7. The Babadook
What Can I say that hasn’t already been said about this one? Guillermo Del Toro, Steven King and William Freidkin have all confessed their love for it. This is another one of those creeping atmospheric horror movies that gets under your skin, rather you know it or not it will get to you in some manner. Even if it’s not particularly as scary as some made it out to be, it definitely sets the mood, and the production design and color palette is brilliant. Mr. Babadook’s design is unique as well, they managed to design something that looks like it was born in a nightmare.
A dinner party thrown by a group of friends during the night of a comet passing begins to break the rules of physics and challenges the finer points of alternate realities. This film is brilliant, not only is the subject matter both captivating and horrifying but to find out that the entire movie is improvisational takes this one to another level. Much like some of the other films on my list the less you know about it past a simple synopsis the better this film will be.
Jonathan Glazer’s alien fever dream “Under the Skin” was definitely something that was reminiscent of something Stanley Kubrick would have thought up. The emptiness and isolation in this film is enough to make you need a hug after watching it. The story follows an alien (Scarlett Johansson) whose job it is to find and lure food (human males) back to its home in order to seduce and make meat of them. When the alien begins to find out what humanity is she tries to find “happiness” in trying to be human as well. There is a scene that takes place on a shoreline that is the very definition of horror. “Under the Skin” is one of the most haunting and beautiful films of 2014.
This was one of those movies that I could not stop thinking about after the credits rolled. And is again a movie that is more enjoyable the less you know about it going in. But “Borgman” tells the story of what appears to be a weird homeless guy who finds shelter in a hole in the woods. When his “home” is disrupted he moves in with a rich family who takes them into their home. The result brings out the worse in the family and spirals into violence. Borgman is one of the most uniquely disturbing films of 2014.
3. The Guest
When a family lets David (Dan Stevens) into their home it isn’t clear if their new guest wants to help them with their problems or become one of them. This film is an awesome throwback to 80’s genre goodness and boasts an amazing synth driven score. Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett (You’re Next, A Horrible Way To Die) again do what they do best in “The Guest” by mixing genres and by flipping clichés on their head. Everything these guys do should be closely watched and re-watched while any upcoming projects from the duo will undoubtedly be more of the same kind of awesome.
This is one of my favorite films of this year as well as one of my favorites from Takashi Miike. Although it was released in Japan in 2012 it was distributed to the states in 2014. This film could have never had a US theatrical release. The content is insanely violent and may hit close to home to some of the real life violence that the US had to deal with in 2014. “Lesson of Evil” tells the story of a really popular and hip high school teacher, who has some demons that he decides to exercise on the entire school that he teaches at. The less you know about this going in the better of a movie it is so I will leave it at that. It does have one of the higher body counts that I saw in 2014 and is as demented as it is hilarious.
The first I heard or saw of this was after it had already hit Netflix. Regrettably I watched it home alone with lights out and sound system set to Dolby Surround ear bleeding. The result was a one of the most atmospherically terrifying movies I had seen in all of 2014. The story which is grounded in reality tells the story of a film crew who heads out to document the degrading health of Alzheimer’s patient Deborah Logan (Jill Larson). This film sneaks up on you as you find yourself trying to figure out if Deborah’s behavior originates from her disease or if it is coming from something more sinister. For my money Jill Larson should have received an academy award for her performance and this movie should have got a large theatrical distribution. It was brilliant and horrifying. Sometimes it comes down to timing, but this movie was at the right place and time to stay with me every time the lights were out or anytime I heard a weird sound in the middle of the night.