ByJancy Richardson, writer at Creators.co
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Most horror fans have probably seen the biggest horror movies of the year: Blair Witch, The Conjuring 2, Ouija: Origin of Evil, The Witch, Don't Breathe, Lights Out, The Purge: Election Year, and Serena van der Woodsen's story of the indefatigable human (and seagull) spirit, The Shallows.

All of these movies charted big at the US box office, but there were tons of horror movies released in 2016 that probably slipped under your radar. Other big successes made no box office but secured wide appeal by dropping onto Netflix: Hush, 31, Holidays and Karyn Kusama's The Invitation were real stand-out movies.

No good movie should be overlooked, so check out 48 of the greatest horror movies that you may have missed in 2016.

48. The Disappointments Room

Dana is the architect of her own destruction in The Disappointments Room' [Credit: Rogue]
Dana is the architect of her own destruction in The Disappointments Room' [Credit: Rogue]
  • Tagline: Some mysteries should not be unlocked
  • Released: 09 September, 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Supernatural, Mysterious

Architect Dana (Kate Beckinsale) moves into a very big house in the country hoping to shake off the neuroses that plagued her family in the city. However, the discovery of a hidden room in her new home does nothing to keep family life running smoothly... It's very much horror by numbers but much like similarly by-the-book features The Darkness and Before I Wake, it's enough fun for a jump-scare night in. Beckinsale's own personal Irreversible moment is very much a high point.

See also:

47. Within

What makes a house a home? 'Within' [Credit: New Line Cinema]
What makes a house a home? 'Within' [Credit: New Line Cinema]
  • Tagline: You can't keep out what's already inside
  • Released: 18 October 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Mysterious, Tense

You'd think that people in horror movies would just give up moving house altogether, as there's invariably something 'wrong' with their new home... That's certainly the case for Hannah (Erin Moriarty), who's convinced that something horrible is happening to her and her family. Any fans who enjoyed Lauren Cohan's The Boy will enjoy this daft mystery chiller.

46. Martyrs

Troian goes rogue in 'Martyrs' [Credit: Anchor Bay Entertainment]
Troian goes rogue in 'Martyrs' [Credit: Anchor Bay Entertainment]
  • Tagline: The Ultimate Horror Movie
  • Released: 22 January 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Gory

Lucie and Anna go on a revenge rampage against child abusers, and while it's not a patch on the mindfuck original, it's still rather marvelous to see Troian Bellisario from Pretty Little Liars get blood-spattered and serious. A solid remake that could be taken as a decent movie in its own right, were it not cowering in the shadow of the iconic horror monolith that Pascal Laugier erected in 2008.

45. Incarnate

Aaron Eckhart uses his mind as a conduit to the supernatural in 'Incarnate' [Credit: BH Tilt]
Aaron Eckhart uses his mind as a conduit to the supernatural in 'Incarnate' [Credit: BH Tilt]
  • Tagline: Faith has failed us
  • Released: 2 December 2016
  • Rating: PG-13
  • This Movie Is... Supernatural, Mysterious

Remember back in 2000, Jennifer Lopez went inside the mind of a serial killer in The Cell? Yup, they're still making movies like that sixteen years later, so just mentally swap J-Lo for Aaron Eckhart and the serial killer for a demon, and you'll be prepared for whatever Incarnate can throw at you. Lovers of schlock will find the film's overwrought, campy twists totally charming.

44. The Blackout Experiments

Maybe the scariest thing is the world is to be told you are failing in 'The Blackout Experiments' [Credit: Gravitas]
Maybe the scariest thing is the world is to be told you are failing in 'The Blackout Experiments' [Credit: Gravitas]
  • Tagline: A horror documentary
  • Released: 22 July 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Found Footage

It's a cool idea and surprisingly effective in its execution: without gore or overt violence, how much can you truly damage someone? It's a question answered more profoundly by the far superior Das Experiment but Blackout is not without its merits: it's convincing as a ''documentary'' and stonkingly well-acted.

