2016 is about to come to an end. That’s sounds somewhat ominous, but if we’re talking about horror movies then it can be looked at as both a celebration and a reflection. A celebration of the movies that made us jump up and down with glee – and a reflection on the movies that made us throw something violently at the screen while watching them. Let’s start with some celebrating though and get into my Top 5 Horror Movies Of 2016!
5. 10 Cloverfield Lane
I love being surprised when I watch a horror movie. And I’m not just talking about surprised as in nearly jumping out of my seat during a good ‘jump scare’ scene. More so about going into a movie with super low expectations and coming out pumping my fist in the air. Such was the case with 10 Cloverfield Lane (although actual fist pumping may not have happened). The first 3/4 of this nail-biter is damn near perfect. And John Goodman honestly needs some Oscar consideration for his role as a psychotic (but somewhat sane) doomsday preparer. Had it not been for the final 15 clunky minutes, 10 Cloverfield Lane may have battled for the top spot on the list.
I think I’ve just taken my 100th shower after my first viewing of the Turkish horror film Baskin. I didn’t exactly know for sure if it would make my ‘Best Of’ list, but if a movie sticks with me months after I see it – then it deserves to be recognized. The last 30 minutes of Baskin are some of the most uncomfortable 30 minutes you’ll ever watch. And actor Mehmet Cerrahoglu’s role as ‘The Father’ needs more recognition as one of the creepiest horror movie characters in a looooooong time. Who needs a plot when you have crazy-ass visuals and unsettling moments that make you question your own sanity? Best Turkish horror movie I’ve ever seen. And the only one too.
3. Don’t Breathe
Turkey basters be damned! Don’t Breathe almost made it into the number 1 spot on my list, but I wanted the final two films to duke it out instead. I can say that Don’t Breathe was my favorite mainstream horror movie of the year though. Sure it was hard to root for anyone onscreen – but the twists, turns, and overall tense set pieces were more than enough to make up for the asshole characters. Director Fede Alvarez is 2 for 2 in my book, and actor Stephen Lang (much like John Goodman) would be inclined to receive some award buzz if I had anything to do about it. Did I mention turkey basters btw???
2. The Invitation
Ooooooh – apologies to The Invitation. You almost….and I mean almost….got the top prize this year! A slow burn for sure, this movie stuck with me long after I watched it and required multiple viewings after the fact. The acting from Logan Marshall-Green (as the grieving father who knows something is wrong with this dinner party) and John Carroll Lynch (who’s just awesome in everything he’s in) carried The Invitation to another level. And those last 20 minutes? Whew. A haunting ending shot only sweetened the already sweet deal – and because of that…..The Invitation deserves your RSVP. Sorry for the lame joke (shrug).
1. The Wailing
A rare thing happened. I watched a movie 2 days before the end of 2016 and it became my favorite horror movie of the year. Where to begin with the South Korean horror film The Wailing. I was intimidated by the 2 1/2 hour runtime at first. But in the end, I kinda wanted another 2 1/2 hours. That should pretty much sum it up. The acting across the board was terrific (the little possessed girl should get an award) and there was just enough lightheartedness (gotta love bumbling Asian cops) to balance out the creepiness that builds as the story goes on. The ‘death hex’ scene might be one of my favorite scenes in a horror movie (or any movie for that matter) in a long time. A-pluses all around for The Wailing!
HONORABLE MENTIONS: The Conjuring 2, Lights Out, The Witch, Hush, The Neon Demon, Green Room
5. Rob Zombie’s 31
Ease back Rob Zombie supporters. Before you stab me with a pitchfork and burn down my house, just know that I love pretty much everything that is Rob Zombie. But I’m sorry, I cannot like a movie just for the sake of liking it if it has his name attached. Let us speak the truth here: 31 was boring until Doom-Head shows up (after his great opening scene of course). And Richard Brake’s portrayal of that character catapulted him into legendary horror villain status. But after that, what are we left with in 31? A Nazi midget that talks way too much? Bad camera movements to capture the onscreen action? More bad acting from Sheri Moon Zombie? I’ll still support Rob Zombie, but I can’t support 31 – save for Richard Brake’s amazing performance.
One of my biggest fears is getting bitten by a bug and then having that bug lay eggs inside me. The eggs hatch, and I have a thousand little baby bugs burrowing through my body. My other biggest fear is watching a shit horror movie called Bite that takes that concept and fucks it up royally. At least if you’re going to take this concept and run with it, give me some balls-to-the-wall gore. Nope. Instead we get nuts-to-the-knees gore and atrocious acting. To quote from my original review, Bite really does bite.
Holy hell. Smiley made the list again even though it’s been out for over 4 years??? What a feat that is! Smiley, you will never go away from this list. You will stay here like a POW. You will remain a stain on my 10-year-old underwear. And you will like it and enjoy it, because you’re a fucking moron.
2. The Boy
Nothing worse than a movie that has a somewhat interesting premise and then tosses it out the window mid-way through for no real apparent reason. Such was my experience with The Boy. Creepy doll? Ok, I’m in. Maggie from The Walking Dead? Ok, I’m still here. A ridiculous reveal about a boy/man living in the walls that voids out any creepiness that the creepy doll had? FML. Got so bad that I almost went back to Redbox and demanded my $1 back. Yeah, that bad.
1. Cabin Fever (Remake)
Luckily even though I’m 40, I still have a majority of my hair left on my head. But after watching the Cabin Fever remake, I might need to start wearing baseball hats. Pointless, pointless, pointless. Did I mention pointless? That about sums up this clusterfuck. When I originally posted on news that this remake was happening, I didn’t mince my words. And the director actually contacted me and asked me to let him know what I thought about the final product when I saw it. Well, I’m guessing the #1 spot on this list is enough of a thought. I’m still baffled that Eli Roth signed off on this – but I get it. Actually no, I don’t get it. Whatever. This movie is shit and that’s about as nicely as I can put it. Wouldn’t be a year in horror without some shit though! 🙂
DISHONORABLE MENTIONS: The Other Side Of The Door, The Forest, Martyrs (remake)
Alright, so there you have it folks. Honestly, after looking at my ‘Best Of’ list – 2016 wasn’t a bad year for horror at all. Most of my ‘Honorable Mentions’ could have easily been in my Top 5 (especially The Witch and Green Room), so some of them are interchangeable. Here’s too even more spooky goodness in 2017 and here’s to all of you having a safe and Happy New Year! Except you, Smiley.