2015 was a pretty great year for horror movies, and 2016 looks to be shaping up in equally impressive fashion already. While we’re sure to be surprised by several out of the blue experiences this year (they always turn up at festivals…), the titles we do know about sound really good. With that in mind, here are the horror films we’re most looking forward to over the course of the next 12 months.
Wildly divisive filmmaker Rob Zombie will unleash his latest creation when 31 debuts at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23. I can already guarantee that there will be folks who love it and others who hate it – that’s just how it goes with Zombie. There’s rarely a middle ground.
The director’s first film since Lords of Salem finds five carnival workers kidnapped and trapped in a place called “Murderworld”. They’re tasked with staying alive for 12 hours – a goal made difficult since they’re being stalked by a posse of evil clowns determined to see they come up short of their objective.
Whether you love Zombie or hate him (and I tend to come down in the former camp – I find Zombie’s body of work interesting, if flawed at times), it’s hard to deny that any new release from the rocker-turned-filmmaker is going to garner a lot of attention. Horror fans will want to check out 31 just so they can participate in the Internet debate guaranteed to follow in its wake.
Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer headlines this supernatural chiller from director Jason Zada, which finds the actress running afoul of some unhappy spirits in Japan’s Aokigahara forest – a region near Mount Fuji where people often go to commit suicide.
Dormer’s character ventures into the woods in search of her missing twin sister, and soon discovers much more than she bargained for.
Prepare to enter The Forest on January 8.
The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan headlines this chiller from director William Brent Bell.
Cohan plays an American woman tasked with taking care of a child in a remote English village. Upon her arrival, she discovers that the child is a doll the parents use to cope with the death of their son. The catch is that Cohan eventually becomes convinced that the doll is actually alive…
Fans of creepy killer doll movies will want to catch The Boy when it opens on January 22.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
If you ever sat through senior year English thinking that Pride and Prejudice would have been a whole lot more interesting if the walking dead showed up, then this is your movie.
Based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel of the same name, the title really tells you everything you need to know. Jane Austen’s beloved tale gets a healthy dose of zombies, kung-fu, and blood-splattered violence to liven things up. Grahame-Smith’s 2009 novel was something of a cultural phenomenon, but that was seven years ago. Can director Burt Steers breathe new life into this ancient (at least in terms of our ADD-addled modern day society) tale? Find out when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies shambles into theaters on February 5.
Robert Eggers’ debut is arguably the film I’m most interested in seeing this year. After hearing a year’s worth of buzz about the period piece (which debuted at Sundance 2015), and seeing several compelling trailers, horror hounds will finally get to see The Witch for themselves on February 26.
The film follows a Puritan family who begins to disintegrate after their infant son is kidnapped and the daughter is suspected of practicing witchcraft. Described as a classic, slow-burn horror film, Eggers’ appears to have infused The Witch with a genuine sense of dread and palpable menace.
Will it live up to the hype? We’ll find out next month – but I’m guessing it will.
The idea of people watching anything on VHS in 2016 might be the most terrifying thing I can think of, but I guess a haunted Blu-ray disc doesn’t have quite the same appeal.
The dark videotape of The Ring is back to terrorize a new group of people (Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, and Johnny Galecki) in Rings. Formerly titled The Ring 3D, this new entry was poised to debut in 2015 – but was shifted until April 1 of this year for undisclosed reasons.
Personally, I’ve been over the entire Ring franchise since I first watched Hideo Nakata’s original film back in 1999 (on a grainy Japanese bootleg – which should have added to the experience, all things considered…), but there’s apparently still an audience for these films out there.
No trailer for this one yet, but here’s a preview for the first film in case you forgot the premise.
The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are back as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in James Wan’s follow-up to the hit 2013 film The Conjuring.
The sequel, due out on June 10, finds the Warrens traveling across the pond to Enfield, England – where they confront a malevolent force at a local council house.
The original film stands as one of the best horror films of 2013, and while the spin-off feature Annabelle didn’t quite reach the same level of quality, this direct sequel should be pretty good. New Line’s clearly banking on it being a hit, having slotted it into a summer release date.
2016 might be the year of movies based on short films, and Lights Out could be the most promising of the bunch.
Based on David F. Sandberg’s creepy short film of the same name, Lights Out looks to expand the tale of a woman menaced by a supernatural shadow stalking her in the darkness. We don’t know much about how Sandberg and crew will stretch the premise to fit a feature’s running time, but Warner Bros. is clearly excited about the project and have moved it to a prestigious July 22 release date.
Check out the original short below.
The Strangers 2
Bryan Bertino’s 2008 film The Strangers has become something of a cult favorite over the years, with its tale of lovely people (Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) menaced by three masked strangers for no apparent reason. Rumors of a sequel have floated around since right after the film’s debut, but nothing’s ever come of it. That appears set to change in December of 2016.
Reports indicate that Laurent Briet’s sequel (written by Bertino) will bring the ghoulish trio back to terrorize another family – this one affected by a downturn in the economy (which maybe gives you a clue how long this film has been in development).
Will it actually happen? I’d forgive you for being skeptical as The Strangers 2 was originally slated to debut in 2011 (and then again in 2014) and missed both of those dates. That being said, here’s to hoping 2016 is the year this project finally becomes a reality.
Get reacquainted with the creepy villains of the original film in this clip.