Sunday, October 30, 2016

10 Horror Movies From 2016 You Should Watch!

We are approaching the November-January months of movies, also known as "Oscar Season", also known as my favorite time of year. November-January is when all the studios release what they believe are their most Oscar worthy pictures (Oscar Season goes through January because a lot of studios will release their films in limited cities earlier in the year before the get a wide release the following year. Case in point, the Revenant won Oscars for best director and actor for the 2015 year even though it got a wide release January of 2016.) It is usually in these months when my top ten movies starts to look really pretty, but this year is special for a few reasons. One of the reasons is that we haven't reached Oscar Season and my top ten-so-far list is looking pretty good. But the other reason is that 2016 has been an outstanding year for my favorite genre: horror movies!

So, with Halloween being just around the corner, I wanted to highlight ten outstanding horror movies released this year. So here are my favorite scary movies from 2016!

10. Ouija: Origin of Evil. B+

Ouija: Origin of Evil Poster

This has been the most unexpected surprise of the year so far for me. The first installment of this franchise not only looked like a trashy attempt to make money, but the reviews seemed to confirm it. When I saw the trailer for Ouija: Origin of Evil, I was so impressed with how effectively creepy its advertising was, but rolled my eyes certain it would accomplish the seemingly impossible task of being worse than its predecessor. Then the reviews started pouring in and my jaw dropped humbled and shocked. It landed an outstanding 82% on Rotten Tomatoes and I was shocked (To put that into perspective, Crash, which won best Picture at the Oscars ten years ago, is at 75%). Then I saw the movie, and was left with the same sense of awe as with other well crafted horror movies. A feeling that is only comparable to a roller coaster ride, a feeling that explains why I love horror moves so much. Director Mike Flanagan is some one to keep a close eye on, so far he is at an outstanding 3 for 3 with his movies. He had the impossible task of making art out of the prequel to a garbage movie and he did it with flying colors.

9. Lights Out. B+

Lights Out Poster

Last year my buddy Sean showed me the short film that this movie is based off, and it was some of the scariest 5 minutes I've ever seen. So when I heard that they were adapting it to a feature length film, I was pretty skeptical. However, the very capable team of actors, writers and director pulled it off. Not as scary or jarring as the five minute short, but they managed to make it frightening and compelling enough to make for a consistently entertaining hour and half. Lights Out is a blast!

8. The Shallows. B+

The Shallows Poster

I am horrified of the ocean. In my opinion, it should not be hard to make a movie about how scary the ocean is, and yet, for some reason, it has barely been done well since Jaws did it in the seventies! Now, granted, I haven't seen all the scary ocean movies since Jaws, but given the fact that so many shark movies are utter horse crap and corny attempts at recreating Jaws, my point still stands. Then I saw this movie. 86 minutes of white knuckle, chaotic, pulse pounding fun.

Image result for the shallows Blake Lively owns the screen, proving that she is so much more than the has-been from gossip girl or Ryan Gosling's wife. She is a powerful, talented lady; and if she keeps choosing roles wisely, she will have a lot of longevity in her career.

7. The Witch. A-

The Witch Poster

Filmed with the same craft and attention to detail as any Oscar worthy movie is likely to have, The Witch isn't just dark, chilling and unbearably creepy, it is also poetry. It doesn't play out like your standard horror movie, there are no jump scares or chase scenes. Instead, the movie dares to ask "What would the puritans have had to believe was actually happening in order for the infamous witch hunts and burnings to occur?" So, what the writer and director did was take an old puritan's journal about his supposed encounters with a witch, and adapted it to the screen. What is presented is a movie that is so dark it is borderline dreadful. but also masterful film making and acting.

6. 10 Cloverfield Lane. A-

10 Cloverfield Lane Poster

Image result for 10 cloverfield laneThis is a fun, old fashioned thriller! There are little to no CGI effects until the end, but taut and tense directing. What you have here is a mixture of the best of Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie, as the mystery unwinds and the thrilling tension builds to a eruption.

5. The Invitation. A-
Not rated

The Invitation Poster

This independent gems 2016 wide release was on Netflix this year. This is not the edge of your seat thriller like The Shallows or 10 Cloverfield Lane, but it qualifies as horror. As emotionally engaging as it is mysterious and creepy, this movie that takes place of the course of a single night is one of the more intriguing movie watching experiences of the year.

4. Green Room. A

Green Room Poster

Brutal violence is very rarely my thing. I find brutal violence for the sake of brutal violence distasteful and dehumanizing. Violence in movies can serve one of two purposes: It can treat people as disposable things for the sake of a scare, moment of excitement or grotesque fascination, or it can be the most effective tool to demonstrate just how precious human life is. With Green Room, the amazing performances, fully realized characters and passionate script allow a case for the latter. Make no mistake, this is a brutal, non stop, ride. Not to mention it is also Anton Yelchin's finest and final movie hour.  #ripantonyelchin

3. The Conjuring 2. A

The Conjuring 2 Poster

Image result for the conjuring 2
Sequels are such a often times unnecessary gamble, especially with horror movies. It seems every great
horror movie has a horrible and ridiculous sequel. (Seriously though, Psycho, Halloween, The Exorcist, Jaws! Thank God the Scream sequels were pretty great and no one touched The Shining.) So, when I first heard about a sequel to my second favorite horror movie of all time, I was skeptical and afraid. However, this movie did not disappoint! This was made with every bit of care, suspense, and love that the first one was made with. Like its predecessor, it prioritizes character development and balancing the moments of fear and darkness with moments of hope and light. That was a formula as to why I loved the first one so much, and it made this one of my favorite movies of the year so far.

2. Don't Breathe. A

Don't Breathe Poster

This home invasion reversal horror movie is not at all for the faint of heart. This is one of those movies where you are 100% at the directors mercy. Don't Breathe is an edge of your seat thrill ride that doesn't let you call the shots, and leaves you breathless by the time the credits roll. This is a rare gem of a horror movie that almost redefines the genre; not just with the vision and scope of the movie, but the philosophical questions it asks about home invaders. And don't miss out on Stephen Lang's horrifying performance.

1. Hush. A

Hush Poster

Image result for hush movie 2016With only 6 characters and one setting for the whole movie, Hush sets new standards minimalist film making. New standards because there is nothing minimalist about the scares in this movie. Mike Flanagan, making his second appearance on this list, does amazing things here. From the spot on performances to the hold-your-breath, non stop thrills; Hush takes a premise that we've seen a million times, and presents it in a way that is as thrilling as if it were the first of its kind.

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