In the run up to Halloween, we have decided to give horror films the recognition they deserve and host our own awards series, platforming this brilliant genre that is shockingly under-represented in popular award shows.
Our team here at Flip Screen nominated our favourite horrors for each category and voted on which ones we feel deserved the win. With such a large and spooktacular genre, we were sure to miss a few out so if, like every award season, you are disappointed to not see your favourite mentioned throughout our series, feel free to comment and tell us which film or performance you thought was most deserving that year.
Here is our first list of winners for 2014.
Best Actor – Essie Davis (The Babadook)
A heart-wrenching horror portraying the straining mental health of mother Amelia (Davis), as she struggles to live with her grief while supporting her son. Davis’ performance is both tender and eruptive, meandering from weary and depressed to sheer terrified upon the Babadook’s arrival. As this film follows mainly only mother and son, Davis carries the bulk of this film’s story and emulates a hurricane of emotion that shakes viewers to their core.
Best Film – It Follows
An unnervingly uncomplicated yet wholly original concept, It Follows manages to frighten audiences with something simple yet deadly. The threat following our lead, Jay (Maika Monroe), doesn’t need to sprint or roar or swing a machete to create a constant pulse of fear, it simply needs to follow. Upon sleeping with her date, Jay is infected with an STD style curse which causes her to be stalked by a creature in the form of a calmly walking person. She must pass on the curse to be free from constant danger, however if the next person is killed by this creature, it will circle back to her. The constant paranoia created by this creature ensures audiences are always tense, scanning every background actor for sign of trouble. The acting performance from Monroe is fantastic, and a steady moving yet tense plot (mirroring the creature, itself) easily pegs this film as one of the best horrors this century.
Best Special/ Practical effects – The Babadook
Even with a small budget, The Babadook constructs some brilliantly frightening visuals. The effects were inspired by silent films as they used in-camera images to evoke the Babadook, rather than CGI. Using this method helped generate the creepy, sliding movements of the Babadook itself, which look almost uncanny, helping create an unsettling feeling whenever they creep on screen. At first glance the black top hat, heavy coat and stark white face paint may appear simple (making them look more like a demented goth than anything too scary), but the hulking shoulders and stretching finger-like claws can send a shiver down anyone’s spine. Played by Tim Purcell, who worked in the art department for the film, the Babadook’s on-screen creation is a brilliant example of how expensive CGI isn’t always the best option for truly scary horror.
Best Gore – Oculus
Supernatural horror artefacts haunting unsuspecting families usually result in a few ghostly or demonic appearances and visual jump-scares, but rarely is there this much gore to delight and disgust audiences. The plot revolves around a mirror artefact with a long ownership history steeped in mysterious and gruesome deaths, all usually made to look like suicide or murder. Audiences are treated to some gruesome visuals, creative tortures and plenty of blood – just the way we like it.
Best Soundtrack – Mica Levi; Under the Skin
Matching this film’s unsettling tone, the ghostly and spine-tingling soundtrack for Under the Skin bores into the audience and fills their souls with an ice-cold feeling of unease. The string section mimics old horror classics but is then fed through a reverb to create a distant ambient, almost space like sound. A slow, constant pulse from a single drum slowly stalks throughout the piece, adding a primal, hunting instinct to the piece. Finally, the chorus of scraping, discordant strings twisting together and then pulling apart as they overlap one another emulates a perfect musical discomfort that reflects the reaction to fingernails being scraped along a chalkboard. Levi composed a perfect audible partner for such an unnerving sci-fi horror and proves why her work is so highly acclaimed.