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Tag: It Folows

Editorials

The Best Horror Films of the Decade (2010 – 2019)

December 31, 2019
Horror Movie Collection

There have been many fantastic horror movies released this past decade. So today I am celebrating the decade’s end by picking my 10 favourite horror movies from 2010 – 2019.

I’ll pick one movie from each year (using the IMDb release year as reference), briefly summarise each movie and explain why you should watch it. I’ll also include honourable mentions for you to also enjoy. Well, let’s get spooky.


2010: I Saw the Devil (Dir. Kim Jee-Woon)

This horror/thriller follows a detective (Byung-Hun Lee) who tracks down his wife’s murderer (Min-Sik Choi) and aims to drive him insane by continually capturing, brutalizing and releasing him. From there the mind games escalate until you’re not sure who you should be rooting for. With violence that’ll make even hardened gorehounds’ wince, I Saw The Devil is an experience you won’t soon forget.

HM: Tucker and Dale vs Evil

I Saw The Devil (Official Trailer)

2011: Kill List (dir. Ben Wheatley)

Beginning as a movie about a former assassin returning to work to make some money and gradually morphing into something more horrifying, Kill List benefits from knowing as little as possible going in. But thanks to its perfectly pitched naturalistic presentation, which makes the outlandish plot feel realistic, Kill List is now considered one of the most disturbing movies ever made.  

HM: You’re Next

Kill List (Official Trailer)

2012: The Woman in Black (dir. James Watkins)

Arthur (Daniel Radcliffe) a recently widowed solicitor is tasked with settling the affairs of Mrs Drablow at her estate, Eel Marsh House. However, something is stalking the Eel Marsh grounds. Could it be linked with the deaths of several children in the neighbouring village? Hammer Studios’ best modern film is a perfect old-fashioned ghost chiller. Dripping with atmosphere, backed by a solid cast, and genuinely effective jump scares.

HM: Maniac (2012)

The Woman in Black (Official Trailer)

2013: The Conjuring (dir. James Wan)

Using the Perron Hauntings case as its basis, The Conjuring is one of the decade’s most fun horror films. With likeable leads in Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as real-life figures Ed and Lorraine Warren, some inventive camerawork and eery production design. The Conjuring is a thrilling modern haunted house ride that leaves you invigorated.

HM: Mama

The Conjuring (Official Trailer)

2014: It Follows (dir. David Robert Mitchell)

After having sex with her boyfriend, Jay (Maika Monroe) discovers she’s been cursed. Now a demon follows her wherever she goes. Her one advantage is that it can only follow her at walking speed. It Follows is a wonderful genre tribute with relatable characters, suspenseful direction, a beautiful score and a creepy monster that’ll have viewers checking over their shoulders next time they’re in a crowded place.

HM: The Babadook

It Follows (Official Trailer)

2015: The Witch (dir. Robert Eggers)

My personal vote for the scariest movie of the decade. A paranoid period piece, The Witch, like Kill List, is most impactful when seen with little knowledge of the plot. However, rest assured you’re in for a skin-crawling slow builder with great performances and brilliant direction that will constantly leave you doubting your own judgment.

HM: Green Room

The Witch (Official Trailer)

2016: Raw (dir. Julia Ducournau)

Justine (Garance Marillier) a devout vegetarian vet in training is forced to eat meat in a university hazing ritual causing her to develop a craving for human flesh. Hilarious, disturbing and touching, Raw speaks to many modern fears about identity, gender and sexuality; and keeps the audience thoroughly invested with fantastically drawn characters and perfect visual storytelling. Plus a woman eats her sisters’ finger, so there’s that.

HM: Hush

Raw (Official Trailer)

2017: Tigers Are Not Afraid (dir. Issa López)

Sadly underappreciated by mainstream audiences, Tigers tells the heart-breaking tale of Estrella (Paola Lara) who attempts to use three “magic wishes” to help a group of children caught up in the Mexican drug war. Firmly grounded in harsh reality and never pulling its punches when it comes to the violence, Tigers is a tough but rewarding watch.

HM: It (2017), Get Out & The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

Tigers Are Not Afraid (Official Trailer)

2018: Hereditary (dir. Ari Aster)

A family unravels after their grandmother’s death as a mysterious outside force invades their lives. Featuring one of the decade’s greatest performances from Toni Collette and incredible tension. Courtesy of a sympathetic cast of characters and magnificent direction that subtly (using of camerawork and visual cues) and overtly (the scares) keeps the audience on edge to the end.

HM: Climax & Incident in a Ghostland

Hereditary (Official Trailer)

2019: Midsommar (dir. Ari Aster)

Dani (Florence Pugh) attempts to get over a family tragedy by going to Sweden with her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and his friends. Initially, the locals seem welcoming but as the Midsummer festival begins a sinister plot emerges. While slowly paced Midsommar hits hard because of Florence Pugh’s performance and subtle tension building through camerawork and the performances of the villagers. Culminating in one unnervingly weird finale.  

