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Horror


 

The last few years have been good the horror genre. One could almost say there has been a renaissance of sorts. With the newest horror master, James Wan leading the charge with The Conjuring and Insidious franchises, we can only expect things to get better. 2016 was a damn good year for scaring our faces off, and here is a compilation of our favorites.

#10 – Hush

Hush is another in the ranks of the recently popular home invasion niche of the horror genre. Similar to Don’t Breathe, it’s tension and story is centered around one of the main character’s senses being non-existent. Sure we can all imagine what we would do in home invasion situation, but it’s harder to fathom surviving a home invasion without your hearing. Made on a budget of $1 million, shot in less than a month and focusing on two characters the majority of the film, Hush works in its simplicity. The movie is terrifying in its unexplained masked antagonist and moments of knowing that something is coming before the main character Maddie (Kate Siegel) can hear it. I can’t even count the number of times I wanted to warn her in each scene before something would happen since the film engages with you on such a level. This is one of two movies on this list starring John Gallagher Jr., and one of three horror films directed by Mike Flanagan in 2016, so it’s safe to say we can expect a lot more horror goodness from both of them in the coming future. Flanagan’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game is due out this year and we can’t wait!  – S. Sanchez

Hush

#9 – The Monster

The Monster is simply what the title suggests. A tale of a monster in the woods terrorizing a mother and daughter who find themselves stranded on the road. The Monster may have a simplistic title, but the film itself explores the fractured relationship between the mother and daughter as they fight for survival. The third horror movie from The Strangers director Bryan Bertino, The Monster makes you contemplate how you’d potentially spend your final moments with someone you love, and it’s genuinely terrifying. Even more terrifying and awesome at the same time is the monster. This movie bumped it’s way up on the list due to the fantastic practical effects used with such perfection. In a CG-ridden world of cinema, The Monster is a gem of the old school horror creature feature. – S. Sanchez

The Monster

#8 – Pet

Pet might start off reminding you of a torture/hostage movie along the lines of Captivity or even The Collector, but you’d really be doing yourself a favor by taking a chance on this film. Hell, maybe you like movies like The Collector and this will be right up your alley. Dominic Monaghan is the leading man and Ksenia Solo plays the object of his so-so creepy obsession. As we follow his desperate attempts at courtship, the film will make you question the very notion of love and acceptance. Directed by Carles Torrens and written by Jeremy Slater – showrunner of Fox’s The Exorcist series Pet is one of the most original tales of horror this year with major psychological twists and turns. – S. Sanchez

Pet

#7 – The Conjuring 2

A solid follow-up to one of the better ghost stories we’ve seen in recent years, The Conjuring 2 goes back to the files of Ed and Lorraine Warren as they head to London in 1977 to see if they can’t help the Hodgson family. Director James Wan returned to the franchise after handing things over to John R. Leonetti for the spin-off Annabelle in 2014. Wan has continued to hone his horror chops over the past decade, and there is no discernable step back here. Fans of the first Conjuring movie, and of the Warrens, are well serviced with this installment. Possessions and hauntings, doubters and skeptics, a Demonic nun and a creepy old man who just wants his recliner back – it’s got it all! – B. Kronner

conjuring 2

#6 – Green Room

Green Room certainly doesn’t have monsters who attack from a dark forest road, or when there’s no light around, but human monsters are often scarier than make-believe ones because it reminds you that they are out there and among us. It also makes that question of “what would I do” run through your head the entire time. After a group of young rockers see something that they aren’t supposed to, it becomes a 90 minute battle of survival that is filmed beautifully under the direction of Jeremy Saulnier. I honestly can’t wait for the next film from Saulnier, whether it’s horror or not. Unfortunately, his next project won’t have the gone-too-soon Anton Yelchin in it, but perhaps he can get Patrick Stewart back for another stand out performance. Stewart was cold, calculating and just flat out amazing in this movie. Alia Shawkat and Imogen Poots (Fright Night reunion) also have great performances in the film. If you don’t mind plenty of violence, gore and mounting tension then this movie is for you. – S. Sanchez

Green Room

#5 – The Witch

The Witch is an incredibly divisive film. Yes, it’s a horror movie, but The Witch is anything but traditional. You may not even be able to explain why at times throughout the film that it makes you feel unsettled. The story takes place in what is probably best described as a bleak era in human history; the 1630’s. A time when religion was at the forefront of everyone’s lives and witches were actually thought to run rampant in the forests of colonial America. Accusations of witchcraft were used in those times to persecute plenty of folks. The only thing more frightening than that is the thought of what if there really were witches out there. Enter the family of William and Katherine, along with their children, who are excommunicated from the church and their village to fend for themselves on their corn farm. Things seem promising at first until the family’s baby vanishes while in the care of the oldest daughter Thomasin, played fabulously by Anya Taylor-Joy. What occurs from that point on can only be described as a slow decay of the family’s trust and sanity. From creepy kids to an even creepier goat, The Witch will leave you unnerved and weirded out. We can’t wait to see what director Robert Eggers can do with a horror icon like Nosferatu in his follow up horror feature. – S. Sanchez

