The Year in Fear: 21 horror-flick rankings with zero pandering


Just because the last horror movie I saw (The Babadook, above) was 2014’s best doesn’t mean it was a great year for horror. All told, I reviewed 21 fright flicks this year—if you count comedy trash like A Haunted House 2, actioners like RoboCop, and sci-fi/monster epics like Godzilla—and recommended just three of ’em.

Yep, I’m a tough critic.

So here’s my ratings, from killer to crap. Please keep in mind that I only reviewed movies that were released in theatres in Vancouver, so all those great horror flicks that weren’t released in theatres in Vancouver are not included. Sorry about that.

The Babadook ******** (eight out of 10) “Forget Insidious and its ilk, The Babadook is where it’s at for supernatural horror in the home.”

Horns ******** (eight out of 10) “Horns is right up there with The Cabin in the Woods as among the most engrossing horror flicks ever made in and around Vancouver.”

Annabelle ******* (seven out of 10) “Annabelle ranks as one of the most entertaining Hollywood horror outings of the year.”

Doc of the Dead ****** (six out of 10) “Doc of the Dead is a zombie study that aims for the head.”

As Above/So Below ***** (five out of 10) “By the time the truly freaky stuff starts happening you might wonder if it was all worth the wait–not to mention the pounding shaky-cam headache.”

The Calling ***** (five out of 10) “The Calling seems like it might be trying to be a horror flick for the Fargo set.”

Godzilla ***** (five out of 10) “…the kid in me was hugely disappointed by the latest take on the legendary Lizard King. And the adult wasn’t too thrilled, either.”

Devil’s Due ***** (five out of 10) “…movies about innocent women being impregnated by satanic forces are frightening enough without all that jittery shit to stress you out.”

The Quiet Ones ***** (five out of 10) “Its retro melding of [The Conjuring and Insidious] with a heavy dose of Carrie-style telekinetic mayhem doesn’t result in anything particularly memorable. Apart from the Slade, that is.”

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones ***** (five out of 10) “Surely it’s time somebody burned that 15-year-old corpse of the Blair Witch. It’s really startin’ to stink up the joint.”

RoboCop ***** (five out of 10) “All the eye-popping gadgetry in the world can’t forgive the fact that RoboCop is rife with filler and drags on way too long.”

Dracula Untold **** (four out of 10) “Dracula Untold is so patently ridiculous that it’s hard to even fathom how it came to be.”

Tusk **** (four out of 10) “Considering how supergonzo it is, I’m surprised I didn’t like it more.”

The Purge: Anarchy **** (four out of 10) “Unless you’re the type who thrives on endless images of folks being shot, stabbed, and burned to death, you’ll hardly think that the social commentary is worth the numbing ride.”

Oculus **** (four out of 10) “After viewing Oculus I’m gonna agree with my boy that haunted-mirror movies suck–just like the last one I saw, 2008’s Mirrors.”

WolfCop *** (three out of 10) “It’s got the look and feel of a cheapjack college film, but with dialogue from somebody’s kid brother in Grade 8.”

Stage Fright *** (three out of 10) “Once Meat turns up the heat it’s hard to look away, although plugging your ears is always an option.”

Deliver Us From Evil ** (two out of 10) “The movie poster declares INSPIRED BY THE ACTUAL ACCOUNTS OF AN NYPD SERGEANT, as if that’s supposed to impress anyone.”

Ouija ** (two out of 10) “Man am I sick of seeing people getting dragged out of shot by invisible forces.”

I, Frankenstein * (one out of 10) “Poor Mary Shelley must be rolling in her grave.”

A Haunted House 2 * (one out of 10) “I almost laughed when Wayans pulled out a pair of nunchucks to stupidly battle a swarm of dark moths and nunchucked himself in the nuts.”


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