43. Observance

Parker gets cabin fever in 'Observance' [Credit: Artsploitation Films]
Parker gets cabin fever in 'Observance' [Credit: Artsploitation Films]
  • Tagline: They Are Watching
  • Released: 3 April 2016 (Australia)
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Artsy, Mysterious

A budget movie doesn't have to look cheap, and there are echoes of such greats as Repulsion and The Conversation as PI Parker Woodhouse (Lindsay Farris) watches his mark from the dingy apartment across the street. We share Parker's disorientation (though, hopefully, not his mental deterioration) as his cabin fever and turns to paranoia and hallucinations, and the near-total lack of dialogue allows the viewer to create a more frightening reality than any number of cheap scares. This murky little gem was made in Australia for $11,000, and it's really quite inspiring to see what can be done with limited means.

42. Intruders

Rory Culkin is having a very bad day in 'Intruders' [Credit: Momentum Pictures]
Rory Culkin is having a very bad day in 'Intruders' [Credit: Momentum Pictures]
  • Tagline: They should have left her alone
  • Released: 15 January 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Mysterious, Home Invasion

Agoraphobic Anna (Beth Riesgraf) seems like an easy target to a group of bungling burglars, until the frail blonde goes full Don't Breathe on them. It's a slick and serviceable home invasion movie with a twist that delivers some punchy moments of impact as we uncover just what makes Anna tick.

41. The Devil’s Dolls

Everything goes to hell in 'The Devil's Dolls' [Credit: IFC Midnight]
Everything goes to hell in 'The Devil's Dolls' [Credit: IFC Midnight]
  • Tagline: They Will Possess You
  • Released: 16 September 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Gory, Supernatural

A series of brutal killings shakes a community, but could the murders have anything to do with a set of Guatemalan worry dolls? This being horror movie territory, the answer is a resounding YASS, and some great deaths occur at the hands (and sharp implements) of those unfortunates under the dolls' nefarious influence.

40. Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word

One angry man in court in 'Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word' [Credit: Boss Media]
One angry man in court in 'Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word' [Credit: Boss Media]
  • Tagline: Johnny Frank Garrett never killed anyone... until he died.
  • Released: 30 September 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Supernatural

Beautifully directed by cult horror favorite Simon Rumley (Red White & Blue, The Living and the Dead) this based-on-real-life story of an innocent man sentenced to death adds a sprinkling of the supernatural to a narrative the justice system is all too familiar with. Devin Bonnée shines as the titular Johnny, swearing vengeance with every malign glance.

39. Curve

Julianne Hough rolls with the punches in 'Curve' [Credit: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment]
Julianne Hough rolls with the punches in 'Curve' [Credit: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment]
  • Released: 19 January 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Serial Killer, Road Movie

One of those thrillers that are often described as 'a deadly game of cat and mouse' on DVD cases (or in Netflix bios, in this case), Curve sees spunky heroine Mallory (Julianne Hough) fight for her life against a psychopath on the road. There's nothing new to add to the genre but reliable horror paths are trodden to produce the kind of backwoods nightmare that fans of Wrong Turn and Savaged will enjoy.

38. The Neighbor

Watch your step with 'The Neighbor' [Credit: Anchor Bay Films]
Watch your step with 'The Neighbor' [Credit: Anchor Bay Films]
  • Tagline: Fear Thy Neighbor
  • Released: 6 September 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Tense

I was excited to see the lead (Josh Stewart) and director (Marcus Dunstan) of The Collector reunited, and while The Neighbor never achieves the brutal thrills of its predecessor, it hits the right horror notes with impeccable timing. John (Stewart) suspects his creepy neighbor (Bill Engvall) has something to do with the disappearance of his girlfriend Rosie (Starry Eyes's Alex Essoe) and — after several deaths and a grave full of what can't possibly be simple meatloaf — he discovers the horrible truth.

37. The Hexecutioners

Work can kill you in 'The Hexecutioners' [Credit: SP Distribution]
Work can kill you in 'The Hexecutioners' [Credit: SP Distribution]
  • Tagline: Dying is a Wild Night
  • Released: 11 June 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Supernatural, Mysterious

Newbie Malison (Liv Collins) is taken on a euthanasia assignment with sultry mentor Olivia (Sarah Power) to ease the passing of an old man in a crumbling mansion. Things start getting culty and weird as Malison sees things she shouldn't be seeing, including a Shining-esque hedge maze that she's inexorably drawn to. Shades of Livide, House of the Devil and an edge of uneasy sexual tension make The Hexecutioners a wild night indeed.