The Witch

#4 – 10 Cloverfield Lane 

The loosely connected follow-up to the 2008 film by nearly the same name, 10 Cloverfield Lane gave John Goodman a real opportunity to shine in the kind of role he’s not usually known for. It also provided yet another project for Mary Elizabeth Winstead to prove herself a true gift to genre films. The small cast and confined setting make for an intimate storytelling experience and deliver great tension and suspense. The Dan Trachtenberg directed movie was a perfect example of a layered story, with escalating threats and a plethora of mystery to wade through. The acting is superb all around, and the soundtrack is deceivingly well thought out, adding not only to the tone of the film, but to Goodman’s character as well. John Gallagher Jr. rounds out the impressive trio of players in what was not only one of the scarier movies of the year, but one of the better ones overall. – B. Kronner

10clover-dinner

#3 – Lights Out

Being afraid of the dark; Probably the oldest fear known to mankind. Add a creepy shadow-monster-lady that tries to murder you when the lights go out, and that kind of heightens the fear, so obviously – Lights Out merits a high ranking on our list. This film takes a staple of the genre that fan have long taken issue with – and flips it. The uninspired jump scares so prevalent in lesser films are still used here, the only difference is that each one is punctuated by the unnerving and spine-tingling visage of Diana, the feature’s resident creature. Inspired by the roughly two and a half minute short film of the same name, Lights Out scored an impressive worldwide gross of $148 million on a minuscule budget of $4.9 million, making it one of the most profitable horror flicks of the year, and all but securing a sequel for our future trauma. – S. Sanchez

Lights Out

 #2 – Train to Busan

In a world that has The Walking Dead smashing TV ratings the past few years, and now sporting a spin off from the same brand, it’s easy to be skeptical of another zombie genre film. They’ve done plenty of things to draw from the zombie well, including the zombie with feelings in Warm Bodies and zombie commercialization in Fido, so just as it would seem the zombie concept is running out of steam; Enter Train to Busan. Written and directed by South Korean filmmaker Yeon Sang-ho; this movie’s title basically gives away the whole ‘zombies on a train’ concept, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a movie about zombies on a train with this much heart, and so many great, memorable characters. I can’t recall ever watching a movie centered around zombies that had moments where I teared up. The movie never got a wide American release, which is absolutely criminal based on the pure awesomeness of the film, but you can find it now on streaming services, and it’s well worth the price of either purchase or rental. Expect to soon see an eventual American remake that won’t be nearly as good. – S. Sanchez

Train to Busan

 #1 – Don’t Breathe

Don’t Breathe is the second feature film from up and comer Fede Alvarez, and it is a masterpiece of suspense. Don’t Breathe has a little twist to it that cranks up the tension a few notches; not only is the home owner that our motley crew of burglars chooses blind, he’s also a bit of a lethal killing machine. Stephen Lang shines with a commanding performance as the Blind Man, who is not able to spout much dialogue due to the nature of the plot situation, but that only enhances the impact of the film. There is a great technical group assembled on this film to work with Alvarez. Since the characters definitely shouldn’t talk or make any sound, that gives Jonathan Miller‘s sound design a chance to shine, which it does very well. Cinematographer Pedro Luque also gives us a visual playground in this film, going over every square inch of the house as the main characters navigate its labyrinth-like interior to survive. Slightly reminiscent of People Under the Stairs, there isn’t a hint of the humor found in the old Wes Craven movie. Don’t Breathe keeps you on your toes until the very end and leaves you breathless (yeah, I did it). Not to mention you’ll never feel the same way when basting your turkey on Thanksgiving. – S. Sanchez

dont breathe

We can only hope for the horror goodness to keep rocking in 2017, though the slew of reboots and remakes may put a damper on that. Sound off in the comments and let us know what your favorite movies of 2016 were!


Images: A24, Screen Gems, Paramount Pictures
Next Entertainment World, Blumhouse Productions,
Intrepid Pictures, Stage 6 Films, Orion Pictures,
Samuel Goldwyn Films, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. 

GEEK Year in Review: Top Ten Horror Films of 2016

2016 was quietly one of the best years the Horror genre has had in a very long time.

