The year in horror that was 2015 has now come and gone, having delivered new horror classics, some massive disappointments, and everything in between. Now it’s time to look ahead to 2016 and see what our favorite genre here at Morbidly Amusing has to potentially offer us over the course of the next eleven months. From the works of firmly entrenched genre directors to first-time horror helmers, these are the horror films we at Morbidly Amusing are most looking forward to in 2016.
Fede Alvarez’s A Man in the Dark
Back in 2013, first-time feature director Fede Alvarez had the unenviable task of remaking an absolute classic in the horror genre: Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. Hand-picked by Raimi himself, who served as a producer on the remake, Alvarez’s film took the franchise in an entirely different direction that resulted in a fairly decent remake that showed some flashes of talent. Now, Alvarez has the chance to take on a film completely his own called A Man in the Dark, which centers on a group of teens who break into a blind man’s home hoping to enact the perfect crime, only to realize things are not quite what they seem. We’ll find out if Fede Alvarez is able to fulfill his promise when his latest hits theaters August 26th.
Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane
While 10 Cloverfield Lane may not instantly strike you as a horror film, hear me out. It’s a mysterious project produced by the master of the mystery box himself, J.J. Abrams, that sports an array of eerie teaser trailers that all hint at a connection to the underrated found-footage monster movie Cloverfield, released in 2008. It also looks to center on three individuals locked away in a bomb shelter of some sort, one of which (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is being kept against her will by John Goodman’s character, who doesn’t appear to be the most stable host. Eerie teasers? Monster movie connections? A potentially villainous John Goodman? Sure sounds like a horror film to me. We’ll find out for sure when it hits theaters March 11th.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon
For a filmmaker not predominantly associated with the horror genre, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn sure does love blood and guts. From the testosterone-infused brutality of Bronson to…the testosterone-infused brutality of Drive, Refn has always had a fascination with violence and how it functions in various different settings. With The Neon Demon, he’s finally taking this fascination to the horror genre in a film starring Elle Fanning as an aspiring model who moves to Los Angeles only to have “her youth and vitality…devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has”. While the film still awaits a US release date, it is expected to be unleashed on unassuming movie-goers sometime in 2016.
Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room
One of the great independent films of the last few years is without question Jeremy Saulnier’s breakthrough crime tale Blue Ruin. A morbid, dark and bloody slow-burn of a thriller, it was released back in 2013 and instantly became a critical, if not financial, smash. Now Saulnier has returned with his follow-up feature, sporting an eclectic cast, which includes one Patrick Stewart as the maniacal leader of a group of skinheads looking to take out their frustrations on a punk rock band who bore witness to a murder they weren’t supposed to see. I know, I had you at Patrick Stewart playing a skinhead. Green Room will be hitting a limited amount of theaters on April 15th and is then expected to go wide two weeks later on April 29th.
James Wan’s The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist
What honestly needs to be said about The Conjuring 2? Long-time horror filmmaker James Wan returns to the franchise (after a brief foray into the world of the Fast & the Furious) he jump-started to great success back in the Summer of 2013. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are back as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who this time head overseas to London to investigate strange occurrences in the home of a single mother and her four children. While it remains to be seen whether Wan will be able to capture the critics’s hearts once again, I’m sure either way he’ll be rolling in the dough come June 10th.
Ana Lilly Amirpour’s The Bad Batch
One of the great surprises in the horror genre of the last few years, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night absolutely transfixed me when I was privy to an early screening of it back in the summer of 2014. A work of supreme confidence by first-time writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour, the ‘Iranian Vampire Western’ proved it was only a matter of time until Amirpour was on to bigger and better things. Well, that time has arrived with The Bad Batch, “a dystopian love story in a Texas wasteland set in a community of cannibals” starring Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves and Jason Momoa. If that description and that cast doesn’t do it for you, you’ve got issues. The Bad Batch is expected to be released sometime in 2016.
Rob Zombie’s 31
Rob Zombie is back, and this time he’s bringing a gang of evil clowns with him. 31, a horror project Zombie crowd-funded through the website Fanbacked, tells the story of a group of people who are kidnapped in the days leading up to Halloween and taken to a place called Murder World. While there, they must play a game called 31 where the goal is to survive a 12 hour stint amongst a gang of evil clowns. As a fan of most of Rob Zombie’s directorial efforts, I’m definitely looking forward to this one, although it definitely sounds more shlocky than most of his other recent work and has received decidedly mixed reviews (not that that’s surprising) following its premiere last month at the Sundance Film Festival. Regardless, we’ll be seeing 31 when its released on an undefined date later this year.
Robert Eggers’ The Witch
One of my most anticipated horror films in quite awhile, Robert Eggers’ The Witch has been following a train of steady hype ever since its premiere all the way back at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film is a period piece, set in 1630s New England, and centers on a devout Christian family who upon the disappearance of their newborn baby, unravel thanks to the evils of witchcraft, black magic, and possession. An array of fantastically chilling trailers have really taken my anticipation of this film to the next level and thankfully, I don’t have to wait long to see it. The Witch hits theaters this Friday.