish Top 10, doesn’t mean that it didn’t deserve to. Placement can be subjective, and does not necessarily speak to overall quality. As long as they're good, who really cares where a movie lands in the rankings, you know?

*Be sure to click the pics to read our full reviews of each movie, for a more in-depth look into our choices.


The Worst of 2015!

Let's face it, 2015 was a lackluster year for movies. For every good one that we got, there was an equally bad one right behind it, and many of the year's "average" films shamelessly blurred the line between passable and unacceptable. We enjoy ripping apart the shitty movies that we are forced to endure about as much as we like watching them; which is to say not very much, but it's something that we have to do, on both counts.

The following movies are the ones that irked us the most in 2015; some because they underwhelmed, others because they were just unequivocally horrible. No matter the reason, they were painful to endure, and we're here to share that pain with you... hopefully so that you can avoid experiencing it for yourselves. We're humanitarians, you see.

*Be sure to read our reviews of each movie (when available), as they provide more in-depth reasoning as to why these movies were so painful to watch.

This movie is supposed to be a Slasher flick, I suppose, but in the end it's really no more than a mean-spirited remake of The Babysitters Club, except in this one, the babysitters are all socially retarded asshole kids who get stabbed to death at the end.

What a bunch of pretentious, faux-artsy, ridiculous shit this movie was. An exercise in style over substance, #Horror tried to be a socially-relevant indictment of Social Media culture, which I suppose it was at its core, but it was such a sloppy mess of a movie that we didn't really care all that much about what it was trying to say.

What a waste of good actors and overall potential.

The movie just doesn't have any life to it. Neither the story nor the performances are particularly compelling, and yet we watched it all intently. It's like a gorgeous girl in a coma; damn she's pretty to look at, but she just lies there, and she doesn't do much except exist. And occasionally, drool.

The more we think about this one, the more it irks the hell out of us. As talented as Tyler Shields is, we're not sure what he thought he was doing with this movie. It says nothing, it does very little, and if it wasn't for the fact that its visuals were so pretty, it wouldn't have much reason to exist at all.

Abigail Breslin is way better than this.

A movie so bad that we didn't even have the desire to sit down and criticize it in a review, The Gallows is devoid of creativity, originality, scares, and anything else that would make it a worthwhile watch. Found Footage movies often test our patience with their tired mechanics, but this one didn't even have so much a story that made much sense, to make us look past the tropes that we've grown to hate.

If you've never seen a Horror movie before, this one might scare you in all the right ways. For anyone else though, it will most likely either make you laugh or cry. Or both.

Ghoul's biggest problem was that it tried to do too much. It complicated things by complicating things, if that makes any sense. Was it about cannibalism, Serial Killers, ghosts, or Demonic possession? Yes! It's about all of those things, but not enough about any of them to make for a very coherent story.

Oh look, another Found Footage movie, and one that makes such a jumbled mess of its story, that we're still not even sure what it was really about.  "A world-famous serial killing cannibal whose spirit returns to make people eat each other, so that he can be reborn through the pregnant chick of the group, so that he may live to kill again." Right.

Movies like this make us wish that the entire Found Footage sub-genre would just go away. Forever.

Verne Troyer was actually pretty good as the Gnome, but the movie really didn't give him much to do other than look silly. In addition giggling maniacally every time he's on-screen, the Gnome's go-to moves seem to be sticking his tongue out and wagging it around, and stretching his arms like he wants a hug. A tiny, tiny, little hug.

I get that cheesy, schlocky, B-grade Horror flicks like this need to exist; sometimes we need movies that are silly and fun, and sometimes, we need movies that are unintentionally so. Sometimes, we get movies like Gnome Alone that lack any sort of charm or wit, and that make us want to punch something while watching them.

This movie made us wish we were watching one of the Leprechaun movies instead, and that's not saying much at all.

When you look at someone like Bree Olson, who is a Porn Star by trade, and think "she's actually pretty good in this," then you know something is really wrong. That's no knock on her specifically, but she's not "really" an actress, and she was a standout here.

Where the first Human Centipede (as disgusting as it was) was a subversive treat, and the second one was a shameless splatter-fest that at least made an effort, this third and hopefully final entry in the series shows us that Tom Six has absolutely gone off the rails; as in he sucks at filmmaking, and is so far up his own ass with whatever it is that he's trying to do as an "artist" that we have to imagine that he's fucking with us on purpose.

What a horrible movie.

Had the Femme Fatales been portrayed as mentally unhinged nutcases who were out to hurt people to feed some deeper need, this movie would have probably worked way better. For the most part though, Genesis and Bel behaved like retarded teenage girls who were all jacked-up on speed, screaming wildly and breaking things, and acting like they hadn't taken their Ritalin in a few weeks. There was really no point to what they were doing.

The more we see from Eli Roth, the more we question just how good of a filmmaker he really is. Knock Knock is a remake of a really obscure 70's flick, and as sexy as it was here and there, it wasn't really any better of a film. I could honestly say that the original, which wasn't very good at all, was better.

Watching Keanu Reeves try to act in this one was truly painful at times, and we really like the guy.

And honestly, how fear-inspiring is Andy Dick's whiny, nasally, twat-like voice supposed to be?   What in the hell was this movie doing? 

No movie this year, not even the abysmal Human Centipede 3, pissed us off as much as L.A. Slasher did. 80's Slasher movies, which this one was clearly on the dick of, at least knew how to entertain us, and gave us some great kill scenes and other visually gratuitous things to enjoy. This movie didn't really give us anything other than a headache though.

I'm almost positive that Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 had more going for it that this tripe did.

We can bitch and moan all we want to, but until the day comes when people stop paying to see remakes, and reboots, and re-whatevers, and instead start spending their money on more "original" properties, they are never going to stop.

Bland, pedestrian, and devoid of any of the qualities that made the original such a great Haunted House flick, this Poltergeist remake is about as frightening as a kitten attacking a ball of yarn... and this movie should have been frightening, at the very least.

What a waste of time and energy.

2015 gave us plenty of other bad movies of varying degrees, and here are some of the ones that struck the worst kind of chord with us. Feel free to click through to the reviews if you'd like to know why.

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