2016 Was a Banner Year For Horror

best horror movies of 2016

If you grab an average person off the street and ask them how they feel about the recently departed 2016, they’d probably give you a detached thousand yard stare. Or burst into tears. It was, for the world as a whole, not a great time to be alive. However, it was a great year for horror movies. And that makes a twisted sort of sense. As we discover new ways to fear and despair, the movies will react accordingly. Whether by accident or design, horror cinema represented everything we dread in 2016. How it will react to the actual events of this past year has me fascinated…and terrified.

Looking back at the past twelve months, it’s astonishing just how good horror cinema has been. It was there when we needed it, offering an avenue of escape and, when necessary, a dark mirror to examine our inner demons.

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Blair Witch Ending

Unfortunately, Blair Witch was not quite the hit sequel that Lionsgate was hoping it would be. The film has only pulled in $16.5 million domestically and another $11.5 million internationally. That’s a bummer, because it’s actually quite the scary sequel that expands the mythology of The Blair Witch Project without ruining anything or revealing too much.

Now those of you have seen it may be thinking to yourself that the movie does reveal too much about the legend at the core of the horror franchise, mostly because it appears to reveal the titular spirit/monster/whatever. But writer Simon Barrett recently confirmed that we don’t actually see the Blair Witch on screen at all. Find out more below, but beware of spoilers. Read More »

/Filmcast Ep. 384 – Blair Witch

Blair Witch sequel

In this episode, David and Devindra are joined by Matt Singer from ScreenCrush to discuss Matt’s favorite (and least favorite) films of the Toronto International Film Festival. Also, Devindra shares thoughts on Snowden and Atlanta. Be sure to read Britt Hayes’ interview with Adam Wingard and Matt’s review of Blair Witch

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
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Blair Witch Sequel

The first sequel to The Blair Witch Project arrived only 15 months after the release of the original movie. The second sequel took another 16 years to manifest, arriving in theaters just three days ago. While the franchise lay dormant for over a decade, it turns out that there were attempts to revive it in the years between Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and Blair Witch, one of which was a prequel pitched by the same team that made the original movie.

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blair witch interview

Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett have become two of the most exciting new voices in horror over the past five years with films like A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next, and The Guest (as well as memorable segments in both VHS movies and The ABCs of Death). Now, the duo have decided to enter someone else’s playground with Blair Witch, a sequel to the 1999 classic The Blair Witch Project.

Blair Witch is a very different film than the original movie, replacing the slow-burn psychological terror of the first film with visceral scares and a relentless pace. It is very much its own beast, the result of Wingard and Barrett setting out to make a movie on their own terms, the sequel to the original that they always wanted to see.

With Blair Witch in theaters today, I sat down with the duo to discuss how you keep found footage horror fresh, what attracted them to this project, and the glory that is drone cameras.

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blair witch publicity stunt

Seventeen years after it first hit theaters, The Blair Witch Project remains a genuinely creepy, intentionally frustrating, and unforgettable film that sets a high bar for found footage horror movie in general. However, the film’s legacy extends beyond movie screens and into the world of movie marketing, where it had a seismic impact. The film’s advertising campaign used the early days of the internet to its advantage, building an extensive and convincing mythology that could look, at a quick glance, like the real thing. The result was a horror movie that many people thought was a documentary depicting actual events. The seeds of all viral marketing, of how movies are sold on the internet, were planted there.

But 2016 audiences are more savvy. They have noses that have been more fine-tuned for bullshit. What worked in 1999 simply won’t work today – no one would ever believe that the new sequel, simply titled Blair Witch, was a depiction of reality. So how do you keep the Blair Witch legacy of outrageous publicity stunts alive? Simple: you hang a couple hundred of those creepy stick figures all over South Congress street in Austin, Texas to make it look like the city was visited by the witch herself.

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blair witch viral marketing

17 years later, The Blair Witch Project isn’t just one of the most influential horror movies of all time – it’s a great film, a “found footage” movie that actually feels like an actual lost document. Unlike its often too stylized successors, it’s easy to understand why the original could actually inspire many viewers at the time to wonder if what they were watching was actually real. It’s as vague and incomprehensible as a really unfinished movie cobbled together out of footage shot by a couple of dead kids…which only makes it all the more frightening.

The new film in the series, simply titled Blair Witch, was never go inspire the mania that surrounded the first movie. However, keeping the identity of the film a secret until just two months before its release is the kind of impressive hucksterism that the horror genre needs. Speaking of impressive hucksterism, it looks like the Blair Witch viral marketing has begun in earnest, starting with a creepy YouTube video.

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Blair Witch Producer Talks Sequels

In this edition of Sequel Bits:

  • The director of The Blair Witch Project praises Blair Witch.
  • John Boyega teases Pacific Rim 2.
  • Stephen Lang promises that the Avatar sequels are still coming.
  • Duncan Jones would still be down for a Warcraft 2.
  • Zombieland 2 is being written. Again.
  • Mary Poppins Returns star Emily Blunt has earned an important seal of approval.
  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back reveals a new poster.
  • Michael Bay shows off a big stunt on Transformers: The Last Knight.
  • Super Troopers 2 will wrap filming in September.

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Blair Witch Producer Talks Sequels

This past summer was pretty disappointing in the sequel and remake department, even if the box office numbers weren’t as underwhelming as they may have seemed. This summer’s blockbusters just felt mostly underwhelming, but thankfully there are plenty of smaller independent films that are worth seeking out. However, just because this summer churned out some regrettable sequels and remakes, don’t expect Hollywood to slow down on churning them out.

Next month brings the sequel Blair Witch to theaters, and while it’s a recognizable title, the filmmakers behind it come from the indie world. In fact, the experience of working on a film like this has only solidified why sequels and remakes will continue to be made instead of focusing more on original titles. Producer Keith Calder recently took to Twitter to explain how the kind of attention paid to a movie like Blair Witch compares to his work on movies like The Guest and You’re Next. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Blair Witch sequel

Audiences lucky enough to get into a sneak preview screening of the horror flick The Woods at Comic-Con were treated to one of the coolest surprises that cinema has seen in a while. The horror film directed by Adam Wingard was revealed to actually be a sequel to The Blair Witch Project simply called Blair Witch. In the spirit of the original film, it’s apparently one of the scarier horror releases in recent memory.

Now a new Blair Witch trailer has arrived to show you the terror in store when the movie hits theaters next month, and it looks even more suspenseful and terrifying than the original movie from 1999. With the way this secret was kept from audiences, I really hope it delivers the scares along with the surprise that this movie even exists. Read More »