36. Road Games

A roll in the hay in 'Road Games' [Credit: Scream Factory]
A roll in the hay in 'Road Games' [Credit: Scream Factory]
  • Tagline: You can hide, but you can't run
  • Released: 4 March 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Road Movie, Tense

Jack (Andrew Simpson) is chuffed to meet beautiful French Véronique (Joséphine de La Baume) while hitchhiking through rural France, but her overprotective parents will do anything to get their darling daughter back to the family roost... It lacks the bite of the most provocative French horror, but Road Games is a fun trip nonetheless.

35. Estranged

January considers her position in 'Estranged' [Credit: Vicarious Entertainment]
January considers her position in 'Estranged' [Credit: Vicarious Entertainment]
  • Tagline: There's no place like home.
  • Released: 18 August 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Mysterious, Tense

January (Amy Manson) is forced to return to her estranged family after a debilitating accident that robs her of her mobility and her memory. With no recollection of the eccentric relatives that surround her, she starts to doubt who they are... and what their intentions might be. It'll make you feel better about putting up with your weird in-laws at the next Thanksgiving, at any rate.

34. Southbound

There are some rides you should never accept in 'Southbound' [Credit:The Orchard]
There are some rides you should never accept in 'Southbound' [Credit:The Orchard]
  • Tagline: No matter which road you choose, it's all going south.
  • Released: 9 February 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Gory, Road Movie, Supernatural

Southbound offers three intertwining tales of despair and terror unfold on the road, including a penniless young band and an ill-fated family vacation. Highlights along the way include one of the goriest scenes of the year (truly retch-making, in fact) and some rest-stops that would not be getting glowing reviews on Trip Advisor. Remember folks, it's about the journey, not the destination.

33. Friend Request

Would you accept this 'Friend Request'? [Credit: Freestyle Releasing]
Would you accept this 'Friend Request'? [Credit: Freestyle Releasing]
  • Tagline: Be careful who you click with
  • Released: 20 April 2016 (UK, US wide release in 2017)
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Supernatural

Spawn of Showgirls maestro Paul Verhoeven is directing horror, and while it doesn't come close to the glittering kitsch and wild violence of his father's work, Simon Verhoeven's Friend Request is a fun offer. Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) charitably accepts a friend request from loner Marina (Liesl Ahlers), who Single White Females her until she has no choice but to unfriend. Then Laura's troubles really begin...

32. Morgan

Don't let 'Morgan' out [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Don't let 'Morgan' out [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
  • Tagline: Don't let it out
  • Released: September 2, 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Sci-Fi

Somewhere between human and something entirely different is Morgan, who hides her true nature in the guise of a young girl.The Witch stand-out Anya Taylor Joy stars as the not-quite-human Morgan with a black intensity, holding her own alongside more seasoned actors Kate Mara and Rose Leslie.

31. Emelie

You probably shouldn't leave your children with 'Emelie' [Credit: Dark Sky Films]
You probably shouldn't leave your children with 'Emelie' [Credit: Dark Sky Films]
  • Tagline: I'm your new babysitter
  • Released: 4 March 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Home Invasion

She's a bad babysitter but it's not her boyfriend in the shower you need to worry about: Emelie is one messed-up broad, and you probably shouldn't trust her to open a can of beans, let alone your precious children. A nice spin on the classic Babysitter In Peril horror trope, Emelie hits her deadly point home.

30. Ava’s Possessions

Girl's got issues in 'Ava’s Possessions' [Credit: Momentum Pictures]
Girl's got issues in 'Ava’s Possessions' [Credit: Momentum Pictures]
  • Tagline: She can handle her spirits
  • Released: 4 March 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Supernatural, Funny

Ava (Louisa Krause) is recovering from demonic possession like an addict dealing with substance dependency: she's even got a support group. If only she could work out where that giant bloodstain on her floor got there... A neat idea well executed, Ava's Possessions is smart-funny rather than goofy-silly, and all the better for it.

