Top 10 Horror Films of 2016

Ghosts, ghouls, zombies, and ... turkey basters?

And the winner is ... Black Phillip!

Humor is subjective. Terror is arguably more universal. And as we stare into the unblinking, Sauron-esque eye of 2017, it's a good time to look back on the most terrifying cinematic and home releases of 2016.

1) The Witch
Robert Eggers' remarkable historical horror is both commentary on Puritan religious zealotry and a damn fine demonic nerve-twitch in its own right (read our interview with Eggers and our review).

2) I Am Not a Serial Killer
It's hard to tout the genre-bending interpretation of Dan Wells' new horror classic enough, not least for giving the great Christopher Lloyd another memorable role (read our interview with director Billy O'Brien and our review).

3) The Autopsy of Jane Doe
The English-language debut of André Øvredal (Trollhunter) is a post-mortem as murder mystery, with one of the best narrative left turns in years (read our review).

4) The Purge: Election Year
Less a horror movie, more a clear-eyed indictment of how easily we can fall into self-destructive fascism. If it had come out three months later, we would call it a documentary (read our review).

5) The Wailing
Director Na Hong-jin takes his time telling a story: 2010's The Yellow Sea ran 140 minutes, while this supernatural shocker rolls a leisurely three hours. But don't be fooled: His story of a bumbling local cop (Kwak Do-won) solving bizarre murders earns every second. From the moment his nightmare-wracked daughter screams "someone keeps banging at the door," it's a dread-drenched masterpiece (read our review here).

6) Blair Witch
Relaunching a classic horror franchise, particularly something as epoch-defining as The Blair Witch Project, feels like a fool's errand. But director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett bring a roller-coaster vibrancy to the found-footage classic (read our interview with Wingard and Barrett, and our review).

7) Don't Breathe
Director Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead) takes the standard home invasion tropes and twists them into a gut-churning slasher with a twist (read our interview with Alvarez, and our review).

8) Darling
Horror enfant terrible Mickey Keating's bizarre and effortless homage to New York-era Polanski (read our interview with Keating and our review).

9) Baskin
A 2015 festival circuit fave, this Clive Barker-influenced mindmelter forged a disturbing new horror icon in Baba. Never have step stools been so terrifying (read our review).

10) Emelie
The evil babysitter has been done to death, but actress Sarah Bolger's interpretation of the cuckoo in the nest is oddly poignant and haunting (read our review).

Near misses: Rob Zombie's quickfire sleazefest 31, Nicolas Winding Refn's ambiguously supernatural fashion headfuck The Neon Demon, Mike Flanagan's revisionist slasher thriller Hush, Mickey Keating's other 2016 release Carnage Park, anti-evangelical polemic She Who Must Burn, the completely gonzo Be My Cat, and laugh-out-loud horror comedy Night of the Living Deb.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Top 10s, horror, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Baskin, Blair Witch, Darling, Don't Breathe, Emilie, I Am Not a Serial Killer, The Purge: Election Year, The Wailing, The Witch

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