2016 has been a disappointing year for horror films. There have been a lot of choices, but most of them bad. The films I put on this list succeeded for me in some way, and though I accept that horror can be a divisive subject, I hope you enjoy my list and see at least one or two that you also enjoyed (or spy a title or two that you will now seek out).
5. The Shallows
Starring Blake Lively as "girl most likely to be eaten by a shark" in this mostly one-hander; The Shallows is unique in that compared to Jaws (as all shark movies are), it doesn’t suck. Trapped on a reef with only an injured seagull for company while a GIANT hungry shark circles below, this movie has tension in spades and had the audience screaming like they were on a roller coaster — fun, beautiful and effective. Good stuff!
4. Scare Campaign
The first Australian horror on this list, brought to you by the guys behind 100 Bloody Acres (Colin and Cameron Cairnes) this is a horror comedy that still has teeth. This film tells the story of a popular television prank program called "Scare Campaign" eager to up the ante that perhaps goes too far in its race for ratings. Things turn bloody, fast! There are twists within twists here and gore aplenty too. Its not going to win any Oscars, but its competent, amusing and chock-full of old school grue.
A horror with a smart script will get you every time.
A few months ago I wrote an article on the top ten best feminist horrors, and though I stand by those choices, had I seen Hush before I wrote that article, it would have been in the top three. Hell it may have even managed the top spot. Hush is the story of a deaf/mute writer finding solace in a secluded woodside getaway after the end of a relationship, only to find herself at the mercy of a sociopathic game-playing tormentor. It is a cat-and-mouse tale all the way with "who’s on top" changing throughout the course of its less-than-90-minute run time. The script is sparse, with great use of the one location utilizing all aspects of this house and its surrounds. The direction is tight and maintains the tension throughout, and the characters are never anything less than believable. This is a horror I happily recommend to anyone.
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2. Green Room
Starring the late Anton Yelchin (so so sad!) and Patrick Stewart (as you’ve never seen him) this movie concerns itself with a punk band who are trapped in a green room at a neo-nazi venue after stumbling into the ultimate wrong place/wrong time scenario. Escalating violence, unpredictable deaths and antiheroes litter this savage exercise in anxious desperation. Swings and hits on all counts, ticks every box and then some. Now this is a fucking movie!
1. Killing Ground
But wait, there’s one better. This is the second Australian horror movie on this list and it brings with it a whole new level of brutality. The storyline here, like most good horrors, is easily summed up with one line — secluded campers are terrorized by two vicious locals intent on hiding a previous crime. Every actor brings their A-game, the script is tight and real, the direction inspired and restrained, the cinematography just lush. There are sublime moments — when one survivor comes trundling out from behind a protagonist I actually gasped, and the violence carries with it palpable sorrow. A word of warning: This is a cruel, harsh endurance test of a movie and not to everyone’s taste.
But I for one celebrate the return of real horror to our screen — be gone Lights Out and its ilk — this is horror.
So what do you think? Did I miss anything? there were a few others I enjoyed that didn't make the cut. Please comment below about what (if any) you think I should've included or what you thought of the ones listed.