15 Best Original Movie Characters Of 2016

Originality isn't dead. You just need to look in the right places.

Star Trek Beyond Jaylah On Bridge

Contemporary Hollywood is the home of nostalgia. Prequels, reboots, sequels, spinoffs, and rip-offs are so common in the blockbuster scene they risk completely eclipsing the great number of original films that come out every year. And while there is a gem like Mad Max: Fury Road every once in a while, most of these films are made with one goal in mind: Profit off of pre-existing fanbases.

You cannot deny 2016 has been a depressing year for mainstream cinema. Marvel's continued monopoly on the blockbuster world went uninterrupted, three consecutive video game movies tried (and failed) to bring life to the subgenre, and DC sat in the corner smashing all its toys with a hammer.

However, in between all the high budget catastrophes, there was a steady stream of originality that helped convince us that there is hope for the future of original filmmaking. So today, let's count down the best original characters of 2016! Through incredible performances, strong writing, and effective direction, all of these characters earned their places in cinema history this year - even if the year as a whole won't be remembered fondly by the general public.

15. Norman Nordstrom - Don't Breathe

Star Trek Beyond Jaylah
Screen Gems

Don't Breathe is one of those horror movie premises that could either be brilliant, or laughably bad. Making a blind man your antagonist in a claustrophobic horror film needs to be handled very carefully in order to not fall into parody. And amazingly enough, Don't Breathe achieved that by casting the great Stephen Lang as Norman Nordstrom, the terrifyingly violent blind man.

Right out of the gate, Nordstrom has incredible physical presence. Even if he's blind and old, he carries himself in a way that's both intimidating and chilling, because we have to imagine what's going on behind those unseeing eyes of his. He's wound like a coiled spring the entire film, and remains enigmatic until absolutely necessary. Once the would be burglars break into his house, we find ourselves thinking of that quote from Watchmen's Rorschach: "I'm not trapped in here with you. You're trapped in here with me."

This film completely subverts the well worn rule about horror movie antagonists - "the less you see of them, the scarier they are." In this film, the less he sees of you, the scarier he is. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense on paper, but in practice, it works like gangbusters.


Self-evidently a man who writes for the Internet, Robert also writes films, plays, teleplays, and short stories when he's not working on a movie set somewhere. He lives somewhere behind the Hollywood sign.