Shocktober 2018: Part 3 – Train To Busan, Hereditary & More

Train To Busan
Train To Busan

The final week of Shocktober 2018 is here. One more week before your significant other becomes concerned that you want marathoning slasher flicks and eating candy corn until 2am to become a nightly endeavor.

My biggest take away from this year’s Shocktober is to step outside of your horror comfort zone. Watch that old slasher you’ve heard so much about, but never bothered to sit down and watch. Watch that foreign horror despite your hatred of subtitles. And watch that movie that you’ve heard next to nothing about, but decide to take a chance on it. Broaden your horror preferences, and previously undiscovered horrors will await you.


21. The Eyes of My Mother (2016)

Director: Nicolas Pesce

Few films have made me uncomfortable to the point I had to pause it for a few minutes to collect myself. The Eyes of My Mother from director Nicolas Pesce is that uncomfortable of a horror experience due to its unsettling atmosphere and characters. From an early age, Francisca (Kika Magalhães) grew up around death, as her mother was a surgeon who taught her that all life eventually comes to an end. Though after experiencing a violent childhood event, Francisca’s perception of death becomes addled leading to disturbing behavior. The film’s striking black and white aesthetic adds another layer of discomfort and unease to every scene. The Eyes of my Mother is not only shocking in its imagery, but in Magalhães’s mannerisms which are always the focal point of scenes. Her deadpan delivery and ability to unsettle with small nuances of her character make the film a nerve wracking experience. One of the more artsy horror movies on the list, but one that will stay with you nonetheless.


22. Hereditary (2018)

Director: Ari Aster

When I reviewed Hereditary earlier this year, I said it was one of the few horror films that I lost sleep over. And after a second viewing, I can confirm this is still the case. A masterclass of a horror debut from director Ari Aster, Hereditary is a story about curses and an examination of family dynamics in the wake of a tragedy. Its ability to craft teeth grinding tension rivals the all-time horror classics. This build-up, which almost outstayed its welcome, has a masterful payoff with a terrifying third act that succeeds where most horror struggles. And then there’s Toni Collette’s performance which is one of the best of her career, as her grief and terror is palpable to the audience to an uncomfortable degree. Hereditary is slow burn that has one of the best payoffs of any film in the genre.


23. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

Director: André Øvredal

From afar, you wouldn’t be wrong for thinking The Autopsy of Jane Doe is just another run of the mill jump scare fest. Nothing initially about it stands out as being unique or separating itself from other horror films. Going into this with low expectations may be why I ended up enjoying it so much. A father (Brian Cox) and Son (Emile Hirsch) mortuary duo undertake what they thought was a typical body, but ends up being a vessel of evil. The Autopsy of Jane Doe doesn’t overly rely on jump scares, in favor of using its setting, a morgue, to drum up more environmental scares. This bolsters those jump scares making them more impactful when they do show up and adds a layer of creativity that makes it memorable. Spearheaded by its exceptional cast, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is an example of “don’t judge a film by its cover.”


24. Train to Busan (2016)

Director: Sang-Ho Yeon

Arguably the best modern zombie movie in years, Train to Busan, delivers claustrophobic undead terror like no other. Think Snowpiercer meets 28 Days Later, as a group of survivors led by Seok-woo (Yoo Gong) & Sang-Hwa (Dong-Seok Ma) are in the midst of a zombie outbreak while aboard a train. More than just another zombie gore fest, Train to Busan perfectly captures the claustrophobic nature of being confined to a train. As our survivors push from train car to train car, utilizing whatever they can find to defend themselves, we begin to learn more about them and are given reason to care for them. This is done to the degree that a majority of zombie movies fail to achieve, instead favoring excessive dismemberment — Not that there isn’t plenty of that here as well. Train to Busan has both and is a stronger film for it, serving as an example that if you want your zombie film to be memorable these days, it needs to have a heart.


25. The Ritual

Director: David Bruckner

The evolution of Netflix over the last few years has moved from quality into quantity over quality. Fortunately, The Ritual is an indication that Netflix is still capable of pumping out quality horror, given its well-constructed but straightforward premise. In honor of a deceased friends, the remaining group decide to go camping though it doesn’t take long for their presence in the woods to disturb something else that lives there. The movie has a strong Blair Witch Project vibe as the psyche of the characters is explored, and exploited the more tumultuous their situation becomes. Throw in a terrifyingly unique monster that stalks them from the shadows and David Bruckner’s (V/H/S) keen eye for horror, makes The Ritual one of Netflix’s best horror films.


26. The House of the Devil (2009)

Director: by Ti West

Slow burn is a term used ad nauseam to describe a movie that’s pacing is slow, but methodical in that it is building towards a crucial point in the plot. The House of the Devil is the poster child for this, as its scares primarily come by way of a creepy atmosphere and tense anticipation that builds up until its penultimate moment. Financially struggling college student Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) takes a sketchy, but lucrative babysitting job that turns out to be more than she bargained for. What The House of the Devil lacks in immediate scares, it dedicates a majority of this time to crafting the house’s dark and moody setting. The slow pacing and this attention to detail make the movie’s evil conclusion worth the wait and bolster the scares to a degree they may otherwise not have obtained. An 80’s retro horror movie that doesn’t disappoint and will have you double checking that your doors are locked.


