This is the first of a series of 2016 Year-in-Review lists that I’ll be doing, here at the March. Honestly, I’m holding off on most of them because there are still quite a few 2016 movies that I need to see (they’re slowly expanding into my area) and I want to give those a chance to make these lists, for better or for worse. However, there are no horror movies left, so I figured I’d go ahead and do this one. The other lists will roll out at random times and it’s likely it will be the end of January before we get to the big one: The Top 25 Films of 2016. That’s right, I couldn’t stop at 10! But, that’s for another time. For now, let’s get to . . .
THE TOP 5 HORROR MOVIES OF 2016
What qualifies a “top” movie, exactly? Well, these are the ones I liked the most. Pretty simple. Also, the definition of “horror” is always open to a little bit of interpretation, but if there was any sort of sense of foreboding doom from a human or supernatural source combined with heightened suspense, I considered it to be horror. So, let’s get started with number 5!
5. The Purge: Election Year
Not only was The Purge: Election Year a gripping, thrill ride of a movie, but it continued the tradition of the Purge series by being eerily prescient and timely, full of poignant political commentary and observations about the direction in which our society seems to be heading if we allow it to continue down its current path. Throw in excellent performances by Frank Grillo (he owns this part) and Elizabeth Mitchell and you have a little gem that was buried in the midst of bigger-budget summer releases. (Original post.)
4. Ouija: Origin of Evil
No political commentaries, no social satire – Ouija: Origin of Evil is just a good, old-fashioned, scary movie. Possession films have been all the rage, lately, and many of them are forgettable. But some stand out above the others, and Origin of Evil is one of those stand-outs. It resonated well enough with audiences, grossing nine times its budget, and was overwhelmingly superior to its 2014 predecessor. Check this one out, if you haven’t, yet. (Original post.)
3. The Witch
I liked The Witch quite a bit upon my theatrical viewing, but when I re-watched it on blu-ray, I loved it. The difference? Subtitles! Yes, that’s right! The cast in this film is amazing. They are so amazing, replicating 17th century New England accents so authentically, that I could only understand about 75% of what they were saying (some characters, less). This is the only English-speaking film for which I’ve ever used subtitles but, once I did, I was absolutely transfixed by all of the subtleties of the film. Despite the fact that it’s mostly talk and not a lot of action, the 90 minutes flew by to the degree that it felt like I lost time. Throw in a star-making performance by Anya Taylor-Joy and The Witch is a an art house horror winner for lovers of sophisticated filmmaking! (Original post.)
2. 10 Cloverfield Lane
10 Cloverfield Lane was one of the most exciting, gripping filmgoing experiences of the entire year. It’s classic simple-and-effective storytelling – a combination of suspense, mystery, and . . . well, I’m not going to say. John Goodman got all of the press (and he was fantastic as always) but Mary Elizabeth Winstead is the heart of the film, a completely sympathetic protagonist who uses her brain and her body in unison to survive. Smart, strong, and resourceful, her Michelle functions as the hero and the audience surrogate, allowing us to join her on the wildest ride of any of our lives, from the everyday horrors of life to the unbelievable ones we don’t want to imagine. (Original post.)
1. The Conjuring 2
This wasn’t even close. The Conjuring 2 is not only the best horror movie of the year, without question, but it’s one of the best films of the year, period. Aside from containing what, for me, is the single most terrifying scene I’ve ever seen in a film, the series maintains its pattern of making the stories about the people, first. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are invaluable in their roles as real-life paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren. They keep the proceedings grounded and inject immeasurable warmth and humanity into what would otherwise be cold, cynical films. There’s a scene with Patrick Wilson and a guitar that almost makes the movie for me (along with the above-mentioned scarefest and the soft, delicate closing) and it’s those moments that set the Conjuring films so far above its genre competition. This film is easily the greatest horror sequel ever made and casually conquers the rest of the field to claim the crown as the Best Horror Film of 2016! (Original post.)
One list down! An indeterminate number yet to come! At . . . uh . . . some random times in the future! Until then, I hope you all have a happy new year! Ring it in with some 2016 scares and by following us on Facebook!