The horror genre has seen something of an uptick in recent years. That’s a good thing for the audience, as we’re getting a lot more great movies from it. Gone are the days of almost all of the wide-release horror movies in a given year being awful jump startle-filled disasters. And we’re getting more and more quality movies getting released directly on VOD or streaming services. It’s a great time to be a horror fan.
Here are the 10 best horror movies from 2017.
Bad Match is a stalker thriller with a twist. It flips its genre on its head by presenting a scenario that looks pretty generic – a nice guy dates a girl, she gets too clingy, and then he thinks she begins to stalk him – and then turns it around both on its characters and us, the audience. It puts us in an interesting position, one of gradual realization, and it’s very clever.
Better Watch Out
Better Watch Out is also a movie that looks to play with our expectations. Its scenario also seems pretty simple: a babysitter and the child she’s babysitting appear to be the victims of a home invasion … and then something unexpected happens. It’s a good way to execute this concept, you won’t see where it’s going before it gets there, and it makes really solid use of its actors.
Found Footage 3D
I always like to see movies that try something different. And that’s what Found Footage 3D does. Its name, right off the bat, might seem paradoxical. How could a found footage movie even be in 3D? It’s a question its characters ask within the movie; they’re filmmakers and they’re looking to reinvent the genre – by adding 3D. So we’re watching a 3D found footage movie … about the making of a 3D found footage movie. It’s very clever and a lot of fun, and if you’re a big horror fan it’ll play even better because of its acknowledgment and circumvention of horror movie tropes.
I will watch anything Mike Flanagan does. He’s able to turn dubious premises into solid horror, and here he takes a Stephen King novel and does even better. Released straight to Netflix, Gerald’s Game features a tour-de-force performance from Carla Gugino as a woman who finds herself tied to a bed, unable to move either of her arms after her husband suffers a heart attack and dies. She has to try to figure out a way to escape – all while dealing with visions from her head, some of which may actually be reality, and not hallucinations. It’s a heck of a movie.
Get Out sees Jordan Peele make his directorial debut with not jus one of the best horror movies of the year, but one of the best films overall for all of 2017. He’s made a movie that’s not just terrifying but also so effective at showcasing everyday racism that it becomes even scarier – because of its real-world impact and inspiration. The themes at play here hit home so strongly that it’s almost impossible not to be deeply impacted by what’s shown.
It Comes at Night
It Comes at Night didn’t do itself a lot of favors with misleading advertising. Its trailers (and, to an extent, its title) implied that there was some sort of monster that its characters were hoping to avoid – that it is the villain. The movie is about a group of people trying to survive in an isolated location, dealing with various paranoias and fears about the outside world – and anyone who isn’t family. It’s great, but it’s not what was advertised, which lost a lot of people right off the bat.
I’ll talk about The Lure until someone shuts me up. It’s a Polish horror glam rock musical about killer mermaids who wind up working in a nightclub in order to find (1) love, (2) food, or (3) both. The songs are great – even though they’re not in English, they sound fantastic – the mermaids are scary, the themes are strong, and the effects to create them are fantastic. Almost nobody saw this movie, and I’ll champion it until they do.
mother! wound up being one of the most fascinating movies of the year. A lot of people hated it – it’s one of the few movies in the history of the measurement to get an “F” rating on CinemaScore – but a ton of cinephiles absolutely loved it. I am one of those people. The entire movie is some sort of biblical allegory, it’s thematically challenging, it has some of the most shocking violence you’ll see this year – or any year – and it gets absolutely insane near its conclusion.
If you’re of the belief that art should be provocative – if it’s designed to make you feel something strong, regardless of whether that’s love or hate – then mother! is a must-watch.
Raw is a cannibalistic coming-of-age movie, using the cannibalism as a metaphor for its protagonists sexual awakening upon her entrance into university. It’s horrifying, and a lot smarter than it probably needed to be. It comes from France and didn’t get much of a theatrical play stateside, but it’s a fascinating movie.
Tragedy Girls is essentially Scream for the social media generation. It focuses on two teenage girls who are obsessed with serial killers. Their town has one, and his murders get them hits on their website, which is all about the killings. But when that lead dries up, they decide to take the murdering into their own hands … all to get likes. People are eating Tide Pods in the real world for this very reason, so this is only a natural extension. It pokes fun at horror tropes throughout, it’s hilarious, and it functions both as a horror movie and a comedy – a tone that’s not the easiest to strike.