I have not included my new film Terrortory. Since I appear in it, I feel it wouldn’t be right to include. (Even though it would be #1, wink wink.) However, you can still watch it for FREE.
That being said, here is my list...
This movie got a lot of hate this year, and in my opinion the hate was unwarranted. I think Blair Witch didn’t live up to everyone's overblown hype for it. By what the marketing of the film lead everyone to believe, I think a lot of people went into this thinking it was going to be the scariest movie ever made in the history of mankind. I did find the movie creepy towards the end, but obviously I’ve seen much more frightening films. However, I’ve seen countless horror films in my life to know that judging a film on scare factor alone is just ridiculous. That being said, I really enjoyed Blair Witch. Throw all that hype away and just watch the movie, you might enjoy it.
Do you have kids? Ever pay for a babysitter? Well, if you answered yes, chances are you probably won’t ever want to again after you watch this crazy movie. Emelie is about a replacement babysitter filling in to watch three young children while their parents go out for the night. However, this babysitter is downright crazy, subjecting the kids to activities that are insane and disturbing. I don’t even have children and it got to me. Things take an even darker turn when you find out the truth about Emelie and what her motives actually are. Enjoy, Parents.
I really love me a good horror anthology film and Southbound did not disappoint. I don’t even know what to say without giving too much away about the movie, but what I will say it that it was good, it was dark, it was weird, and you should see it. What I found unique about this film is that each story cleverly blended right into the next one. For example, at one part a character that we had been following entered a motel room and closed the door behind them. The camera then panned over to the next motel room and a new character emerged from inside to which we began following their story. I just found them all to be really cool and creative, which only added to the this already good movie.
If you didn’t already know, Lights Out is based on a short film of the same title by the same director. Search “Lights Out Short Film” on YouTube if you want to check it out. Lights Out is about an entity that can only appear (and attack and kill you) when in complete darkness. It’s a very creative idea as the characters in the film have to think of ways to combat this force using lights. It gives a whole new meaning to being afraid of the dark. (P.S. Why is the short film not on the Blu-ray as a Special Feature?)
I have to start by saying that the first Quija is not very good. When I heard Mike Flanagan was directing the sequel/prequel, it got me excited. Quija 2 blows the first film out of the water, hands down. It did not disappoint. The story takes place in the 1960s, and the movie even feels like it was shot then as well with the retro opening logos and cigarette burns in the corner like old film reels. You have to appreciate that level of detail. I have to say that the young girl (Lulu Wilson) in the movie did an awesome job. She really pulled off the possessed creepster perfectly. Mike Flanagan is easily becoming one of my new favorite writer/directors.
Hangman follows a serial killer setting up residence in the attic of a family's home. With hidden cameras he watches them as they sleep and go about their daily lives, strategically toying with them along the way. Hangman was released earlier this year and didn’t have much word of mouth around it. If you didn’t know about it before its release, chances are you probably still haven’t heard much about it; which is sad because I found it to be one the most disturbing and nerve racking found-footage movies I have probably ever seen. For this reason, I love it! If you know me or read any of my lists, then you know I love a good found-footage movie, and this one definitely stands out amongst the subgenre. (I plan to do a top 10 found-footage list one day.)
I think it is safe to say that The Shallows is probably the best shark movie since Jaws. This is how shark movies need to be. This movie keeps building the tension all the way to the very end. I prefer practical effects above CGI, but I know when it comes to making something like a shark it’s probably easier to go CG. That being said, whoever worked on the effects of the shark did an amazing job. You’ll forget you are even watching a CG shark halfway through the movie.
This movie kind of snuck up on me. Releasing exclusively to Netflix streaming, Hush follows Maddie, a young writer fighting to stay alive from a stalking masked killer lurking outside her isolated home. The twist? Maddie is deaf. Being a writer myself, I really enjoyed the scenes where the Maddie character was writing or when she was plotting out different scenarios in her head when it came to the killer. I also really enjoyed the scenes where there was no sound, letting us experience things how she was. It made the sequences even more suspenseful knowing there was danger nearby and that Maddie couldn’t hear it. Mike Flanagan has two horror films on my list in the same year? Damn! Also, why has Hush not been released on Blu-ray yet? I really want to own it already.
James Wan did it again - scaring the pants off everyone. Although his entry in The Fast and the Furious series was okay, horror movies is where he really shines, in my opinion. The demon nun, Valak, is probably the creepiest thing I have seen all year. Hearing that it was a last minute addition to the film is crazy to fathom. This movie could arguably be the number one horror film of the year, however this is my list and I had to put them in some kind of order.
I absolutely love Don’t Breathe. Fede Alvarez instantly struck me as a writer/director to keep an eye on when I saw his debut feature of the Evil Dead remake, and with Don’t Breathe he did not disappoint. The simple premise of three people breaking into a house to rob a blind man quickly turns into one hell of a ride with twists and turns layered throughout. There is no other true horror than real life. Similar to movies like You’re Next, The Strangers, and even Hush, the events that transpire during Don’t Breathe’s runtime are even more unsettling knowing that they could very well happen.
Honorable Mentions: Darling, 13 Cameras
So there it is, my Top 10 Horror Films of 2016. If you haven’t seen or even heard of any of these films, then I suggest you really look into them. If you’re into horror, then you should at least give them a rent.
Disclaimer: I would like to add that although I watch a lot of horror films and I try to see everything, I didn’t get to see every single horror film that was released this year. This is not my job; it’s just a hobby of mine. So if you don't see something great on this list, it’s most likely because I did not get to see it yet. Also, this list is my opinion and my opinion only. If you do not agree with it, then that is okay. Feel free to post your top 10 in the comments, but please, let's not start a war over this. It is just a list.