29. Pandemic

Lauren goes zombie huntin' in 'Pandemic ' [Credit: XLrator Media]
Lauren goes zombie huntin' in 'Pandemic ' [Credit: XLrator Media]
  • Tagline: You Are Humanity's Last Stand
  • Released: 1 April 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Zombies, Gory, Found Footage

Lauren (Rachel Nichols) desperately tries to find her daughter in a world bloodied and ravaged by a zombie apocalypse. Joining a crack team of hardened soldiers and scientists, Lauren journeys into the viscera-smeared wilderness to find survivors: think The Walking Dead team with more hi-tech equipment. The POV camerawork gives the action energy, and Pandemic doesn't look away when the dark shit happens.

28. Cell

Cellphones turn everyone into mindless zombies in 'Cell' [Credit: Saban Films]
Cellphones turn everyone into mindless zombies in 'Cell' [Credit: Saban Films]
  • Tagline: When everyone is connected no one is safe
  • Released: June 10, 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Zombies, Gory

Another year, another Stephen King adaptation, and one uniting previous King alumni Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack, who starred together in King's hotel horror 1408. A cellphone signal turns everyone into screeching, clicking zombies, and enjoyably bloody chaos ensues. There's nothing a Walking Dead fan wouldn't relish, and readers of the original novel will find new material: King changed the ending after fans complained about the book's ending.

27. Demon

Piotr has an unusual wedding in 'Demon' [Credit: The Orchard]
Piotr has an unusual wedding in 'Demon' [Credit: The Orchard]
  • Tagline: Some wedding guests are not invited
  • Released: 9 September 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Supernatural, Polish

Piotr (Itay Tiran) and his gorgeous bride Zaneta (Agnieszka Zulewska) shack up in a remote Polish farmhouse and get ready for suitably raucous, booze-fueled wedding celebrations. Unfortunately, Piotr is violently possessed by a dybbuk, a vicious demon from Jewish folklore. The movie is tinged with tragedy: director Marcin Wrona killed himself shortly after a festival screening in 2015.

26. Fear Inc.

Would you sign up for 'Fear Inc.'? [Credit: Electric Entertainment]
Would you sign up for 'Fear Inc.'? [Credit: Electric Entertainment]
  • Tagline: How Scared Do You Want To Be?
  • Released: 21 October 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Slasher, Funny

Irritating Joe (Lucas Neff) is signed up to a company that offer an unbeatable 'scare experience' by long-suffering girlfriend Lindsey (Caitlin Stasey). Naturally, the rules are unclear and Joe, Lindsey and their friends are soon desperate to get out of the bloody, terrifying game they're trapped in. It's David Fincher's The Game for fans of The CW, but Stasey is as delightful as ever.

25. The Monster

Zoe Kazan finds trouble on the road in 'The Monster' [Credit: A24]
Zoe Kazan finds trouble on the road in 'The Monster' [Credit: A24]
  • Released: 6 October 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Supernatural, Road Movie

While fans have been waiting for Bryan Bertino to give us The Strangers 2, it shouldn't be considered a disappointment that The Monster is what the director spent his time in 2016 doing instead. Struggling mom Kathy (Zoe Kazan) hits something strange on a dark country road, and her daughter Lizzy (Ella Ballentine) who comes to the heartbreaking realization that, sometimes, there are things your parents cannot protect you from. That's real horror.

24. What We Become

The kids aren't alright in 'What We Become' [Credit: Meta Film]
The kids aren't alright in 'What We Become' [Credit: Meta Film]
  • Tagline: Stay home. Lock up. Don't breathe.
  • Released: May 13, 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Zombies, Danish

Impossibly attractive Danish teen Gustav (Benjamin Engell) is intrigued by his impossibly attractive new neighbor Sonja (Marie Hammer Boda), and the pair are thrown together by a virulent strain of zombie infection. Better acted and less sensationalized than your standard zombie fare, the chilling quarantine process really shows what we become under pressure.

