Isn't every year the same? "This will be a golden year for horror!", we all say, not really believing the words ourselves, and only half expecting that one with the clever trailer to really deliver on its premise.
But 2015 wasn't half bad. Sure, we had to endure more rubbish like Insidious and Paranormal Activity, but there was also Goodnight Mommy, arguably the best horror film in years. Still, there was room for improvement, which is why I'm so sure that 2016 will be a golden year for horror.*
(*I'm not sure at all.)
Anyway, in support of my theory, here are the five most promising horrors on the way in the next two months.
Greta is invited to interview for a nannying position at a remote, gargantuan and only slightly creepy mansion in the English countryside. The interview goes well but upon meeting the boy she discovers that he is, in fact, a doll, and his name is Brahms. A strict set of rules is established, and Greta decides to roll with the weirdness. What could possibly go wrong?
Apart from, like, everything. The Boy is guaranteed to fall into that horror cliche of being a movie in which every decision the lead character makes is so clearly a bad one that you want to dive into the screen and slap them, but it does look like a intriguingly-weaved mystery. Plus, Lauren Cohan.
Probability of being a good movie: 65%
The Boy lands in theaters Jan 22nd.
Good luck finding a trailer for this one. The title refers to a game named "31" which five carnival workers are coerced into playing on the night of Halloween, 1975. They are tasked with surviving the next 12 hours in a compound being stalked by evil clowns. Director Rob Zombie sits very much in the realm of all things cult, having previously helmed House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects, and he reckons 31 is "hardcore R-rated".
Probability of being a good movie: 50%
31 premieres at Sundance Festival on Jan 23rd, with a trailer and release date likely to be confirmed soon after.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
This potentially genius mash-up of Jane Austen's classic work of English fiction with the zombie apocalypse trope could be a surprise hit. Lily James leads the cast and seems likely to give the performance of her career as an Elizabeth Bennet with a startling talent for wielding a sword. Critics will probably be harsh, but this is not a film made for critics. It's a film made for those who enjoy seeing zombies gutted by certifiably badass women. In corsets.
Probability of being a good movie: 70%
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies releases February 5th.
This low-budget British indie-horror was funded on Kickstarted and received strong reviews at SXSW last March, drawing praise for the strength of its central relationship. The premise is thus: Holly begins a relationship with new colleague Rob, aware that he's still grieving his recently-dead girlfriend, Nina. "I'd love if it my boyfriend tried to kill himself because I'd died", Holly says, hilariously reflecting her screwed-up definition of romance.
Probability of being a good movie: 80%
Nina Forever comes to theaters February 12th.
It's rare for a horror movie to receive universal critical acclaim, but The Witch has a brilliant 90% on Metacritic, which suggests it could be this year's The Babadook. The trailer sets a suitably bleak tone, and the story - all sorcery and cursed goats - looks absurd in the best possible way. Expect this one to be a slow-burn which creeps you out without falling back on jump scares.
Probability of being a good movie: 90%
Catch The Witch from February 26th.