2016 is already off to one helluva start! The Witch blew away critics and audience alike, The Other Side of the Door got mixed reviews from critics but pleased a lot of viewers, and 10 Cloverfield Lane stunned audiences and critics, becoming a water cooler discussion piece that has been the hot topic since its release.
But we’re only a quarter of the way through the year and that means there’s a lot more horror on the way! From thrillers to spook stories, psychological thrillers to violent rampages, this year holds a swath of potentially interesting and exciting movies that are sure to tickle the fancy of any horror fan! So, let’s look at what the rest of 2016 holds for us!
Note: Most film descriptions have been taken from Trace’s posts 10 Must-See Studio Horror Films of 2016! and 10 Must-See Independent Horror Films of 2016!. Some minor updates may have been made if necessary.
The Invitation (Drafthouse Films) – April 8th
This is the movie that I cannot wait for everyone to finally get to see. The Invitation was hands down my favorite film out of Fantastic Fest last year (my 5-skull review), and it’s one that is the hardest to describe without giving away key plot points (I’m incredibly nervous about the trailer for this one, as it is tempting to show clips from the films bonkers final act). In Karyn Kusama’s (Jenniver’s Body, Girlfight) potboiler of a film, Will (Logan Marshall-Green, Prometheus) and Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) are driving towards the house of his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard, Into the Woods, Blue Jasmine) and her new husband David (Michiel Huisman, World War Z, Game of Thrones), where they have just been invited for a dinner party serving as a reunion for old friends. Eden ran off to Mexico two years prior, after the death of their son, cutting off all contact with her friends and family. This is the first time she has reached out to her ex-husband and the rest of their friends. While there, Will begins to notice that something seems off about Eden and David’s behavior. To say any more would spoil the fun of this truly amazing film, but needless to say it should be on your radar this year when Drafthouse Films finally releases it.
Green Room (A24 Films) – April 15th
Green Room is the third feature film from Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier, and while it’s not technically a horror film, it’s a doozy of a thriller. The film follows a punk band (comprised of actors like Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawkat) who witness a murder in their green room during one of their concerts at a bar. Said bar happens to be owned by a bunch of drug-dealing skinhead Nazis (led by Patrick Stewart), and from there the film becomes a fight to get out of the bar and survive. The film is mostly set inside the bar and is an excellent example of suspense mixed with incredibly brutal violence. Coincidentally, Kalyn also gave this one a glowing review. Don’t miss this one!
The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist (Warner Bros./New Line Cinema) – June 10th
Perfect timing! The trailer for The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist was just recently released! James Wan returns to bring us another terrifying chapter in his third successful horror franchise (the first two being Saw and Insidious) and brings Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson back with him. The first Conjuring was a surprise hit back in 2013, so expectations are high for this sequel, which chronicles the Hodgson family (which includes Frances O’ Connor) as they deal with paranormal activity at a council house in the London borough of Enfield. If the trailer is any indication, we are in for plenty of scares this summer!
The Purge 3 (Universal Pictures) – July 1st
The 2014 sequel The Purge: Anarchy was a huge surprise in that it completely blew 2013’s The Purge out of the water in terms of quality and box office. Can The Purge 3 do the same thing? Little is known about the sequel, but sources say the plot revolves around an anti-Purge presidential candidate (Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell) who becomes a target for assassination when she refuses to go into hiding at the start of the titular event. Let’s hope the franchise continues its trend of increasing returns!
Lights Out (Warner Bros/New Line Cinema) – July 22nd
David F. Sandberg’s short film of the same name came out in 2013 and became a viral sensation. It was so popular, that it caught the attention of Saw‘s James Wan, who is producing it through his Atomic Monster outfit.
When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.
Don’t Breathe (TriStar Pictures) – August 26th
Since Ash Vs. Evil Dead put the kibosh on any possible Ash and Mia meetup in Fede Alvarez’s now defunct Evil Dead 2, he has moved on to something different and hopefully just as good. While not much is known about his new film (starring Evil Dead’s Jane Levy and Goosebumps’ Dylan Minnette), the official synopsis sounds like a doozy:
“Three teens get away with perfectly planned home robberies as they set out for their final, and biggest, heist. But when they break into the home of a reclusive blind man, the tables are turned and they find themselves fighting for survival against a psychopath with secrets of his own.”
