Its coming to the end of this strange and surreal year called 2020, where film has virtually grounded to a halt as instead of our top 15 horror films showing the likes of Halloween Kills, Candyman and maybe Ghostbusters: Afterlife battling it out for a Top 5 finish, instead we have had to rely on Streaming services and the delight of VOD, which may have changed our viewing habits forever.
While 2021 promises to bring all the big hitters back, like those we have mentioned above to yet another round of games in the SAW spin-off Spiral and more ghostly shindigs with The Conjuring duo, this last 12 months have all been about the “little surprises” that have hit the market while many of us have sat around, staring at the same four walls for weeks on end.
With an erratic release schedule, there are some films that we are guessing may have been included in our list, with the likes of The Dark and The Wicked winning huge acclaim, to the likes of HOSTS -not Host-and the recently released Hunter Hunter which word of mouth is spreading across the horror community. Sadly though, these films are yet to reach us, so no doubt they will be included in our 2021’s list of best films, much like FREAKY which is yet to reach our shores.
So we are going to concentrate on the horror films we have seen and we start with this little beauty that we reviewed earlier in the year:
Originally given a 3 star rating back in March, Come To Daddy massively improves on second watch and again has Elijah Wood carrying off a fantastic horror performance. With its zany approach that caters from dark violence to cartoonish approach, its the double header of Wood alongside Stephen McHattie that the film sizzles and with a brilliant Michael Heseltine gag and one or two twists that will stun, you can see why Ant Timpson’s directional debut has become a huge cult among fans in 2020.
This may owe a lot to the Edgar Wright school of filming, but this stunning Scottish comedy horror does more than enough to stand on its own two feet and was one of the most welcome surprises during the first few weeks of lockdown. Among the delicious violence on show, we had a strong connection with these four boys who only wanted to do their Duke Of Edinburgh and not be chased by a gun crazed mad man. The fact we wanted them to survive their plight, made Get Duked an enjoyable and must see watch!
One of the main VOD entries that benefited from the lack of big hitters at the box-office as released in May, The Wretched at one stage was one of the most watched films of the year. With a mixture of a gothic fairy-tale alongside a Fright Night vibe, this delightful horror also has one of the best scenes of the year, in which we see the “witch” knock on a door, wearing an eerie summer dress to sound out her warning. Its a perfect moment that sums up the dreaded atmosphere that this film brings to the table.
A crazy Russian film that is basically just a love story. Honestly! Its a simply story of a young man, who is so in love with this girl that just doing a favour at her request and turning up at a door, to what could have been his future in-laws, is the most romantic thing a man could do! It’s a shame that broken bones, gunshots aplenty, blood flowing, revealing lies and the grim reaper awaiting with glee, will take the shine off such a gesture…. a stunning film.
There is always that one film that comes out of nowhere and takes your breath away and this year it was this delightful small Sci-Fi tale. Yes its not really horror and many gore-hounds will instantly dismiss this tale and look for something more blood thirsty, but what it did for many, was remind us of a time gone by, when The Twilight Zone ruled our TV screens and when a certain Spielberg was given us mashed potatoes and a Close Encounter. Simply unmissable…..
Jumping into the Top 10 as a late entry as we haven’t even wrote a review yet, this thriller which was released to rent only this week has become one of our favourite films of the year. The storyline may not offer anything new or fresh, but the will for the lead character to survive brings a taut and engaging vibe and it offers up some real jolts to the system, that took us by surprise. Its late release may mean it will be missing on many people’s list, but lets hope it finds it much deserved audience in 2021.
A horror/thriller that divides opinion, I See You is best watched going in cold as the trailer itself shows way too much and spoils the many twists that are in store. Luckily we went in not knowing anything that was to come and was then blown away by the midway audacious twist that flipped the plot on its head. That alone is why its so high on the ranking and its a film that while its now available on NETFLIX, you still get the feeling that its being missed by the masses. A shame!