23. Most Likely To Die

 Who is 'Most Likely To Die'? [Credit: Marvista Entertainment]
Who is 'Most Likely To Die'? [Credit: Marvista Entertainment]
  • Tagline: One killer reunion.
  • Released: May 13, 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Slasher, Funny

No, seriously, it's a horror movie featuring Perez Hilton and it's really good! Well, if you like ludicrous slashers and deaths involving Christmas lights... but lethal lighting didn't stop the Ouija franchise from making over $180 million, and it shouldn't stop doubters from checking out this charmingly goofy '80s throwback. If you enjoyed the blood-splattered bitchy barbs of Sorority Row and My Bloody Valentine 3D, you'll mostly likely love this.

22. The Windmill (AKA The Windmill Massacre)

 Blood and guts in 'The Windmill Massacre' [Credit: XLrator Media]
Blood and guts in 'The Windmill Massacre' [Credit: XLrator Media]
  • Tagline: The miller is coming for you
  • Released: 25 October 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Slasher, Funny, Gory

Aussie tearaway Jennifer (Charlotte Beaumont) is clearly running from something when she hops onto a tour bus in Amsterdam, hoping to evade her demons on a sightseeing trip to see Holland's windmills. When the bus breaks down and the bodies start piling up, it's clear there's a killer after the tourists. Fabulous death scenes abound.

21. Jack Goes Home

Weird stuff happens when 'Jack Goes Home' [Credit: Momentum Pictures]
Weird stuff happens when 'Jack Goes Home' [Credit: Momentum Pictures]
  • Tagline: Let The Condolences Begin
  • Released: 14 October 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Funny, Psychological

Jack (Kieran Culkin, who seems set to forever play sullen man-children) goes home to see his creepy AF mother (an on-point Lin Shaye, better known as Elise from the bajillion dollar Insidious franchise) following the death of his father. A more grown-up version of 2015 hit The Visit, Jack starts experiencing hallucinations — or are they memories? — of something dark and horrible in his family's history. If you were wondering what that fabulous song is at the movie's climax, it's J. Frank Wilson And The Cavaliers, 'Last Kiss.'

20. The Ones Below

You've never had a dinner party quite as bad as 'The Ones Below' [Credit: Magnet Releasing]
You've never had a dinner party quite as bad as 'The Ones Below' [Credit: Magnet Releasing]
  • Tagline: What you think you saw... You didn't see.
  • Released: 27 May 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Psychological, Tense

In most movies with creepy neighbors, you're screaming at the naive protagonists to get the hell out of Dodge, but The Ones Below manages to hold the line: which couple is really up to no good? A marvelous take on the time-old feminine hysteria trope, we watch as Kate (Clemence Poesy) goes from winning to wan when a new neighbor is jealous of her pregnancy. The film takes its tone from the frosty smiles and manic maternalism of 90s thrillers like The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, and it's much better this way.

19. The Rezort

Steady your crosshairs at 'The Rezort' [Credit: Ascot Elite]
Steady your crosshairs at 'The Rezort' [Credit: Ascot Elite]
  • Tagline: A vacation to die for
  • Released: 16 September 2016 (DVD)
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Zombies, Gore

If the economy has a surplus of a product, you don't let it go to waste: you find a way to profit. If it worked for corn syrup, it can work for the undead, and The Rezort manages to deliver a surprisingly eloquent social commentary into a film that is basically Jurassic Park with zombies. If you were offered the chance, would you travel to a remote island and shoot walkers on a Zombie Safari?

18. The Girl With All The Gifts

Sennia Nanua is 'The Girl With All The Gifts' [Credit: Saban Films]
Sennia Nanua is 'The Girl With All The Gifts' [Credit: Saban Films]
  • Tagline: Our greatest threat is our only hope.
  • Released: 23 September 2016 (premiere, wider release 26 January 2017)
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Gory, Sci-Fi, Zombies

Uncompromising pragmatist Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close) and nurturing teacher Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton) fight in a fungal zombie wasteland over what should be done with child prodigy Melanie (Sennia Nanua). Spouting spores like The Last of Us, this is a bleak film that confirms that the road to hell is truly paved with good intentions.

