Top 20 Horror Movies of 2014
It’s not romantic movies but horror movies that make couples closer—so scientists say. And it’s not only because those harrowing, gory, scream-inducing scenes make embraces necessary but because certain brain chemicals are released and neural processes are activated when the body thinks it’s in danger. By actually watching a horror movie together, you’re tricking yourselves that you are deeper in love. Maybe it’s because almost the same part of the brain lights up when we’re in love or when we’re scared. Yes, it’s science bitches!
Scientists also found out that watching horror films increases our body’s white blood cell count. These are the cells that are responsible for immunity and for healing. Sitting through a horror movie is also said to help burn calories: 187 from The Shining, 158 from The Exorcist, 107 from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
As with romantic movies (check our list of Top 20 Best Romantic Movies of 2014 here), this year has produced quality horror movies as well from the standard formula to the mind-blowing premises. Take a look at our top picks:
20.) Life After Beth
Zach wishes he could have told his girlfriend, Beth, everything he wanted to say before she died. He and her family are devastated at her unexpected death. But like they say, be careful what you wish for, because no matter how absurd it is, you might just get it. Beth’s grave opens up and spits her back into the world—as good as new–at first. Zach and Beth spend time together, light-headed in love at a second chance. But soon enough, Beth slowly turns into a zombie that eventually she has to be tied down. She has turned into this clingy, aggressive zombie girlfriend (sounds familiar right?) and Zach’s dilemma is he’d rather be dead. As a romantic-horror-comedy, this movie looks like it deserves to come to life in our screens.
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly
ImdB Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
19.) Stage Fright
Camilla Swanson is confined to a musical camp’s theater. Determined to follow in the footsteps of her mother, a Broadway singer, she sneaks into an audition and even lands the lead role. But as she emulates her mother, the whole camp and she are haunted by a masked killer, perhaps the same one who killed her mother years ago. One by one, death stalks the camp and culminates into the opening night. The killer even goes and murders onstage as the ignorant audience gasp in their seats. The horror and musical genres are mashed up in Stage Fright, creating a piece of songs and screams.
Cast: Minnie Driver, Meat Loaf, Allie MacDonald
ImdB Rating: 5.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 34%
18.) Late Phases
Ambrose is a blind Vietnam War veteran who moves to into an idyllic retirement community. With him is only his seeing dog and he tries to know the people around. But his idea of living his last years in quiet and peace was cut short when he was assailed by what he thinks is a werewolf. There have been reported dog attacks in the community but Ambrose is getting surer and surer that their attacker is supernatural. It’s up to him to defend himself, possibly all of them, on the next full moon. Critics can’t help but point out the resemblance of ‘Late Phases’ to the horror-comedy blockbuster hit “Bubba Ho-Tep” as both tackle the horror of senility but will it be just as masterful and memorable?
Cast: Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Lance Guest
ImdB Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: NA
Jessabelle is forced to move back to her hometown after a horrific car accident which killed her boyfriend and confined her to a wheelchair. Through a series of weird events, she finds a VHS tape of her mother who warns her that there is a presence who accompanies her and wants to take her. From the producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious and Sinister, Jessabelle is expected to deliver the same breathtaking suspense, pee-in-my-pants jumpscares, and haunting backstories. The ghost is so shameless and disgusting they attack a disabled person—and as the trailer shows, it attacks with no mercy. And eerily and cunningly enough, this movie also sounds like that other anticipated horror movie.
As its release date is still on November 14, no ratings are yet available on the leading movie websites but 90% of the audience in Rotten Tomatoes confirmed desire to watch it.
Cast: Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, Joelle Carter
ImdB Rating: NA
Rotten Tomatoes: NA
As a prequel, Annabelle shows the same opening scene as its predecessor The Conjuring: two women talking about a haunted doll. Then the movie proceeds to tell the story. Once there was John and Mia Form, a couple trying to start a family. Mia is with child and one night, John gives her a doll she so wanted to add to their collection. That same night their neighbors, the Higgins, are murdered. John and Mia are attacked too but the assailants—a man and a woman are killed when the cops arrived. The woman however dies holding the new doll. When the investigation is done, the woman is revealed to be the Higgins’s very daughter and the man is her boyfriend. What they did was a sacrifice for their satanic cult. Ever since, there is a growing ominous presence that follows Mia and her family even if they moved to a new house. And as Mia’s daughter is born, the hauntings even grow stronger until it takes an innocent life.
