It wouldn’t be at all unfair to suggest that there have been some pretty disappointing horror movies so far this year. Hellboy crashed out uninspiringly despite promise, Brightburn didn’t burn brightly and Pet Sematary failed to raise much of a pulse.
But it’s not all been bad and horror film fans have been treated across the spectrum to some great experiences. We’ve had conventional scares, nostalgic bumps in the night and that specks kind of psychological fear that haunts you on an entirely other level. But what’s been the best of this year’s crop so far?
You really have to admire any movie that sets out to introduce characters you'd never like even if you spent days in their company, let alone hours. It's the kind of ballsy move that isolates audiences and adds a specific challenge to getting your film over, but it's something that some of the best horror film-makers manage repeatedly. It's also the bedrock of Piercing, which doesn't so much invite you to care about its leads, but rather to revel in their weirdness.
A perverse, pitch black comedy horror starring Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott, it's basically a meet cute between a man obsessed with the idea of murdering someone and the escort he hires to be his victim, who ends up harbouring her own dark secrets.
What follows is a creepy, unsettling tango of encouragement and conflict, beautifully and warmly shot, as if to disquieten even more. It's weird and surreal and nightmarish and not for everyone, but it's certainly interesting and compelling.