2016 was a varied year in horror. A big mix of psychological horror, monster horror, sci-fi horror, supernatural horror, and straight-up gory horror. Despite these varied films, they all have one thing in common: they are great.
Shyamalan made a triumphant return with Split, a mind-bending psychological thriller. It's good to see that Shyamalan has finally moved away from his signature "twist" ending, which failed far more often than it succeeded.
A young man named Kevin abducts three teenage girls and keeps them locked up in his underground "bunker." What makes Kevin different is that he has dissociative identity disorder, and has 23 distinct personalities. The girls try to take advantage of the different personalities in order to free themselves, but there is a 24th personality, The Beast, who seems to exhibit superhuman powers and is intent on controlling the other personalities, called The Horde.
Jane Levy plays Rocky, a young delinquent who, along with two cohorts, rob houses to earn a living. Rocky is saving her money to escape an abusive mother. A rumor sends the trio to the house of a blind veteran who is said to have just come into several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Things don't go according to plan when the blind man turns out to be far more capable than he looks, and he has far darker secrets than anyone imagined, hidden in his home.
The Conjuring 2
The second The Conjuring movie isn't so much a sequel to the first, as it is the next chapter in the Ed and Lorraine Warren story. The pair of supernatural investigators set their sights on a house in England, known as the Enfield Haunting. Dubbed Britain's Amityville Horror, a previous owner of the house, who died there, is said to haunt the property, violently attempting to get his house back.
The Enfield Haunting was a real event, in which the Hodgsons claimed a poltergeist haunted them. Events included strange noises, broken curios, levitating children, and disembodied voices. The veracity of the claims were never verified 100%, and has split the supernatural investigative community.
The Purge: Election Year
The Purge films get more sophisticated with every installment, and the third film is no exception. Perhaps it is due to the increasingly volatile political state of affairs in this country... or perhaps it is simply due to time and experience and money with the franchise.
In Election Year, an anti-Purge Senator is close to winning the election for president. The New Founding Fathers of America do not want her in office, so they revoke the "immunity for politicians" rule with the intent to assassinate her. So in addition to the normal Purge rampages, there is an overt political aspect as well.
Before A Quiet Place there was Hush. Flanagan wrote the film with his wife, Kate Siegel, who also stars as Maddie. He wanted to do a movie without dialogue, and had initially considered also making the film completely silent.
A deaf/mute woman named Maddie, living alone in a secluded forest home, suddenly finds herself under siege after a masked man kills her neighbor. When the killer discovers Maddie is deaf, he decides he doesn't just want to kill her; he wants to toy with her.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
A young woman's body is found at the scene of a bloody homicide, but there is no obvious signs of death. She is delivered to the town's coroner, who, along with his son, spends the movie autopsying the body. But as they cut, the stranger the case seems: the woman has broken ankles and wrists; her tongue cut out; her lungs are burned; her tooth is found wrapped in cloth in her stomach. Is Jane Doe the victim of strange circumstances - or did she cause the strange circumstances?
This French-Belgian co-production immediately became notorious after several audience members fainted during a screening at the Toronto Film Festival, allegedly due to the severity of the gore and violence in this film.
Justine starts her first year in veterinary school, the same one her sister attends, and where her parents met. An avowed vegetarian, Justine is forced to suspend her beliefs when a hazing ritual requires her to eat a raw rabbit's kidney. Unfortunately, this seems to awaken in Justine an insatiable hunger for meat, one that leads to her undoing.
The Neon Demon
Part horror film, part psychological thriller, part supernatural thriller, and all art film, The Neon Demon is an intense ride through the horrors of high fashion. A young, innocent girl arrives in Los Angeles, ready to become a model. She faces jealousy from her contemporaries; ego-stroking that leads to narcissism; and occult rituals that will be her downfall.
Toho, the production company behind the original Godzilla movies returns with this reboot of the franchise. In this film, Godzilla is created by a radiation leak, and he uses his immense size and strength to destroy Japan. In addition to having a voice against nuclear power, Shin Godzilla also offers a satire on the Japanese government, showing how their need to be ultra-polite and follow bureaucratic red tape to the letter can cause more problems than solutions.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Initially, 10 Cloverfield Lane was not meant to be part of the Cloverfield franchise. Originally titled The Bunker, the micro-budget script was purchased by Paramount and further developed by Bad Robot, who noticed it was a "spiritual successor" to 2008's Cloverfield.
A young woman gets into a car accident and wakes in a bunker with two men. Howard, the owner of the bunker, tells her that the air outside is now poisonous and the bunker is the only place that is safe. Throughout the film, Michelle's opinion on Howard and his story changes wildly, until she finally gets outside and learns the truth.