By Steve Newton
Here’s five horror flicks I really enjoyed in 2016:
Don’t Breathe “Alvarez–who also cowrote the script–guides the ensuing mayhem with a sure hand, ratcheting up the suspense and keeping the thrills coming long after other directors would have packed it in. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with for feature number three.”
Green Room “I love Green Room‘s plot about a destitute punk band trapped in a grungy backwoods bar by murderous neo-Nazi skinheads as much as the next guy. Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier–who proved his suspense mettle with 2013’s Blue Ruin–does a bang-up job with the hair-raising aspects of that premise.”
10 Cloverfield Lane “Howard is by turns vulnerable and menacing, and Goodman is perfect for the part. His paranoia-driven portrayal keeps you guessing about his motives and the validity of his contamination claim.”
The Shallows “Collet-Serra does a masterful job wringing tension from the trapped woman’s efforts to attract the attention of any potential rescuer. The sequence where she desperately tries to signal a far-off ship before it sails out of sight is particularly gripping.”
The Wailing I didn’t review this supernatural shocker from Korea as it wasn’t released theatrically in Vancouver, but I took the advice of local film guru Adrian “Mad” Mack–who included it in his top 10 of 2016–and checked it out on Netflix the other night. Mack calls it “horror made by true believers”, and, as usual, he’s spot on.
Here’s five horror flicks that sucked the biggie in 2016:
The Conjuring 2 “At 134 minutes, TC2 is an excruciating ordeal for discriminating horror fans–or anyone who understands that life is short. Then again, director James Wan is skilled at making people suffer, having kickstarted the torture-porn craze with Saw.”
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies “The only thing worse than a novel combining Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with zombie fiction, apparently, is a film version of the heinous mashup. I haven’t suffered such anguish at the movies since reviewing Uwe Boll’s appalling Alone in the Dark back in 2005.”
Shut In “With Shut In, [Naomi Watts] can’t connect in any real way with her role as Mary Portman, a deeply troubled widow, child psychologist, and stepmom. Mind you, she doesn’t get much help from first-time screenwriter Christina Hodson, who–apart from one big plot twist–keeps things totally predictable.
The Purge: Election Year “As with the previous Purges, the film becomes an endurance test to see how much ear-shattering, brain-blasting gun death a viewer can take. The tattered shreds of sociopolitical commentary left by the fusillade are hardly worth the mass casualties depicted onscreen–not to mention the agony of the moviegoer.”
The Fifth Wave “It’s disasters like this that make you welcome any conquering species, as long as they agree to vapourize Hollywood first.”
And here’s the most overrated horror flick of 2016:
The Witch “Like their pious parents, the kids are adept at jabbering endlessly in Olde English, but just before you OD on thee, thine, and thou art, some more freaky witch shit happens. It’s too little too late, though. And nothing from a coven could be quite as scary as all that godforsaken chatter anyway.”