Best of 2014: Movies – Best Horror/Thriller

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Horror/Thriller Movie

  • Gone Girl
  • Horns
  • Nightcrawler
  • The Purge: Anarchy
  • Under the Skin

WINNER – Horns

Horns is a seemingly unlikely pick for the best horror movie of 2014, but it was able to steal the win by being by far the most dynamic movie in its category this year. It’s not traditionally scary, or even gory – and it certainly doesn’t fit the whole torture porn thing that is so damn popular these days, but it’s thrilling and plays on the human fears of losing someone you love and the monster that you can turn into through the need for vengeance. In my opinion it at least had a beautiful and happy ending. What this movie really had going for it (other than Daniel Radcliffe *swoon*) is that it told a great love story, that just so happened to include demons, devils, and sociopaths. In a year of horror/thrillers that relied on blood and torture Horns had layers, and emotion and someone who actually knows how to write (Joe Hill) at its helm. We’d all be lucky if a new trend in horror started because of the impact Horns made. – Keriann

Second Place – Nightcrawler

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Louis Bloom gets by stealing and scavenging until he picks up a video camera and a police scanner.  Bloom, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is dark and intense, which is what Gyllenhaal does best. He starts to chase terrible accidents and crimes happening while the rest of us sleep. He pushes the boundaries every night to get bigger and better shots. Renee Ruso is a local news producer trying to raise her station’s rating so she employees Gyllenhaal. Ruso is fantastic and equally as intense as Gyllenhaal, which is hard to do. They’re both characters I wouldn’t want to be left in a room alone with. I don’t like using clichés like “heart pounding,” but if the shoe fits… Nightcrawler isn’t a mile a minute thrill ride; however, it is an exceptional movie that deserves everyone’s consideration. – Scott

Third Place – The Purge: Anarchy

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If you’re looking to really scare the crap out of people, prey on the fears that could most realistically happen. For this, The Purge: Anarchy has gripped onto our feeble minds and burrowed itself there for years to come. In this materialistic, reality-consumed America, the nation sacrifices one night each year to make all crime completely legal. You know, to get it out of our system. Nobody is safe, and nobody will help you. That is 100x scarier to me than an evil doll or serial killers wearing fox masks (“What Does the Fox Say?”). Creating a lot of buzz with such a low budget – Anarchy cleared over ten times its $9 million budget – you can be sure to see new installments of this every year. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Gone Girl

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This story doesn’t have a happy ending , that’s why I like this movie. Amy wants things to go back to the way they were. Nick, played by Ben Affleck, is scared to death of his wife, Amy, knowing she is over the top manipulative and just got away with murder. The story on paper is a mess but this movie is able to spin it all together so well into a cohesive story. There are a few plot holes but nothing too glaring. It’s a clever game of manipulation by almost every character in the movie .The underlying message I got from this movie was, don’t believe any narrative the media tries to shove down your throat, you don’t have a clue as to what’s really going on. – Shane

RUNNER UP – Under the Skin

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I don’t think I like the movie. Sometimes when I think about it, I do. Maybe this is the brilliance of the film. It had a friend and I talking about it for hours afterward. I’m not a big fan of the ScarJo at all, but this role was perfect for her because she just has to do her equivalent of a Keanu Reeves Matrix stare. I would have liked more explanation and understanding what is going on with the character and why she is luring men back to this strange house in Ireland. At the same time the film treats you as if you’re part of her story and should already know what her story is. It’s an extreme version of the show over tell. I need to watch it a few more times to really explore the narrative. The most interesting and disturbing part of the film is the ending reveal. The alien inside the human suit is some cinematography genius. And if a film makes me watch it just to understand how I feel about it, then it’s done something right. – Jené

Next Category: Best Comedy

Horns Movie Review

Genre – Horror/Fantasy, Drama, Book to movie adaptation

Director – Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes)

Cast – Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, Michael Adamthwaite

Alluring element – Daniel Radcliffe officially shaking off the remains of Harry Potter and turning into a devil, both literally and figuratively to avenge the murder of his girlfriend. I’m so in.

 

Scorecard:
Plot – 8
Acting – 10
Representation of Genre – 6
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 8
Captivity – 7
Logical consistency – 7
Originality/Creativity – 9
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 8
 
 

I think the only fair way to start my review of Horns is with a disclaimer. Well, two disclaimers really. First, I read the book Horns and thoroughly enjoyed it, but because of that I spent a lot of time watching the movie waiting for elements of the book to appear, and then trying to figure out if I liked the book or the movie. Or both. Second, I love Daniel Radcliffe. LOVE HIM. To me, he can do no wrong. However, I worked really hard to separate myself from that so I can give Horns a fair review. So, with that being said, I’ll get to it.

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Horns is the story of Iggy Perish (Daniel Radcliffe) and his journey to find the person who killed the girl he loves. All the while he is the number one suspect and, for whatever reason, he woke up one morning with horns growing out of his head a la Satan. Of course the horns are not merely cosmetic, they cause the people Iggy comes in contact with to reveal their most horrible truths to him, as well as their darkest secrets and desires and then ask his permission to act on them. And naturally they give Ig the inclination to give in to his more evil urges as well which enables him to find his beloved’s killer all the more easily.

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Joe Hill’s Horns is honestly my type of love story, and I’m really not a fan of love stories. It’s dark, the love is overpowering and insecure, and the happy ending is definitely one side of a double edged sword. The story takes place in our universe, but with a fantastical twist. Granted, there is a strong basis of Christianity in the story, but as opposed to taking a side on religion, it merely uses its elements for fantasy’s sake. A cross necklace does play an important role, but so does the devil and frankly he’s portrayed in a pretty favorable light.

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The movie really tells a great story, but unfortunately it stutters in its flow and spends too much time on some less crucial elements which causes important plot points to suffer. A lot of energy was spent flashing back to the love story between Iggy and his dearly departed Merrin (Juno Temple), and while those scenes are beautifully shot and full of heart they may have sucked up too much time. Iggy is the only character in the movie who is really fully developed, everyone else has very little screen time and their introductions and explanations are rushed. This might not be a problem in a full on romance about the gooey love between just two people, but it does cause Horns to suffer a little because it’s a murder mystery. By the time the reveal of the real killer came around, it felt a little weak because as little as each of the side characters were shown it basically could have been anyone, as there was no motive or background given for anyone.

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At times, the dialogue feels unnatural and the actors have to say things it seems no person would ever say in real life, but other than those moments the movie is extremely well acted. I assure you it is not my bias talking when I say that Daniel Radcliffe was captivating. I love Harry Potter more than the next guy, but so far this is the best performance I’ve seen from Radcliffe. He’s vulnerable, angry, scared and downright wicked. Anything that the movie Horns itself may have lacked, he single-handedly made up for.

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Overall, Horns is absolutely worth seeing. It’s really beautifully shot and the scenery is just gorgeous. The love story is sweet and cruel, the fantasy and comedy elements hit hard and leave a lasting impression. I left the theater unsure about what to think about it but the movie stuck with me, which I think is a mark of what makes it good. I wasn’t sure at certain points while I was watching it, but I kept thinking about it and picturing it after it was over and it left me with one of those beautiful melancholy feelings. The more I relive it, the more I want to go and see it again.