Best Actor – Anton Yelchin (The Green Room)
This performance was sadly one of Yelchin’s last before his tragic death in 2015, but is undoubtedly one of his best. Yelchin plays one of the members of punk rock band ‘Ain’t Rights’ when his character, along with his bandmates, ends up ensnared in a murder cover-up and trapped within the basement of neo-nazis who are instructed by their leader to kill all members of the band to eliminate any witnesses of their crimes. Yelchin’s performance transforms from carefree and boisterous, to panicked yet determined, to defeated and hopeless. The exhaustion and tragic nature of Yelchin’s character is heart-breaking to witness as he fights with the desperation of a trapped animal, only to witness the loss of his friends due to his failings. It is an exceptional performance from a truly fine actor.
Best Film – The Witch
Though this feature was recognised by publications (earning two Empire awards from British Film Magazine for best horror and best female newcomer), the larger awards show still shockingly ignored this nuanced and atmospheric horror. Written using 1600’s English dialogue, this history-seeped feature explores folklore, Christian beliefs and Witchcraft with a kind of intricate detail that many films fail to even attempt. The subtle and fracturing relationships between characters are exploited to explore the dismantling of this family’s faith and their sanity. All performances are brilliant, especially taking into consideration the challenging dialogue they were given. Though this film is a slow burn and far from the fast-paced jump-scares of many horrors, it composes a heavy atmosphere of dread and psychological torture that resonates with many critics and viewers alike.
Best Special/ Practical effects – Krampus
The threats that are causing chaos this spooky holiday season are a gang of Christmas themed demon toys that you wouldn’t want to find at the bottom of your stocking. Murderous gingermen and more, these visuals are demented yet playful. Big bad Krampus himself is a spectacle of mutated, gothic Santa guaranteed to ho-ho-haunt your dreams. Twisting together folklore with horror, these creatures are well crafted using practical effects and add a further horrifying yet comical element to the film.
Best Gore – Sinister 2
Although this sequel may not have lived up to the ~sinister~ nature of the first, Sinister 2 still provides us with some great and gory deaths. This film follows the cop from the first film, played by James Ransone, as he tries to defeat the pattern of Bagul. He encounters a family which has already fallen victim to Bagul’s curse as the son, Milo (Lucas Jade Zumann), is forced to witness the murder tapes of all the other possessed children. Thanks to the haunting kids’ power-point presentation of How to Kill Your Loved Ones, we’re treated to some inventive kills including one that replicates an old 17th century torture device involving some very hungry rats and some very soft stomachs.
Best Soundtrack – Mark Korven; The Witch
The constant pulse of dread throughout this film would not be nearly as effective if not for this score. With much inspired by baroque string melodies, Korven also uses a climaxing discordant wailing chorus, with bone-chilling screeches that cut through the listener like a knife. Often utilised to evoke a sense of foreboding about the family’s surrounding landscape, this score projects utter creepiness and leaves the listener completely tense.