Accounting for both cinema and home audiences, 2016 appears to have a strong line up of blockbuster and awards fair, as well as independent and genre offerings worth getting excited for.
Cultured viewers will appreciate franchises such as Underworld returning, hopefully as immaculately constructed as ever, and I’m predicting some quality to be found in an adaptation of one of 2015’s most popular novels. Please note also that these films are included based on their Australian release dates, and some may have already been released in other territories.
Of course sometimes the very best films are the ones that come out of nowhere and don’t feature on these types of lists, but I hope you can agree and see reason to be excited about the below 10 titles!
For Eddie’s list of most anticipated films click here.
Plot summaries from IMDb
10. Cold Moon
Directed by: Griff Furst Starring: Robbie Kay, Christopher Lloyd, Candy Clark
An adaptation of Michael McDowell’s renowned novel Cold Moon Over Babylon currently in post-production. The imagery and setting of McDowell’s harrowing pulp thriller promise to translate strikingly to screen, and the cast in particularly instils confidence that this could be an independent standout.
9. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Directed by: Burr Steers. Starring: Lily James, Lena Headly
Jane Austen’s classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England is faced with a new challenge — an army of undead zombies.
Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 novel send-up of Austin’s classic sparked a swath of similar titles, being a good idea that before long got a bit out of hand. This isn’t expected to be terrific, but should at least be a fun time at the cinema with it’s healthy combination of comedy and zombies.
8. Lights Out
Directed by: David F. Sandberg. Starring: Teresa Palmer, Emily Alyn Lind
A woman is haunted by a creature that only appears when the lights go out. A feature adaptation of the 2013 short film, “Lights Out” by David Sandberg.
The Lights Out short is one of the scariest things put to film, and something I showed many friends late at night, each time resulting in the anticipated terrified reaction. If Sandberg can create the same feel and maintain it over the course of an entire feature, this should be an absolute treat for horror fans.
7. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Directed by: Zack Snyder. Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams
Fearing the actions of Superman is left unchecked, Batman takes on Superman, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat Doomsday is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.
I actually think it is my unbelief and disappointment of the casting of Affleck that has me now most curious to see this; that and I’m eager to see if Snyder can redeem himself from the underwhelming Man of Steel and directionless Sucker Punch. 300 and Watchmen show proof of a film-maker with an assured hand and tendency towards risk taking, and I’m hoping Dawn of Justice again solidifies this.
6. Underworld 5
Directed by: Anna Foerster. Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James
Selene is back. This is all that is needed to be known. No Beckinsale-less Rise of the Lycans type scenario here, but rather a continuation of the vampire/werewolf series featuring what makes it so good.
Directed by: Kevin Smith. Starring: Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London
So, apparently Yoga Hosers is pretty rubbish, but this Smith fan believes that MallBrats (or Mallrats 2) can bring the original slacker charm that endeared the Clerks follow-up to many people. Clerks 2 showed that Silent Bob can do sequels well, and with the original cast back on board signs are positive for this one.
4. The Conjuring 2
Directed by: James Wan. Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson
Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.
The Conjuring was one of my favourite films of 2013; far better than most imagined and successful because it scared so very thoroughly. It’s lucky then that James Wan is back on board for the sequel, as he is one of the most assured voices in the genre working today.
3. The Girl on the Train
Directed by: Tate Taylor. Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans
Paula Hawkins’ novel reached a massive readership, who found intrigue in it’s band of deeply flawed characters and central disappearance plot, and while I wasn’t gripped at every stage while reading it I could clearly picture the movie that this story could fill.
2. In a Valley of Violence
Directed by: Ti West. Starring: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Karen Gillan
A revenge Western film set in the 1890s, where a man arrives in a small town seeking vengeance for his murdered friend.
Still very early in his career, Ti West has an enviable collection of films under his belt (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers, V/H/S and The Sacrament among others). He has never made a western, though, and I sense that this will be a western quite unlike any other.
1. The Witch
Directed by: Robert Eggers. Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie
A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.
While its already been released in other areas, here in Australia we’re still awaiting this much anticipated horror title that appears as densely terrifying as it is stunningly captured. There is every chance this will be one of the underground hits of the year.