Here's the Best Horror Coming in 2016, Ranked

Leatherface is back, and so is Samara, Annabelle, the Blob, the Creeper and whatever was happening in 'The Conjuring.'

Superhero franchises and sci-fi blockbuster franchises aren’t the only fodder for cinematic reboots. Lucky horror fans will see quite a few of their favorite series, both classic and contemporary, receive reboots or sequels (or prequels) in 2016. We’ve put together a ranking of the franchises awaiting renewal, analyzing how each film came off when it was originally released, and each one’s potential for growth.

Cabin Fever

Ah yes, the Eli Roth film that catalyzed my decision never to shave my legs ever again. Believe it or not, 2016’s Cabin Fever remake is not the first time studios have returned to the bloody virus set forth in 2002. Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever came out year four years ago, and Cabin Fever: Patient Zero was released to no acclaim in 2014. That version starred a bearded Sean Astin.

Will 2016’s Cabin Fever be any good? It depends. As always, the use of practical effects over CGI gore will behoove the movie. The film’s director, Travis Zariwny, doesn’t have many credits to his name, other than working in the electrical and camera department on Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. The film will also star no one you know. It’s not looking great.

Underworld: Next Generation

The Underworld series is generally considered to be a “horror action” franchise, and the films generally lean real hard toward the action part of that phrase. Join Kate Beckinsale in the-only-thing-she’s-ever-done as she plays Selene, who is a “death dealer”, or a vampire tasked with killing werewolves. All of the follow-up films to Underworld have received middling reviews, and this one will likely follow suit. Don’t bother watching it unless you’re one of those people who owns a bunch of creepy colored contact lenses, in which case Underworld is probably your jam.


As Variety reported back in September, Rings, the 2016 sequel to The Ring, has already seen its release date pushed back, which is never a good sign. Also, the film was originally titled The Ring 3D, which would have guaranteed straight-to-video status.

Bear with me, here, though. The film’s director, F. Javier Gutiérrez, has a couple of weird and exciting projects under his belt, including 2008’s fantastic meteor-approaching-Earth drama, Before the Fall. He’s also serving as executive producer on the upcoming Crow remake, which will be directed by Inverse favorite, Corin Hardy.

The Ring was one of the best horror films of the early 2000s, and waiting more than ten years to tack on a blockbuster sequel might have been the right move. No one is sure if Rings will deliver, but The Ring has deserved another look for a long, long time.

The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist

Though the original Conjuring employed lovely cinematography, the plot sort of ran off the rails in the third act. Still, it’s nice to see a straight-forward ghost story receiving attention in a world full of vampire-hybrids, post-apocalyptic alien horrors, and haunted dolls.

What’s more, The Conjuring 2 is to be led by the first film’s director, James Wan, who was the auteur behind the original Saw and the designer of film’s central puppet. Wan also directed both Insidious films, and, oddly, Furious 7. The point is, he knows what he’s doing. The original leads, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, will reprise their roles. Only one press image has been released so far.


The prospect of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre brings to mind that Patton Oswalt bit about the Star Wars prequels, in that no one who loves Leatherface necessarily wants to see him as a whiny teenager. That’s just what’s happening, though, so we might as well all get on board.

French horror duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury will direct Leatherface’s origin story, so we can put that on the “good news* side of the scale. However, the British kid cast as young-Leatherface looks really, really adorable, and not at all like someone you’d encounter in Texas and think, “boy, hope that guy doesn’t stick me on a meat hook.” We shall see.

Jeepers Creepers 3

No one can deny that the final moments in the original Jeepers Creepers are lifelong nightmare material. While the first film was a tense, paranoid chase movie that ended with Justin Long getting his eyes cut out of his head, the second Jeepers Creepers was acceptable in a different way. The sequel embraced the Creeper monster’s inherent campiness, the film came off like a cheeky romp in a bloodied cornfield. There was a scene where a headless body flailed around to horn music. It was fun.

Somehow, the film’s original director will return to direct Jeepers Creepers 3, which means we’re all supposed to forget that he was convicted for having sex with a twelve year old boy back in 1988. In another weird twist, Francis Ford Coppola is set to produce the film. Jeepers Creepers 3, though it still doesn’t have a trailer, is already a perfect storm of weird.

The Blob

Now, the original 1958 Blob is a masterpiece, and it holds up after repeated viewings. The 1988 remake, not so much. 2016’s re-re-boot has a lot going for it, with Simon West (director of Con Air) directing, and with Samuel L. Jackson in the central role. West told Den of Geek in March that his film will resemble Alien and Predator more than the original Blob, in that he’ll aim for a science fiction thriller, rather than a classic horror.

The blob itself will be more sophisticated, more along the lines of Alien and Predator and things like that - much more science-based, the way Jurassic Park made you believe you could bring back dinosaurs with a bit of DNA from a mosquito. This will be much more explained on where the blob comes from and how it works. It’ll be a much more sophisticated creature - because it is a monster movie rather than a horror in that sense.

This characterization is certainly interesting, and any thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson is worth a watch.

Annabelle 2

Haunted dolls, man.

James Wan, busy with The Conjuring 2, with still produce the Annabelle sequel (which is still a prequel to The Conjuring), making 2016 a double-whammy when it comes to Conjuring follow-up films. To be clear, the sequence of the films is this: Annabelle, Annabelle 2, The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2.

The original Annabelle film received mostly negative reviews, due to its reliance on jump scares and lack of the originality present in the Conjuring films. It even inspired Richard Corliss of TIME to pen one of the dumbest sentences ever written about horror films: “Quality is often irrelevant in a horror movie; shock is the key.” While this sequel won’t stray far from the original, it might have benefitted from some fresh blood.

The Purge

How, you might ask, did The Purge become one of the only horror franchises in history to actually improve its quality in the sequel? Expanding its scope certainly helped, as the “social science” aspect of The Purge’s horror is more effectively scary when applied to a larger group of people. While one family being attacked in their high-tech house is simply a home invasion film, a film portraying all of Los Angeles during its annual blood-bath is a more unique conceit. While The Purge: Anarchy didn’t necessarily receive good reviews, most people agreed that it was an improvement upon the first film. Will The Purge 3, which is somehow a prequel to the first two films, be even better still?

Jason Blum, American horror tycoon, told the press back in 2014 that he was excited to tell the story of the Purge revolutionaries, portraying Los Angeles’ very first descent into anarchy. Not much beyond a basic plot has been released regarding the film, but if the franchise’s pattern of subsequent improvements continues, The Purge 3 could be the best installment yet.

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