By Stephen Sanchez | 01/7/2017 11:48 AM PT | Updated 01/15/2018 12:12 PM PT

Lists

The last few years have been good the horror genre. One could almost say there has been a renaissance of sorts. With the newest horror master, James Wan leading the charge with The Conjuring and Insidious franchises, we can only expect things to get better. 2016 was a damn good year for scaring our faces off, and here is a compilation of our favorites.

#10 – Hush

Hush is another in the ranks of the recently popular home invasion niche of the horror genre. Similar to Don’t Breathe, it’s tension and story is centered around one of the main character’s senses being non-existent. Sure we can all imagine what we would do in home invasion situation, but it’s harder to fathom surviving a home invasion without your hearing. Made on a budget of $1 million, shot in less than a month and focusing on two characters the majority of the film, Hush works in its simplicity. The movie is terrifying in its unexplained masked antagonist and moments of knowing that something is coming before the main character Maddie (Kate Siegel) can hear it. I can’t even count the number of times I wanted to warn her in each scene before something would happen since the film engages with you on such a level. This is one of two movies on this list starring John Gallagher Jr., and one of three horror films directed by Mike Flanagan in 2016, so it’s safe to say we can expect a lot more horror goodness from both of them in the coming future. Flanagan’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game is due out this year and we can’t wait!  – S. Sanchez

Hush

#9 – The Monster

The Monster is simply what the title suggests. A tale of a monster in the woods terrorizing a mother and daughter who find themselves stranded on the road. The Monster may have a simplistic title, but the film itself explores the fractured relationship between the mother and daughter as they fight for survival. The third horror movie from The Strangers director Bryan Bertino, The Monster makes you contemplate how you’d potentially spend your final moments with someone you love, and it’s genuinely terrifying. Even more terrifying and awesome at the same time is the monster. This movie bumped it’s way up on the list due to the fantastic practical effects used with such perfection. In a CG-ridden world of cinema, The Monster is a gem of the old school horror creature feature. – S. Sanchez

The Monster

#8 – Pet

Pet might start off reminding you of a torture/hostage movie along the lines of Captivity or even The Collector, but you’d really be doing yourself a favor by taking a chance on this film. Hell, maybe you like movies like The Collector and this will be right up your alley. Dominic Monaghan is the leading man and Ksenia Solo plays the object of his so-so creepy obsession. As we follow his desperate attempts at courtship, the film will make you question the very notion of love and acceptance. Directed by Carles Torrens and written by Jeremy Slater – showrunner of Fox’s The Exorcist series Pet is one of the most original tales of horror this year with major psychological twists and turns. – S. Sanchez

Pet

#7 – The Conjuring 2

A solid follow-up to one of the better ghost stories we’ve seen in recent years, The Conjuring 2 goes back to the files of Ed and Lorraine Warren as they head to London in 1977 to see if they can’t help the Hodgson family. Director James Wan returned to the franchise after handing things over to John R. Leonetti for the spin-off Annabelle in 2014. Wan has continued to hone his horror chops over the past decade, and there is no discernable step back here. Fans of the first Conjuring movie, and of the Warrens, are well serviced with this installment. Possessions and hauntings, doubters and skeptics, a Demonic nun and a creepy old man who just wants his recliner back – it’s got it all! – B. Kronner

conjuring 2

#6 – Green Room

Green Room certainly doesn’t have monsters who attack from a dark forest road, or when there’s no light around, but human monsters are often scarier than make-believe ones because it reminds you that they are out there and among us. It also makes that question of “what would I do” run through your head the entire time. After a group of young rockers see something that they aren’t supposed to, it becomes a 90 minute battle of survival that is filmed beautifully under the direction of Jeremy Saulnier. I honestly can’t wait for the next film from Saulnier, whether it’s horror or not. Unfortunately, his next project won’t have the gone-too-soon Anton Yelchin in it, but perhaps he can get Patrick Stewart back for another stand out performance. Stewart was cold, calculating and just flat out amazing in this movie. Alia Shawkat and Imogen Poots (Fright Night reunion) also have great performances in the film. If you don’t mind plenty of violence, gore and mounting tension then this movie is for you. – S. Sanchez

