his year has been a relatively solid year for horror films, with a handful of standout films. Last year the genre struggle in delivering quality films, so this has been a welcomed change. This weekend, we see the release of another potential horror/thriller hit coming to theaters. “Don’t Breathe” follows the story of three young adults that break into a house to steal money from a blind man, only to find the man is far more dangerous than anticipated. While not an overly complex storyline, the concept seems to be one that will attract audiences. Considering it comes from Fede Alvarez, responsible for the recent “Evil Dead” film (2013), it could be solid. Down the road, we’re also getting a “Blair Witch” reboot, so horror is not done in 2016 yet.
With that in mind, we’re wondering what are your favorite horror films in 2016 so far? I’ve included my favorite to get us started.
There’s a fair point one could make that “Green Room” is more thriller than horror, but to me the film checked off most of the boxes. The film follows a punk rock group on tour in Oregon when a gig falls through. Desperate for money to get home, they take another gig set up by the cousin of their last promoter. However, it turns out the show is in a Neo-Nazi compound in the woods of Oregon. After playing their show, they witness a murder and are forced to fight their way out of the compound.
One of the distinguishing aspects of the film that removes it from your traditional thrillers, is the tremendous amount of gore. There is an absurd amount of violence in this film, with dogs, knives, and shotguns all inflicting damage. Characters are brutally maimed and murdered on both sides, and the film quickly turns into a confined quarters fight for survival. There are varying levels of intrigue and storytelling that raise the stakes for the characters, and provide interesting twists as the film progresses.
The real power of the film comes from two sources: an excellent screenplay and solid performances from its cast. The screenplay really worked for me, with the band coming together and bonding with strong chemistry. Their dialogue is authentic to punk subcultures, and there’s even a point where they play a Dead Kennedy’s cover that spits in the face of the audience. They are confrontational, but let their exteriors down as they find themselves in a life or death situation.
The writing also builds suspense well, providing the band with new obstacles and issues to face in their fight for survival. There’s a former member of the Nazi group that is attempting to leave the compound as well, but the question looms through the film of who’s team she’s actually on. The dialogue enforces the gravity of the situation at numerous points, but is offset by odd moments of levity as well. It’s a film that doesn’t take itself overly serious, and gives the audience a break between moments of intense gore. A recurring bit about “dessert island bands” pays off a few times in the film, which gives you a better sense of character while giving you a laugh.
The lines are given more power and weight because of the excellent cast that mines them for all their worth. The film is lead by the late Anton Yelchin, who delivers my favorite performance of his in a film. He is shy and scared of the situation, but is forced into a defacto leader position. As the leader, he has several verbal back and forths with the leader of the Nazis, played by Patrick Stewart. Stewart is having the most fun of anyone on set, reminding us that he can be an extremely intimidating leader, even if that leader is evil. His charisma shines through on the role, and it makes you wonder how someone like Stewart would ever get to this point in his life. The film also has solid turns from Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots, Joe Cole, and Mark Webber.
While there are definitely issues in the film, including a weak drug dealing subplot and little motivation for the initial murder, the film finds itself scoring over and over again. With intense gore and a fun script, this should be one of the bigger horror films of 2016, and I can see it sneaking into my top 10 list at the end of the year.
What about you guys, what is your favorite horror movie of 2016 so far? Let us know in the comments below!