The Bye Bye Man opens intriguingly enough. In a flashback to 1968, an as-yet-unidentified man (Leigh Whannell) kills a number of people in their homes in what appears to be a psychotic episode. Wiping people out as he furiously interrogates them about whether they’ve said aloud a name they’re apparently forbidden from repeating, it turns out that He Who Shall Not Be Named is the demonic entity The Bye Bye Man. We don’t know it yet, but this is our first glimpse into the film’s bizarre central conceit, which from here on out is at best non-threateningly daft, and at worst a narrative and logical black hole.
Marcus Dunstan, writer of later Saw franchise entries and director of the under-rated The Collector and sequel The Collection, sticks to the claustrophobic framework that has worked for him in the past on third feature The Neighbour.
Set almost entirely within one house, the influence of Austrian auteur Michael Haneke is stamped all over Goodnight Mommy, a stunning statement of intent from writer/director duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala that manages to deliver a steady stream of escalating tension without ever threatening to overplay its hand.
While in many ways, 2016 has been a year to forget, it has served us pretty well in terms of horror.
With the best will in the world, there’s not too much to get excited about in The Evil In Us, a heartfelt, lovingly-sculpted “cabin in the woods” infection/zombie yarn that, while unshakeable in its commitment, doesn’t really engage in any significant way until its final twist.
While the title might imply a tale of some unknown creatures lurking underground and waiting to strike, the monsters in David Farr’s The Ones Below are of an entirely different kind.
“I was practically hate-fucked into existence.” Yikes.
It was the horror sequel nobody asked for: despite the obscene box office success of 2014’s Ouija, it fared almost as poorly with genre fans as it did critically. However, the horror genre is no stranger to unwanted attempts to magic up franchise potential from thin air, so mere months after its original theatrical run, a follow-up was confirmed. Set expectations to zero.
A daring exercise in stark, monochrome minimalism, Mickey Keating’s Darling just about escapes style-over-substance accusations through a combination of beautiful photography, an effectively cultivated atmosphere of uncertainty and dread, and another hypnotic central performance from Lauren Ashley Carter.