The Best and Worst Horror films of 2016 (so far)
It has been rather a mixed bag of horror releases so far in 2016, as some of the best horror outings in years have graced us just within just the first 6 months. But also in that bag, we have the ones festering at the bottom, just waiting to see the light of day just once to show the viewer a much different type of horror. Our resident horror fanatic Ray Watson has decided to take stock and compile a list of the top 5 best and worst horror films we've seen this year.
The best films of this year were quite easy to separate from the rest of the herd, simply because there was such disparity between the two categories. However, trimming it down to just these few wasn't the easiest task - I've had to leave out some of my favourite films of the year so far.
That's why my Honourable Mention goes to:
Stylistically the most impressive of this bunch, but also horrifying and grotesque to the extreme, I can’t recommend this film simply because it unnerved me so much that I couldn't even finish it. But if you have a strong sense of courage, this one goes easily into the top 5 releases of this year.
And now on with the official list:
1. The Witch
Easily the prettiest horror film I’ve seen this year, or possibly ever. The purely natural surroundings provide a gorgeous backdrop to this unnerving folk tale of age old, devilish design. Some may find fault in its pacing for being too slow, but personally I found the pacing spot-on for the tone of the film.
2. Green Room
Relentless, intense, grueling, jarring, adjectives. If the previous words hold for you any notion of a good time, then this film will suit you right down to the floor. The complete opposite of my number one, this film starts ominous, slowly rising in discomfort and dread, and then…well, it’s more sort of a try in and see sort of affair, but it’s definitely worth your time. Check out our full review of the film here.
3. The Conjuring 2
This film remains in much the same garb as the original, only flashier and with even more spooky makeup. What some might consider a good sequel should do is essentially achieved in full here. Bigger and darker than the original, but less tightly focused this film pretty much represents a perfect Hollywood sequel.
Simply the most fun and entertaining film so far this year. Southbound follows in the footsteps of the many, surprisingly high calibre horror anthology films to come out in recent years. More playful than any other film on this list, but full of enough novel, well connected ideas to make it one of this years best.
This is a film of starkly minimal concept, with a minimal focus that could have so easily made it a dull affair. It instead uses its very basic theming to its advantage in this tense horror thriller. Hush manages to find that tricky intersection between Hollywood accessibility and originality whilst still being faithful to its roots as a contemporary slasher flick. For fans of the genre, this is easily ahead of the pack.
5 Worst Films of 2016
Attempting to make a list of the worst films so far in 2016 was a much harder task, each new day brought a new grueling challenge, most typically trying to get through an entirety of a film without losing concentration in one hit. As difficult as it was, I managed to narrow it down to the following 5:
1. The Veil
Well now, what a way to begin. This was quite simply the worst horror movie I have ever watched, even in one foul dose it became nearly impossible to concentrate through each tepid sequence of droll dialogue about some poorly thought out religious cult. The attempt at atmosphere basically boiled down to contorted religious imagery, long-abandoned houses, and a filter that was so grey that the people who thought this was a good idea might just scare me more than the premise itself. I don't know much about acting, but I’m pretty sure Jessica Alba wasn't doing it.
2. The Forest
Starring Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer, this film manages to hit its mark. Its mark I’m assuming was to be box office trash. This is thoroughly unfortunate because it has such a promising premise, being set in a beautiful Japanese forest, which is given just the minimum amount of screen time for you to be sure that you’re still in the forest. It fails to be scary or inventive, with cheesy jump-scares exactly where you expect where and how you would expect them if you significantly lower your standards. Star power and setting do not even come close to saving this drab and sluggish affair of a film.
3. The Boy
Starring another popular television show actor, Lauren Cohan from The Walking Dead, this is another film with a fun, but not wholly memorable premise but at least is executed with only a little more class. Unfortunately, the spooky doll genre of film is basically inherently silly, which meant that no matter how hard it tried to be slow and atmospheric it was still limited by its own premise. But if you don't manage to guess the ending, and can stand a little (or a lot) of poorly driven romantic drivel, this might end up not being such a bad a time for you as it was for me.
4. The Other Side of the Door
Starring another cast member of The Walking Dead (Sarah Wayne Callies), I’m struggling to remember what I liked about this film, and it seems to come down to the fact that it didn't do anything that I hated. The acting was fine for the most part, except the child actors but that's a different story, and the general vibe was pretty creepy and not overly reliant on cheap scares. Whilst probably still not worth your time, this movie was just un-mediocre enough to warrant a wary pass from me.
5. Cabin Fever
This one may not sit in with popular opinion, but I really don't think this movie was that terrible. As a remake of a 2002 Eli Roth film, it struck me as just well-paced enough to not be immediately thrown in the trash. That being said, I haven’t seen the original, and I’m not altogether sure why it was remade, but for a horror movie so clearly aimed at teens it has just enough of the usual traits to make it a little bit worthy of your time (the movie also has possibly the dumbest death scenes of the year, see if you can find it!).