Not to be confused with the upcoming and delayed Chris Rock “Saw” spin/off, this dark offering owes itself more to Jordan Peele’s GET OUT than the torturous games of Jigsaw, this 90’s setting horror flick is another one you can to the growing list of great “Social Horror” flicks. Mainly thanks to its spell-binding last half that contains a stunning horror set-piece that literally took my breath away. Its very rare that this horror veteran is rocked to his core, but Spiral deliciously offers up a scene that had me applauding with glee, as it dripped with the most blackest and devastating of turns, that makes a mockery that a film like this gets a straight to streaming release. A fantastic 2020 entry.
Another straight to VOD release that felt like a much needed blast when released in the middle of the year. BECKY is that “entry” in which you can leave your brain cells at the door and just enjoy the carnage. In what is basically a 13 year old girl, up against some real nasty bad guys, this is a violent hybrid of Home Alone. Die Hard, with the added violence of Rambo in which buckets of bloods is splashed onto the screen that will delight many gore-hounds who will no doubt be stunned at how violent this film gets.
Missed a great eye ball scene like the one in Hostel? Want to see death by a motor boat propeller? Then jump on it and the fact that its a revenge dished out by a young vengeful child, makes it all the more better.
What starts like a typical haunted house horror, becomes something else in this stunning feature directing debut by Remi Weekes. His House uses social issues to bring the terror home. Here its the plight of people longing for a better life, which makes many viewers witness the horrors they see and live, long before a ghost shows up. Its a real life horror, dressed up as a ghost story and yet its one of those harrowing reality tales that the genre so desperately needed.
With the world virtually in lockdown and all communicating through apps like ZOOM, when Host arrived, it was widely greeted with love by the horror community. We can imagine it being on top of many fans list and with its lean mean running time, it defiantly scratched that itch as we all awaited for the big releases to hit. Originally we gave it a 3 star rating, but since then after a re-watch we admit that if 2020 was a horror movie, then this fits perfectly as it was the right horror release at exactly the right time.
Nailing an anthology horror is one of the hardest to do in the genre but Ryan Spindell somehow delivered a Halloween treat that will find a new generation in each passing year. Every short story is great and its also mixed in with the overall story arc that somehow brings its own twist in the tale. Everything about The Mortuary Collection works and its to the credit to Spindell that he has created such an impressive bit of work. The sweeping landscape of the town and the eerie feeling, makes you feel like you are in Stephen King’s Castle Rock and as the film ends on a quite lovely horrific note and wraps up the woven storyline, there is hope we can once more return to this new found land of horror and for this horror fan, it will be a most welcome horrible…treat!
Relic is a powerhouse of a horror film that refuses to play by the rules and let’s the imagination of the viewer take hold, which is a more powerful tool than having to rely on cheap scares. It may not work for the teen audience who want more bangs for their bucks, but slow burn horror fanatics will cherish every moment of its painful journey. The awful condition of Dementia mixed with the usual haunted house horror tropes, makes Natalie Erika James’s debut flick a powerful watch that will leave you emotionally drained and somewhat baffled….
After the disaster of The Mummy which had Tom Cruise trying his hand at horror, Universal went back to basics with its re-boot of The Invisible Man and what we had was a stunning piece of cinema that has raised hopes for a much better future for the old monsters back catalogue. Honestly, this taut thriller/horror is a modern masterpiece with Leigh Whannell bringing all he has learnt from The Conjuring flicks, to give fans a surprising mixture of action and scares.
We honestly believe that this is one entry that will not be on the top of many fans lists but for us Death of a Vlogger was everything we love about the genre. Its something that we cherish when a low budget film, made from the heart and with so much care can be discovered by a section of the horror community and word of mouth has thankfully spread strong and its now gaining a cool cult following.
What Graham Hughes achieved here is a startling Ghost Tale for a new generation that is equally important to the horror genre as when Heather, Mike and Josh walked into those woods….
Yes, its that good…..
Now lets see what 2021 will bring…..