There were so many real-life horrors in 2016 that the fictional side of the genre was almost rendered obsolete. In any case, I felt that it was a fairly average year for horror movies overall with a few genuinely exceptional films being found along with a whole heap of shit.
1. Don’t Breathe – I wasn’t a fan of Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake, but I would love to see more mainstream wide release horror films like Don’t Breathe and less like The Conjuring 2. Stephen Lang gave such a haunting performance as the blind and almost likable (he was only defending his home) Norman Nordstrom that I’d love to see him come back for a sequel.
2. The Purge: Election Year – With The Purge, we have a rare example of a franchise that actually gets better with each installment. What really made Election Year stand out was how it tried to get to the meat and bones of what would compel voters to support the insane idea of legalizing all crime for one night. Seeing as we live in a world where Donald Trump will soon be in the White House, it may not even be as far-fetched as it sounds.
3. 10 Cloverfield Lane – I wish it hadn’t been PG-13, but goddamn, John Goodman was great in this. It was one of the best things I’ve seen him in for a while, and that’s saying something as he seems to be in pretty much every other film these days. The way that it also makes you think and leaves you to fill in the blanks yourself, instead of talking down to its audience, was also commendable.
4. Independence Day: Resurgence – Yes, I liked Independence Day: Resurgence. Got a problem with that? I’ll admit that there were far too many subplots and characters packed into the 120-minute runtime, but this still had me on the edge of my seat from start of finish. The battle with the giant queen at the end was also one of the most memorable visual spectacles of 2016. Too bad that with a total worldwide gross of $389,681,935, we won’t get the proposed third movie, which was promised to have been an “intergalactic journey.” Sigh.
1. 31 – The Devil’s Rejects is one of my favorite horror movies of all time so I’m really disappointed with Mr. Zombie this year for churning out a dull, by-the-numbers snoozefest which lacks even a single memorable character or line of dialogue. And Doom-Head is no Otis Driftwood.
2. Blair Witch – I know, I know… the criticism that I’m about to make was made by a million other people, but Blair Witch was pretty much a carbon copy of the original. The only significant change was that it traded genuine, built-up suspense in favor of cheap jump scares. The found footage subgenre just needs to die.
3. The Conjuring 2 – As a lifelong horror fan, I really don’t feel comfortable with the sudden upsurge of gore-free, jump scare-focused films that seem to have overtaken the genre. The Conjuring 2 is a prime offender, with an over-reliance on jump scares and little onscreen blood that if Warner Bros. tried to appeal the rating to the MPAA, they probably could have got it lowered to a PG-13 without making any cuts or edits.
By the way, if I called the police to investigate a disturbance and they told me that my house was haunted, I think I’d put in a complaint to my local council about the fact that my tax dollars went towards such poor law enforcement training. And knowing the name of a demon/ghost/whatever allows you to defeat it? I guess they forgot to tell that to every other horror movie character ever. And don’t get me started on those damn exaggerated Cockney accents…
4. Ghostbusters – I have no time or respect for the SJWs who say that anyone who criticizes this year’s Ghostbusters reboot is a filthy misogynist. I’m all for seeing more blockbusters led by female protagonists, but the sad truth is that not only was Ghostbusters painfully unfunny, but it also desperately tried to evoke feeling of nostalgia for the original classic in an almost desperate attempt to resonate with audiences. Paul Feig repeatedly turned down the chance to direct the film, so clearly he had no interest in the source material, a fact that is all too apparent everywhere you look.
Side Note: I have nothing but respect for Disney for releasing not one, but two Star Wars movies featuring female protagonists. And unlike Ghostbusters, their films were actually good.
5. Dead Rising: Endgame – This sequel takes everything that made its processor mildly enjoyably and sticks it where the sun don’t shine. No Rob Riggle, no humor, and a huge decrease in gore made this quite possibly the worst zombie film of the year.
- Anthony Arrigo’s Best and Worst of 2016
- Matt Boiselle’s Best and Worst of 2016
- April Marie’s Best and Worst of 2016
- David Gelmini’s Best and Worst of 2016
- Mr. Dark’s Best and Worst of 2016
- Foywonder’s Best and Worst of 2016
- Ted Hentschke’s Best and Worst of 2016
- Gareth Jones’ Best and Worst of 2016
- Matt Molgaard’s Best and Worst of 2016
- Debi Moore’s Best and Worst of 2016
- Matt Serafini’s Best and Worst of 2016
- Uncle Creepy’s Best and Worst of 2016
- Kevin D. Clark’s Best and Worst of 2016 – Comics Style