Either late 2015 or early 2016 I was told by some unnamed person or podcast or blog that the year 2016 was gonna be the resurgence of the horror movie genre. In recent years we have been blessed with a bunch of Paranormal Activity films, a couple Insidious films, remakes of Halloween and Poltergeist, The Conjuring and its sequel Annabelle and Ouija just to name a few. Will 2016 be that resurgence that I was told it is? The question still remains. I will break down the good and the bad of the horror movie genre so far this year.
In January we got The Forrest and The Boy. When her twin sister disappears in Japan, a young American named Sara (Natalie Dormer) becomes determined to find out what happened to her. Sara’s investigation leads her to the legendary Aokigahara Forest, located at the base of Mount Fuji. Accompanied by expatriate Aiden, she enters the mysterious wilderness after being warned to “stay on the path.” Her investigation plunges her into a dark world where the angry and tormented souls of the dead prey on those who dare to explore the forest.
A young American named Greta (Lauren Cohan) takes a job as a nanny for an 8-year-old boy in a remote English village. To her surprise, Greta learns that the child of her new employers is a life-size doll. They care for the doll as if it was human, which helps the couple to cope with the death of their own son 20 years earlier. When Greta violates a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring her worst fears to life, leading her to believe that the doll is alive.
In February we Got Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and 10 Cloverfield Lane the sequel to Cloverfield. In the 19th century, a mysterious plague turns the English countryside into a war zone. No one is safe as the dead come back to life to terrorize the land. Fate leads Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James), a master of martial arts and weaponry, to join forces with Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley), a handsome but arrogant gentleman. Elizabeth can’t stand Darcy, but respects his skills as a zombie killer. Casting aside their personal differences, they unite on the blood-soaked battlefield to save their country.
After surviving a car accident, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up to find herself in an underground bunker with two men. Howard (John Goodman) tells her that a massive chemical attack has rendered the air unbreathable, and their only hope of survival is to remain inside. Despite the comforts of home, Howard’s controlling and menacing nature makes Michelle want to escape. After taking matters into her own hands, the young woman finally discovers the truth about the outside world.
In March we got The Other Side of the Door and Hush. Maria (Sarah Wayne Callies) becomes consumed with guilt after losing her son Oliver (Logan Creran) in a tragic accident. She learns about a remote Hindu temple where visitors can communicate with the dead to say goodbye for the last time. The grieving mother disobeys a dire warning to never open the ancient door that serves as a mysterious portal. Her failure to follow the rules causes Oliver’s restless spirit to return home and haunt the rest of his family (Jeremy Sisto, Sofia Rosinsky).
Hush is a 2016 American psychological horror thriller film directed by Mike Flanagan from a screenplay by Flanagan and Kate Siegel. The film stars John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan and Siegel.
In May we got The Green Room and The Darkness. Members (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat) of a punk-rock band and a tough young woman (Imogen Poots) battle murderous white supremacists at a remote Oregon roadhouse.
Peter Taylor (Kevin Bacon), his wife Bronny and their two children return to Los Angeles after a fun-filled vacation to the Grand Canyon. Strange events soon start to plague the family, including young son Michael’s increasingly erratic behavior. The Taylors learn that Michael brought back some mysterious rocks that he discovered inside a cave. Unfortunately, something followed them home as the clan now find themselves in a battle with a supernatural force that preys on their worst fears.
In June we got two new horror films, The Shallows and The Neon Demon, and the sequel to The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2. Still reeling from the loss of her mother, medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) travels to a secluded beach for some much-needed solace. Despite the danger of surfing alone, Nancy decides to soak up the sun and hit the waves. Suddenly, a great white shark attacks, forcing her to swim to a giant rock for safety. Left injured and stranded 200 yards from shore, the frightened young woman must fight for her life as the deadly predator circles her in its feeding ground.
Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to Los Angeles just after her 16th birthday to launch a career as a model. The head of her agency tells the innocent teen that she has the qualities to become a top star. Jesse soon faces the wrath of ruthless vixens who despise her fresh-faced beauty. On top of that, she must contend with a seedy motel manager and a creepy photographer. As Jesse starts to take the fashion world by storm, her personality changes in ways that could help her against her cutthroat rivals.
In 1977, paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren come out of a self-imposed sabbatical to travel to Enfield, a borough in north London. There, they meet Peggy Hodgson, an overwhelmed single mother of four who tells the couple that something evil is in her home. Ed and Lorraine believe her story when the youngest daughter starts to show signs of demonic possession. As the Warrens try to help the besieged girl, they become the next targets of the malicious spirit.
And in July were getting The Purge: Election Year and Lights Out. As a young girl, Sen. Charlie Roan survived the annual night of lawlessness that took the lives of her family members. As a presidential candidate, Roan is determined to end the yearly tradition of blood lust once and for all. When her opponents hatch a deadly scheme, the senator finds herself trapped on the streets of Washington, D.C., just as the latest Purge gets underway. Now, it’s up to Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), her head of security, to keep her alive during the next 12 hours of mayhem.
When Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) left home, she thought that her childhood fears were behind her. As a young girl growing up, she was never really sure of what was real when the lights went out at night. Now, her little brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that jeopardized her safety and sanity. Holding a mysterious attachment to their mother (Maria Bello), the supernatural entity has returned with a vengeance to torment the entire family.
Of these thirteen films I would give my recommendation to four of them 10 Cloverfield Lane,The Shallows,The Neon Demon and The Conjuring 2. Seven of them I would not recommend, The Forest,The Boy, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Other Side of the Door, Hush, The Green Room and The Darkness, and two of them I have not seen yet. I will being seeing The Purge: Election Year and Lights Out in the next week or so. By far the best horror film I have seen this year is the Conjuring 2. It has a lot of mystery to it. Especially involving how Lorraine Warren played by Vera Farmiga gets to the bottom of the identity of the demon haunting the Hodgson family. The whole saving of Ed Warren played by Patrick Wilson was very suspenseful as well. I didn’t like the first Conjuring at all.
I believe liking four of eleven films is not a good average. The Conjuring 2 will be in my Top Ten of the Year so far list. So that’s a good thing. The Purge: Election Year isn’t getting great reviews but, Lights Out is getting great reviews. That’s another good thing. Their are a lot of other horror movies coming out the rest of the year. 31 the latest from Rob Zombie, Rings a sequel to The Ring, Don’t Breathe a home invasion film. The Woods about a group of hikers lost in the woods and once again sequels of Underworld, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Resident Evil. Are these films gonna make this a great year for the horror genre? Or are they gonna drag down year year even further then it has already been. Who know? By my total this is once again a bad year for the horror movie genre. Hopefully it gets better as the years goes on. I’m crossing my fingers Lights Out is as good as the reviews its been getting.
Dan Skip Allen