Cast: Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard
ImdB Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Wallace, a podcaster, decides to go to Canada to interview the Kill Bill Kid, an internet star famous for amputating his leg. He arrives to find him dead but was determined not to waste his opportunity while he was there. He searched for an alternative and ended up at Howard Howe’s old mansion. Wallace sits down to listen to the story then he feel asleep. Everything was never the same when he opened his eyes. His pal Teddy and girlfriend Ally travel up North to search for him. When they found him, Wallace has almost become an animal—a walrus—literally. Howe is not a magician however and his transformation took a lot of skin-tingling scenes of amputation and abuse. From Kevin Smith, here comes a grotesque, insane and really, really crazy film. Seriously? A walrus? But yeah, this movie’s creepy as hell.
Cast: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment
ImdB Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
14.) 13 Sins
From the director of the hit “The Excorcism” comes a horror thriller movie with a premise that the real demon might be human and that might be the face looking back from the mirror. Elliot Brindle is a struggling salesman. He loses his job and is in deep debt. With an abusive father, a pregnant fiancée and a dependent handicapped brother, who could blame Elliot for being desperate? He gets a cryptic phone call to complete a challenge, promising great rewards. For each successful round, he gets instant money on his account so long as he does not reveal the game or interfere. The prizes go higher as the challenges toughen, and so are the prices he has to pay. From swatting a fly to cold-blooded killing, it’s fun and scary to watch the main character evolve from an average, meek guy to a cunning, restless madman.
Cast: Mark Webber, Devon Graye, Tom Bower
ImdB Rating: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
13.) The Sacrament
A photographer receives an invitation from his sister Caroline, a recovering addict, to her religious commune called Eden Parish. Patrick travels to the supposedly utopian community which is only accessible through a helicopter. With him are cameraman Jake and reporter Sam who suggested to make a feature documentary. They found the community a sort of dreamland—peaceful, self-sustaining and everybody seems content. At first.
Then they stumble upon a small group of people who want to get away, complaining of abuse and brainwashing. Things start to get weirder and the “heaven on earth” suddenly turns into a hell set loose. This film is loosely based on the 1978 Jonestown Massacre where 909 people drank cyanide in a cult mass suicide. Filmed in a footage style and naturalistic acting, The Sacrament is praised for its masterful build-up of suspense.
Cast: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Audley
ImdB Rating: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
12.) Willow Creek
Jim is a firm believer in the existence of Bigfoot, a supposedly ape-like humanoid creature. Along the line of the chupacabra, Bigfoot’s existence is in question and is considered as fictional. So when Jim gets the chance to go for a romantic getaway, his obsession takes him and his skeptical girlfriend Kelly to Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California at the site where a Bigfoot film was shot. With video cameras on hand, they sojourn at Willow Creek, home to everything that has to do with Bigfoot, and enjoy themselves. They mingle with the locales who tell Bigfoot stories, Bigfoot songs and swear upon Bigfoot warnings. Jim and Kelly head out to the forest to continue the quest. At first Jim seems to be in heaven though Kelly thinks the whole thing is absurd. Then came nightfall.
Cast: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson, Laura Montagna
ImdB Rating: 5.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
11.) As Above, So Below
Paris is known for its rich history, sophistication, glamour and the Eiffel tower. But underneath the beautiful cobbled streets of Paris is a catacomb, home to hundreds upon hundreds of human remains… and possibly secrets and darker things. Scarlet Marlowe, a student of alchemy, is bent on finding the legendary Philosopher’s Stone which she believes from her researches to be within the catacombs. With her former lover George and a team, they venture into the world beneath the street. They encounter narrow hallways, claustrophobic crawlspaces, dark tunnels, occultists, creepy statues, walls of skeletons and the demons they have brought within them from above.
Taped in a documentary, Blair Witch Project style and with a Lara Croft type main character, “As Above, So Below” promises fun, good screams and even nice-to-know bits in history.
