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11 Must-See Horror Films Coming This Year!

DON'T BREATHE hi-res one-sheet via Sony Screen Gems

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.

2016 Independent Horror Films

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!

10 Studio Movies

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.

Read our review.

Evil Dead

Jane Levy in 2013’s Evil Dead remake, directed by Fede Alvarez.

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!

A Cure for Wellness

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! The Bye Bye Man

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.

Indie Horror Movies 2016

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.



  • Braker

    Good list, but isn’t it just THE CONJURING 2? None of the ads to date have said, The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist.

    • wehoaks


      • gabriel


        • wehoaks

          You hate facts so much.

  • Joshua

    A Cure for Wellness got bumped to March 24th, 2017. The Bye Bye Man was bumped to June 3rd, 2016 instead of October. Good list!

  • Francesco Falciani

    they also are the only horror movies that will hit the theatre this year…so!!! by the way can’t wait for conjring 2, lights out and Purge 3!

  • Black_Tom

    Heads up, there is actually a trailer for The Purge 3 out already. The Purge: Election Year is the current title I think.

    • alwayswipetwice

      Correct. I love these movies even though they’re kind of one-time-watches for me. Too unsettling. I think DeMonaco is a great writer though. The man sure knows plot. Give this guy more work!

  • Super excited for Green Room!! (Also, what about The Devil’s Candy?)

    There’s also supposed to be a Netflix original TV show (not a movie, kinda cheating, but thought I’d throw it out there) that premieres in June or July. Supposed to be horror/supernatural.

  • Phan Smut

    The Blackcoat’s Daughter? Surprised it was left off the list

  • Grimphantom

    Most of them sound interesting especially The Invitation that i hear alot of good stuff along with Don’t Breathe and They look like people, sounds alot like They Live!

  • Halloween_Vic

    It just sucks how more then half of these are supernatural. But I’m definitely looking forward to Lights Out and Don’t Breathe Jane Levy is such a bad ass actress, she was great in the Evil Dead can’t wait to see her in this one.

    • gabriel

      Same here. She is my favorite actress.

      • Halloween_Vic

        She’s pretty awesome.

    • Rick Cooley

      Slasher films suck. Supernatural horror is the way to go.

      • Halloween_Vic

        I disagree man it’s time to bring back slashers, Supernatural is way to overrated and not scary anymore. It’s been done to death for the past 8 years.

  • CrummyLuke

    How are some of these Must See if no one has actually screened them and can vouch for their “Must See-ness.” Also, how long ago was this written? The Purge 3 has been titled The Purge: Election Year for quite some time, the Conjuring trailer has been out for months and actually has two trailers, and They Look Like People has been On Demand (iTunes) since March 11th from Gravitas Ventures. All that aside, a few of these I am really excited for.

  • J Jett

    Jonathan regarding THE BYE BYE MAN, the actor’s name is Lucien
    Laviscount and not LUCIOUS Laviscount. lol.

    • gabriel

      hmmm.. sounds like a porn star name

  • J Jett

    in this list THE PURGE 3 and DON’T BREATHE are the ones i am so excited for! BYE BYE MAN sounds promising as well.

    • Isn’t the third PURGE film still going with the release title THE PURGE:ELECTION YEAR ?

  • Vampire Hunter D(ee)

    Is it okay to be a little tired of survival dramas?

  • dmiller23

    Last year I had the opportunity to see They Look Like People at the Tallgrass Film Festival. One of the lead actors was there as well! The movie is really creepy, but definitely not a straight up horror movie. It’s definitely a character driven thriller. The last 10 minutes are really tense. Can’t wait for a full release of it!

    Also looking forward to Green Room and Lights Out!

  • shawn lawson

    Pumped for the invitation.cant stand purge films. Conjuring 2 could be okay, but lights out looks better. They look like people was great! Didnt like main character’s friend though. He was really clingy in the way he always wanted to hang around the main character. Not someone id want to spend last few days with haha.

  • Brandon Fields

    Just a heads up to everyone and the writer to the post, THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE is currently on VUDU to rent or buy!

  • DarkBree

    The Conjuring 2 and Don’t Breathe.

  • turk

    So many of these do look really good. The Invitation, Green Room, Lights Out, and Bye-bye Man all sound really good.

    As for Conjuring 2, it’s tough for me to support any movies featuring Ed and Lorraine Warren as characters, given they were (are) proven grifters and frauds who bilk naive people out of their savings. I have to assume that Lorraine is in someway financially profiting from these Conjuring and Annabelle movies. Morally, I want no part of that. And as a movie and horror fan, I know the stories, presented as at least somewhat factual, are complete bullshit, anyway.

  • markajacoby

    DEFINITELY want to see “The Unkindness of Ravens.” Been keeping an eye out for this one for quite some time. Now if someone can just tell me how the hell to find their first film, “The Lord of Tears” that would be great too…

    • AlanMorlock

      Basically you just have to buy it from them.

  • pablitonizer

    Excited for The Conjuring 2 & Lights out. “The bye bye man” & “Don’t breathe” sounds promising but nothing concrete has been seen so far. I also think “The unkindness of ravens” looks fun but pretty dumb…the rest looks like shit (sorry to be honest) including The Purge 3 which at this point became nonsensical since a small trip to Canada would solve the candidate’s situation

  • Darnell

    I rented They Look Like People on Amazon last week. This movie was boring as all hell, and while it had an interesting premise it was executed poorly, and the movie suffers greatly from the dollar store budget it appears to have.

  • La Molcajete

    They look like people is on Amazon video

  • Darnell

    Where is February? I have been hearing about how great this film is for nearly 2years with Emma Roberts yet it’s not on this list but was on Brad’s best list for 2015???

    When is this movie releasing??

  • Jamie Decourley

    I saw They Look Like People, It was decent watch but most people are going to complain because it’s not bloody or horrific and the ending is just…well I liked it but 8 out of 10 people won’t. It’s psychological horror but it’s deeper than scares or even quirky psychosis.

  • AlanMorlock

    I caught The Invitation at a festival last year. It is great. seek it out posthaste. I’m trying to make my way to a screening with the director in St Louis in a few weeks.

  • Chrissie-Watkins

    I am looking forward to The Neon Demon and We Go On.

  • Evan3

    That’s a BAD Jonathan Barkan. BAD! Nobody should see the Patriot! THAT is a horrific suggestion.

  • disqus_SeQpRkl6G9

    Don’t Breathe was awesome. Hush should’ve been on this list. I thought it was more enjoyable than The Invitation and They Look Like People combined.

  • Rick Cooley

    I wanna see The Conjuring 2. WOW! Also, the Bye Bye Man. JeruZalem looks pretty interesting. Death House looks awesome! The Darkness, Lights Out, and The Forest look creepy/scary! Gimme supernatural horror movies and i’m happy!

  • chulookin

    Jeepers Creepers 3 is what were waiting for…

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