HM: Extra Ordinary & Us

Thus ends my list of the 2010s best horror movies. If I’ve missed some of your favourites, then list them in the comments. One thing’s certain, with so many new masters of horror, the 2020s will be very exciting to see.

Also Read: Horrors On Horror Sets

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Reviews

Retro Review: It Follows

June 8, 2019
It Follows poster

Over the past several years horror fans and critics have tended to pick an independent horror film and lavish huge amounts of praise and attention on them. Often declaring them as instant classics of the genre. But these films often prove very divisive. With other audiences claiming the films are overrated, not true horror films or simply not good. Examples include Hereditary (2018), The Witch (2015), The Babadook (2014) and the subject of today’s review, David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows (2014). Does it deserve its divisive reputation? Let’s find out.

Synopsis

Jay (Maika Monroe) is a teenager enjoying all the foibles of growing into adulthood. One-night Jay decides to sleep with her new boyfriend for the first time. Afterwards, she is knocked out and taken to an abandoned building. There her boyfriend reveals he has passed a curse on to her. A shapeshifting creature which can take the form of anyone has begun following her and it wants her dead.

Her boyfriend then disappears leaving Jay to deal with the threat on her own. The one positive is that the creature only follows her at a walking pace, so Jay decides to use this to her advantage.

Along with her friends, she tracks down her boyfriend to get an explanation out of him and they learn that the only way the creature can be stopped is to transfer the curse to someone else. But can Jay bring herself to put another person in harm’s way or will she try something different?

What did I like?

The hyperbolic claims that It Follows is simply not a good film is baffling. Purely from a technical point of view, the film is great. As a horror film, It Follows has a firm grasp of how to create tension through its presentation. Using long takes, interesting camera movement and good actor direction to build anxiety about where the monster is and when it will strike. The score also builds a tense atmosphere through creating both a confrontational and quietly eerie soundscape.

The acting is also superb. With the story centred around teenagers, the film could easily become laughable if the cast weren’t believable. But all the main actors feel like real teenagers. Maika Monroe particularly stands out as an incredibly likeable, sympathetic and genuine lead. Her monologue about remembering her youth near the film’s beginning carries great weight because of her delivery. And the way all the friends talk about their childhoods and the antics they get up to gives a feeling of true friendship, allowing us to easily invest in their situation.

The film also pays tribute to older horror films in effective ways. With a synthesizer-heavy score, a stalking camera and an unknowable slow moving, shapeshifting monster, evoking the feeling of John Carpenters older horror films. But the film also has a very modern outlook.

Instead of simply killing characters for having sex or exploiting them for pointless nudity, It Follows is more a tale about teenagers coming to terms with the vulnerability of their bodies. Many scenes have Jay looking over her body and showing how she feels different now because of the danger brought on by the monster. But she never shies away from sex. Her challenge is choosing what to do with the burden she’s been given. As an extension, the women are not solely victims, like in many other horror movies. They take an active role in dealing with the threat, and they call the shots when it comes to sex. While most of the men are cowardly or self-centred. A far cry from the puritanical traditions of many older horror films.

This amalgam of traditions makes the film almost timeless. Ensuring most generations will be able to get something from watching it.

What did I not like?

But there are a few things that let the film down. There are a few weird editing choices throughout the film where the focus will instantly shift to another point of focus instead of giving a payoff to what came before. This is particularly noticeable in the finale which, although it gets a point across, does feel somewhat out of place.

Another problem is that despite the film using its narrative in an interesting way, the beats of the plot are still very familiar to anyone who has seen a passing-on-the-curse movie. And there are very few surprises to freshen up the formula. Which may put off some audiences.

Finally, while the film provides positive female representation with its characters, the film does occasionally feel very leery. With long shots of the female characters in their underwear, swimwear and revealing clothes. While both a staple of the genre and somewhat justified by the theme of body image, it is telling that we never get similar shots for the male characters. And this can leave a bad taste in the audience’s mouth, especially with everything the film does to paint its women positively.

Verdict

Despite a few hiccups in editing, a familiar story and tending to slightly leer at its female characters, It Follows remains a great example of how to do modern horror right.

It gives us time to get to know the leads, who are all relatable and down to earth. While focusing on building tension rather than using jump scares, which the film does through interesting uses of music, camera movement and actor direction; It Follows celebrates the horrors of the past while updating some tropes to tell a modern story.

It Follows follows in the tradition of Carpenter and gives us a modern retro gem, that I can see audiences enjoying for years to come. Check it out and judge for yourselves.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

It Follows is available for free on BBC Iplayer for the next 2 months

It Follows (Trailer)

Also Read: How The Blair Witch Project Changed Horror.