- Green Room – Filled with tension and dread as well as great compositions and characters you can invest in. Jeremy Saulnier’s third film packs a punch and will keep you invested from start to finish. Sprinkle in some great gore effects and Patrick Stewart… what more could you ask for? RIP Anton Yelchin.
- The Conjuring 2 – James Wan again makes the scariest movie of the year. While not a perfect film, The Conjuring 2 still delivers fantastic cinematography, a great story, genuine and innovative scares, and of course Ed Warren singing an entire Elvis song.
- Don’t Breathe – Fede Alvarez delivers an ultimate roller coaster ride for his second film. Great sound design, an interesting blend of genre influences, and a great twist makes Don’t Breathe a memorable movie to say the least.
- The Witch – Robert Eggers’ debut film is a period piece that leaves no stone unturned. The flawless art design and era specific speech deliver characters you connect with and the most ominous film of the year. Black Philip for president.
- 10 Cloverfield Lane – Dan Trachtenberg feature debut delivers flawless performances from its cast and nicely expands the Cloverfield world. John Goodman was made to act.
- The Autopsy of Jane Doe – Trollhunter director Andre Overdal delivers another inventive film that keeps you guessing along with its protagonists. The two man show starring Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox are fantastic and carry the films simple premise to territory you never expect.
- The Neon Demon – Nicholas Winding Refn’s cinematography is second to none. The Neon Demon is stark, brooding, and beautiful much like the characters within. Couple that with a great soundtrack, a shockingly literal metaphor, and beautiful dreamlike sequences and you’re left with another win for Refn.
- The Invitation – Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation is exactly what you think it is. Even with that in mind, when this movie delivers, it delivers! Great performances and a slowly building crescendo pull you into a dinner party with an ending you won’t soon forget.
- Carnage Park – Every film Mickey Keating directs is entirely different than the last. While I don’t like them all, I appreciate that he isn’t afraid to try new things and really commit. Carnage Park is very creepy and Pat Healy again proves why he’s one of my favorite actors working.
- Lights Out – David F. Sandberg’s short turned feature gets a lot of mileage off its simple conceit. With some decent scares and a good monster, Lights Out is a great introduction film to the horror genre.
- Yoga Hosers – A film made for teenage girls that teenage girls don’t know exist. If they did, I doubt they’d want to watch it.
- 31 – Ever wonder what Rob Zombie giving up looks like? This movie is it.
- The Greasy Strangler – One joke that lasts 93 minutes.