For all the jokes about 2016 being terrible, last year was in fact a year of horror – for film at least. As Slashfilm points out, 2016 had an unusually strong showing of horror movies of all stripes, and the site’s Jacob Hall attempted to break down what led to the genre’s success.
Hall mentions a litany of factors, like a focus on character and intimate settings. Two of the biggest driving forces, though, seem to be politics and auteurs. Last year’s horror movies embraced politically charged messages (like the uncomfortably timely Neo-Nazi horror of Green Room), and many others fit the mold of an alienating arthouse film that might turn off broader audiences. The author cites the divisive The Neon Demon in particular filling a niche that wouldn’t exist without the director’s vision.
We see some immediate parallels to the best horror of the 70s, movies like Dawn of the Dead that used their horror for inventive scares, terrific visual art, and social commentary. We’ll admit some skepticism too, but the horror renaissance kicked off by It Follows in 2015 is apparently still going.