17. Dark Signal

Radio silence in 'Dark Signal' [Credit: Kaleidoscope Film]
Radio silence in 'Dark Signal' [Credit: Kaleidoscope Film]
  • Tagline: Fear the Returned
  • Released: 23 May 2016 (UK)
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Funny, Slasher, Welsh

The most passionate panegyric to local radio since Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Dark Signal sees a sackheaded killer stalk lovely North Wales in a neat little horror that manages to be blackly funny as well as quite nasty. In The Graig That Dreaded Sundown, the characters are likable, the plot is taut, and the horror throwbacks are smart, culminating in an ending you won't see coming.

16. Red Christmas

Guess who's coming to dinner in 'Red Christmas' [Credit: fibrecement]
Guess who's coming to dinner in 'Red Christmas' [Credit: fibrecement]
  • Tagline: This Christmas, the only thing under the tree is terror.
  • Released: 9 November 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Serial Killer, Funny, Australian, Gory

A hooded stranger shows up on Christmas Day, destroying the peace of Diane (horror legend Dee Wallace) and her dysfunctional family's celebrations. Gory, gleeful and deliciously tasteless (there were murmurs of disapproval in the movie theater), this slick, sick horror comedy will have you dreaming of a Red Christmas.

15. Broken

Morjana Alaoui cracks under pressure in 'Broken' [Credit: Blacksmith Pictures]
Morjana Alaoui cracks under pressure in 'Broken' [Credit: Blacksmith Pictures]
  • Tagline: Some things can never be fixed
  • Released: Released: 15 October 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Psychological, Tense

Carer Evie (Martyrs' Morjana Alaoui in a welcome return to horror) is pushed to her limit by her charge, demanding tetraplegic John (Mel Raido). Like Pet, two killer lead roles subject the viewer to their messed up psychos as both parties cross irreversible boundaries. A great tonic for anyone irritated by the saccharine, misguided efforts of Me Before You.

14. Trash Fire

AnnaLynne McCord returns to horror in 'Trash Fire ' [Credit: Orion Pictures]
AnnaLynne McCord returns to horror in 'Trash Fire ' [Credit: Orion Pictures]
  • Released: 3 November 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Funny, Gory

Who'd have thought that one of the best horror movies of the year would be led by that douche from Entourage? Depressive bulimic Owen (Adrian Grenier) and girlfriend Isabel (Angela Trimbur) have a horrible relationship. Trying to stay strong when they learn Isabel is pregnant, the couple visit Owen's pathologically unpleasant grandmother (Fionnula Flanagan) and his deranged, disfigured sister (who you may not have noticed is played by AnnaLynne McCord under the thick burns). It was never going to end well for anyone, but the script along the way is fantastic.

13. 13 Cameras

Gerald oversteps boundaries in '13 Cameras' [Credit: Gravitas Ventures]
Gerald oversteps boundaries in '13 Cameras' [Credit: Gravitas Ventures]
  • Tagline: Change Your Locks
  • Released: 15 April 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Gross, Home Invasion

Everyone who's ever rented has a story about the 'landlord from hell,' but none are quite so foul or so menacing as Gerald (Neville Archambault). Young couple Clare (Brianne Moncrief) and Ryan (PJ McCabe) have their problems, but it's Gerald's sudden, violent entry into their life that shatters all semblance of normalcy. It's all grit-your-teeth unsettling.

12. Creepy

 Nishino is hella 'Creepy' [Credit: Kimstim Films]
Nishino is hella 'Creepy' [Credit: Kimstim Films]
  • Tagline: That man isn't my father, he is total stranger.
  • Released: 3 June 2016 (premier, DVD release 23 January 2017)
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Serial Killer, Japanese

Criminal psychologist Koichi Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is a distant but devoted husband to wife Yasuko (Yûko Takeuchi), more concerned with a cold case he never solved than the increasingly odd behavior of his neighbor, Mr. Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa). Cinematic auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa returns to horror with what somehow manages to be both his most mesmerizing and most accessible offering yet. The name may sound like something a little more Goosebumps than Grotesque, but Creepy is a thoroughly adult thriller that'll stick in your mind far beyond its runtime.

