It’s been quite the year so far for the horror genre with an array of films that have scared us to our core, delighted us with their dark humour and mesmerised us with images that will be lodged in our brains forever more. Now it’s early in the year to talk the best horror film given Halloween hasn’t arrived, but those on the horizon have their work cut out. Here’s our favourite five (in alphabetical order) as well as some we cannot wait to come to cinemas later on this year…
Autopsy of Jane Doe
Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch star as father and son who are both coroners. One day, a female body (dubbed Jane Doe) is brought into the mortuary as normal. However, a mystery surrounding the woman starts to come into focus and some dark secrets begin to reveal themselves. Directed by Andre Ovredal (Troll Hunter), the film acts as both a typical horror with the usual splatterings but also a thrilling, unpredictable thriller that is a genuine nailbiter and, at times, darkly funny.
The breakout hit of the year so far, Get Out has been something of a phenomenon with $251million grossed worldwide from it’s small $5millon budget. The brainchild of comedy performance Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele fame), the film is a classic edge-of-your-seat thriller that gets right under your skin with its biting satirical edge of class and race as well tackling social and economic issues of modern-day America. Lead by the phenomenal performance of Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out is bold, brilliant filmmaking that’s both timely and utterly compelling.
From writer Alice Lowe, who featured in such films as Sightseers and Hot Fuzz, Prevenge has quite the storyline: Ruth (played by Lowe) is seven months pregnant and while she enters the final stages of her pregnancy, she goes on a homicidal murdering rampage after she is “coerced” by her unborn child. So far, so horror-fuelled but Prevenge tells more about 21st century pregnancy than it does a typical serial-killer film and with Lowe’s remarkable performance and her darkly comic and visceral writing and directing, it’s certainly a one-of-a-kind experience.
While it made it’s debut at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, Raw made its bow earlier this year in UK cinemas amid many stories of people fainting, vomiting and everything in between during some screenings across the channel. But while Julia Ducournau’s coming-of-age story is adventurous and gory in places, it’s much more than that – with the influence of David’s Cronenburg and Lynch flowing through it, it’s a measured, smart and funny film that mixes body horror with teenage angst beautifully. We can’t wait to see what Ducournau comes up with next.
There were many twists and turns in M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film, not least that the film was his best since 2002’s Unbreakable – and how intrinsically linked the two were. Taut, thrilling and full of heart-pounding moments, Split featured a bravura performance from James McAvoy as a man diagnosed with 23 distinct personalities as well as another brilliant turn from Anya Taylor-Joy. For those who don’t know Split’s inner workings, we won’t spoil it much here, suffice it to say that this is one to see immediately.
The Bad Batch
The sophomore feature film from Ana Lily Amirpour, writer/director of 2014’s superb A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, The Bad Batch arrives under a huge wave of anticipation and excitement. Set amongst desert wastelands in Texas, the film Suki Waterhouse as a young woman captured by a group of cannibals (led by Aquaman himself Jason Momoa) and has to adjust to her new way of life. Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, and an unrecognisable Jim Carrey co-star in the film which is set for release in the UK later this year.
Remakes are always met with certain trepidations and eyes rollings but the new version of the classic Stephen King novel looks like it could be one to buck the trend. Originally made as a TV mini-series in 1990 starring Tim Curry as Pennywise, the new version is helmed by Andres Muschietti (Mama) with Bill Skarsgard now in the lead. The classic story of a group of children (led here by Midnight Special’s Jaeden Lieberher and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard) who are terrorised by a shape-shifting entity (Skarsgard) who takes the form of a clown to wreak havoc amongst them. And judging by the first trailer, which broke internet records when it first arrived online, we are in for a wild ride.
It Comes At Night
While it may not have been a hit with audiences in the US despite some positive reviews, It Comes At Night is one of the horror highlights of the year. Just released last week in the UK, the new film from acclaimed writer/director Trey Edward Schults is a nerve-jangling, psychologically rich horror that’s more paranoia than gore but no less enthralling. Joel Edgerton is protecting his family from a “world event” on the outside of their boarded up house but the arrival of another family leads them to begin to suspect everything about them and just how they have found their way through the increasing doom surrounding them.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Yorgos Lanthimos is one of Europe’s most intriguing and engaging director working today. With films such as Dogtooth and Alps, the filmmaker built up quite the following but it was 2015’s The Lobster that was many film fans first glimpse at his unique and visionary works. Now the director is back for a psychological horror about a surgeon (Colin Farrell) and his relationship with a teenager (Barry Keough). Nicole Kidman and Alicia Silverstone co-star. Met with rave reviews at Cannes, the film is due in UK cinemas later this Autumn.
After a three-year hiatus since his last film, 2014’s Noah, Darren Aronofsky returns behind the camera for the eagerly-anticipated film Mother! (notice the purposeful exclamation mark). A “horror mystery” if early reports are to be believed, the film centres “on a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.” Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kristen Wiig, Domhnall Gleeson and Ed Harris star in the film.