Jarrett Furst - Best of 2014

Best of 2014 - by Jarrett Furst

Behold, the last of the writers here at The Children of Samhain presents his fourteen favorite films of the past year in his BEST OF 2014 list. Enjoy. Jarrett Furst is a director, writer and producer who has loved films ever since he was young. He recently graduated from California Institute of the Arts and has been working in the film community since. Some of his favorite movies are Evil Dead (1981), Hellraiser (1987), and Oldboy (2003).

Honorable mention: At the Devil’s Door

A strong demonic possession movie with good acting and great cinematography. This film is very entertaining and moves well, has a good end and well written script. It is a bit silly at points but I felt like it was really effective in what it tried to portray. Plus, the demon in the film is rather disturbing and nightmare inducing.  Overall it's a good movie, and I wanted it to make the cut, but I couldn't put it ahead of any of these gems.  

14. Come Back To Me

When I first saw this movie it took me by complete surprise, lead by strong acting and an original script that makes it one of my favorite horror films of the year.  I've been strongly recommending this one. It isn't necessarily scary but there are cringe-worthy scenes that cause a hugely memorable experience.

13. Eat

Honestly this movie is terrible, but this isn't my list of horror films I think are great, this is about my favorite horror movies of 2014, and I love stupid campy movies that entertain me to no end.  A film about a girl who gets stressed out resulting in her eating herself. Yes, that really is the entire plot of the film. I had so much fun watching this movie, and it ranks on my most disturbing films of all time list just because of the great makeup effects. Some of the most cringeworthy scenes I have ever seen. If you're up for it, definitely check this one out.

12. Tusk

I loved Kevin Smith’s Tusk. This film really had me cracking up the entire time, especially when you finally see Justin Long after his “transformation”. This film was hugely entertaining with surprisingly great performances by Johnny Depp as the eccentric homicide detective and Haley Joel Osment as Justin Long’s best friend. Honestly the performance by Michael Parks takes the cake and steals the entire movie with stories of desert life, befriending walruses and drinking with Ernest Hemingway.  Awesome horror comedy and a hugely fun experience overall. 

11. As Above, So Below

I hate that this film got hated on by so many people. This was a brilliant film and one of the most intense experiences I had in a movie theater this year. I love that they actually shot the film in the catacombs below Paris and carted all their props down there. I heard a lot of people talking about how the plot development wasn't explained enough but I liked that. It kept it simple and kept it unexplained because the group that went down never figured everything out. Plus I loved the ending. Highly recommend to watch with a grain of salt.

10. The Babadook

This film is everything that makes up a great horror film, without being a great horror film. It actually, in my opinion, makes no sense whatsoever as there is nothing with the Babadook explained or even attempted at an explanation. This film is great because I felt like it left the ending open to discussion, had amazing performances by mother and child, great timing with scare tactics, original and beautiful cinematography. Plus I love saying the line “You can bring me the boy” over and over in the Babadook voice. Love this movie, but don't expect any explanation and you will feel similar to me.

9. Oculus

This is a film that no matter how many times I watch it still creeps me out. A great script and plot give way to lots of interesting story developments. The acting is powerful and the leading actress is absolutely gorgeous. The mirror itself sends chills down your spine and the ‘mirror people’ are hugely disturbing. Turn off the lights and watch with glee, you won't sleep well that night.  

8.  Cheap Thrills

I don't completely consider this a horror movie, more like a horrible movie with some of the most unsettling black comedies I've seen in ages. This film is dark, hyper active and non stop entertaining. The film not only has a hugely dark plot, but some truly disturbing violence that causes one to feel passionately and ponder their own ethics. If you come across this film do not wait to watch it, and enjoy immediately. 

7. The Sacrament

Ti West has been coming out with strong films since his first movie, and has remained an indie king among horror. With this new film, he takes the news company Vice News and sends them to a seemingly utopias society with a mysterious leader that calls himself Father. From this point on the film gets more and more intense as the society turns out to be more like a crazy cult, filled with some great long takes that will make your skin crawl and a constantly engaging plot. This film stopped me during what I was doing and commanded me to sit down and take it all in. Horrific and wonderful, definitely not a film I will be soon forgetting.

6. The Purge: Anarchy

This is a case where the sequel was exactly what the first film should have been. With a plot that causes groups of people to break out in loud debate, this film shows us the truly dark side of living in a society that allows its citizens to purge and cleanse their souls. This is a fun, wild ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. I still can't get tired of this film. This is the Godfather 2 of horror films, yes I know that is a bold statement. I stand by it.

5. The Taking of Deborah Logan

I thought using a woman's Alzheimer's to create a horror plot was in terrible taste. I was right, this film is kinda in bad taste, but goddamn it is a freaky little movie. Following this woman as she's losing her mind is way more entertaining than anyone could have suspected and this has some of the creepiest scenes in a found footage film this year. Plus Jill Larson gives a performance that would freeze you in your tracks if she laid eyes on you. Brilliant and fun. Don't watch before bed time, trust me on this one.

4.  Starry Eyes

This indie gem is brilliant, with a powerhouse of a message for the entertainment industry, and a stand out performance by Alex Essoe who I will definitely be watching as her career blooms. With an explosive finale and some great tension on the way up, this film definitely ranks in my top 5 of the year.  Cannot wait for it to come out on DVD so I can see it again.

3.  The Den

This is a film that when I saw the trailer I thought it would be a whatever horror movie with a mediocre plot about internet invasion. This film threw me through a loop. It blew my mind. This film is non stop entertaining and so bizarre. The production value is great and for a film having been shot entirely on a laptop, it is effective and pulse pounding the entire time. See this movie, do not wait another second.  SEE THIS MOVIE NOW!!!  I look forward to see what Zach Donohue, the director, comes out with in the future as this really blew me away.

2.  Nightcrawler

Although this isn't necessarily a horror film, Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is so dark and brooding it will stalk your nightmares. His performance is Oscar-worthy and he deserves the best actor award this year in my opinion. Watching a sociopath twist people to doing his bidding for an hour and a half should not be nearly as entertaining. With a strong script and the best performance of the year this film doesn't need an explanation as to why it will be one of the greats for time to come.  

1. The Houses October Built

Wow...one word is all this needs. This is my favorite horror film of the year, and honestly the most fun I had watching a film this year. I love haunted houses, good found footage films and creepy clowns and this film serves up a hot serving of all of it. This film had an ending that left me reeling for a few hours, trying to calm myself down and comprehend what I had just seen. This is not a joke, go now. Stop reading this list, run to wherever it is you can find this movie. Worth it on all levels!