The temptation to jump right into about 10 different jokes about how much 2016 sucked runs strong, but now that we’re almost through it, none of them seems particularly funny. I’ll just get right to the movies.
The Witch – It’s a source of controversy, and I have no idea why, but The Witch isn’t just the best horror movie of 2016… it’s one of the best movies of the year, period. It’s a masterpiece, that rare gem of a perfect film. Everything came together exactly right for first-time feature director Robert Eggers, making an instant star of Anya Taylor-Joy in a harrowing tale of every Puritan’s nightmare come true.
The Conjuring 2 – James Wan can do no wrong. The man just keeps putting out the best cinema one film after the other. This is a sequel, and it’s a case that really didn’t involve the Warrens very much at all, which makes it a weak choice to adapt to film. And yet, the movie is genius. Gorgeous, meticulously crafted genius.
Lights Out – Wan again, in a way. I have to believe he had a hand in guiding the adaptation of David Sandberg’s terrifying short film. Having rock star screenwriter Eric Heisserer on board to handle scripting duties couldn’t have hurt. A great monster, a great mythos, an original concept, and strong execution made for one of the year’s best.
Last Girl Standing – This one held up to the competition to make it into my final five. This indie debuted at Texas Frightmare Weekend this year, and it kicked my ass. Part character drama examining trauma survivors, part indie romance, part slasher movie, it’s a real gem.
The Ones I Haven’t Seen – No, that isn’t a film title. Despite my best efforts, I missed a few this year. Part of that is due to some very late releases, such as The Autopsy of Jane Doe and Abattoir. I also haven’t tracked down Train to Busan yet, and given my love for Korean horror, I expect that one to be awesome. I also somehow managed to skip hot properties like The Neon Demon and Under The Shadow. So I’m giving this last slot to the ones I haven’t seen. I’m confident one or more of these would have made the list, but 2016 was such a great year for horror the output overcame my ability to input.
I don’t like “worst” lists. They’re inherently incorrect. I watch a lot of really horrible movies that get dumped on the various streaming services every year. There are dozens of these that could fill “worst” lists till the end of time. What you’re really looking for here are well-known movies that someone didn’t like, so I’ll serve up a dose of that. Here are some movies you’ve heard of that I didn’t dig.
The Forest – One of the most aggressively, insultingly stupid movies I’ve ever seen. A great concept, based on a real location, and yet they manage to just completely waste every bit of it on this drivel.
Don’t Breathe – Yeah, yeah, I’m in a small crowd with this one, but it’s the winner of this year’s It Follows Award for most overrated horror film. Much like the aforementioned oh-so-hip choice, a horrible script kills this one. Everyone does incredibly stupid things repeatedly; yet, we’re supposed to either love or hate them. Our villain is kind of an anti-hero but has a mania that doesn’t even play by its own rules. Then we have the non-ending that makes even less sense than the story so far. I have no idea what everyone sees in this one.
31 – I kinda hate to kick a guy when he’s down, but people need to stop giving Rob Zombie money to make movies. He’s got talent, but only when reined in by producers who can keep his creations watchable. Lords of Salem was good, I thought, but this is a thousand steps back. A flaccid excuse to show a bunch of his favorite actors in ultraviolent combat with a bunch of freaks, there’s no story here. You don’t care about anyone, you have no investment in anything, it’s just a bunch of people kicking the crap out of other people while wearing funny clothing. Zombie needs therapy and a screenwriter; then we may get a good movie out of him again.
Now, here’s to a better 2017. Honestly, the Sweet Relief Meteor could strike January 2nd, and it’d still be a better year than this one.
- 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