Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in Film: The Best Three Horror Films [Contributor: Melanie]

So, if any year deserved to have a ranking of the best horror films, it’s 2016. In fact, the year itself could be considered the universe’s great horror masterpiece. But all good horror exists to give us a place to decompress and take inventory of our fears, reflected from real life (unfortunately, Purge: Election Year seems to have taken the cake for most relevant among the horror that came out this year).

But this year has been filled with some great additions to our horror canon, and some not-so-greatones (looking at you, the reboot-that-shall-not-be-named). So here’s my pick for the top three that that came out this year in a sea of moderately average horror attempts.

Don’t Breathe

This one was almost tied with Hush, but one of the reasons I’m going with this is because of its unique take on the home invasion. I’m not a huge fan of home invasion films and I’d probably consider this film more of a thriller than anything else (which is why Green Room isn’t on this list). But, the reason this gets props as a nice little hybrid film is, first, owed to its director Fede Alvarez, who created a demonic and pretty disturbing rendition of Evil Dead. This film was his attempt to prove he could create horror without the shocking gore of his last endeavor. He succeeded in creating an incredible stressful experience and a pretty scary movie monster in the form of the Blind Man.

The Conjuring 2

I loved The Conjuring. I don’t mind its slight derivative nature of it because I love all the works that inspired its mood, tone, and direction. Farmiga and Wilson are probably one of the most believable on screen couples I’ve seen in a while, and their devotion to each other always serves as the heart of these movies. While the spin-offs in this Warren version of the MCU aren’t exactly spectacular, this second installment of the main story proved to be an excellently achieved work of horror. It wasn’t perfect, but the world and motifs James Wan has created continue to impress.

The Witch

This is probably going to rank as one of my favorite horror films, period. The Canadian sleeper hit combines a family drama with The Crucible in an isolated environment to create a great film with some very intelligent scares. This was a horror film that carried some unsettling atmospheres, minimal jump scares, and an interesting point about feminism. It also utilized age old fears in the human psyche and the breakdown of exactly why the woods is such a scary place (which I outlined in detail in my original review of it) to get at the crux of fear.

Among these greats, there were some misfires though. Lights Out failed to live up to the hype and well craft scares of its source material. Blair Witch should have just never happened. 10 Cloverfield Lane had a confused atmosphere and genre. The Forest was just not good and borderline racist in its depiction of the source culture. And the list goes on.

Here’s to 2017 providing some terror! But only in the form of films, books, and television.


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