11. Pet

 Seth turns stalker in 'Pet' [Credit: Orion Pictures]
Seth turns stalker in 'Pet' [Credit: Orion Pictures]
  • Tagline: A Love Story
  • Released: 2 December 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Gory, Tense

Loser Seth (Dominic Monaghan) bumps into high school crush Holly (Ksenia Solo) on a bus, and soon becomes obsessed with this woman who barely knows he exists. The less you know about Pet going into it, the more satisfying it is to watch, with two strong lead performances creating a tough, slick thriller.

10. I Am A Hero

Zombie outbreak in Japan in 'I Am A Hero' [Credit: Toho Pictures]
Zombie outbreak in Japan in 'I Am A Hero' [Credit: Toho Pictures]
  • Released: 13 March 2016 (SXSW, wider release forthcoming)
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Gory, Japanese

Overworked and under-appreciated Hideo Suzuki (Yô Ôizumi) reinvents himself as the hero he's always aspired to be when Japan is overrun by a particularly violent and bloodthirsty strain of zombie flu. There's slightly odd social commentary and a lot of nerd wish-fulfillment, but what's really important is the GORE. Explosive, red, shiny gore, bursting guts and busted skulls spraying brains in glorious rank rainbows... A convivial carnival of carnage for horror fans everywhere.

9. The Greasy Strangler

Hootie tootie disco cuties in 'The Greasy Strangler' [Credit: FilmRise]
Hootie tootie disco cuties in 'The Greasy Strangler' [Credit: FilmRise]
  • Tagline: Get Greasy
  • Released: 7 October 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Funny, Gross, Artsy

Possibly the funniest and most quotable movie of the year, The Greasy Strangler is a proud bizarro freak of throbbing, pink proportions. Odd but accessible, artsy but blackout drunk lolworthy, this lovable weirdo movie follows Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels) and his son Brayden (Sky Elobar) as they fight for the affections of Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo), and all the while a lard-smeared killer stalks the streets. This is some late-night freak shit.

8. The Legend of Barney Thomson

Dae ye wana Tic-Tac, hen? 'Barney Thomson' [Credit: Gravitas Ventures]
Dae ye wana Tic-Tac, hen? 'Barney Thomson' [Credit: Gravitas Ventures]
  • Tagline: A Razor Sharp Comedy
  • Released: 4 March 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Funny, Scottish

When dour loner Barney (Robert Carlyle) accidentally kills his boss, it's up to 'big slab of bastard' DI Holdall (Ray Winstone) to investigate. Unfortunately for the demon barber of Bridgeton, there's a serial killer in town sending body parts to police. It's crackling with fine Scottish humor, with Barney's wicked mother (Emma Thompson) stealing the best of some choice lines.

7. The Wailing

Save her on a rainy day: 'The Wailing' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Save her on a rainy day: 'The Wailing' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
  • Tagline: Evil Is Coming
  • Released: 3 June 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Supernatural, Gory, Korean

Jong Goo (Do-won Kwak) is not a particularly good police officer, but it falls to him to find out who — or what — is killing people in the tiny rural province of Goksung. The village is cursed with a frenzy too creepy to be a virus, too bloody to be a possession, but it seems to be something to do with the mysterious stranger (Jun Kunimura). The outlandish premise is played totally straight, and the film's constant, torrential rain provides moody atmosphere, but can never wash away the sticky evil at its heart.

6. Always Shine

Mackenzie Davis will 'Always Shine' [Credit: Oscilloscope]
Mackenzie Davis will 'Always Shine' [Credit: Oscilloscope]
  • Released: 25 November 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Artsy, Mindfuck

Successful but untalented Beth (Caitlin FitzGerald) and talented but unsuccessful Anna (Mackenzie Davis, who made your heart explode in Black Mirror high point 'San Junipero') are affectingly, acutely jealous of each other. The phrase ''toxic friendship'' doesn't do justice to the caustic, burning resentment these women feel for one another, a dynamic that will be immediately recognized by anyone who's experienced it. A more in-depth review of this smart, strong film here.