A Cure for Wellness (20th Century Fox) – September 23rd
Gore Verbinski returns to the horror genre with A Cure for Wellness, a supernatural thriller in which Dane DeHaan’s (character goes to rescue his boss from a European wellness spa being run by the nefarious Jason Isaacs (forget Lucious Malfoy, just watch this guy in The Patriot). Verbinski proved he knew how to scare people back in 2002 with The Ring, so here’s hoping he knocks it out of the park again!
The Bye Bye Man (STX Entertainment) – October 14th
STX Entertainment is at it again! Based on the short story The Bridge to Body Island, Stacy Title’s The Bye Bye Man tells the story of three college students in 1990s Wisconsin (including Big Love’s Douglas Smith and Scream Queens’ Lucious Laviscount), move into an off-campus house and come face-to-face with the “Bye Bye Man,” played by none other than the Pale Man (and the Gentleman) himself: Doug Jones! Plot details are being kept under wraps for this one, but needless to say it could be supremely creepy. It sounds like the Slender Man, and if the film is half as terrifying as the tales surrounding that figure then we may be in for a treat!
Release Date Unknown
The Unkindness of Ravens (Distributor Unannounced)
I don’t know what is going on in this trailer. All I know is that I have to see this movie. The film started as a Kickstarter campaign that went on to fundraise £44,039 (or $63,427.17), making it the highest funded British film on Kickstarter. It looks like they put the money to good use. I know studio films that don’t look half as good as what is on display in this trailer. In the film, Andrew (Jamie Scott Gordon) is a homeless war veteran who develops a phobia of ravens after some frightening visions related to post-traumatic stress disorder. To help rid himself of this phobia, he travels to a retreat in the Scottish Highlands where he discovers a supernatural force known as the Raven Warriors. They’re pretty imposing figures, and it looks like there will be no shortage of eye-gougings in the film. To top it all of, it looks quite pretty!
Carnage Park (Distributor Unannounced) – Sundance World Premiere
My choice for Mickey Keating’s Pod as my favorite horror/genre film of 2015 seemed to be a point of contention among many of you, but I stand by it. I absolutely loved that film and his latest entry into genre filmmaking, Darling. This year, Keating’s fourth film Carnage Park (starring The Last Exorcism’s Ashley Bell and Scandal’s Darby Stanchfield) gets unleashed upon the world at the Sundance Film Festival, and it will hopefully get snatched up by distributors immediately afterward because Keating is a true talent. In the film:
“The year is 1978. After botching an ill-conceived bank robbery in a desolate California town, two wannabe crooks named Scorpion Joe (James Landry Hébert) and Lenny (Michael Villar) flee the scene with a hostage, Vivian (Ashley Bell), and lead the local lawmen on a dangerous high-speed chase. With his partner suffering from a gunshot wound and losing blood fast, Joe takes to the back roads to dodge the heat, but he unwittingly steers them into the path of a far more dangerous evil: a psychotic ex-military sniper who doesn’t take kindly to strangers. Thrust into a wicked game of cat and mouse with a highly trained and mentally imbalanced killer, they begin a harrowing fight for survival.”
They Look Like People (Distributor Unannounced) – TBD
Perry Blackshear’s They Look Like People had its world premiere at Sundance last January, where it received glowing reviews (seriously, it’s got 100% on Rotten Tomatoes). Described more as a psychological drama than a straight-up horror film, They Look Like People is about a man who believes that humanity is being secretly taken over by evil creatures. Character studies in which the main character suffers from mental issues can be a tricky thing to pull off, since the character may not be relatable to audiences, but apparently this film pulls it off with aplomb. Since it has yet to receive a distributor, we can only hope that it receives some form of release before the end of the year.
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