And that’s a wrap, folks! Another fantastic year of horror is in the books (My Top 15 Horror Movies of The Year), which means we’ve got an all-new year of genre greats to look forward to in 2016. To start things off we have some promising new indie films along with a couple of theatrical releases that could be great. But before we get started, here’s what I watched in December:
- Body (review): A great holiday-themed thriller, Body provokes a sinister atmosphere with a simple set-up that involves a few friends and a lifeless body. It has a Hitchcockian atmosphere that pulls tension and dread from a claustrophobic setting that really comes to life under the cold setting of a Christmas Eve night.
- Krampus (review): One of my absolute favorite movies of the year, Krampus is a wonderful Christmas-themed horror film with wicked practical effects and an absolute nightmare of a story. A real winner and another holiday classic from Dougherty.
Aimy in a Cage (VOD)
Director: Hooroo Jackson
Cast: Crispin Glover, Allisyn Ashley Arm, Terry Moore
A creative teenage girl is placed into a mind-altering procedure to civilise her, while news of a virus epidemic spreads throughout the world.
Cherry Tree (Theaters & VOD)
Director: David Keating
Cast: Naomi Battrick, Patrick Gibson, Sam Hazeldine
Faith’s world is turned upside down after she finds out that her beloved father is dying. When the mysteriously alluring Sissy Young becomes her field hockey coach, Faith finds a compassionate spirit and much-needed mother figure. Little does she know that Sissy is the head of a centuries-old witches’ coven that uses the fruit of an ancient cherry tree in a secret ritual that restores life to the dead and dying. Offering to cure her father in exchange for a child, Sissy strikes a bargain with Faith, who suddenly finds herself pregnant with a baby that’s growing at an alarming rate. But with the clock to the child’s birth ticking down and the true intention of Sissy’s plans for humanity becoming more apparent, Faith and her father must stand together in order to save both their lives.
The Abandoned (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Eytan Rockaway
Cast: Jason Patric, Louisa Krause, Mark Margolis
Take a terrifying plunge into the warped mind of a disturbed young woman. Desperate to get her life back on track, the unstable Streak takes a job as a security guard, working the graveyard shift at a once upscale, now abandoned apartment complex. But on her first night on duty, she discovers a horrifying presence lurking deep within the bowels of the decaying building. With her nerves already on edge, Streak must confront demons both real and imagined as she struggles to keep a grip on her sanity.
The Forest (Theaters)
Director: Jason Zada
Cast: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Yukiyoshi Ozawa
When her twin sister disappears in Japan, a young American named Sara becomes determined to find out what happened to her. Sara’s investigation leads her to the legendary Aokigahara Forest, located at the base of Mount Fuji. Accompanied by expatriate Aiden, she enters the mysterious wilderness after being warned to “stay on the path.” Her investigation plunges her into a dark world where the angry and tormented souls of the dead prey on those who dare to explore the forest.
Director: Paul Hyett
Cast: Ed Speleers, Holly Weston, Shauna Macdonald
When passengers on a train are attacked by a creature, they must band together in order to survive until morning.
Intruders (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Adam Schindler
Cast: Rory Culkin, Leticia Jimenez, Jack Kesy
Anna suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals break into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only psychosis.
Martyrs (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Tara Subkoff
Cast: Troian Bellisario, Caitlin Carmichael, Kate Burton
A woman and her childhood friend seek out revenge on those who victimized and abused them.
Synchronicity (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Jacob Gentry
Cast: Chad McKnight, Brianne Davis, AJ Bowen
Synchronicity is a mind-bending ‘Sci-fi Noir’ about a physicist who invents a time machine, and the mysterious femme fatale trying to steal it. He must travel back in time to uncover the truth about the machine, the girl, and his own reality.
The Boy (Theaters)
Director: William Brent Bell
Cast: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Ben Robson
An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After violating a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.
What you shouldn’t miss:
There are a lot of solid looking films this month, but I’d say the two you should absolutely keep an eye on are Howl and The Boy.
- Howl is the second feature film from director Paul Hyett, who is following up his fantastic debut The Seasoning House with a practical effects-driven werewolf film. Awesome! Not only does it simply look great, but the film has been surrounded by some strong buzz, so definitely be on the lookout for this one.
- While The Boy admittedly looks like just another glossy, PG13 horror film for tweens, it has a couple of things going for it—Lauren Cohan and that creepy ass doll. The first trailer took the genre by storm, offering up a wickedly creepy look at a very promising film. Also, I’m excited to see how Cohan does outside of the TV realm.
What you should take a chance on:
This month has a great line-up, but if you only have time to catch a couple of these films and you’re looking for a surprise, they could be Intruders and The Forest.
- Intruders only recently caught my attention, but the trailer alone made me think this was one that could be the surprise horror film of the month. What starts out as any other home invasion flick quickly turns into something altogether different, a promising mix of You’re Next and Panic Room.
- And then there’s The Forest, which has a lot of potential. Natalie Dormer (!!!) leads this one, which is about the very real suicide forest in Japan and it looks like it could be great. The first trailer really didn’t sell me on it, but since then we’ve seen a lot of strong marketing for the film, so my fingers are crossed.
Which film are you looking forward to the most?
This is a tough one. I wan’t to say The Boy but I know my theater won’t get it, so I’m going to have to go with Howl because I’ll actually be able to see it!