By Jay Hunter – 2016 horror was dominated by independent and foreign releases. Although some old favourites look set to return in 2017, slashers took a back seat this year for more thought provoking, intimate, original stories. Here are the 15 must see horror movies of 2016, according to Jump Scare.
Kate Siegal stars in the Netflix thriller as Maddie Young, an author living an isolated existence after losing her hearing as a teenager. Away from society, a killer stalks Maddie in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Boasting slick, intelligent film-making that doesn’t rely too heavily on horror tropes, but certainly pays it’s respects to them.
14. The Shallows
A surprisingly strong Summer thriller staring Blake Lively. After a run in with a great white shark, Nancy (Lively), becomes stranded on a rock just 200 yards from shore, an intimate-tense thriller that transcend’s the genre with smart writing and a great solo performance.
13. Ouija: Origin of Evil
A prequel to 2014’s abysmal, Ouija, Origin of Evil had no right to be as great as it was. Filled with interesting fleshed out characters and effective scares, the 70s set flick offers an above average haunted house story that is hindered only by it’s overblown final act.
12. I Am Not a Serial Killer
Taking as much inspiration from Dexter as it does from John Carpenter’s, The Thing, I Am Not a Serial Killer follows the story of John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records, Where the Wild Things Are). As John struggles to keep his inner demons at bay, he must also investigate a series of macabre killings in his small town. Overstretched due to it’s lack of budget, the movie based on the novel of the same name has the makings of a cult-classic.
11. The Girl with all the Gifts
Based in a British army base, Girl with all the Gifts follows a group of children who are immune to a zombie virus, only to be subjected to a host of cruel experiments. Working in the ever deteriorating zombie pool, Gifts manages to fish out an interesting premise, whilst still having an sombre message
10. Neon Demon
The Enfant-terrible himself, Nicholas Winding Refn was back this year with a predictably warped and damaged mediation on the fashion industry, with added necrophilia. Calling to mind the likes of Lynch, Argento and De Palma with its sickly shades of red and blue, its creepy eroticism and blackly comic bloodshed, felt a true return to form for the outstpoken director.
9. The Greasy Strangler
Certainly not for everyone, The Greasy Stranger is 2016’s strangest movie. A unique cinematic experience, comparable to no other. Jim Hosking’s bizarre family tale of murder, sex and indeed grease must be seen to be believed.
8. The Conjuring 2
Bursting out of it’s horror shackles, The Conjuring 2 adds more depth and themes than it’s previous entry. Although it loses some of it’s scares in the process, James Wan’s ghost story is weighter than any of it’s Western chiller-colleagues. The finest director working in the genre today continues his streak.
7. Green Room
Jeremy Saulnier’s brutalist siege thriller follows the misfortunes of a young punk band who stumble upon something they shouldn’t whilst playing a gig in a back wood club run by neo-Nazis. A lean, tight and gory survival feature, with a mature arbitration on subculture violence and what it means to be an outsider.
6. Don’t Breathe
Delivering a plethora of twists and turns, Don’t Breathe’s injected a shot of real tension to the cinema this year. Coming off the back of Evil Dead 2013, Fede Alvez proved once again he’s one to watch in the world of horror. A gripping, mean spirited, home invasion story.
5. The Eyes of my Mother
A truly unsettling Portuguese movie that touches on aspects of broken families and animal cruelty. Eyes of my Mother is reliant on shocking visuals, using brilliantly realised cinematography as it’s canvass. A hypnotic tale that provides pure nightmare fuel.
4. Under the Shadow
Boasting thought-provoking social commentary, the Persian ghost story from Babak Anvari brilliantly parallels the horrors of war with paranormal motifs. Often filmed with a dreamlike quality, Under the Shadow plays with elements not dissimilar to Pan’s Labyrinth with it’s terrifying fairytale-esque storytelling.
3. The Witch
Debuting writer-director, Robert Eggers proves his Nosferatu remake is in safe hands with his terrifying period piece. An ominous atmosphere acts as the catalyst for a visually compelling and downplayed story of nature, puberty and religion. Embellished by it’s engrossing performances.
2. The Wailing
As wide in scope as it is operatic, South Korea’s The Wailing, drips with atomsphere. Clocking in at an intimidating 2 hours 30 minutes, it’s mammoth runtime is justified by it’s multi-faceted mystery. The movies combo of historic and modern horror is complemented by it’s intriguing look at complex indigenous religious history, Japenese interference and Western influence. A breathtaking final act paints the final touches to a wonderful work of art.
1. Train to Busan
Tighter and leaner than it’s South Korean compatriot, Train to Busan just pipped the top spot for our must see horror’s of 2016. Breathing fresh life into the zombie genre, without compromising it’s socio-economic subtext, Busan is a thrilling none stop ride that goes from 0-100, never coming up for air. Wonderfully acted, touchingly portrayed and masterfully crafted action made Train to Busan the first (and only) movie we have awarded five stars. Our must see horror for 2016. (full review)
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