2016 was a hallmark for some of the best horror movies in recent history, and some of them were actually scary. Casual viewers may consider most of the horror movies of 2016 to be scary, but diehard fans of the genre tend to have a very high standard. Where The Conjuring 2 put many viewers on the edge of their seats, it was nothing that avid fans hadn’t seen before. But there were a handful of horror movies in 2016 that even the most cynical of fans considered to be scary.
Being described as unsettling, wrought, and chilling, The Witch is one of the most disturbing horror movies of 2016. This slow-burn tale is as thought-provoking as it is fear-provoking. Even during the slowest of moments, the viewer is sure to feel at unease. The Witch did in 2016 what The Exorcist did in 1973: take a supernatural story and make it feel very real.
With a glaring score of 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Hush isn’t just one of the best horror movies of 2016, but it is one of the highest-rated horror movies of all time. This film took the basic elements of cat-and-mouse horror stories and made them new again. It doesn’t take long for Hush to start unraveling the suspense, and once it does it is relentless.
Rarely are movies that feature every ghost-story trope and jump-scare tactics actually scary, but this one is. Originally based on the short film of the same title, this picture is likely to get audiences nervous again about things that go bump in the night—you know—when the lights are out.
10 Cloverfield Lane
This film transcended the genre of horror and quickly became one of the most popular movies of 2016 upon its release. A large number of people who may typically stray away from scary movies went and saw this film, and they weren’t disappointed. The suspense of this film is two-fold: the intense moments of cat-and-mouse and the audiences need to learn the truth. Is John Goodman’s character a psycho? And what’s outside the bunker?
Perhaps no horror movie did a better job at character-building than this scary feature. This film seemingly came out of nowhere towards the end of 2016, and it was one of the horror gems that flew under the radar. The Monster is a throwback to monster movies of the 30s and 40s, except it’s actually scary. With an emphasis on the characters’ stories, by the time the horror hits the screen the audience is emotionally invested in the outcome.
The Eyes of my Mother
Perhaps tied with The Witch, this was one of the most disturbing films of last year. HeraldNet describes why this is one of the most unsettling horror movies of 2016.
“There’s a fine line between horror and sadism, and I’m not sure Pesce always sticks to it. But the film’s feeling for what isolation can do to people — exaggerated as it is here — is what keeps it grounded… An arthouse horror picture that is subtle in the ways you might expect from that description, but is also seriously effed up. The horror takes place over a number of years at an isolated farmhouse, where a young woman (Kika Magalhaes) tends to her loneliness in uniquely creepy ways.”
For the majority of horror movies listed above, there is one common thread: less is more. Horror icons like John Carpenter (Halloween) and Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho) understood that if you give the viewer a little, there imagination will create an abundance of fear. The most intense moments in movies like Hush, The Witch, and 10 Cloverfield Lane didn’t involve excessive CGI or gore, but good old-fashioned terror and suspense. 2016 proved one thing: if you’re looking for the best horror movies, then you chose a great year.
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[Featured Image by A24]