Though 2016 saw some great innovations of the horror genre with films like 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Love Witch, the year of course was not without some amiss additions.
These films all start out with interesting basis, mostly built of common horror movie tropes, the summer camp, haunted forests, haunted objects and home invaders. But through a variety of reasons, such as acting, writing, vague narratives and uninteresting twists these films have come out as the sub-par horror films of 2016.
10. Summer Camp
Set at an out of the way summer camp in Spain, a group of three American counselors idyllic summer abroad to teach English to children starts to take a turn for the worse when another counselor suddenly starts attacking the others. Will it be too late before the other counselors to realize it is a virus that induces a rage based consumption of the individual?
The directorial debut of Alberto Marini, the film starts on the premise that the three Americans are missing from a news broadcast at the start of the film, the exposition of the film is how they went missing.
When the three Americans (Marara Walsh, Andres Velencoso and Jocelin Donahue) meet up with the other counselor already at the camp, played by Xavier Capdet, the group agrees to go into the forest together to blind fold each other in order to play a team building exercise. It is only when the other counselor starts to violently and relentlessly attack the three of them that they realize that it is a matter of life or death.
Though the film is based on a somewhat original idea mixing together the horror stereotypes of the summer camp, isolation in a forest and a contamination story the film still falls flat from a mediocre script and acting from the main characters. The plot twist in the film (no spoilers) is the only somewhat redeeming quality to the film, but is still overshadowed by its flaws.
2016 saw its fair share of home invasion based thrillers. But make no mistake, Intruder meets no expectations of anything remotely original or interesting. When a successful Portland Oregon based cellist, who happens to be young and beautiful, finds herself in her expansive house on a stormy weekend, she soon realizes she is not alone.
Written and directed by Travis Zariwny, Intruder is a lack-luster film start to finish. As Elizabeth, played by Louise Linton, starts out her weekend at home she is completely unaware of the man in her company, John played by John Robinson (XI). Elizabeth fails to notice John lurking around in her apartment, naturally looking in her panty drawer and pissing in her kitchen sink.
The film takes the naivety of its main character to the extreme. She fails to notice a man entering and exiting her apartment multiple times, being kissed and caressed while sleeping, and a dark shadow that always seems to be behind her. The film felt like a constant repetition of the same slow motion scenes of rain fall and a dark shadow always being conveniently behind Elizabeth. Overall the film is unimaginative and holds no real substance but regurgitated ideas.
8. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Working off of the Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies does just as the title suggests adding in the element of a zombie outbreak to the land of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.
In Burr Steers adaptation of a novel by the same name, British society finds itself void of its traditional concepts in the wake of a plague that turns people into brain eating zombies. leaving some to emigrate their concepts of life behind to follow more Eastern based ideas of the warrior.
The film follows the second oldest of the Bennet sisters, Elizabeth played by Lily James, as she is pursued by three suiters while also fighting the zombie outbreak being pushed on by zombie sympathizers.
The film tries very hard to add both elements of horror and comedy, but both of these element seemed to fall flat by how serious the film took itself even with its PG-13 rating. With its larger budget, the films visuals are acceptable and the acting decent but through the lack of clear direction one way or another the film is left in between a goofy adaptation of a classic novel and trying to take itself seriously as a time period piece.
7. Before I Wake
After having its release date being set back more than once by its bankrupt production company Before I Wake is an underwhelming horror film that fringes on a couple’s desire for a child. The film starts with an interesting concept; that a couple, who lost their own child, adopts a boy that has the ability to make his dreams and nightmares come to life.
After bringing Cody played by Jacob Tremblay into their home as a foster child Mark and Jesse (Thomas Jane and Kate Bosworth) are faced with the reality of why Cody had been returned by foster parents multiple times. When Cody falls asleep his dreams manifest into reality, no matter what they are.
Despite having an interesting concept the film relies on paranormal horror movie stereotypes and jump scares, coming out to be a boring expedition into a made up psyche of a damaged child. Leaving the viewer to hope that the film ends before they wake.
6. Friend Request
Released two years after the 2014 film Unfriended, Friend Request delves into a very similar realm of haunted social media. Laura, played by Alycia Debnam-Carey, is a popular college student who becomes obsessed with the morbid Facebook profile of stranger named Marina played by Liesl Ahlers. As Laura’s obsession continues her real life friends start meeting violent deaths around her.
One of the only interesting aspect to this film is that the girl whom ends up haunting Laura is introduced as a real person in the beginning of the film but after a humiliating incident involving Laura, Marina commits suicide, naturally making sure that the footage is then uploaded to her Facebook for Laura to watch.
As Laura’s friends keep being murdered and having their deaths filmed and posted on Laura’s Facebook. Unable to remove the videos her high friend count starts to decline rapidly. There is a resemblance of a critique of the social media generation, but that is overshadowed by second-rate acting and a clique script. This film completely lacks any interesting twists, since the viewer can pick out any resemblance of one with ease ruining the suspense.