Green Room

#5 – The Witch

The Witch is an incredibly divisive film. Yes, it’s a horror movie, but The Witch is anything but traditional. You may not even be able to explain why at times throughout the film that it makes you feel unsettled. The story takes place in what is probably best described as a bleak era in human history; the 1630’s. A time when religion was at the forefront of everyone’s lives and witches were actually thought to run rampant in the forests of colonial America. Accusations of witchcraft were used in those times to persecute plenty of folks. The only thing more frightening than that is the thought of what if there really were witches out there. Enter the family of William and Katherine, along with their children, who are excommunicated from the church and their village to fend for themselves on their corn farm. Things seem promising at first until the family’s baby vanishes while in the care of the oldest daughter Thomasin, played fabulously by Anya Taylor-Joy. What occurs from that point on can only be described as a slow decay of the family’s trust and sanity. From creepy kids to an even creepier goat, The Witch will leave you unnerved and weirded out. We can’t wait to see what director Robert Eggers can do with a horror icon like Nosferatu in his follow up horror feature. – S. Sanchez

The Witch

#4 – 10 Cloverfield Lane 

The loosely connected follow-up to the 2008 film by nearly the same name, 10 Cloverfield Lane gave John Goodman a real opportunity to shine in the kind of role he’s not usually known for. It also provided yet another project for Mary Elizabeth Winstead to prove herself a true gift to genre films. The small cast and confined setting make for an intimate storytelling experience and deliver great tension and suspense. The Dan Trachtenberg directed movie was a perfect example of a layered story, with escalating threats and a plethora of mystery to wade through. The acting is superb all around, and the soundtrack is deceivingly well thought out, adding not only to the tone of the film, but to Goodman’s character as well. John Gallagher Jr. rounds out the impressive trio of players in what was not only one of the scarier movies of the year, but one of the better ones overall. – B. Kronner

10clover-dinner

#3 – Lights Out

Being afraid of the dark; Probably the oldest fear known to mankind. Add a creepy shadow-monster-lady that tries to murder you when the lights go out, and that kind of heightens the fear, so obviously – Lights Out merits a high ranking on our list. This film takes a staple of the genre that fan have long taken issue with – and flips it. The uninspired jump scares so prevalent in lesser films are still used here, the only difference is that each one is punctuated by the unnerving and spine-tingling visage of Diana, the feature’s resident creature. Inspired by the roughly two and a half minute short film of the same name, Lights Out scored an impressive worldwide gross of $148 million on a minuscule budget of $4.9 million, making it one of the most profitable horror flicks of the year, and all but securing a sequel for our future trauma. – S. Sanchez

Lights Out

 #2 – Train to Busan

In a world that has The Walking Dead smashing TV ratings the past few years, and now sporting a spin off from the same brand, it’s easy to be skeptical of another zombie genre film. They’ve done plenty of things to draw from the zombie well, including the zombie with feelings in Warm Bodies and zombie commercialization in Fido, so just as it would seem the zombie concept is running out of steam; Enter Train to Busan. Written and directed by South Korean filmmaker Yeon Sang-ho; this movie’s title basically gives away the whole ‘zombies on a train’ concept, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a movie about zombies on a train with this much heart, and so many great, memorable characters. I can’t recall ever watching a movie centered around zombies that had moments where I teared up. The movie never got a wide American release, which is absolutely criminal based on the pure awesomeness of the film, but you can find it now on streaming services, and it’s well worth the price of either purchase or rental. Expect to soon see an eventual American remake that won’t be nearly as good. – S. Sanchez

Train to Busan

 #1 – Don’t Breathe

Don’t Breathe is the second feature film from up and comer Fede Alvarez, and it is a masterpiece of suspense. Don’t Breathe has a little twist to it that cranks up the tension a few notches; not only is the home owner that our motley crew of burglars chooses blind, he’s also a bit of a lethal killing machine. Stephen Lang shines with a commanding performance as the Blind Man, who is not able to spout much dialogue due to the nature of the plot situation, but that only enhances the impact of the film. There is a great technical group assembled on this film to work with Alvarez. Since the characters definitely shouldn’t talk or make any sound, that gives Jonathan Miller‘s sound design a chance to shine, which it does very well. Cinematographer Pedro Luque also gives us a visual playground in this film, going over every square inch of the house as the main characters navigate its labyrinth-like interior to survive. Slightly reminiscent of People Under the Stairs, there isn’t a hint of the humor found in the old Wes Craven movie. Don’t Breathe keeps you on your toes until the very end and leaves you breathless (yeah, I did it). Not to mention you’ll never feel the same way when basting your turkey on Thanksgiving. – S. Sanchez

dont breathe

We can only hope for the horror goodness to keep rocking in 2017, though the slew of reboots and remakes may put a damper on that. Sound off in the comments and let us know what your favorite movies of 2016 were!


Images: A24, Screen Gems, Paramount Pictures
Next Entertainment World, Blumhouse Productions,
Intrepid Pictures, Stage 6 Films, Orion Pictures,
Samuel Goldwyn Films, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. 

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