27. I Saw The Devil (2010)

Director: Jee-Woon Kim

I find myself becoming more skeptical of movies that feel the need to have run times that exceed two hours. Time and time again, after the two-hour mark they fail to justify this amount of time required to tell their tale. I Saw The Devil is not one of those films, as every minute of the film demands your attention, getting better and better with each minute that passes. I Saw The Devil tells the story of Secret Agent Byung-Hun Lee (The Good, The Bad, The Weird) is hunting an elusive serial killer Min-Sik Choi (Oldboy) who murdered his wife. What transpires is a reverse game of cat and mouse that is torturous, yet gleefully justified acts of vigilantism.

Min-sik Choi is terrifying in his portrayal of the sadistic killer in his mannerisms and the acts of brutality he inflicts on his victims. I Saw The Devil has some of the most shockingly violent kills of almost any movie I watched this year. Often, horror struggles between a balance of focusing on violence/character development, but I Saw The Devil’s story and characters are so strong that it never falters in this regard. A terrific film through and through.


28. V/H/S (2012)

Director(s): Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, and Joe Swanberg

Anthology horror is one of the most exciting sub-genres in horror, as it gives up and coming creatives a platform to share their original ideas. What it may lack in a big studio budget it makes up for in wildly concise and creative premises that last no more than 20 minutes each. V/H/S is five different stories from five creative teams that range from haunted houses to demon hitchhikers. Each story has its unique style and ability to shock and scare that keeps the movie fresh and engaging throughout. Where other anthology series may have more light-hearted stories, V/H/S is a true horror fans anthology, given the buckets of blood and scares contained in each tale. While V/H/S spawned two sequels, both of which paled in comparison to the original, it remains an excellent introduction to the horror anthology genre.


29. The Endless (2017)

Director(s): Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

One of the most original Lovecraftian inspired horror films of the last few years, The Endless is as reflective as it is a tense horror film. Director/writer/actor duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead star as two brothers disappointed with their life, decide to return to a “UFO death cult” they escaped from as children. Though when they arrive, they discover that perhaps their understanding of the cult wasn’t all that sound. The Endless is unsettling throughout as the audience pieces together breadcrumbs of clues leading them to understand the countless supernatural occurrences. There are numerous memorable scenes packed into this indie horror that make it iconic amongst Benson and Moorhead’s other films. Their ability to unnerve by crafting a world that challenges the audience’s perception of reality and construction makes for a hell of an experience.


30. Friday The 13th Part 3,6,7, Remake (1982-2009)

Listen, I think we can all agree that there are way too many Friday the 13th movies. And despite running the gambit of classic, campy, and crappy, there are some memorable moments in this iconic slasher series. Here are my recommendations for the ones worth your time:

Part 3: This is where the franchise finds its rhythm. Jason finally dons his infamous hockey mask for the first time in the series, and the kills become more creative and gruesome.

Part 6: Jason Lives: Coming off the coattails of the horrendously awful Part V, Jason Lives shows the return of Voorhes who is resurrected via a lightning bolt…Yeah. This is a more slapstick entry in the series, but the return of franchise favorite Tommy Jarvis and improved kills makes it a favorite of mine.

Part 7: The New Blood: The most supernatural entry in the series (if that were possible). Tina, a young woman with psychic abilities, accidentally frees Jason from his shackles at the bottom of a lake. Tina struggles to control her abilities which results in numerous exciting outcomes when duking it out with Jason. Its goofy premise aside, The New Blood felt like a breath of fresh air for a series that hadn’t been interesting in a long time.

Friday The 13th (2009): If you’re going to reboot a 40-year-old franchise, this is how it’s done. Sure, the teens are as dumb as ever, but the film is littered with homages to past entries in the franchise. Jason Voorhees being portrayed as a survivalist defending his land was an ingenious grounding of a character who had become slapstick throughout his existence.


31. The Hallow (2015)

Director: Corin Hardy

A family looking to begin anew in the Irish countryside learn the hard way that sacred ground is to be respected. After trespassing in the woods behind their cottage, which the locals claim belongs to fairies and “things that go bump in the night,” strange occurrences begin. One of the more memorable creature features thanks to director Corin Hardy (The Nun) unique vision of woodland fantasy horror. His ability to make the concept of fairies terrifying and personal to the characters cannot be understated. Speaking of, both the leads Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones) and Bojana Novakovic (Drag me to Hell) are riveting in their desire to protect their child from that which lurks in the darkness. This is a movie I was not expecting to like, given my dislike of dark fantasy horror, but Hardy’s ability to tell an engaging emotional, character driven horror story kept me hooked throughout.

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