ByKristin Lai, writer at
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

*Potential spoilers below for 2016 horror movies.

This year has been a big one for horror fans — and no, I'm not just talking about the current political climate. So far, 2016 has brought on a surplus of new horror movies to terrify the bejesus straight out of us.


Between big budget supernatural stories like The Conjuring 2, or the delightfully thrilling indie Hush, there's been more than enough jump scares, suspenseful scenes, blood and guts to keep us on the edge of our seats — and the year isn't even over yet! Here's our list of the scariest movie scenes of 2016 (so far).

1. The Witch, Grinding Up Baby

  • Release Date: February 19, 2016
  • Directed by: Robert Eggers
  • Starring: Anya Taylor‑Joy, Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie

The Witch might have been one of 2016's earliest horror releases, but it clearly has the most staying power.

The creepy atmosphere, demonic animals and evil supernatural forces gave audiences a number of serious scares. (That raven scene?!) I still think the most terrifying scene was one of the film's earliest. Nothing is as unnerving as seeing the witch grind up Samuel, to the sound of sharp, staccato strings. It made me want to pull my hair out.

2. 10 Cloverfield Lane, A Shocking Death

10 Cloverfield Lane
10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Release Date: March 11, 2016
  • Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
  • Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr. and John Goodman

10 Cloverfield Lane is an awesome thriller but, like The Witch, it's far from the scariest movie on the list by classic horror standards. What's really scary about Trachtenberg's directorial debut is how real the characters feel.

For that reason, the death of one of the major characters is completely shocking. Without giving too much away, I will say that it's hard to see someone almost make it out alive, just to be blown to bits a second later.

3. Green Room, The First Attack

  • Release Date: April 15, 2016
  • Directed by: Jeremy Saulnier
  • Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner and Patrick Stewart

Walking into Green Room I wasn't quite sure of what to expect. But walking out of the endurance horror left me with a hollow, sinking feeling I couldn't shake for a few hours. Not only is Green Room unexpectedly sad — and not just because it is one of Anton Yelchin's final roles — it is extremely gory, in a realistic way.

Often in horror movies, I feel like even when characters are injured, somehow they are able to run and fight back as if it doesn't hurt them. But in Green Room, the injuries sustained by the characters are brutal, dire and are felt throughout the rest of the movie. Watching Yelchin's character struggle to fight back with his hand basically falling off is something I could go a decade without seeing again.

4. Lights Out, Lights On, Lights Off

  • Release Date: July 22, 2016
  • Directed by: David Sandberg
  • Starring: Teresa Palmer, Maria Bello, Alexander DiPersia, Lotta Losten and Gabriel Bateman

Based on a short film of the same title, the premise Lights Out is the stuff of nightmares — especially for someone like yours truly who slept with a nightlight until a far too embarrassing age.

The scariest scene in this movie might be a classic jump scare, but even knowing it was coming didn't keep me from letting out an audible scream from my desk. After watching this movie, I might even resort to sleeping with a nightlight again. You know, just in case.

See Also:

5. Don't Breathe, The Baster Scene

Don't Breathe
Don't Breathe
  • Release Date: August 26, 2016
  • Directed by: Fede Alvarez
  • Starring: Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto and Stephen Lang

If you love suspense, are drawn to dark storylines or often find yourself holding your breath while a fictional character goes through a harrowing experience, then Don't Breathe is the movie for you.

Fede Alvarez's film is a nonstop thrill ride packed with tense moments, but none are quite as terrifying as the baster scene. I don't want to give too much away, but it's probably the single moment in an entirely terrifying movie where I thought, This might be taking things a little too far.

6. The Conjuring 2, The Nun

  • Release Date: June 10, 2016
  • Directed by: James Wan
  • Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe, Frances O'Connor and Lauren Esposito

James Wan continues the story of paranormal investigator couple Ed and Lorraine Warren in the second installment in the Conjuring series. But a vague familiarity with the characters and the world they dabble in was no preparation for how scary The Conjuring 2 ended up being.

While some may cite the creepy Crooked Man as the scariest part of the movie, the scene above in which Lorraine meets the demonic nun in her vision had me biting my fingernails in anticipation. Clearly, Warner Bros. agreed -- a new spinoff film, The Nun, is currently in development.

7. Hush, Meeting The Masked Killer

  • Release Date: March 12, 2016
  • Directed by: Mike Flanagan
  • Starring: Kate Siegel and John Gallagher Jr.

Hush was the indie psychological thriller that proved, once again, that you don't need a big budget to pull off a fantastic movie. With a shoestring budget of just $70,000, Flanagan and his small but hardworking cast and crew were able to pull off one of the horror hits of 2016.

Centered around a deaf and mute woman who is being terrorized by a masked murderer, Hush is a brief feature that still manages to be packed to the brim with adrenaline-pumping and heart-stopping moments. But there's nothing quite as terrifying as meeting the killer, a character called "Man," as he first stalks his new prey, our protagonist Maddie.

8. Ouija: Origin of Evil, Doris And Marcus

  • Release Date: October 21, 2016
  • Directed By: Mike Flanagan
  • Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Henry Thomas, Annalise Basso and Lulu Wilson

Nothing gets my heart rate up quite like creepy children, and Flanagan's venture into the world of Ouija was almost enough to scare me off kids for life. Ouija: Origin of Evil is the prequel to 2014's Ouija. Though it features some of the same characters, it takes place decades earlier and shows the inception of Doris and her curse.

The scariest scene, in a sequel filled with a surprising amount of good scares, was when Marcus first took over Doris's body and voice. Seeing a shadow figure possess a girl by bending her spine backwards and crawling through her mouth was all I needed to sit through the remainder of the movie thoroughly terrified.

And There's More To Come!

Other horror movies set for a 2016 release include Shut In, The Eyes of My Mother, Incarnate and The Bye Bye Man.

The Shining
The Shining

As the movies keep rolling out, I'll keep updating my list. Be sure to add what you think were the freakiest horror movie scenes below.

Which movie scenes have scared you the most this year? Let me know in the comments section!


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