This year has had a great deal of horror flicks with Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones popping up in January instead of their usual October run, to The Conjuring’s prequel spin off Annabelle. Unfortunately it seems that Horror just isn’t that scary any more. It’s either really predictable, filled with very naive characters or just isn’t as violent as they used to be. To be brutally honest, ever since The Saw franchise ended, there hasn’t really been anything out there that tickled my fancy, until I saw The Conjuring. The Conjuring was one hell of a film that really did get the hairs to stand up on the back of my neck. When is comes to horror flicks, James Wan certainly knows what he was doing. The characters had great chemistry on screen, the frights were frightful and it really gets you thinking hard about that kind of scary exorcism acts happening in reality.
Another franchise I do get quite excited about year after year is the Paranormal Activity franchise. Now, it can be said that they haven’t been very consistent in terms of, well lets just say Paranormal Activity 4 and leave it at that. But story wise, they are very consistent and that’s what is definitely their strong point. Starting out as a low budget flick it definitely has come far enough to be rewarded with a spin off which has actually become my favourite in the franchise. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones takes the story into a slightly different yet new direction that really works. If anything, it has the best characters and their chemistry on screen and off screen is a delight. Bearing that in mind, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones has my vote of being the best horror flick this year.
Halloween is the time of the year that brings out all of the horror film competitors. This year we had the Conjuring spin-off Annabelle, Ouija, The Babadook and Horns. Unfortunately, none of them had lived up to the hype. Annabelle (creepy raggedy Ann doll directed by John R. Leonetti) had to be the most disappointing of them all. All the apparent good parts were already in the trailer, the framing of the scenes made it obvious of what was about to happen, the characters were very naive and unintelligent, it was just very predictable and boring. As a spin-off from The Conjuring, which was absolutely brilliant, it’s a shame Annabelle was just not very good at all. In fact, it was an insult to The Conjuring. Thankfully, James Wan will be back for The Conjuring 2 (I think they should just leave anything to do with The Conjuring to James Wan).
Ouija, directed by Stiles White, was another film where all the apparent good bits were already broadcast in the trailer. The idea of having a film about the Ouija board game with a group of friends awakening an evil entity sounded like a fantastic idea, however the way it was executed was just plain boring unfortunately. The characters were lifeless, on a personal level I just found it very hard to connect with them and give them my sympathy. The story had nothing to make you jump out of your seat and anything that had a chance of making you feel uneasy was already in the trailer. At the point of watching Annabelle, I really did think that nothing could be worse, but Ouija took the crown.
The Babadook was actually one of the horror flicks I wasn’t going to see around Halloween because the trailer and concept just didn’t grab my attention, however I did end up finding myself wedged in the screening for it and surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. The concept still sucked in my opinion (a creepy book’s character coming to life to haunt them) but the characters and their on screen chemistry was fantastic, and the story grew stronger and slightly darker as it went deeper into the film. Australian horror films are usually quite weird but they work and this was another to add to that collection. It wasn’t predictable, but it still didn’t get my blood boiling however, it was quite funny. Whether this was director Jennifer Kent’s intention or not, it worked. The Babadook got my vote for entertainment value.
Finally, Horns, directed by Alexandre Aja, starring the good old Daniel Radcliffe who has seemingly grown into an established actor, shrugging off the Harry Potter persona with ease. Putting on a very well done American accent, the film had great characters, a great cast, a very solid whodunnit murder mystery plot. It’s a very weird film in the sense that the main character essentially is a demon/devil. The film really reminded me of Jennifer’s Body where the concept sounds really great and the majority of the film is well done, but then there’s that little itch that makes you go “WTF?”. Obviously Horns was way better than Jennifer’s Body. This was a 50/50 movie for me.
What’s going on with the horror genre? Where’s all the gore? Where’s all the scenes that will shoot my stomach into my throat and make me feel nauseous? The thrill is dead and we need it back immediately!