Cast: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge,François Civil, Marion Lambert, and Ali Marhyar
ImdB Rating: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 27%
10.) Deliver Us from Evil
From the director of Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose comes this to-the-edge-of-your-seat action-horror movie. Two New York police partners, Sarchie and Butler are about to get the best adrenaline kick out of their jobs. First it starts with resuscitating a dead baby then to stopping what first looked like domestic violence. But Sarchie here is caught up in wrestling with his own past and personal issues. And as there are two kinds of evil, one that comes from people and one from demonic entities, it seems that the city is endangered more from the latter. Mysterious, mind-boggling and creepy cases happen one after another and Sarchie is led to team up with a priest well-versed in exorcism. Marketed as a movie based on real life accounts, this movie looks good enough just by saying Eric Bana’s in it.
Cast: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn
ImdB Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
9.) Stonehearst Asylum
More of a thriller movie than a horror, Stonehearst Asylum plays on silver screen a tale on the darkness of Victorian medicine and Gothic macabre. Inspired by the short story from the deliciously gruesome Edgar Allan Poe, the story revolves around Dr. Edward Newgate, a freshly graduated doctor looking for apprenticeship. He wanders into Stonehearst Asylum because he has always been “fascinated with the troubled mind.” Never did he expect that he’ll even be more fascinated with Eliza Graves, a beautiful young woman from Stonehearst. Newgate is welcomed warmly by Dr. Lamb, the superintendent whose modern methods are intriguing. All seems well until Edward makes a shocking discovery that challenges his morals—even his sanity. Things and people are not always what and who they seem. With superb lead stars Jim Sturgess and Kate Beckinsale, this period horror film will prove to be hauntingly beautiful.
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Caine, Jim Sturgess
ImdB Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Twelve years ago, Kaylie and Tim were children in a normal household with loving parents. Twelve years ago, their lives changed since the purchase of an Antique mirror. Upon acquisition, their father was visited and seduced by a woman.Their mother constantly hallucinated that her body was decomposing. They grew paranoid and isolated, scaring their own children with their psychoses. Eventually, the father killed the mother and before killing his children, he temporarily gained his sanity and begged Tim to pull the trigger at him. When the police arrived, Tim was arrested and brought to a child psychiatric facility.
Twelve years after, Tim is released totally cleansed from the belief that the mirror is haunted. Kailey however is determined to fulfill the promise they made years ago, to prove their innocence and that a supernatural force resides within the mirror. Kailey made extensive researches and feels ready to confront the mirror in a room filled with cameras. But as the siblings face the horror and mental torture their parents faced years ago, they realize it’s not that easy to defeat the evil within the mirror.
Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff
ImdB Rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
More than a handful of found footage horror films have been released this year but Afflicted may just be the best out of all of them. It’s so good that Rotten Tomatoes goes to say Afflicted “proves there’s still life in the found-footage horror genre.” The film is supposed to be a documentation of two best friends’ travels around the world. Derek and Clif are onto releasing a web series called “Ends of the Earth” and they begin at Paris. They meet a beautiful girl named Audrey to whom Derek engages with throughout the night. He tells her about his AVM, a congenital disease in the brain. They sleep together and then Derek remembers nothing in the morning. Except for scratches and bruises on his body, there is no other sign of Audrey. Derek cannot eat normal food without vomiting. He can send a man flying through the air with just a push. He can knock off concrete walls, run faster than a car and jump from the eleventh floor unscathed. But it gets worse every day. Derek loses control, becomes uncontrollable and hostile until he drinks human blood… and that of Clif’s.
Cast: Clif Prowse, Derek Lee, Michael Gill
ImdB Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
6.) The Green Inferno
Inspired by Italian cannibal films from the earlier decades, The Green Inferno tells the story of a group of student activists from New York. They set out on a mission to visit an Amazon rainforest and a native tribe, things they are so eager to protect. Their plane crashes and they ironically find themselves taken hostage by the very indigenous people they want to advocate. From the notorious horror and gore master Eli Roth comes this film that some critics goes to say as his “most terrifying ever”. While this movie was criticized for a plot that victimizes good-doers, some also see this as a satire for rich, sheltered people signing up for causes they don’t truly understand. It’s an attack on slacktivism, the doing of good for vanity’s and social-media purposes.
This director knows how to kill people (only exclusive in films hopefully) and he does it to the point that the viewer could die from holding breaths for far too long and far too many. The Green Inferno is a scrumptious feast for gorehounds. Mystery, suspense, terror will move audiences to edge of their seats.
Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns
ImdB Rating: 6.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Kylie was caught for attempting to rob a bank and in punishment, the court puts her on house arrest for nine months. Now Kylie has to live with her blunderbuss though well-meaning mother who claims there is some sort of supernatural thing going around their old, rickety house. There seems to be a ghost, she said. At first, Kylie dismisses this as nothing more than an old wives’ tale. In a town where things are slow and the most exciting thing to do is gossip, people could get a bit of life from talking about the resurrected dead. But there are thumps, creaks, footsteps and an ominous lingering presence that Kylie can’t just ignore. She starts to question her sanity but these gossips may well in fact be real. A fun blend of snorts and screams, this flick has been praised even by Peter Jackson as “brilliant.” Humor plus horror is Housebound’s secret formula to making an impression.
Cast: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru
ImdB Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Ignatius “Ig” is devastated when his beloved girlfriend mysteriously and tragically passes away. She was raped and murdered. Worst of all, he is the primary suspect. One bleak morning he wakes up growing a pair of horns in his head. This mysteriously gives him the power to extract the involuntary truth from the people he interacts with. It makes him hear nasty, weird and, for the audience, hilariously fun things, which he doesn’t really want to hear. His horns also makes other people obey his commands. Ig later realizes he can use these gifts to uncover the truth about his girlfriend’s death. Based on a best-selling novel by Joe Hill, “Horns” may very well be Daniel Radcliffe’s best performance to date.
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghellagana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru
ImdB Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
3.) The Guest
The Petersons are devastated by their son’s death, a soldier in war-torn Afghanistan. When a certain David knocks into their home claiming to be their son’s friend, the Petersons kindly took him in. David says he is a fellow soldier and he was there when their son died. He is charming, courteous, sensitive and extremely helpful. He is the perfect guest. However, a series of mishaps and deaths occurred around town as he came along. Anna, Caleb’s sister, suspects David may not be who he makes himself to be. Rotten Tomatoes thinks The Guest has “enough intelligence to bolster its darkly violent thrills.” With Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey as the lead star, this psychological-action thriller is so bad-ass, fast, sinisterly vehement. Stevens’ slow smiles are too disarming you can call it his best weapon.
Cast: Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe
ImdB Rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
2.) Under the Skin
“Genius”, “erotic”, “mysterious”, “unnerving” and “unique” are just few of the praises the general audience and the movie critics are throwing at this ‘sci-fi masterpiece.’ Scarlet Johansson plays the role of an alien taking the form of a human body. She seduces men in Scotland. She picks them up in her van, drives them around and into her house where they are succeedingly trapped in a black pool of water, leaving only their skins. This alien-seductress continues hunting ala serial killer but reconsiders her acts as she meets a lonely man whom she sets free. She attempts to eat normal human food in a stroke of curiosity about humans, only to gag it out. As a thoughtful look on humanity through the eyes of an extraterrestrial creature, this film is just beautifully astonishing as it is mind-blowing. Long after the movie, your thoughts will still linger on it, questioning your own existence and the essence of the human race.
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay
ImdB Rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
1.) The Babadook
Dubbed as an “instant classic” and a “standout horror film of 2014”, critics are raving about The Babadook. This tells the story of Amelia, a mother still struggling after the violent death of her husband six years ago. She lives with her six-year-old son Samuel who is unruly and misbehaving which makes it a challenging even for a mother to love him. Samuel constantly dreams of a monster that will kill them both. One day a storybook mysteriously appears inside the house and Samuel is seriously convinced that The Babadook, the character in the story, is the monster in his dreams. The little boy’s delusions and hallucination even heighten and he gets way out-of-control. He becomes even more violent. Amelia, terrified by her son’s behavior, decides to medicate him. But no sooner, she’s seeing and hearing and feeling weird things around the house. Samuel could have been right after all. Or are they jut both going crazy, still coping from grief and loss?
Cast: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Tim Purcell
ImdB Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Truly, year 2014 can boast multiple must-see films in the horror genre alone. Many of these films cross other genres such as sci-fi, thriller, action, comedy and even musical. What’s exciting is that it’ll surely challenge movie producers, writers and directors to come up with fresh and original and scarier films in the years to come.
Either watch it with the girls or with a boyfriend or as a group of both genders, there’s always a unique exhilaration that a good horror movie brings. It’s almost as if the love of getting scared is imprinted in our DNAs. Just don’t watch alone…
Enjoy your Halloween!