All in all, 2016 has been a fantastic year for movies. Anyone who says otherwise just isn’t watching enough movies. But with so many films circulating the ether, it’s only natural that a few go overlooked, and such gems deserves to be given some spotlight. From foreign fare to unearthed indie gems, and even a blockbuster spectacle that wasn’t given much of a look-in outside of its home country, we’ve compiled a list that covers a diverse variety of outstanding genre films released in the past 12 months.
Here we’ve compiled 15 we feel deserve your attention. Every single title mentioned here is unique and wonderful and we hope that if you do decide to seek a few out you’ll find a treasure you otherwise might never discovered otherwise.
15) Officer Downe
This is the directorial debut of Shawn Crahan, who most people know as the Clown from Slipknot. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, it stars Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates as an undead police officer who returns to keep fighting crime – with violent, hilarious results, I might add – and it’s perfect for mindless carnage entertainment.
14) The Greasy Strangler
A father and son with an already rocky relationship get embroiled in a bizarre love triangle when a woman comes into their lives and causes them to compete for her affection. Also, the father might be The Greasy Strangler, a greased up serial killer with a penchant for strangling. Full of bizarre sex scenes, disco tootin’ and outlandish comedy, this is the most inappropriate masterpiece we’ve had since John Waters’ heyday.
13) The Wave
The Wave was a hit in its native Norway, but elsewhere it flew by under the radar – which is a shame as it’s the type of film that should come crashing down on audiences everywhere. In recent years we’ve been treated to some terrific grandiose disaster movies which force us to abandon logic, but The Wave is good because it doesn’t; we get all of the thrills a disaster movie should bring, but in a realistic way with characters we can relate to. It’s one of the best to ever emerge from the genre. It’s a blockbuster of the classic Spielbergian variety, albeit with a European flavour.
Japanese master of suspense Kiyoshi Kurosawa dishes up a taut, chilling mystery thriller that truly deserves its title. A former police officer and his wife move next door to an offputting (to put it mildly) neighbor and his daughter, who claims not to be his daughter. Teruyuki Kagawa gives one of the most spine-tingling villain performances of the year.
11) They Look Like People
Writer/director Perry Blackshear has crafted a harrowing psychological thriller about a friendship pushed to the edges when one man believes that monsters masquerading as humans are about to wage a battle with mankind. The climax is an absolute nailbiter.
Lilith’s Awakening: Writer/director Monica Demes’ dreamlike black-and-white vampire tale is filled with both haunting beauty and dread.
Writer/director Mickey Keating has been tearing it up this year with his horror films, and this disturbing, artistic peek into the ever-maddening mind of a young woman is further evidence as to why. Lauren Ashley Carter turns in a brilliant performance.
9) The Blackcoat’s Daughter (AKA February)
Unsettling and enigmatic, writer/director Oz Perkins’ tale of demonic possession at a nearly empty girls’ boarding school holds many rewards for those who give into its dark charms.
8) Bad Girl
This Australian thriller is bolstered by terrific performances from its two young lead actresses and startling surprises in its story. Writer/director Fin Edquist shows a great deal of style and that he knows how to ratchet up the suspense.
7) The Clan
This Argentinian crime thriller is made all the more terrifying in that it is based on true events. Writer/director Pablo Trapero tells the story of a Buenos Aires family who kidnapped and murdered victims from wealthy families in the 1980s. Guillermo Francella gives a bravura performance as the cold-blooded patriarch.
6) Operation Avalanche
Director/co-writer Matt Johnson and co-writer Josh Bowles star as characters named after themselves in this conspiracy thriller with comic tones. Ivy Leaguers recruited by the CIA in 1967 talk their way into helping NASA fake the Apollo 11 moon landings,and things go from fun to deadly in this faux-documentary style effort.
5) Bleak Street
This Mexican drama more than lives up to its title in its telling of the murders of midget luchador brothers at the hands of two desperate prostitutes. Based on a true story, unfortunately.
4) The Mind’s Eye
Joe Begos’ sophomore follow-up to his outstanding Almost Human (2013) is a love letter to the 80s horror and science fiction, especially David Cronenberg’s Scanners. It tells the story of a telekinetic on the lam from a sadistic doctor who wants to use his powers for sinister, selfish gain. Body parts exploding ensues.
3) The Similars
The Similars is an eerie homage to the suspense and sci-fi horror fare of yesteryear, from the days when The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock were leading the charge in genre entertainment. The story takes place on a cold, rainy night in 1968 and revolves around eight characters who encounter experience a strange phenomenon at a bus station.
2) The Unkindness of Ravens
Lawrie Brewster’s The Unkindness of Ravens comes from the murky Highlands of Scotland but it’s one of the most impressive indie horror features to emerge from any region. It tells the disturbing story of a soldier forced to confront his demons despite retreating to the wilderness to escape them. The Unkindness of Ravens boasts the type of imagination that makes fans of strange cinema feel all giddy and we urge any self-respecting horror fan to check it out ASAP!!!
1) The Autopsy of Jane Doe
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is topping many best of lists in horror communities this year and for good reason – it’s phenomenal. It tells the story of two morticians charged with investigating the corpse of a woman whose dark past comes to light. The less said the better; just watch it and be prepared to laugh and be disturbed in equal measure.