Dread Central’s Best and Worst Horror Films of 2016
Train to Busan
I don’t know what to say except a bunch of superlatives you’ve likely already been privy to on the film’s posters, so I’ll just leave it at this: The genre event of the year. That’s it.
The Unkindness of Ravens
Director Lawrie Brewster and his writing compatriot Sarah Daly step up their game from the impressively Henry James-like Lord of Tears to deliver a completely different – and staggeringly creatively minded – animal. A bravely discombobulating visual narrative and a much more than puddle deep probing of the effects of PTSD make for a horror experience that genuinely stands out. We’re in the growth stages of a bona fide auteur here folks… keep an eye on him.
Jeremy Saulnier goes three for three with this unbelievably brutal survival horror. A more than fitting swan song for the tragically departed Anton Yelchin, Green Room is wall-to-wall dismay on a distinctly human level. Consistently tense, and completely unafraid to rip everything away from you without even a moment’s notice, Saulnier’s film also sees Patrick Stewart at his most quietly malevolent.
Astron-6 cohorts Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski take a detour from the usual comedy-horror leanings of their collective to bring us an exercise in sheer terror and stunningly rendered monster madness. Dishing up practical effects galore, The Void delivers the gooey goods without compromising on the fear factor. Sure, the story itself is a bit lacking in the end, but there were very few more intense experiences in 2016.
What looks like your standard glossy “obsessed nutcase kidnaps the object of his affection” flick flips the script in brilliant style, anchored by eminently impressive performances by its two leads. Assured direction, an intelligent script and nuanced character work makes this one of the most absorbing psycho-thrillers of the year.
A remake that takes the camp of the original and manages not to pay homage to it, but to rip it out and replace it with utter incompetence. Unintentionally hilarious (and not in a good way), populated by horrible performances and an even more horrible script, 2016’s Blood Feast is a legitimately worthless mess that doesn’t even live up to its ultra-gory aspirations.
Darren Lynn Bousman is a visual genius – capable of conjuring up some wondrously inventive fantastical imagery – but whilst Abattoir more than succeeds on that front, the story itself is a fractured mess. Anachronistic styling proves more irritating than intriguing, and slapdash storytelling kills any interest in the proceedings stone dead before the (admittedly) notable finale.
Take a dash of Lovecraft and a bit of wilderness survival, cook it up with some satanic creature spices and what’s not to love? Well… pretty much everything in this insipid attempt to generate scares. The gunshots alone are a master class in how not to present action on-screen.
Quite possibly the single biggest disappointment of the year, what could have been a mythology-exploding return to a fervently analyzed franchise winds up offering little more than an uninvolving retread through familiar ground. The odd pleasantly intense sequence and a few answered questions just don’t make up for the laziness on display. Where the original ended on a chilling, genre-defining note… this one goes out with a “meh.”
One of the most offensively bad pieces of cinema to waste my time this year, Yoga Hosers is worthless in every regard. Horrifically unfunny and completely uninvolving, Kevin Smith doesn’t even manage to make toilet humour amusing throughout this languid mess of a film. And no… Guy LaPointe is not an entertaining character.
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