5. Office

All work and no play makes Lee Mi-Rye a dull girl in 'Office' [Credit: LiTTLE BiG PiCTURES]
All work and no play makes Lee Mi-Rye a dull girl in 'Office' [Credit: LiTTLE BiG PiCTURES]
  • Tagline: Real Life is Horror
  • Released: 1 April 2016 in US festival circuit, DVD release forthcoming
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Gory, Korean

Criminality is, again, allegorical for rebellion and self-expression, and in much the way 2010's Dream Home lashed out at Hong Kong's impenetrable housing market, Office critiques the oppression of workers in modern South Korea. Most of us hate the drudgery of office work, and the gleeful bloodying and disruption of this familiar place of boredom and obedience is thoroughly cathartic. The real villain is business culture, which is so cruel, cold and uncaring, that we're rooting for the killer even as the bodies pile up.

4. Traders

'It's the darkweb, like what pedophiles use' in 'Traders' [Credit: Irish Film Board]
'It's the darkweb, like what pedophiles use' in 'Traders' [Credit: Irish Film Board]
  • Tagline: What side of the deal will you be on?
  • Released: 29 July 2016 (UK)
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Funny, Irish

The game is simple: liquidate all of your assets and put the cash into a green sports bag. Go to a remote location, meet your opponent (who has done the same to finance their stake) and fight to the death. It's called Trading, and it's also the premise for the marvelously funny horror-comedy Traders. Like all the best comedies there is a kernel of cruel truth: if you were really desperate, would you do business?

3. The Handmaiden

Whatever you do, don't watch 'The Handmaiden' with your parents [Credit: CJ Entertainment]
Whatever you do, don't watch 'The Handmaiden' with your parents [Credit: CJ Entertainment]
  • Tagline: Women love to play with fate
  • Released: 21 October 2016
  • Rating: NR
  • This Movie Is... Psychological, Korean

A fairly successful lesbian historical novel (Sarah Waters's Fingersmith) gets picked up by Korea's most extreme mindfuck director (Oldboy's Park Chan-Wook): The Handmaiden is the sublime result of that unlikely union. Sook-Hee and fellow scammer Count Fujiwara plan to free Lady Hideko from her pervy uncle, and also steal her fortune. A film hasn't dripped Sapphic sexuality so lavishly since Blue Is The Warmest Color.

2. The Devil’s Candy

 Metal and horror unite yet again in 'The Devil’s Candy' [Credit: IFC Midnight]
Metal and horror unite yet again in 'The Devil’s Candy' [Credit: IFC Midnight]
  • Released: 15 June 2016 (wider release March 2017)
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Gory, Serial Killer, Tense

Sean Byrne's The Loved Ones was an instant classic upon its release in 2009, and the follow up was worth the wait. Artist Jesse (Ethan Embry) starts painting things he's never seen — things as dark as Slayer's nightmares — and metal-loving daughter Zooey (Kiara Glasco) is in trouble when oddball Ray (the always excellent Pruitt Taylor Vince) shows up. It's metal as fuck.

1. The Autopsy of Jane Doe

 Perfect horror in 'The Autopsy of Jane Doe' [Credit: IFC Midnight]
Perfect horror in 'The Autopsy of Jane Doe' [Credit: IFC Midnight]
  • Tagline: Every body has a secret
  • Released: 21 December 2016
  • Rating: R
  • This Movie Is... Mysterious, Gory

It's rare that a horror movie achieves the holy grail: it's actually really scary. It's even rarer to see wince-inducing gore work so seamlessly alongside a deeper psychological darkness, but Jane Doe pulls it off with devastating ease. It's movies like this that keep fans watching streams of forgettable dross, just in case a rare treasure like this one emerges.

Austin (Emile Hirsch) and his father Tommy (Brian Cox) begin an autopsy on an unnamed Jane Doe on a dark, lonely night, and that's exactly the setting that this chilling masterpiece deserves. Watch it alone, in the dark, with the volume turned up. It's perfect.

For more big-name and/or big budget movies that thrilled us in 2016, check out this list. For some of 2016's horror oddities, take a horror trip around the world here.

If any horror movie caught your eye during 2016 and you want to share it with other fans, let us know in the comments below.

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Note: all release dates quoted are for US general release unless otherwise stated. Taglines are provided where possible (there were some I couldn't translate!)

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